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Bottles, Bottles, Bottles

I use almost all my commercial empties for my homebrew needs - good thing I drink a lot (ha ha)

Anyhow, I empty them then soak about 18 or so of them in a spare 5 gallon bucket with about 2 tablespoons of PBW. I dont have to soak them very long, and the labels come right off just about all makes (Ommegang just wont come off!) Then I rinse in plain water and onto the bottle tree to dry. When they are dry I put them into a case and seal the box for my next brew.

On bottling day I open the case and spray two quirts of water/pbw solution into each bottle, swirl around a bit, dump that out, and then fill with primed beer.

Anyone have a better cleaning/storing idea? Am I missing a great technique somehow?

Thank you :cheers:

Before bottling, rinse with normal water and sanitize.

Other than that, your process is the same as mine was.

[quote=“GGriffin”]I use almost all my commercial empties for my homebrew needs - good thing I drink a lot (ha ha)

Anyhow, I empty them then soak about 18 or so of them in a spare 5 gallon bucket with about 2 tablespoons of PBW. I dont have to soak them very long, and the labels come right off just about all makes (Ommegang just wont come off!) Then I rinse in plain water and onto the bottle tree to dry. When they are dry I put them into a case and seal the box for my next brew.

On bottling day I open the case and spray two quirts of water/pbw solution into each bottle, swirl around a bit, dump that out, and then fill with primed beer.

Anyone have a better cleaning/storing idea? Am I missing a great technique somehow?

Thank you :cheers: [/quote]

I would make three suggestions/additions to your process:

1.) After the two squirts of PBW, I would add some sort of mechanical clean to the insides (where the gunk will form). This can either be with a brush or a carboy/bottle cleaner to be attached to a utility sink hookup (pretty inexpensive).

2.) I am pretty sure you need to rinse PBW. That is, its not a ‘no-rinse’ cleaner. Finally…

3.) You need to sanitize your bottles. Easiest way to do this is grab a $0.79 spray bottle (different than your one for PBW) and some star san. After your clean/rinse, you can spray the inside of the bottle with sanitizer to kill any surface bacteria.

Main rules in brewing: 1.) clean; 2.) rinse; 3.) sanitize

You guys are always good help, thanks.

Pietro, I goofed…in my description.

I meant to say on bottling day ‘open the case and spray two squirts of water/StarSan solution into each bottle’… and so on.
Thank you!

  1. Empty bottle
  2. Rinse out well and turn upside down to dry
  3. Store in box upside down
  4. Night before bottling day throw all bottles into a dishwasher. Hot water wash, no soap or jet dry, heated dry (optional)
  5. Done, except for maybe picking some of the label paper out of the bottom of the dishwasher.

I am kind of lucky, a house we bought about a year ago has a second dish washer in a finished lower level section.

As I drink beers, either commercial ones or home brew, I just am really good about rinsing them out really well then and there. I then put them into the dishwasher upside down to dry. prior to that (old house) I did the same only kept a bottle tree in the laundry room. same concept, just a nice place to dry them out upside down

for the commercial ones, once I got a good batch of them (20 +) I would find time to load them all into a huge utility sink with fragrance free oxyclean and super duper hot water. let sit all night, then take labels off next day.

on actual bottling day, I also use the 2nd level dish washer for sanitation. has a sanitation mode, plus I then heat dry. from what I have read that takes care of sanitation (hope that is right - so far no issues). plsu when I go to bottle I just do it over that open dish washer door to capture any spill over.

I use a Home Depot “Homer Bucket” to de-label bottles. One almost full scoop of Oxyclean and enough water to cover the bottles. It usually takes a few hours. I prefer Oxyclean to PBW because it’s available everywhere in my neighborhood. PBW is strictly mail order, so I save it for brewing equipment.

Once I rinse the Oxyclean I consider the bottles “Clean;” they need another bath in StarSan before filling.

[quote=“JMcK”]I use a Home Depot “Homer Bucket” to de-label bottles. One almost full scoop of Oxyclean and enough water to cover the bottles. It usually takes a few hours. I prefer Oxyclean to PBW because it’s available everywhere in my neighborhood. PBW is strictly mail order, so I save it for brewing equipment.

Once I rinse the Oxyclean I consider the bottles “Clean;” they need another bath in StarSan before filling.[/quote]

Similar here, even down to the “Homer” bucket.
My difference is that for bottles with no labels, I rinse and soak immediately, keeping the bucket of oxy solution for a while. I don’t put bottles with labels in there because I find the paper and glue residue gunks up the solution. Rinse and dry on bottling tree and store. This way, I can do a few bottles every few days instead of a big chore less frequently.

For “new” commercial bottles, I rinse and store, and when I have enough, I mix a bucket of hot water with oxy for an overnight soak. Most come clean, some need a little scrubbing.

I use a vinator with Starsan on bottling day, drip-drying on a bottle tree.

Does anyone else on here have way more bottles then they think they can even use, yet still keeps hoarding pry tops when folks come over etc.?

Given my average number of brews per year, and rate of consumption etc I think I still have a good 8-10 more cases of bottles then I would ever need. YET if friends come over to watch a game or something with thier own beer. the next day i am cleaning and storing them versus tossing in the recycling.

I think it comes from when I first started a few years ago i was dilligently collecting bottles. Now I have gone over board. It is nice at times to give beers away and not be overly worried about getting the bottles back, but my wife rolls her eyes every time I am trying to find another box to put a new set of bottles in after a poker game etc. do I have a problem? do I need a 12 step program? :smiley:

actually I know what I need - a keg system (next year…)

I make a point to rinse all my bottles after I pour. I run a few bottles through the dishwasher (as room allows) with a regular load, detergent and all.

Once clean, they go out in the garage.

On bottling day, I load up the dishwasher, set it to Sanitize. No detergent.

Put the bucket on the counter next to the open dishwasher, grab a chair and bottle away!

[quote=“fullhousebrew”]Does anyone else on here have way more bottles then they think they can even use, yet still keeps hoarding pry tops when folks come over etc.?

Given my average number of brews per year, and rate of consumption etc I think I still have a good 8-10 more cases of bottles then I would ever need. YET if friends come over to watch a game or something with thier own beer. the next day i am cleaning and storing them versus tossing in the recycling.

I think it comes from when I first started a few years ago i was dilligently collecting bottles. Now I have gone over board. It is nice at times to give beers away and not be overly worried about getting the bottles back, but my wife rolls her eyes every time I am trying to find another box to put a new set of bottles in after a poker game etc. do I have a problem? do I need a 12 step program? :smiley:

actually I know what I need - a keg system (next year…)[/quote]

I feel your pain. It took me about 8 months to finally justify recycling labeled bottles. I have about 10 cases of 12’s and 12 cases of 17’s stashed away. The 17’s came from my brother who drinks mostly Franziskaner, so I had a ready supply of them. So far I’ve peaked at about 8 cases in use at one time.
I can only dream of kegging. Just no room for it.

I use oxyclean in a bucket as others have noted. Even the Franz gold foil practically falls off after a night soak. I rinse well and drain, then store. On bottling day, starsan in the vinator and a couple pumps then to the bottling tree. Sure wish the bottling tree makers would realize that you get more than 45 bottles from a 5 gallon batch! Always have a do a few extra before I’m done. Maybe one day I’ll buy another one and sell the extra parts to others with the same issue.

John

I would say be careful using commercial bottles, especially if you let them sit for awhile. When you finish a beer, usually there is a tad bit of foam or leftover beer that sits at the bottom of the bottle. This can mold very quickly, and fuse itself to the bottom of the bottle, which can be a pain in the arse to clean effectively.

I recently bought the bottle washer from northern brewer (which can also be used to rinse carboys), and I was amazed at how well it cleaned all the gunk out of the bottles. I would HIGHLY recommend purchasing one for your own personal use. If you do, don’t forget to buy the faucet adapter if you dont have any commercial sinks at your disposal.

THANK YOU! I thought it was just me.

Does the shape of the bottle influence your choice when buying cases of commercial beer?

Sometimes. I liked Anchor before I started brewing so I bought and used their bottles. Maybe 18 total, but the redwing caper does not work well on them, so i won’t be using them anymore. I’ll still drink their beer though.

When i am in MI I like to get North Peak beer because they have un-threaded 12oz shorties. But at some point they changed to vinyl labels and they are a huge pain remove so I might not bother anymore.

Very helpful dialogue here - thank you all.

Can someone tell me how much Star San should go into my 16oz spray bottle with water to make a sanitizing solution?

Thanks.

THANK YOU! I thought it was just me.

Does the shape of the bottle influence your choice when buying cases of commercial beer?[/quote]

Hell yeah!! I probably have twice as much as i’ll ever need. The Grolsch flip tops are awesome. Can’t get enough of those! :wink:

[quote=“GGriffin”]Very helpful dialogue here - thank you all.

Can someone tell me how much Star San should go into my 16oz spray bottle with water to make a sanitizing solution?

Thanks.[/quote]

I usually mix about 1/4 ounce starsan with a gallon of distilled water, then refill a spray bottle as needed. :cheers:

[quote=“jleiii”][quote=“fullhousebrew”]Does anyone else on here have way more bottles then they think they can even use, yet still keeps hoarding pry tops when folks come over etc.?

Given my average number of brews per year, and rate of consumption etc I think I still have a good 8-10 more cases of bottles then I would ever need. YET if friends come over to watch a game or something with thier own beer. the next day i am cleaning and storing them versus tossing in the recycling.

I think it comes from when I first started a few years ago i was dilligently collecting bottles. Now I have gone over board. It is nice at times to give beers away and not be overly worried about getting the bottles back, but my wife rolls her eyes every time I am trying to find another box to put a new set of bottles in after a poker game etc. do I have a problem? do I need a 12 step program? :smiley:

actually I know what I need - a keg system (next year…)[/quote]

I feel your pain. It took me about 8 months to finally justify recycling labeled bottles. I have about 10 cases of 12’s and 12 cases of 17’s stashed away. The 17’s came from my brother who drinks mostly Franziskaner, so I had a ready supply of them. So far I’ve peaked at about 8 cases in use at one time.
I can only dream of kegging. Just no room for it.I use oxyclean in a bucket as others have noted. Even the Franz gold foil practically falls off after a night soak. I rinse well and drain, then store. On bottling day, starsan in the vinator and a couple pumps then to the bottling tree. Sure wish the bottling tree makers would realize that you get more than 45 bottles from a 5 gallon batch! Always have a do a few extra before I’m done. Maybe one day I’ll buy another one and sell the extra parts to others with the same issue.

John[/quote]

If you have 10 cases of 12’s and 12 cases of 17’s stored somewhere, = you have room for a keg system!

Agreed, this is silly. I’ve seen them sold at 45, 81 or 90; the choice is not enough or way too many.

On the bright side, a few months ago my wife found a site that sells the tiers individually.
They were something like $4 each. It was the same brand as the tree we ordered from NB. Now I have a 54-bottle tree which is perfect.
Google for Ferrari bottle tree replacement.

I have found that the simple way to do that is make a 5 gallon batch on brew day and fill my spray bottle from that. I understand that Star San has an extremely long shelf life so it can be kept in the cupboard for a long time.

I only make a 2.5 gal mix of it in a clean home depot bucket, but then do the exact same thing. I fill the spray bottle from that larger batch. Then when it comes time my wife cracks up because I run around spraying just about anything that comes within a 10 foot radius of my cooled wort. If the dog came close enough I might give him a shot of it.

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