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Bottle question from a total newbie

Hey all, I have my first ever batch fermenting now and I am already thinking about bottling! I assume that I will want to sanitize the bottles the day that I plan on filling them, do I need to somehow dry them out first or just shake them out and then fill them?

Sorry about the newbie-ness of the question.

If you use a no rinse sanitizer such as StarSan or Iodophhor at the recommended strengths, you do not need to rinse.

The first thing you need to do with the bottles is to make sure there is no crud in them… a good soak in unscented oxyclean followed by a good rinse should do the trick. If there is remaining crud, you may need to get a bottle brush and scrub well.

Do yourself a favor. When you finish drinking a bottle… rinse it very well as soon as possible… don’t let it sit overnight or it will certainly leave a somewhat to very difficult layer of crud.

Just allow them to drip dry. Do you have something to set them upside down with? Bottle tree or an empty dishwaher work good.

And, fill an empty 20oz soda bottle (not rootbeer). Squeeze the air out and screw the cap on.

The bottle will expand as co2 is produced. Thus you know the glass bottles are carbonating also.

Some like to stir the beer after every 6-12 bottles also. They feel this keeps the priming sugar mixed better.

All great suggestions! A bottling tree is a cheap, but helpful investment. I also have the bottle sprayer attachment for the top of the tree. Again, a cheap but helpful investment. For new bottles, I give them a soak in Oxyclean or PBW and rinse very well. Then on the day of bottling give each bottle a shot of starsan using the bottle sprayer and right onto the tree. Just let them air dry and don’t worry about foam, bubbles or even a few drops of solution in the bottle. It won’t hurt you or your beer. And like suggested above, when drinking from a bottle, I always pour my beer in a glass and rinse the bottle out right away with hot water. Then the next time you use the bottle, all you need to do is sanitize with starsan. No need for another oxyclean soak. The only time I’ll oxyclean the bottles again is if I bring beer to a party where people are drinking from the bottle or if I know they weren’t rinsed out right away.

if you’re using a bottle tree or dishwasher, don’t forget to sanitized the prong/arms/branches too. doesn’t do much good to sanitize a bottle and then stick it on an unsanitized arm…yes, it’s been done.


Here’s a basic process that worked (works) fine for me:
I made sure the bottles were soaked in Oxy clean, brushed and rinsed well. I did all that several days before bottling. I won’t have to do the soaking again now that I have them so clean. They were new bottles from friends etc.

On bottling day, I filled each bottle about 1/2 way up with a starsan mixture and gave them a good shake to coat the entire inside of the bottle. I eventually had about 40 bottles sitting on my counter 1/2 full of starsan. The star san had been in my bottling bucket, so the bucket and bottling wand was also sanitized in the process of filling the bottles.

I then transferred my beer into the bottling bucket (once the star san was out of it of course).

My wife would dump a bottle out and hand it to me. I would fill it with beer, right on top of the remaining foam. The foam would squeeze out mostly as the beer went in.

I then handed the bottle back to my wife and she would cap it. Repeated that about 40 times and bottling day was done. Beer came out great.

So far I’ve been just sanitizing all the bottles ahead of time and leaving them right-side-up on the counter. Right before I fill them I tip them over once more to dump out the last bits of sanitizer, but I forget that step with some regularity. So some of my bottles start out pre-loaded with half a teaspoon or so of StarSan. From what I can tell even that much hasn’t hurt the beer.

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