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ebiz1976

Getting ready to bottle first batch.....advice?

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So, Sunday will be 3 full weeks in LBK (in a cooler with iced bottle from day 2-21, pretty consistently at 63-69).  I have the 750 mil PET bottles and the pack of carbonation drops that came with my kit.

 

Questions/assumptions:

 

1)  Sterilize the PET bottles and caps using the remaining half pack of sanitizer. 

 

2)  Put the  carbo drops (2/bottle) in before or after filling the bottles?

 

3)  Put back in the cooler for 4 weeks (or elsewhere)? Keep at the same temp. for conditioning as I did for fermenting?

 

 

Thanks!!

 

E

 

PS debating buying 12 glass swing tops at local shop for $21.95 or doing today's sale on 12 more 750ml PETs for $9.99 + SH.  Thoughts?

 

 

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Questions/assumptions:

1) Sterilize the PET bottles and caps using the remaining half pack of sanitizer.

2) Put the carbo drops (2/bottle) in before or after filling the bottles?

3) Put back in the cooler for 4 weeks (or elsewhere)? Keep at the same temp. for conditioning as I did for fermenting?

Thanks!!

E

PS debating buying 12 glass swing tops at local shop for $21.95 or doing today's sale on 12 more 750ml PETs for $9.99 + SH. Thoughts?

1) Yes, make up the 1/2 packet of sanitizer and sanitize bottles and caps.

2) I find it easier to put the carbo drops in after filling. If you put them in before they can get "stuck" on the bottom of the bottle. After capping your beer you want to invert your bottles several times to distribute the sugar.

3) Wherever you put the bottles, you want them to condition in the low 70's.

In terms of building your bottle collection, ask around with family members and friends. You will be suprised how many bottles people will be willing to save for you. You want brown glass pry off, not screw tops.

Hope this helps.

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Also, if you have a recycling center nearby, get to know the people working there. That's how I got a good number of bottles and all it cost me was some of my homebrew.

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I like the swing tops, but i have found that capping 12 oz bottles is easier.  At least for my OCD... 12 x 16 oz swing top bottles is only volume for 192 oz.  The LBK will give you somewhere between 240 and 270 oz.  Therefore you will have at least 48 oz of beer left when your 12 swing tops are filled.  you'll need more than 12 swing tops (which give you a partial box - drives me crazy) or you can supplement with the PET bottles. 

 

When I bottle, I like to keep that batch as uniform as possible, without having partial boxes to store.  I have found a lot of international beers come in 11.2 oz bottles, and if you are diligent you can get to a case of bottles using these, or at least some of these.  

 

YMMV

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Thanks, all!  Dave....should I wash first? Machine or hand?  Thanks!

 

Cleaning them by hand is always preferable. Try to use a detergent or cleaner without any fragrances added. Rinse well, then sanitize the bottles.

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Always clean the bottles use a bottle brush when cleaning, never know may have bug egg in one!

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1) Yes, make up the 1/2 packet of sanitizer and sanitize bottles and caps.

2) I find it easier to put the carbo drops in after filling. If you put them in before they can get "stuck" on the bottom of the bottle. After capping your beer you want to invert your bottles several times to distribute the sugar.

3) Wherever you put the bottles, you want them to condition in the low 70's.

In terms of building your bottle collection, ask around with family members and friends. You will be suprised how many bottles people will be willing to save for you. You want brown glass pry off, not screw tops.

Hope this helps.

Regarding the carb drops, if you have the 11 PET bottles, the last bottle you fill will be the "trub" bottle (even if you cold crash, and don't expect much sediment in it.) It's perfectly fine to put two drops in each of the other 10 bottles before filling them, when you gently invert the capped bottles the drops should not stick, they normally fall to the top once.

However I sampled a little too much of my first batch, both for fermentation sweetness tasting and for hydrometer sample tube purposes. Because I put TWO carb drops in the last bottle, and then found out I only had enough beer to fill it half way, I ended up overcarbing that bottle. I ended up having to "burp" it several times during the carbonating period. Therefore when you get to the last bottle, you may want to put one carb drop in the empty bottle, fill the bottle with as much as you can, and then decide whether or not to drop that last carb drop in on top.

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Thanks, Andre. Very helpful breakdown.  Can you give me a quick cold crashing instruction please?  Thanks again!

 

PS Monday is 21 days in the LBK, but I'm tempted to bottle it today or tomorrow......Monday isn't the best day.  So, 19 days okay....?

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Do NOT use a bottle brush with PET/plastic bottles!  They can scratch and then that gives the critters a nice place to hide and infect.  Bottle brushes are for glass.

 

You clean bottles with plain soap and water.  And by plain, that means no fragrances, no dyes. Or if you must, rinse well.  Then rinse some more.  And then one last crazy time.  I believe the packet that comes with Mr. Beer is a cleaner and sanitizer, so in theory you just put some in a bottle, shake it up, and then pour it into the next or down the drain.  This is your first batch so your bottles probably appear clean.  You'll want to keep them that way, buy rinsing them out well after you pour a beer in a month.  Doing that will help a lot, so you don't ever have dried gunk in them.

 

I've never used the carbo drops, but I would have thought they should go in before the beer, just to ensure the right volume.  You want to make sure you have headspace in there.  However I'll defer my opinion to Scouterbill's since he seems to have had some experience with it.

 

After filling and capping, yep, you just leave them be at room temperature for a month.  You stated "same temp as fermenting" which is a good temp, but it isn't as critical in this phase as it was during fermentation.

 

Cold crashing is simply putting your LBK in the fridge for 3 days prior to bottling.  3 days is best, but even 1 day helps make the trub solid so you get more beer in the bottles, and less trub.

 

19 days is fine if you can't wait.

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Don't forget to elevate the spigot end of the LBK about 1" during the three day cold crashing in the fridge to settle and cake the trub AWAY from the spigot and clarify the beer prior to bottling.

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Day 21 Czech Pilsner today....and I was about to cold crash, but before doing so, I sampled a small amount.  It looks fine, but definitely tasted sweet or apple-ish....almost like wine.

 

Any advice? I put it back in the cooler.  This is my first batch and I had some minor issues (see below) with temps.

 

Day 1-2 (probably a bit warm....cupboard above fridge in AC'd condo)

Day 3-12 (in cooler, rotating 2 iced bottles....no temp strip yet, so I'm afraid we were 59-62 degrees)

Day  13-21 (in cooler, bought a temp strip and kept it 67-71)

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Hard to say.  It's possible for days 3-12 you weren't fermenting much at all, but you should have had around 11 days at ok fermenting temps (or too hot).

 

Give it another week, then bottle.  4 weeks is fine, and if you missed 10 days of fermenting this will make it up.

 

High temps, and wide swings - both of which you experienced - can lead to off flavors.

 

Rick

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2015 at 7:20 PM, Andre Sebastian Moreno said:

Regarding the carb drops, if you have the 11 PET bottles, the last bottle you fill will be the "trub" bottle (even if you cold crash, and don't expect much sediment in it.) It's perfectly fine to put two drops in each of the other 10 bottles before filling them, when you gently invert the capped bottles the drops should not stick, they normally fall to the top once.

However I sampled a little too much of my first batch, both for fermentation sweetness tasting and for hydrometer sample tube purposes. Because I put TWO carb drops in the last bottle, and then found out I only had enough beer to fill it half way, I ended up overcarbing that bottle. I ended up having to "burp" it several times during the carbonating period. Therefore when you get to the last bottle, you may want to put one carb drop in the empty bottle, fill the bottle with as much as you can, and then decide whether or not to drop that last carb drop in on top.

 

I just got done bottling my first batch into the 740ml PET Mr. Beer bottles.  My last bottle (trub bottle) I was only able to get about 1/2 filled, and I still had two carb drops loaded in that one as well.  I almost thought about just dumping it out, but didn't want to waste anything.  Being that I now have two drops for about 1/2 the bottle, when should I be burping it? 

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When it gets rock solid. Just do a quick burp. With 1/2 bottle, there is enough head space above the beer for the bottle to have a 'slight' give when you squeeze it.

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