Author Topic: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?  (Read 2081 times)

Offline Philbrew

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Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« on: July 03, 2016, 08:37:25 PM »
I keg and bottle carbonate my beers.  I have several non-brewer friends who love the beers I bring over but forget/can't get the hang of doing a "home brew pour".  One of them is blind so he has an excuse. 

I have been thinking of getting some sort of counter-pressure bottle filler to fix the problem.  On the internet I've seen:

1)  Blichmann Beer gun

2)  Northern Brewer Last Straw

3)  A couple counter-pressure fillers by Morebeer

4)  Folks saying that a piece of ridged tubing stuck in a picnic tap works just as good.

1, 2 and 3 are each about $100 all-up.  Are there others that I'm not aware of? 

What are your experiences and recommendations?
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline Biran

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2016, 08:40:49 PM »
Maybe I was doing it wrong but I usually had carbonation issues filling it from the faucet.  I bought a beer gun and I'm very happy with it.  It is very easy to use, clean, and sanitize.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2016, 08:48:24 PM »
I've used the 'tube in a picnic tap' thing and it works fairly well - but not as well as a Beer Gun IMO. Beer gun filled bottles last longer before showing staling effects than the cheap way IMO. I know there are other 'beer gun' options like the Last Straw on the market now (haven't used any of them) but since the cost difference is pretty close, I'd go with the Blichmann. It works reliably well. Love mine. Just my $0.02  .
Jon H.

Offline smkranz

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2016, 09:24:43 PM »
Getting a bottle filler to gratify your non-brewing friends is a generous act.  If that is your main purpose, then I'd recommend going with a bottling cane (with a spring-loaded valve at the end) shoved into the end of a picnic faucet.

But if you will also be bottling for your own use, I join those who recommend the Beer Gun.

Note that it is not a "counter-pressure" filler.  It allows you to purge air from the bottle and fill on CO2, but it does not fill under pressure.  I've had several CP filler models over the years (all no longer available), and the results I get with the Blichmann Beer Gun are at least as good, with 25% of the hassle.

I've not tried any of the morebeer type of CP fillers.
Steve K.
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Offline Philbrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2016, 12:48:55 AM »
Getting a bottle filler to gratify your non-brewing friends is a generous act.  If that is your main purpose, then I'd recommend going with a bottling cane (with a spring-loaded valve at the end) shoved into the end of a picnic faucet.

But if you will also be bottling for your own use, I join those who recommend the Beer Gun.

Note that it is not a "counter-pressure" filler.  It allows you to purge air from the bottle and fill on CO2, but it does not fill under pressure.  I've had several CP filler models over the years (all no longer available), and the results I get with the Blichmann Beer Gun are at least as good, with 25% of the hassle.

I've not tried any of the morebeer type of CP fillers.
Bottling cane, good idea smkranz.  I'll try that first.  Thanks for your thoughts.

And good feedback all so far.  Please keep the thoughts coming.  I've got more questions.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline natebrews

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2016, 01:21:15 AM »
What is the lifetime of the beers in the bottle?  Are you filling them and then having them opened for drinking in a couple days to a week (or maybe even just hours)?  The shorter the time is in the bottle, the less challenging it is to get a good bottle fill. 

I give out lots of beer to friends and I just fill them off the picnic tap (I blow off the head pressure first so I don't get lots of foam) and then cap on foam.  I often keep a couple when I do this just to get it out a while later, and it hasn't ever been an issue.  However, all of those are getting consumed within 2 days and were cold the whole time. 

If you are planning to keep it longer, or send it to competition I would go with the Blichmann one. 
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2016, 02:51:56 AM »
What is the lifetime of the beers in the bottle?  Are you filling them and then having them opened for drinking in a couple days to a week (or maybe even just hours)?  The shorter the time is in the bottle, the less challenging it is to get a good bottle fill. 

I give out lots of beer to friends and I just fill them off the picnic tap (I blow off the head pressure first so I don't get lots of foam) and then cap on foam.  I often keep a couple when I do this just to get it out a while later, and it hasn't ever been an issue.  However, all of those are getting consumed within 2 days and were cold the whole time. 

If you are planning to keep it longer, or send it to competition I would go with the Blichmann one.
I'd expect that mostly these beers need to keep for a week or four, so maybe the Blichmann or Last Straw is the way I should go.  I dunno.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline stevecrawshaw

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2016, 10:21:33 AM »
I have a pegas eco-tap. The new pegas evolution looks even better.

http://beerinnovations.com/beerequipment/pet/pegas-evolution

I recommend these products, they are very easy to use, even single handed. I use them with PET bottles but they can be adapted for glass.

I made a rubbish video to show how they work.

Not sure how easy they are to import to USA, I had mine shipped from lithuania relatively easily to UK.
cheers
steve
I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.

Offline pharmboy

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2016, 10:30:45 PM »
The More Beer counter pressure filler!. I've always hhad foaming issues with nonpressurized methods wasting a couple quarts of brew filling 3 gallons worth of bottles not to mention the oxygen issue. Get the one with the pressure guage. Last bottling spillage was 16oz oout of 3 gal

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Offline Philbrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2016, 09:52:37 PM »
Is there any advantage or problem in getting the bottles very cold before bottling with a counter-pressure filler or tube-in-a-picnic-tap set up?  I can get bottles down to 22F.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2016, 09:59:56 PM »
Is there any advantage or problem in getting the bottles very cold before bottling with a counter-pressure filler or tube-in-a-picnic-tap set up?  I can get bottles down to 22F.



Advantage yes.  Getting the bottles (and filler) cold before filling reduces foaming in the bottles. Less foaming in the bottles = less loss of carbonation.
Jon H.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2016, 10:27:15 PM »
Is there any advantage or problem in getting the bottles very cold before bottling with a counter-pressure filler or tube-in-a-picnic-tap set up?  I can get bottles down to 22F.



Advantage yes.  Getting the bottles (and filler) cold before filling reduces foaming in the bottles. Less foaming in the bottles = less loss of carbonation.
Helps to a point. Too cold and you will get frost and frost makes more foam.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2016, 10:31:22 PM »
Yeah, I chill bottles overnight in the fridge.  I don't get them cold enough to get a layer of frost. Should've been more clear I guess.
Jon H.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2016, 10:37:05 PM »
Yeah, I chill bottles overnight in the fridge.  I don't get them cold enough to get a layer of frost. Should've been more clear I guess.
I mentioned it because the OP mentioned 22°. That would be an issue.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2016, 10:38:44 PM »
Yeah, I chill bottles overnight in the fridge.  I don't get them cold enough to get a layer of frost. Should've been more clear I guess.
I mentioned it because the OP mentioned 22°. That would be an issue.



Yep, I overlooked it. All good.
Jon H.