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Bottler/Capper Fail?

I have bottled roughly 10 batches of beer with the red two armed bottler that came with my NB kit. This most recent batch I bottled on Sunday, I had many bottle capping fails, where the bottle cap would crimp, but not fasten itself to the bottle. I even had one instance where the bottle broke. So, my question is, does the bottler/capper wear out or fail over time? Always thankful for the help.

Grant

I’ve never had an issue with mine. Are you sure you aren’t using twist off bottles? If not, you may have a defective capper.

I’ve seen reports of a batch of defective cappers. You should contact NB.

I’ve had the same capper for years and never had a problem.

I had a similar experience. After about a dozen batches bottled my capper just didn’t seem right, then caps wouldn’t seal and then I was breaking bottle necks. The thing that fixed it was to soak it in StarSan for 30 minutes and voila, good as new! Give that a try before you do anything else…

Have the same bottles been successfully capped previously? The crimping ring on some bottles are different diameters and different distances from the top of the bottle mouth. Distance from the mouth is probably the critical dimension. The wing capper may not be able to grab the ring and crimp the cap low enough to form the seal. Some bottles have thinner glass and will break when using a wing capper.
Bench cappers are usually able to handle the differences in bottle dimensions.

I thought it was my capper, but then noticed it was exclusively the New Belgium bottles that had been used a half dozen times or more. I now cycle them out of the inventory after a few uses.

The necks must get weak over time?

I noticed last weekend that the New Belgium bottles I was capping had a shorter neck flair. – not sure what the real name is… But the bit the capper holds onto is closer to the top than other bottles.

I have been having issues with my red capper too, it doesn’t seem to be failing, but it’s like it’s coming out of alignment or something. Sometimes it doesn’t quite grab bottles as smoothly as it used to, and other times, it doesn’t want to let them go.

They were recently on sale for cheap, so I ordered a spare, but I’m starting to consider bench cappers.

Also thinking of dumping empty New Belgiums in the recycling.

If you’re going to be in the hobby and bottling for long, the bench capper is the way to go. In years past almost all the mainstream bottles were very similar longnecks and the swing cappers generally worked well, but with the great increase in interest in beer over the last 20 years, there have been many different bottles with varying shapes arriving on the scene. This poses much more of an issue for the swing cappers. The height adjustable bench cappers solve that problem because they don’t have to grip the bottle necks. They don’t have to be bolted down. I’ve been using the same bench capper for over 20 years and never had it bolted down, just pull it off the shelf, set it on a towel or cardboard and use. Works great with almost any bottle.

Good luck with the Bottling.

I have an interesting recent observation/experience to add. I keg most of my beer but recently bottled up a cider with the admittedly very old, 20+ years capper I have had. It has always worked just fine, although I agree with the post above that some of the bottles out there make capping more or less challenging based on the diameter of the and shape of the neck and lip. But, to my recent point: I bought a new bag of caps from NB, just the standard silver caps, nothing special. I immediately noticed that the older dwindling supply of BB caps I had in the mix worked much better than the newer caps. In fact, several of the newer caps failed to seal and I also broke a bottle. The other older caps crimped tight and smooth. Granted, my capper is very old and does need replacing but I have to conclude that the shape and make of the newer caps was definitely an issue and not the capper alone.

I’ve bottled all 35 of my batches over the last 2 years, all with the same red swing capper. I’ve broken one bottle and had a handful of fails resulting in crimped caps. About at batch 10 or 12, the silver cup on the capper actually fell off mid batch. I was a little panicked that I was going to lose 1/2 the batch and not be able to bottle it, but I just screwed that piece back on tight, and I have not had any problems since.

Check the tightness of the silver cup, it may be the culprit.

Thank you for the suggestion, I will try that!

I tried several cappers and had issues with all of them. I do think it is the various bottles but decided to eliminate the aggravation with a pneumatic capper. Best investment I have made!

That pneumatic bottler looks cool.

As a stop-gap between kegging and bottling, have any of you tried the BeerBox™ Portable Homebrew Dispenser? I’ve read the product reviews on NB’s product site, but was looking for more first-hand experience from the forum. Given that I don’t really have room for a keg-erator or room in a standard fridge for a keg, this seems like a happy compromise. Thanks,

Grant

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