Bottle Your Homebrew the Easy Way
Bottling your beer can be a real pain. On top of all of the cleaning and sanitizing required for the bottles, you also need to manage a lot of gear: buckets, bottling wands, or, if you are lucky, bottling guns.
But it need not be so complex! About a year ago I discovered a new solution that has
revolutionized my bottling procedur,e which costs about $15. It works
just as well as any counter-pressure filler and will keep your beer carbed for
months. This is what you need (you may have most of this already):
- Growler filler with hose (this particular one is for standard faucets; you can find these made for Perlicks on eBay…just be sure to get the right one!)
- 12” section of an old racking cane
- #2 stopper
- Inflating needle (optional)
Here's what you do:
- Attach the 12” section of the racking cane to the end of the hose that comes with your growler filler, then slide the #2 stopper about ¾ of the way up the cane
- Slide the metal end of the growler filler into the end of your faucet. We’ve found that keg lube makes this easier and protects the rubber gaskets
- Run a tiny bit of beer through the system and into a spare glass. This wets and cools the inside of your line, which will make the rest flow smoother
- Once you’ve done that, put the racking cane into the bottle and slide to the end such that the stopper is right at the mouth of the bottle. Ensuring there is a good seal at the stopper, turn on the faucet while holding the stopper in place. Beer will begin to flow rapidly, then the pace will slow as pressure builds up. Slowly, “burp” the excess pressure by squeezing the stopper. Do this a few times until the liquid reaches about 1.5” from the top of the bottle
- Remove the cane, then add one quick squirt of beer to the top, which should cause foam to rise to the top. Quickly cap on top of that foam.
That’s it! Store away for later enjoyment or competition.
This way is SO much simpler than any other method we’ve
tried, including those Blichmann counter-pressure fillers. One of my favorite
parts is that you don’t have to touch your keg set up, just pump right off the
tap and go!
BONUS: one small modification that makes this easier is to
add a sports inflating needle to the stopper (see photo). Then, instead of
squeezing the stopper to burp the pressure you just keep your finger on the
needle, releasing when you want to release pressure. This is an outstanding way
to control your fill speed.