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The Best way to Remove Labels

Thought I would start a thread on this one. While I love my homebrew, I also love Summit Brewing Co. After they recently went to pry-off bottles, I started saving my empty ones to use for my brews.

Big bummer - the labels are by FAR the most difficult I have come across to remove.

So let’s hear what has worked for everyone! Try to be specific (brand names, etc) for what you found to work best. Hopefully it’ll help all of us that like to be a little thrifty!

Cheers!

Hot water soak for 10 - 20 minutes. Then use a butter knife to scarpe a majority of the label off, followed by a blue or green scotch brite pad.

Ah yes, the traditional method. Even this stood no chance against the Summits!

Over night soak in HOT PBW will take off all but the most stubborn labels. If that won’t get them off, then its not worth the extra effort to me.

I’ve taken to just a hot water/dishsoap soak for a 10-15 minutes. In most cases the labels come off with very little work.

I’ve built up a pretty decent stash of bottles, so if a label is too labor intensive I give up, toss it in the recycle bin and make a mental note.

Off the top of my head - if I’m in a pinch for bottles - Three Floyds bombers, Bell’s, Sierra Nevada and Goose Island fall right off.

Founders - tough. Firestone - tough.

Most of my 8 or 9 cases of bottles are Sierra Nevada Bottles. They are by far the easiest labels to remove. I soak them in soapy water for 15 minutes, grab the edge of the label and they peel right off in one piece! They do leave a little big of glue behind but I have a designated sponge with the scour pad on one side that makes quick work of that.

Sad to think about how much money I’ve spent on SN Torpedo in the last year and a half ha!
Some bottles I just don’t even try to get the labels off and recycle them, unless of course they’re 22 oz or the 750ml (or whatever they are) Dogfish Head bottles that a friend gives me. Then I battle to get the labels off.

I also don’t know if this matters either but I’ve never broken one while capping either. Granted I’ve only done 6 batches so far but I hear other people break a bottle each time they bottle a batch. I don’t know if that’s SN bottles or my super whispering bottling technique heh…

eta: PointyHead beat me to it while I was typing! :cheers:

Kegging. Worked great for me.

I clean my stuff with Oxyclean (same thing as PBW?) and a short soak always takes them off. Though the only bottles I save these days are 750s or Belgian cork tops.

+1 Same method I use for the few brews that I bottle. If I have a hard to remove label, I scrape it off with a razor blade and use acetone or Aircraft Stripper to remove the residue. Everything else is kegged.

Oxyclean and hot water works for every label I’ve come across. If you think it doesn’t work, just give it more time. You might need to do a little light scrubbing to get a touch of glue off for the worst ones.

Schells has the best labels. I swear you get them a little damp with cold water and they fall off.

Oxyclean all the way. Hot water soak for 30 minutes usually gets most labels off. For stubborn ones leave them in over night.

water and oxyclean soak

Sierra Nevada and Deschutes labels come off easily after a 15-20 hot water soak. As they are two of my favorite breweries, its not to much of an issue for me. Now if somebody could tell me how to get the stenciled labels off a Rogue or Stone bottle, that would be very useful knowledge to have.

did a couple cases worth today with a very small amount of “All free and clear” laundry detergent no perfumes or what have you ( used for my son cloth diapers) and HOT water soak for an hour, then hit em with light steel wool

Freeking sweetwater 420 botttles SUCK … however the “Happy ending” they make were easier??

+5 on the Sierra Nevadas they fall right off, I even stuck a label to the fridge in one piece …

+1

I usually let the bottles soak overnight in a 5 gallon bucket. In the morning, most of the labels are usually floating in the water. I’ll then rinse with warm water while using a stiff brush to remove any gunk left on the bottles.

Outside or in the garage, fill a cooler with water and bottles. Add one or two gallons of ammonia. An overnight soak will remove labels and completely dissolve the toughest glue. Warning - the vapors from the ammonia will knock you on your a$$ if you aren’t careful.

I intend to get some unscented Oxyclean, but I have a couple big containers of Easy Clean by LD Carlson (sold by our sponsor, I am pretty sure) to use up first. Overnight is not necessary, but it will lift the labels right off for sure after a good soaking.

:cheers:

+1 for the Ammonia. Works great for most labels. I’ve moved to kegging and getting rid of at least half my bottles for now. Much easier! :cheers:

Bleach (diluted) has worked in the past, OxyClean works great also. The easiest bottles are Guinness Draught. They have a heat-shrink plastic label. I know the bottles are 11.2 oz, but I’ve entered them in comps. with no problem. I can’t recommend buying it for the bottles (see my post in Comm. Beer Review), but if you can get them empty, great.

If the label won’t come off after a soak in warm soapy water I return it for a refund or recycle it. Sierra Nevada and Bells make up the majority of my bottles beside some old, very thick, and heavy Old Milwaukee (they don’t make bottles like that anymore).

Short’s labels are awfully hard to remove, worst I have come across.

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