How to Cap Your Beer Without a Capper
Sometimes you gotta improvise.
I don't bottle frequently as, like most, I much prefer the convenience of kegging. But I do like to bottle my special beers or beers that do well with aging, which means I find myself bottling at least 2-3 batches a year.
Last weekend, I finally got around to bottling my holiday beer (a Trappist-style Belgian strong dark ale). I had a number of 29mm mouth bombers on hand that I'd been saving for a special brew such as this, as well as a boatload of 29mm caps. Unfortunately, I somehow neglected to pick up a 29mm capping bell to attach to my capper. Key oversight.
I tried using the ole Red Baron with a standard 26mm capping bell to cap these, but it definitely did not work. I could get it to crimp one side of the cap but not both, and if I put much pressure on it I feared it would break. I did not have time to run out to the HBS to pick up a 29mm bell, and in fact it was Sunday morning so none would have been open anyways. So, I did what any self-respecting homebrew-nerd would do: I looked for a solution around the house.
Out in my garage I found a PVC pipe which looked like it would be pretty close to what I needed, and to my pleasant surprise the inner diameter was a perfect fit for the 29mm bottle cap. For reference, I believe the OD of the pipe was 1.25". I found that it took too much leverage to start with a fresh cap, but that if I crimped down the edges a bit first I could use the PVC pipe to seal the cap into place and properly crimp the edges on all sides. Sweet!
When you remove the pipe, it scratches up the inside so I don't think you could do more than about 20 of these with one end, but in a pinch it's a great solution to this problem!
Have you found any other homebrew jury-rigs worth sharing?