Since several batches will be ready for bottling this spring, I thought I'd post some bottling information.
For group batches that I organize, brewers are responsible for supplying their own bottles. Your cheapest option, of course, is to save your empties. The Fermentation Trap sells new and used bottles. I also sell used wine bottles for $1.00 each, with the money going towards buying more carboys.CARBONATED BEVERAGES (Beer, sparkling wines, etc)
- Use only store-bought bottles from a home brewing store. Many commercial beer bottles are only meant to be filled once and may not be able to handle a second carbonation.
- Use amber-colored bottles. This is the only color that provides any protection against sunlight. Sunlight reacts badly with hops and can skunk a beer in a surprisingly short time.
- Do not use screw-top bottles unless you have special capping equipment.
- I'd recommend against flip-top "Grolsch-style" tops. I lost half a batch of beer when the carbonation leaked out of the gasket.NON-CAROBONATED BEVERAGES
- Anything can be used, as long as a fresh seal can be applied. Metal caps or corks are your best bet.
- If you plan on storing long-term, consider using oxygen-barrier matel caps or high-quality corks.
- Avoid synthetic corks for long-term storage, as they will cause something called reduction (which is undesirable).BOTTLE CARE
If you are saving and re-using bottles, your best bet is to prepare them for storage as soon as you empty them. Rinse them with scalding hot water, then give them a quick rinse with a sanitizing solution. A splash of bleach and some cool water works fine. Then store them so dust can't get into them. When it comes time to bottle, all they will need is another quick sanitizer rinse.
If, like me, you are lazy, there will come a time when you don't do this. The result is a black blob of moldy goo in the bottom of you bottle. Fear not! Just make a solution of 1 ounce of bleach per gallon of COLD water and fill the bottles. Then let them sit for at least
24 hours and drain. Rinsing is not necessary. Be sure to use cold water, as warm water will make the bleach evaporate.
Tags: bottle care