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Solo Bottling Blues

I’m doing my second 1 gallon batch, WH Honey Ale this time around, and yesterday evening I tried to bottle everything by myself because I was a little too eager. This was a challenge and I only got about two bottles down before I started to make a mess and realize I should have waited until I had a helper. Not really thinking, I poured the two bottled beers back into my gallon carboy (they weren’t primed yet), resealed the airlock and decided to let it sit for another couple of days.

Did I completely hose my beer? Was this too much activity and air exposed and then reintroduced? I’ll know in a couple of weeks after a successful bottling, but was curious if anyone else has ever had this issue before. Cheers!

With a one gallon batch you will probably drink them pretty quickly anyway. My process for one gallon batches is just put domino dot or the sugar tabs they sell in each bottle. Stick the bottling cane in he end of the siphon hose and rack into each bottle directly from the fermenter. Jus rest the cap on the bottle until you fill them then go back and crimp.

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You should be fine as @brew_cat said. I always try to plan ahead and never rush things especially if it may need another set of hands. 2 bottles in, I may have just kept going. What do ya get out of a gallon, 8 or 9 bottles?

Had I been thinking, I would have used the domino idea @brew_cat suggested. It never occurred to me to put the sugar tab in the bottle before. Last small batch I did, I got 8 bottles. Letting it set after the fermentation is done is never a bad thing, so it’s a good lesson to learn now with a small batch instead of potentially ruining 5 or more gallons.

True story. I just started doing small 2 gallon batches as I want to experiment more

You probably oxidized your beer by pouring it back into the fermenter but as others said it’s only a gallon so if you carbonate it and drink it quickly it may not suck…too much.

Wait till you have to do 48-54 bottles solo…I only did that twice, extreme drudgery punctuated by moments of sheer panic! I conned my wife into helping me ever since. Lots of praise and honey-do’s. She’s become quite the bottling wench!

She IS glad I’m primarily kegging now.

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I had my wife help as well back when I bottled those early batches and we had a decent system for what it was. We had the lip of a bottle break one day and she cut her finger which lead to the kegging system and keezer. Haven’t looked back since and I no longer need help on kegging day.

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With the first batch, my wife gladly helped out! She’s working on a commission and a few other projects due at the end of the week, so I said I’d do it myself. Now I know for future and it’s only a gallon ruined instead of more! It’s a learning experience all around.

Bottling the first batch is the most difficult. You can read about doing it but all the small stuff about getting the right set up is never covered in the book. I find bottling solo much more relaxing than having a helper. Great time to think about the entire process that got the beer to the point of going into the bottles.

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I know people hate the bottling process, but NOT me! I actually enjoy it, but I suppose I’m weird.
I do 5 G batches. Sanitize the cleaned bottles in the dishwasher. Rack the beer onto priming sugar in a sanitized bottling bucket and attach a racking cane to the spigot. The bucket sits above the dishwasher. Drop the door, leave it open to catch spills, and bottle. When I have a dozen, I cap. I can do a batch in about 45 minutes. Pretty easy. I’ve never had an assistant, and in fact usually bottle when SWMBO isn’t around. That way I can crank up the tunes. If I were doing a 1 G batch, I think I’d probably use the carb drops too, rather than batch prime.

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Jimrmaine, When I was bottling this was the exact way I did it. The only time I messed up was when I had help.

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Used to think bottling day was relaxing. When you get into the rhythm it’s pretty zen. Then again, once the bottles were sanitized the wife did the filling, and I capped. SHE is the one who convinced ME to start kegging. I guess I had the easy job.
What I don’t miss is bottle sediment. If I bottle from the keg, they’re clean, and I don’t have to give the “Pour it in into a glass, and stop before the dregs or it’ll lubricate your digestive tract like Clark Griswald’s saucer sled” speech. Friends can drink directly from the bottle, if they so choose.

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When I bottle I tend to do it myself. I fill a few and then cap them, rinse them in star san to get the overflow off, then fill a few more… etc etc. Yes its the bottle cleaning and sanitizing that is the crappy part, the rest of the way I am just talking to myself and staying in the “zone”. I keg now but for a few friends and relatives I will bottle some from a keg. Its the best of both worlds :slight_smile:

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Thanks all for the advice and for the insights. Second time around last night was a much better situation with some help and my new interest in homebrewing has spawned a few curious friends who want to be involved for the next batch I do, and with an upcoming birthday, a bottling bucket is most likely on the way.

Tried a bit of it before adding the priming sugar, and it tasted flat (of course) but great! An extra week of fermenting in the primary is going to be the way to go in the future!

As an apartment dweller I don’t have the room to keg so I bottle everything. It gets easier and easier each time if you try and improve your set-up. My latest innovation is that I put a glass on the floor to catch the stray drops coming off the bottling wand. I know that doesn’t sound very dramatic but I don’t have to clean a towel now and I get to drink those wasted drops at the end.
I bottle and cap without thinking now and I can watch the TV while doing it. I put the bottling bucket on a high (bar height) table so I can do the whole operation sitting down.

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I started out with a 5 quart ice cream bucket. The spill would go in the last partial bottle. Didn’t want to waste any beer. I Don’t do that any more.

My biggest mistake came from not placing the bottling bucket soundly on the table after tipping it to fill the last bottles. The whole bucket fell on the floor and I lost my last 3 bottles.
That particular spill was cleaned up so fast my wife didn’t even realize it happened haha

Had that happen once. Near empty the upward pressure with bottling wand made the bucket slip of the work bench. Now when the bucket is near empty I put my thumb at the edge of the bench on the bucket to prevent slipping. I didn’t lose any beer but the slosh inside the bucket oxidized the beer in the last three bottles.

I use the Fermenter’s Favorite Fizz Drops when I bottle my beers. Can I substitute the domino dots for the Fermetner’s Favorite Fizz Drops 1 to 1 or do I have to do something with them? Also, will the domino dot change the flavor of the beer at all?

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