Bottling it! (with pictures)

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CrownCap
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Bottling it! (with pictures)

Post by CrownCap » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:52 pm

Well I finally bottled my Smugglers Special yesterday and thought I'd take some pictures of the proceedings.

First off to sanitise anything that will come into contact with the beer. I can fit 36 bottles into 2 fermenting buckets along with the caps, tubing and bottling stick. A few extra bottles had to go in another bucket. The sanitising solution was thin bleach at 5ml per litre.

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Next make up the priming solution. I used some leftover spray malt (60g) and 20g of demerara sugar to make it up to 80g. Added about 150ml of water and zapped it in the microwave until it boiled. Covered with cling film whilst I rinsed the bottles.

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Each bottle gets 3 rinses before going onto the bottle tree to drain. That thing is a godsend!

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After rinsing I have a tree full of bottles and a bucket ready to become my bottling bucket.

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A good squirt of CO2 goes into the bucket from soda stream bottle with an S30 adapter. A fork helps to press the 'nipple' to release the gas. This should help to avoid the beer coming into contact with too much air.

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In goes the priming solution that has cooled as I rinsed the bottles.

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A length of tubing attaches to the fermenter and allows me to drop the beer slowly into the bottom of the bottling bucket with minimal disturbance or aeration.

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The fermenting bucket now goes up above the worktop and the bottling stick is attached to the tap with a short length of tubing. The tubing and stick are filled with some pre-boiled water to stop an air bubble going up through the beer when the tap opens. Here I am draining off that water into a glass ready for the first bottle.

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Using the bottling stick is a breeze. It has a needle valve at the bottom. Push the bottom of the bottle up against the valve and the beer flows. When it reaches the top simply drop the bottle slightly and the flow stops. The volume occupied by the stick means that the final volume drops to the perfect level. A torch is used here to help see when the bottle is full.

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On go the crown caps using a twin handle capper.

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The finishing touch is a label. These were quickly knocked up using OpenOffice Draw. They are pasted on using watered down kids PVA glue.

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And there we have a few of the final product. They go into cardboard boxes (Staples do a perfect size box to hold 12 bottles) and sit somewhere warm for a week. Then they go off somewhere cooler (the garage) to condition. Just got to keeps my mits off for a couple of months now! :D

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Last edited by CrownCap on Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Next Up : Wheat Beer
Primary : Nothing
Secondary / Conditioning : Melchior Barley Wine
Drinking : 200CC (a pale, very hoppy Cascade & Chinook brew) / Four Shades of Stout

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CrownCap
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Post by CrownCap » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:02 pm

The torch was added as the result of a few spillages when I didn't stop in time :oops:
Next Up : Wheat Beer
Primary : Nothing
Secondary / Conditioning : Melchior Barley Wine
Drinking : 200CC (a pale, very hoppy Cascade & Chinook brew) / Four Shades of Stout

MickyD

Post by MickyD » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:12 pm

Thats a top post. Brilliant....just a few dappy questions, I hope you don't mind.

The first brew I did I kegged straight from the FV, this time I am going to bottle the beer.

Why do you use a bottling bucket? Have you drained the FV into this bucket with the priming sugars, and then transfered the beer into the bottles?

If the above is what you have done is it better to do this, or to put the spray malt/sugar (whatever your using) into each bottle and bottle directly from the FV.

Sorry about the questions. I just want to be sure.

prodigal2

Post by prodigal2 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:18 pm

Fantastic documentation there Crown Cap.
Getting the bottling bucket to the right height is essential, or otherwise you get bottlers back. :wink:

DaaB I would say this is worthy of a sticky. :=P

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Andy
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Post by Andy » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:23 pm

Great post CC !
Dan!

Wez

Post by Wez » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:41 pm

Superb Post! =D>

Very informative, i'm tempted to do a batch to bottle now!

prodigal2

Post by prodigal2 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:45 pm

DaaB wrote:
prodigal2 wrote:Fantastic documentation there Crown Cap.
Getting the bottling bucket to the right height is essential, or otherwise you get bottlers back. :wink:

DaaB I would say this is worthy of a sticky. :=P
Me too although we need to be careful how many stickys we have, otherwise the entire first page becomes one long list of stickys that get ignored.

This wont go to waste though.....
I understand that, I sure you will find a good spot for such a good post :wink:

Keviebaby

Post by Keviebaby » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:47 pm

Great Post CC. I have been thinking about bottling but have been putting it off as it all seems to be such a faff compared to kegging, but your post makes it seem simple enough and the finished product looks great.

Kev

In primary - Woodfordes Norfolk Nog
Corny 1 - Geordie Bitter
Corny 2 - Geordie Export

J_P

Post by J_P » Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:00 pm

=D> =D> =D>

Top documentation there. I think the torch is a great idea, anyone who has ever bottled a stout in a brown bottle would second me :lol: - the dogs liked the drip tray that day!

Where did you get your bottle tree from? I could really do with one of those.

Edit: Daab could you not create a small forum in which to put good stuff like this?

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Post by Horden Hillbilly » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:00 pm

Great stuff! =D> =D> I'm with J_P on the bottle tree, now I have seen one in action I am tempted to get one myself, thanks for this great post CC.

iowalad
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Post by iowalad » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:32 pm

Impressive! Nice to see another bottler in action.
Your much smoother than my jumbled production line.

delboy

Post by delboy » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:49 pm

Seeing that has put me in the mood for a bottling tree also, :-k i wonder is it too late to put one on to my H&G order.

anomalous_result

Post by anomalous_result » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:56 pm

MickyD wrote:Why do you use a bottling bucket? Have you drained the FV into this bucket with the priming sugars, and then transfered the beer into the bottles?

If the above is what you have done is it better to do this, or to put the spray malt/sugar (whatever your using) into each bottle and bottle directly from the FV.
I asked exactly the same thing somewhere, but can't for the life of me find it. From what I can remeber (it's a saturday night, I may have been drinking), yes you do drain the FV into the bucket. This provides for more even carbonisation across your bottles as opposed to the 'half tsp per pint' method where your half teaspoons may well end up being different sizes due to differently settled grains on the spoon not to mention the fact you're using your eye to measure it.

It might also (having never done this) provide for another place to lose some sediment. My wherry's plagued with the stuff because I'm still new and a bit hasty.

re the post: nice pics! Gives me something to aspire to in the organisation stakes at least. Think I could do with a few more fermi bins to help. And some decent tap for the syphon tubing.

prodigal2

Post by prodigal2 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:58 pm

Bottling trees are brilliant bits of kit, I picked one for 80 bottles for €10 and I can buy more sections as needed. It makes life easy and you don't take up anywhere as much real estate as loose bottles, and you can move them all in one move.

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CrownCap
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Post by CrownCap » Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:30 pm

Thanks for your comment everyone.

Just to answer some of the questions...

Using a separate bucket for bottling allows the priming sugar to be more evenly distributed and is less messy IMHO (have tried adding to the bottle and it was more hassle, bit a pippette would help if you want to go down that route).

Another advantage of the separate bucket is that you can easily leave all the sediment in the fermenter and not have to worry about having a cloudy last few bottles. You can simply use everything in the bottling bucket (it needs to be tilted towards the end).

The bottling tree came from Art of Brewing in Chessington, although they are quite widely available. There is a 40+ and an 80+ version. That combined with the bottling stick certainly help with making the process less of a chore and far cleaner and organised 8)
Next Up : Wheat Beer
Primary : Nothing
Secondary / Conditioning : Melchior Barley Wine
Drinking : 200CC (a pale, very hoppy Cascade & Chinook brew) / Four Shades of Stout

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