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Bottling Disaster

So I’m on my 2nd batch and it’s bottling day today. Everything is going great, because I’ve avoided the 1st time doing this syndrome. I get everything ready and I’m on my 3rd bottle and my bottle capper snaps like the POS it is and down goes the bottle. In what was in my mind slow motion, I make a grab for the bottle and catch it as it smashes on the granite counter, cutting my hand and subsequently splashing blood into my bottling bucket. I can’t believe it an entire batch down the drain. The cut is ridiculously superficial and of course when I call Northern Brewers they’re closed for the day. I’m not bad mouthing them I’m just venting. Anyway, anybody have any recommendations for a better bottle capper? I had the red one that came with my starter kit and I will never trust that model again.

Since, I’ve fallen off the horse, I better get to brewing something else.

This is just my opinion, there are many different types of cappers, but the one I chose I have had for 25 yrs. I chose the Colonna capper because it reminded me of a drill press. To me it’s totally safe, and it’s very stable. The way it’s made I believe it will outlive me. Yeah, it’s pricey at $80 bucks, but to me it’s one of those expensive items I’m willing to spring for. This hobby there are items a person can live without some of the expensive stuff and get by, and then there are things of real necessity. I feel this is one of those things. Hope you heal, sorry about your batch…B.C.

Sorry to hear that bud. I’m about to bottle next week with the same one, so now I know the dangers. I know my ex-wife used the same one for 4 batches no problems. Also I know NB will take care of you, they have been great replacing the hydrometer I accidentally broke, comping me shipping when they sent unmilled grains, and even offers the replacement kit if it turns out bad. :mrgreen:

Yep, get the bench capper. I love mine and have never had anything like that happen.

Granite countertops make no sense really. They look nice but not real glass friendly. Put a drop cloth or something down when bottling

Bummer experience. That looks like the same capper I’ve been using for over 10 years without a problem, it might be you just got a defective one.

Because I mostly keg these days, I don’t have a reason to spend on a new capper, but if I did I’d go with a bench capper like Old Guy suggests.

Is there a chance you were pushing too hard; like leaning on it?

That red capper is not a POS; it’s actually overbuilt for the job, so unless there was a manufacturing defect in the plastic of yours, I’m suspecting operator error.

It’s like a stapler; once the staple bends on the anvil, the amount of pressure needed drops. Once the staple is bent continuing to stand on the stapler is just wasting energy.

When the capper closes, the flat metal pieces grab the lower rim of the bottle neck, and hold the bottle. As you continue pressing the handle, the bell comes down and crimps the cap. You can feel the moment when the cap crimps, and the pressure gives. Once the handle is down, the bottle is capped; more “oomph-ing” is just going to break the capper exactly as shown. If you look and a fully closed capper, the bell is actually in contact with the flat metal pieces, so it’s not like more pressure will make the cap will get any tighter. It’s a case where the man-instinct to use muscle doesn’t help; little girl strength is all that’s called for.

My reco is to call NB, they will likely offer a replacement capper, and possibly even a replacement for the dumped kit. Try again more gently before laying out more money.

I agree. I fill ,my wife caps . She has a lighter touch. No problems with the red capper.

I agree granite countertops are not the best surface for this. They came with the house and I will definitely lay a towel or something on the surface to both cushion and absorb drips. As for the pressure used on the capper, I think it must have been defective as I have pipe cleaners for upper arms and I was very conscious of applying minimal pressure. Like I said before I don’t wish to bad mouth NB, especially on their own forum. I’m sure when I talk to them today they will make things right. I will however, graduate to a bench capper.

ps. here’s another pic, I just noticed that there is an additional crack on the capper, I don’t know if that was there before or after the failure. Maybe a the cause of the subsequent major handle break?

I had the same thing happen a while back, it broke in the exact same place, contacted NB, they said they had a bad batch from the manufacturer,and replaced mine free of charge…even shipping charge. give them an e-Mail. in my experience they will make it right.

I also have the Red Capper and it’s worked well for me, aside from the small circle magnet becoming loose and occasionally falling out of its housing. I’ve used it on 10 1-gal. batches and 4-5gal. batches so far.

+1 to bench capper, and +1 to not needing a lot of pressure. The hand cappers do seem to have more stories/posts about them breaking, but you really shouldn’t need a lot of pressure on the bench capper either. Sometimes the springs and mechanisms get rusted, but a little WD-40 works wonders.

Just spoke with Todd at NB, as expected from the great things I hear about their cust svc, they made it all ok. I still plan on using a bench capper, but, I guess the replacement hand capper would be handy to have as a back up.

I had the same thing happen and they replaced it. Luckily I had a spare.

I have 2 wing cappers, the red and the black. The red is better, but both are crap IMO. Both cappers caused stress cracks in the necks of my 22oz bombers. Get a bench capper. Money well spent.
If there’s one thing I’ve invested that I wish I’d done earlier though, it’s kegging equipment. What a time saver!

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