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Bottling 101, or; perfect GABF beers?

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  • Bottling 101, or; perfect GABF beers?

    I've never bottled before. I have filled some bottles as samples while hunting draft accounts. I filled them out of the taps in the pub. I notice that when you drink 'em right away they're fine. If you leave 'em for a couple weeks they're vinegar! I suppose filling them from the taps is not a good idea? Since I have no equipment at all to bottle, I am perplexed as to how I am going to fill some bottles for GABF. Obviously I want the beer to be perfect and it will have to sit in the bottle for 5 weeks or so.


    Ken Johnson
    Fearless Brewing Company

  • #2
    You never bottled Ken? All your NHC entries were bottle conditioned I take it?

    Here is what I did last year (no medals, but some decent feedback and no obvious spoilage issues):

    Super cleaned/sanitized a few cornie kegs and filled them from our serving tanks with a manual keg filler setup fitted with a cornie quick disconnect. (I'm sure you could use 1/6 sanke kegs, I just like the cornies because you can see inside and dissasemble them, knowing for sure they are clean). After filling I kept the kegs at 30 psi for a couple days to slightly over carb them.

    Then I just used my good ole counter pressure filler from my homebrew setup and filled my extremely sanitized chilled bottles with it. Capped with Oxygen scavaging caps and spent the money to send my box next day air Fed Ex.

    I'll be interested to see what others post, I'd like to hear some better ideas myself.

    Good Luck


    • #3
      Having not used this system before I cannot vouch for it but,

      Everybody now... oooh, aahh, drool.

      I doubt the pub would pony up for this, but you could get a cheapie homebrew setup from Foxx and just be super clean while filling. Fill bottles while in your cooler & keep em cold till you send em out by overnight.


      • #4
        I really doubt that you can pick up hard core oxidation from a properly capped on foam sample bottle filled and consumed (judged) a week or two later. Take the usual precautions, CO2 purge the bottles maybe, fill in the cold room, cap on foam....blah,blah,blah. I would be more concerned with "blowing out" my carbonation from a violent fill than the effect of oxygen from a properly filled sample that will be opened in a week or two after filling. Also, remember that you are in the same situation as most of us other brewers in the brewpubs (and some micros using sorry, over worked and under maintained bottle fillers) filling bottles the old school way, so the playing field is even in this regard. Ensure sanitary bottles and take your time to fill them properly.

        Good luck,


        • #5
          Counter pressure & sanitize!!

          I use the Melvico Filler but I heard it has been DISCONTINUED. Try searching homebrew shops for one, its the best out there. Expect to pay about $400.00 if you find one. (I dont bother with cornys, I hook the inlet directly to the zwickle on the server.)
          Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company

          "Your results may vary"


          • #6
            Ask around and I am sure another local brewer has a Melvico or something comparable. I know locally here there is a Melvico that makes the rounds every year for GABF purposes. I am lucky enough to have inherited one. Also try the local homebrewers club there's always someone with a decent setup that would gladly help out for a growler or two....
            Big Willey
            "You are what you is." FZ


            • #7

              This unit has worked really well for packaging the 6 pack for GABF entry. You have to cob an arrangement together to get beer from tank into bottle...& its a pain. It gets the job done. I had three months of shelf life with it too.

              Good Luck!