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Bottling Day - bottles

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You need to wash the bottles.  Do NOT use HOT water on PET bottles, only warm.  Use unscented dish soap.  

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ALWAYS wash your bottles then sanitize. I wash my bottles after use then put away and wash once more and sanitize at bottling time (but hay that's the way I run).

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I bottled yesterday and started by washing the bottles with a no rinse cleanser and put them on a bottle tree to dry. Then I washed everything else with the cleanser. Just before bottling I mixed my sanitizer and started all over again before I bottled. I had the caps on the counter in a bowl of sanitizer where I could take them right out and onto the bottle. I placed the bottles in a cooler and filled them with a wand, doing six at a time - fill, cap, case. That way they didn't sit around with tops off more than a minute or two. The cooler contained any spillage.

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So the "No Rinse Cleanser" is not for "washing" your bottles.  It is for sanitzing AFTER you've washed.

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So the cleanser doesn't wash.  It won't break down any proteins.  You need actual soap.  Most people use unscented dish soap.  Some use oxyclean.

 

When you order a refill, you get a Mr Beer No Rinse Cleanser included.  This is used only as a sanitizer.

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took the advice of so many helpful brewers, put the lbk for cold crashing this morning and bottle the northwest wed.

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direct from BREWING WITH MR. BEER:

 

To sanitize your MR.BEER® equipment, first fill your keg with lukewarm water to the 4-quart mark on the back. Add ½ pack of the No-Rinse cleanser and stir until dissolved. Once dissolved, the sanitizing solution is ready to use. Screw on lid and swirl so that the solution makes contact with all parts of the keg, including the lid. Be sure to let the keg sit for 10 minutes to insure the sanitation is complete.

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So the cleanser doesn't wash.  It won't break down any proteins.  You need actual soap.  Most people use unscented dish soap.  Some use oxyclean.

 

When you order a refill, you get a Mr Beer No Rinse Cleanser included.  This is used only as a sanitizer.

This isn't true. The cleanser is a cleaner AND sanitizer. You can absolutely wash your equipment and bottles with the cleanser. In fact, it has similar ingredients to Oxiclean, but is stronger (both are oxygen-based cleansers). When using the No-Rinse as a cleaner, you will want to actually rinse it since you will be rinsing away soils and waste. But there is no need to rinse if using as a sanitizer.

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I bought a 5lb tub of no-rinse cleaner that's what I use, plus I have the oxygen brewery wash , but a little advice, if u have flip tops, dnt leave your flip top caps too long in the solution, itll dissolve the coating on the metal linkage, I discovered that the other day

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This isn't true. The cleanser is a cleaner AND sanitizer. You can absolutely wash your equipment and bottles with the cleanser. In fact, it has similar ingredients to Oxiclean, but is stronger (both are oxygen-based cleansers). When using the No-Rinse as a cleaner, you will want to actually rinse it since you will be rinsing away soils and waste. But there is no need to rinse if using as a sanitizer.

Interesting...

 

But you would need to use it twice then?  Once as a cleanser and then a second time as a sanitizer...

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Interesting...

 

But you would need to use it twice then?  Once as a cleanser and then a second time as a sanitizer...

Yes. I use it a bit more concentrated when using as a cleanser. This requires rinsing to get rid of the residue (this will make your brew water a bit too alkaline if you don't rinse it), and the soils it cleans. I will let the items soak in a solution of lukewarm water and cleanser for 30 minutes before cleaning. It is actually a VERY good cleanser and will clean off some of the heaviest grime. After cleaning and thorough rinsing, I use it again to sanitize, as normal. Our product is pretty much the same as One-Step. It's a great combo for when you don't want to buy 2 separate products.

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I bought a 1 pound tub at my LHBS shortly after I got started, then refilled it - but ended up switching to Star San, which is both dramatically cheaper, sanitizes quicker, and lasts longer.

 

When I switched to the 1 pound tub I put the remaining packets on Craigslist and someone bought them for less than they cost but more than the per pound price, so I made out ok.  I later sold my 1 pound refilled tub to a fellow brewer for my cost.  

 

The only downside of Star San is that I get dry hands and don't want to wear gloves.

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Iodophor is a good sanitizer, but it stains equipment. It's iodine based...obviously.

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Iodophor is a good sanitizer, but it stains equipment. It's iodine based...obviously.

Brown bottles and brown LBK...

 

It does have a faint smell though.

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Brown bottles and brown LBK...

 

It does have a faint smell though.

Yeah, it does, but you don't need much for sanitizing. It's very effective.

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Do you mix the no-rinse differently if your using for a cleaner vrs sanitizer?

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Hey Guys - reading this thread has me wondering about my sanitation process.  I have been washing my bottles in our dishwasher which finishes with a sanitation step.  I then cover the top with cling wrap to seal the bottles and store them until bottling day.  On bottling day I've been leaving them in a oxy & water solution in the sink, rinsing, and drying in a dish rack.  

 

What do you think? 

 

What kind of problems do you see if the bottles are not cleaned properly?  I've read that the main issues are off-flavors or over-carbonation.

 

Thanks!

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Dirty bottles can cause an infection which can create bottle bombs, gushers, or just off-tasting beer.

 

Washing in the dishwasher is not adequate, there is not enough water that enters the bottle to get it washed.  Rinse aids are also not good.  You don't mention if on bottling day you rinse, dry, and then sanitize.  If you don't sanitize, that's a big problem.

 

Bottles that you have already thoroughly cleaned and used usually only need to be rinse thoroughly (hot water for glass, warm water for PET), then half-filled with water, a drop of unscented dish soap, shake, rinse, rinse, rinse.  Then sanitize on bottling day.

 

Bottles you acquire from elsewhere should be soaked in some solution (Oxiclean, unscented dish soap), bottle brushed, and rinsed thoroughly.

 

I just did another 53 bottles today, on top of 180 since 3/23.  Currently have all my batches bottled, 8.13 cases of clean bottles not filled, and 5 cases of dirty bottles to wash in the future if I ever need them (or return for deposit if I don't).

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This isn't true. The cleanser is a cleaner AND sanitizer. You can absolutely wash your equipment and bottles with the cleanser. In fact, it has similar ingredients to Oxiclean, but is stronger (both are oxygen-based cleansers). When using the No-Rinse as a cleaner, you will want to actually rinse it since you will be rinsing away soils and waste. But there is no need to rinse if using as a sanitizer.

 

I've bottled over a dozen batches and haven't "washed" a bottle yet.  I do rinse the heck out of them then use the sanitizer.  I haven't had any issues yet with any of my batches.

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I certainly want clean bottles, but I really dislike the reside left after the use of the no rise cleaner/sanitizer. On the outside it's really ugly and I wander if it gives off any flavor to the beer on the inside.

 

Also if the bottles are washed, sanitized and then rinsed in hot water, wouldn't there be a very low chance of contamination? And wouldn't the alcohol in the beer keep any nasty's at bay?

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The residue left from the no rinse cleaner/sanitizer will not give off any flavor to your beer.  With regard to the residue on the outside of the bottles, I clean all my bottles with a clean wet cloth and then dry them after bottling and capping prior to putting them away for conditioning.  I use Starsan and have the same type of residue but it is gone after cleaning the outside of the bottle.

 

You do not want to rinse your sanitized bottles as they will then not be sanitized.

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I've done canning for years. For canning I wash then boil the jars, would this be OK for beer bottles?

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Totally unnecessary.  The sanitizer takes care of that for you.  It would take a long time to boil enough bottles.

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 For canning I wash then boil 

 

The boil is the sanitization step.

 

Totally unnecessary.  The sanitizer takes care of that for you.  It would take a long time to boil enough bottles.

 

I think you missed the point of my question. I don't want to use a no rinse sanitizer. I was wondering if anyone boiled as an alternative to a chemical no rinse sanitizer?

 

The time isn't that big of an issue to me. My canning pot would probably hold a case of bottles and once you get the cycle going would only add 10 minutes per batch to boil and another 10 to 15 min to cool.

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The boil is the sanitization step.

 

 

I think you missed the point of my question. I don't want to use a no rinse sanitizer. I was wondering if anyone boiled as an alternative to a chemical no rinse sanitizer?

 

The time isn't that big of an issue to me. My canning pot would probably hold a case of bottles and once you get the cycle going would only add 10 minutes per batch to boil and another 10 to 15 min to cool.

Weakens the glass, beer bottles aren't made of the thickest stuff to start with. Canning jars are made to be boiled. Other than that boiling will work 

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I've bottled over a dozen batches and haven't "washed" a bottle yet.  I do rinse the heck out of them then use the sanitizer.  I haven't had any issues yet with any of my batches.

 

I second this emotion!!! No issues EVAH

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I've bottled over a dozen batches and haven't "washed" a bottle yet.  I do rinse the heck out of them then use the sanitizer.  I haven't had any issues yet with any of my batches.

 

I also rinse the heck out of my bottles and just sanitize them prior to bottling. I have yet to run into any issues either and I have only used the cleaner/sanitize solution provided by Mr. Beer to clean and sanitize all of my equipment as well. Until this system breaks I am continuing it.

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Speaking of bottles, I'm getting pretty low. I was in Walmart and noticed some nice 1/2 Liter bottles of Dr Pepper. They are nice and smooth without all the grooves that are in Coke and Pepsi bottles. So I bought 12, dumped the soda pop out and now have them soaking in OxiClean. Hope I get the smell out.

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Speaking of bottles, I'm getting pretty low. I was in Walmart and noticed some nice 1/2 Liter bottles of Dr Pepper. They are nice and smooth without all the grooves that are in Coke and Pepsi bottles. So I bought 12, dumped the soda pop out and now have them soaking in OxiClean. Hope I get the smell out.

 

You dumped Dr. Pepper?  Are you freakin' kidding me?  It's the best soda out there.  "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?".  

 

I need an UNLIKE button for this one.   :o

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I figure if I am going to invest in bottles I might as well get some beer out of it. I head out and buy four packs of Grolsch (16oz bottles) and wash them up and save them for my home brews after drinking them. They have the green glass which I fancy more than brown glass and they have the resealable tops. It is a win win I say! 

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Wow, a fellow Michigander with no taste?   :lol:

 

Neighbor gave me a Grolsch after I promised to return the bottle.  He paid $2.75 each and said the bottles alone were worth that.  It was AWFUL!

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Wow, a fellow Michigander with no taste?   :lol:

 

Neighbor gave me a Grolsch after I promised to return the bottle.  He paid $2.75 each and said the bottles alone were worth that.  It was AWFUL!

 

It is not the best beer by any means but I do like the bottles and I would rather drink beer albeit not the best beer if it will provide me some green storage for my own brew :). Those bottles are not cheap even buying them alone and empty...

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After 3 of my 1L swing tops failed to retain CO2, I'm done with swingers.  You can push down on them all you want.  But if you're not standing there watching them bubble, there's no way to tell if you have a leak in your gasket.

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MrB's running $5 off bottles right now. I ordered the 16oz swingers, figure I'll give em a try & if they leak I'll use em for the kids' root beer. I added em to an order so they cost me @ $1.58 or so each after shipping..

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Wow, a fellow Michigander with no taste?   :lol:

 

Neighbor gave me a Grolsch after I promised to return the bottle.  He paid $2.75 each and said the bottles alone were worth that.  It was AWFUL!

 

In reply to this since I see that you don't even buy craft beer and you live in Michigan one of the top ranking states for craft beer!? Your opinion on good beer is invalid, go out and buy a sixer of Short's and enjoy it for crying out loud! I suggest Soft Parade   :P

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You dumped Dr. Pepper?  Are you freakin' kidding me?  It's the best soda out there.  "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?".  

 

I need an UNLIKE button for this one.   :o

Starting to have second thoughts on this deal. When I washed them up I found them to be paper thin. 

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In reply to this since I see that you don't even buy craft beer and you live in Michigan one of the top ranking states for craft beer!? Your opinion on good beer is invalid, go out and buy a sixer of Short's and enjoy it for crying out loud! I suggest Soft Parade    :P

 

I buy craft beer all the time, at bars and restaurants. Rarely buy sixers, although I bought five of them, courtesy of American Express Small Business Saturday, back in November. Founders Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Shorts Bellaire Brown, New Holland Cabin Fever and Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. Down to 4 bottles. Gave my son the Bell's, didn't care for it.

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Starting to have second thoughts on this deal. When I washed them up I found them to be paper thin. 

 

See!  The Dr. Pepper gods are laughing at you for dumping that Dr. Pepper for nefarious gains.  

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Don't buy anything from Tampa or St. Pete brewing companies... garbage.  Cigar City, however, very good.  Hotter Than Helles is my favorite.

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After 3 of my 1L swing tops failed to retain CO2, I'm done with swingers.  You can push down on them all you want.  But if you're not standing there watching them bubble, there's no way to tell if you have a leak in your gasket.

wouldn't this apply to capped bottles too?  at least the "don't know if there is a leak or not" until you open it?  

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Rarely does a capped bottle leak.  I won't jinx myself by saying how many hundreds of bottles I've capped, but my non-carbonated bottle was a 16.9 oz PET.

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wouldn't this apply to capped bottles too?  at least the "don't know if there is a leak or not" until you open it?  

Like Rick said "rarely" because there's no rubber part you're hoping seals.

 

It's like your LBK, you put on your spigot, fill it up, then swish it around and hope that it doesn't leak.  Except now you have a full beer that you can't just swish around and thing that is trying to escape has smaller molecules than your beer...

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Rarely does a capped bottle leak.  I won't jinx myself by saying how many hundreds of bottles I've capped, but my non-carbonated bottle was a 16.9 oz PET.

 

Rick, I just opened a 12 oz capped glass that was totally flat. Now I'm wondering if the capper is going bad or what. 1st time for this.

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Like Rick said "rarely" because there's no rubber part you're hoping seals.

all the capped bottles i've opened, that i've looked at, have a plastic layer on the inner part of the cap.  given it is thinner, only used once, and likely far less susceptible to failure, i presume it can still fail...  

 

are there stats on seal failures for swing tops?  or recommended replacement intervals for the seal?  

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This isn't true. The cleanser is a cleaner AND sanitizer. You can absolutely wash your equipment and bottles with the cleanser. In fact, it has similar ingredients to Oxiclean, but is stronger (both are oxygen-based cleansers). When using the No-Rinse as a cleaner, you will want to actually rinse it since you will be rinsing away soils and waste. But there is no need to rinse if using as a sanitizer.

I have plenty of Oxiclean and MR Beer No-Rinse.  Do they both serve as cleanser and sanitizer in one step?  How long do you need to soak the bottles?

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Oxiclean is LAUNDRY DETERGENT. You must rinse thoroughly. THEN sanitize. . You cannot combine them.

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Oxiclean is LAUNDRY DETERGENT. You must rinse thoroughly. THEN sanitize. . You cannot combine them.

rinse, rinse, rinse and when you think you're done, rinse three time more.

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all the capped bottles i've opened, that i've looked at, have a plastic layer on the inner part of the cap.  given it is thinner, only used once, and likely far less susceptible to failure, i presume it can still fail...  

 

are there stats on seal failures for swing tops?  or recommended replacement intervals for the seal?  

 

I've had 2 swing top bottles that were flat. The seals looked good, the wire part snapped down nice and tight, No flaws on the bottle top. Hard to figure.

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I have plenty of Oxiclean and MR Beer No-Rinse.  Do they both serve as cleanser and sanitizer in one step?  How long do you need to soak the bottles?

I failed to mention that Oxiclean and No-Rinse are similar, but Oxiclean does have added detergents making it NO GOOD for sanitizing.

Neither serves as a cleanser/sanitizer in one step because you can't clean and sanitize in one step. You MUST rinse after cleaning, otherwise you're just leaving the soils on your equipment. And you shouldn't rinse sanitizer because then you're defeating the purpose of sanitizing.

Soak your bottles in the cleanser with lukewarm water for no longer than an hour. Rinse VERY well, then sanitize.

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I've had 2 swing top bottles that were flat. The seals looked good, the wire part snapped down nice and tight, No flaws on the bottle top. Hard to figure.

A little bit of moisture in between the cap and then gasket is all that is needed for it fail a good seal.

 

Sad part is: you can turn it upside down and try to look for a leak.  But the liquid will actually "plug" the seal giving the appearance of airtight because the hole is too small for beer molecules but big enough for CO2 to escape.   :(

 

If I were to use swingtops again, I would use a heated shrink wrap.  Which means I probably won't use swingtops again...

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I failed to mention that Oxiclean and No-Rinse are similar, but Oxiclean does have added detergents making it NO GOOD for sanitizing.

Neither serves as a cleanser/sanitizer in one step because you can't clean and sanitize in one step. You MUST rinse after cleaning, otherwise you're just leaving the soils on your equipment. And you shouldn't rinse sanitizer because then you're defeating the purpose of sanitizing.

Soak your bottles in the cleanser with lukewarm water for no longer than an hour. Rinse VERY well, then sanitize.

Josh - thanks!  That is a lot of help.

 

Oxiclean is LAUNDRY DETERGENT. You must rinse thoroughly. THEN sanitize. . You cannot combine them.

Thank you, Rick!

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Rarely does a capped bottle leak.  I won't jinx myself by saying how many hundreds of bottles I've capped, but my non-carbonated bottle was a 16.9 oz PET.

I bought a wing capper to avoid the low carbonation problem.  The first couple batches were perfect.  This last batch has extremely low carbonation and no head.  I was having trouble with the capper for some reason and broke a couple bottles.  The pressure to get it capped seemed excessive this time.  

 

Could there be something wrong with the capper?  Should I try adding carbination drops and recapping the rest of the batch? 

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I bought a wing capper to avoid the low carbonation problem.  The first couple batches were perfect.  This last batch has extremely low carbonation and no head.  I was having trouble with the capper for some reason and broke a couple bottles.  The pressure to get it capped seemed excessive this time.  

 

Could there be something wrong with the capper?  Should I try adding carbination drops and recapping the rest of the batch? 

When did the bottle break?  During the capping process or during conditioning?

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A little bit of moisture in between the cap and then gasket is all that is needed for it fail a good seal.

 

Sad part is: you can turn it upside down and try to look for a leak.  But the liquid will actually "plug" the seal giving the appearance of airtight because the hole is too small for beer molecules but big enough for CO2 to escape.   :(

 

If I were to use swingtops again, I would use a heated shrink wrap.  Which means I probably won't use swingtops again...

Well hell, that can't be too unusual to have moisture between the cap and gasket from sanitizing.

That's one thing you have to say about plastic. If the bottle is flat, you know it. 

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Well hell, that can't be too unusual to have moisture between the cap and gasket from sanitizing.

That's one thing you have to say about plastic. If the bottle is flat, you know it. 

Agreed.

 

If you check after a week, you can still add some more priming (and/or yeast) to it help get it carbed up.  Instead of waiting 4 weeks to find out.

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When did the bottle break?  During the capping process or during conditioning?

I broke them while capping.  At first I thought it was just that I was capping at a bad angle (working around other equipment) but I broke another even after putting everything squarely in front of me.  It seemed like excessive force was required to get the cap on so I stopped part way then rotated the bottle on some.  In any case though, all of the beer I've opened so far has been flat.

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I broke them while capping.  At first I thought it was just that I was capping at a bad angle (working around other equipment) but I broke another even after putting everything squarely in front of me.  It seemed like excessive force was required to get the cap on so I stopped part way then rotated the bottle on some.  In any case though, all of the beer I've opened so far has been flat.

I've only capped a couple of cases (I have 8 cases of PET), but I've never even come close to breaking one.  

 

To your point, none have been very bubbly though... hrm...

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Sounds like a defective capper or technique.

 

My bench capper is perfect 99.9% of the time, the only ones that weren't were because I wasn't paying attention.    :o

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No leaks but they're not on there exceptionally hard.  But it seems they've been undercarbed vs my PET bottles.

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I broke one bottle with my wing capper the 1st time I used it, likely user error as Rick mentioned; had only a couple that didn't carb, twist-offs which I don't use any more nor do I recommend em; never had an issue using old soda bottles, but to me it seemed kinda lame pouring beer from a plastic bottle (albeit not as lame as serving flat beer); gonna give the swingers a try & see what happens..

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Well I'm convinced that I managed to put the caps on wrong.  I capped some bottles with water last night and they went on much easier.

 

What do you guys think of adding carbonation drops to the rest of the batch (open the remaining bottles, add a drop, then cap one more time)?  Is it worth trying or is it a lost cause?

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Ok, I have read where one likes the green Grolsch bottles.  I have looked high and low for 6 oz glass bottles to put samples together without using a 12 oz bottle or a 740 ml PET bottle.  I recently purchased some 8 oz green sprite bottles that have pry-off caps.  I believe it's been addressed, but if I keep them in the dark (inside the box I got the PET bottles in) it should not be an issue.  Since I've started batch priming, I'm not concerned about the amount of sugar per bottle, my only concern is if anyone has used the small soda bottles before and if there's anything I should know before I try to use them. 

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a bottle is a bottle, if it held a carbonated beverage before (and it wasn't root beer) you're good to go

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Actually a bottle isn't a bottle.  I found a pry off 750 ml Hard Cider bottle this week.  It looked normal but when I went to cap it with my red baron there was no way to get the cap on perfectly.  Apparently the neck is a little wider and when the capper comes down the four pins on the side of the capper miss the little slot they are supposed to ride in.  I tried with this one bottle over and over again and could never get a cap on securely so out to recycling it went.

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Ok, I have read where one likes the green Grolsch bottles.  I have looked high and low for 6 oz glass bottles to put samples together without using a 12 oz bottle or a 740 ml PET bottle.  I recently purchased some 8 oz green sprite bottles that have pry-off caps.  I believe it's been addressed, but if I keep them in the dark (inside the box I got the PET bottles in) it should not be an issue.  Since I've started batch priming, I'm not concerned about the amount of sugar per bottle, my only concern is if anyone has used the small soda bottles before and if there's anything I should know before I try to use them. 

 

I have some of the 7oz corona bottles, yep they're clear, that I use for samples. Like you I've started batch priming & I keep them in the same beer case as the others from the batch so light isn't an issue. It gives me a way to try some early samples and has worked out for me. Maybe once I find a few house brews I plan to make over and over I'll omit the sample bottles, but until then They are part of my process..

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