I am terrible at packaging my beer.
It’s probably the most off putting part of the entire hobby for me and I’ve been known to leave beers sitting in a fermenter for months just to avoid the hassle of bottling. Even kegging is too much effort for me. As a result of this, I’ve wasted a couple of batches, my fermenters end up tied up for a long time and I never have as much beer in stock as I would like.
I need to improve. I need to find the joy in bottling.
With that in mind I bought myself some new toys to make my bottling as enjoyable an experience as possible and I thought I would list said equipment for anyone else looking to relieve the tedium.
- An 81 bottle, bottle tree. Clean your bottle, hang it on the tree. A very simple idea that keeps the whole process clean and simple. I like to put some star-san in a spray bottle and spray the tree first, just to be extra safe. The whole thing unscrews section by section too so it’s really easy to store. You can get a 45 bottle version but my experience in homebrewing is always get the biggest you can to save you paying twice!
- A rinser – A dish for holding star-san solution with a spring loaded section, push your bottle down and star san sprays all around the inside. This thing is amazing and makes sanitising so easy. You can soak your bottle caps in the dish as you rinse your bottles too, killing two birds.
- A dedicated bottling bucket – my original set up involved a large auto siphon straight into the fermenter and syphoning individually into each bottle. This was terrible for multiple reasons. Firstly, starting an auto-syphon with a spring loaded tip at the end is hard to do single handedly. Pushing the tip down as you pump the syphon is a feat of gymnastics I still haven’t mastered. Syphoning direct from the fermenter was almost guaranteed to stir up sediment too. All in all this was a nightmare.Now I syphon from my fermenter into my bottling bucket which has a tap and bottling wand fitted. This reduces the sediment in the beer and also makes bottling much easier. I turn on the tap, push a bottle against the tip until filled and repeat until done.
These are some really simple things but have made bottling a whole lot easier and I find the whole process a lot less stressful now. Keeping on top of cleaning bottles after they are done with is also a top tip (though I assume most people aren’t as gross as myself and were already doing this).
I also like to use these catering sugar sticks which you can buy in a box of 1000 from amazon and they are pre-measured to 2.5g each which works for most of my beers. I’ve had bad luck with batch priming and using spoons and funnels is too much like hard work. These work well for me.
I’m still not one of the weirdo’s who enjoys bottling but I’ve definitely developed a better relationship with the whole thing now.
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