Monday, August 17, 2015


Recently, I've turned to using a priming sugar solution rather than using fizz drops when I bottle beers.  This is the process I followed with my first home brew, which was a 5 gal batch of wheat beer.  It made sense to use a priming sugar solution and being my first batch, I was reading and re-reading the instructions, making sure that I was following the instructions as exactly as I possibly could.  I still have some of fizz drops left, and I'm going to use a few of them when I bottle the hard cider I made for my daughter, so that some of them come out "sparkling".

I've been doing a lot of bottle re-use.  There are a LOT of breweries that bottle in basically what amounts to the same bottle type that I use..and I say that because I have tried to re-use bottles from some breweries, and they've been taller and more narrow that the bottles I use.  For me, what makes the difference when it comes to bottle re-use is how easily the labels come off.  When I first started doing this, I found that the labels on bottles from European breweries came off very easily.  Over time, I've found that some of the best bottles come from Fordham & Dominion Brewery.  Not only are the beers really good (Candi, Hop Lips, etc.) but the labels and the glue come off really easily, with little more than a good soak in warm, soapy water.

Also, I have a friend who drinks German beers and tends to give me his 22 oz flip top bottles when he's done.  After a good cleaning, they're ready to be pressed into service.  And I tell you, they've done great!

Something else that I tried not long ago was using a soda bottle for bottling.  I'd thought about bottling plastic bottles for a bit, and did some research online, and as you would expect, there were advocates on both sides of the fence.  So, I opted to give it a shot myself and see what happened.  So, I got a Diet Sprite at a local store, and after finishing it off, carefully removed the label and cleaned it out.  Then during a bottling session, I sanitized and filled it.  To be honest, it worked great.  Using a soda bottle ensured that it was designed to take carbonated beverages...there were a number of folks in one forum, for example, who were against using Gatorade bottles because they didn't hold a carbonated beverage.

So, a couple of advantages I've found.  Yes, I know that a semi-clear green bottle doesn't have the light-blocking effect that a brown bottle has, but I keep my bottles in a fairly dark area during bottle conditioning.   My wife and I have a couple of camping trips that we do with our horses each year, and taking some home brew along in a soda bottle is a little safer than using glass.  After consuming the beer, I can stick the plastic bottle in a trash bag and not worry about the bottle breaking against other bottles in transit (which means, taking them home and putting them into recycling).

Finally, those little "feet" that the bottle stands on make a great place for sediment to settle.

Now, I'm not advocating that everyone change to soda bottles; rather, I'm just sharing my experiences...that's it.

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