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bottling from a keg
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    i have bottled off my kegs numerous times, but always just for transport or to be drank in less than a week.
    is there any trick to bottling off the keg for actual storage of up to a few months?
    beer bottle carbonation is in volumes, but my regulator is in psi. psi varies with temperature, so what would i want to bring the beer up to, pressure-wise, in order to fill a bunch of bottles?

    i am mainly wanting to do this with cider and cyser to avoid any natural carbonation cloudiness in the drink, but it shoudl equally apply to beer as well.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,929
    I have only done this with dark beers. So not sure about cloudiness. I did the bottle filler method that is on that other website as a sticky. I just pulled Tue keg out of the fridge and bottled using a bottle filler tip jammed into a picnic tap. Regulator set to 2 psi to fill.
    I figured if the carb level was right in the keg it would be right in the bottle. Even after I stored the hottest at room temps and then chilled again before drinking the carb level seemed good after about a month.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,207
    here's the way that i do it:

    Set the pressure a little higher for a few days to make up for any co2 you'll lose during transfer (maybe 3-4psi higher). Then when you're ready to bottle, drop the pressure down as low as you can while still getting the beer to flow under pressure. That's about 5-8 psi for my lines. Then jam the bottling wand from a bottling bucket into a picnic tap with a rubber stopper at the height of the bottle neck.

    I leave the picnic tap set to stay open, but that doesn't always work with my cheapo bottling wand. To make the tranfer from keg to bottle you want to have the wand pressed against the bottom of the bottle so that it actuates the damper on the end while having the rubber stopper at the top of the bottle keeping the pressure from releasing out of the bottle. As the beer slows due to the build of pressure in the bottle, gently and slowly lift the stopper to burb some of the air out of the bottle.

    You want the burping to be as gentle and slow as possible or you'll cause the co2 to come out of solution in you beer. Fill each bottle to the brim, when you pull the wand out, it will be at perfect level. Some people say that you need to give them a jet of beer/air when you cap to make sure it foams up and forces all 02 out, but I never do and I've not had problems with oxydation on bottles more than 6 months old. I do like to throw a cap on the bottle as soon as it's full, to keep anything from falling in and also to keep the co2 blanket from escaping from the bottle.

    I crimp the caps on once i have about 6 filled. Then I throw the full bottles in the fridge and start on the next ones. It's better to have cold bottles to reduce foaming, but I don't really notice a vast difference. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, and you'll want to keep a big mug handy to set the wand into in between bottles, just to catch the beer that leaks out.

    I've done it several times this way and had bottles with perfect carb from day one to 8 months later.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • TomoLiverTomoLiver
    Posts: 1,112
    Cool. I'll try this soon.

    In the past, I did everything except for dropping the pressure when filling, and I ended up with a flat 6 pack.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,453

    here's the way that i do it:

    Set the pressure a little higher for a few days to make up for any co2 you'll lose during transfer (maybe 3-4psi higher). Then when you're ready to bottle, drop the pressure down as low as you can while still getting the beer to flow under pressure. That's about 5-8 psi for my lines. Then jam the bottling wand from a bottling bucket into a picnic tap with a rubber stopper at the height of the bottle neck.

    I leave the picnic tap set to stay open, but that doesn't always work with my cheapo bottling wand. To make the tranfer from keg to bottle you want to have the wand pressed against the bottom of the bottle so that it actuates the damper on the end while having the rubber stopper at the top of the bottle keeping the pressure from releasing out of the bottle. As the beer slows due to the build of pressure in the bottle, gently and slowly lift the stopper to burb some of the air out of the bottle.

    You want the burping to be as gentle and slow as possible or you'll cause the co2 to come out of solution in you beer. Fill each bottle to the brim, when you pull the wand out, it will be at perfect level. Some people say that you need to give them a jet of beer/air when you cap to make sure it foams up and forces all 02 out, but I never do and I've not had problems with oxydation on bottles more than 6 months old. I do like to throw a cap on the bottle as soon as it's full, to keep anything from falling in and also to keep the co2 blanket from escaping from the bottle.

    I crimp the caps on once i have about 6 filled. Then I throw the full bottles in the fridge and start on the next ones. It's better to have cold bottles to reduce foaming, but I don't really notice a vast difference. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, and you'll want to keep a big mug handy to set the wand into in between bottles, just to catch the beer that leaks out.

    I've done it several times this way and had bottles with perfect carb from day one to 8 months later.



    this is pretty much my procedure, except i cap immediately after filling each one. i find that not doing that leads to a minor difference in quality between the first and last one in each group.

    i keep bottles indefinitely using this procedure, and it's the only way I bottle anything.

    IMO the only difference between bottling for long term and short term storage is the level of sanitization vs. cleaning. if im going to drink it within a day, i just wash the bottles, no sanitizer.

    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • Hey guys, I had a quick question about all this. I seem to remember reading that you have to keep the bottles stored in the fridge after you bottle from a keg. Is there any harm in storing the bottles at room temperature after they've been kegged at colder temps?
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    in theory, no.

    the problem is that when you bottle off a keg you are dealing with PSI instead of Volumes of CO2. The PSI can change as the beer warms up (it increases). you injected CO2 into the beer in the keg (assuming you force carbed) instead of adding bottling sugar and creating only a defined amount of CO2 from the measured amount of sugar.

    essentially, as long you don't bottle a beer that is overcarbed in your keg, you should be fine.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,207
    i have a few bottles from my last keg that i kept cold and a few that i let warm up. maybe this weekend i'll do a side by side to see if there's any perceptible difference between the two. i'll chill the warm beers first.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,929
    I tend to like my beers on the lower end of the carbonation scale. I have not had any pressure issues when bottling cold carbed beer from a keg and then storing the bottles in my basement at ~65*.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jeepinjeepinjeepinjeepin
    Posts: 16,736
    I haven't bottled anything in a long time, but somewhere I have a stopper that I drilled and pushed a inflation needle through. It's easier to modulate pressure by letting your thumb off the back of the needle than burping the stopper.
    Sign here______________________________
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,207

    I haven't bottled anything in a long time, but somewhere I have a stopper that I drilled and pushed a inflation needle through. It's easier to modulate pressure by letting your thumb off the back of the needle than burping the stopper.



    i've been planning to do that for a while now, but i never think about it until i try to bottle something and then i forget by the time i have everything cleaned up. b-(
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    I built a counter pressure filler. I put the keg higher than bottles I am filling. Whatever carb you want in keg I'll get in bottle. Crank up co2 high, like 20-30 psi. Use cork on filler to regulate flow not pressure in the line. Purge each bottle with gas before filling and cap on foam and seal right away. If you screw up you will get foam and beer on ceiling. It's a learned process. I can post photos of my filler, but plans are from BWO magazine and process from brewing network Brew Strong show.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,929
    Benvarine said:

    I built a counter pressure filler. I put the keg higher than bottles I am filling. Whatever carb you want in keg I'll get in bottle. Crank up co2 high, like 20-30 psi. Use cork on filler to regulate flow not pressure in the line. Purge each bottle with gas before filling and cap on foam and seal right away. If you screw up you will get foam and beer on ceiling. It's a learned process. I can post photos of my filler, but plans are from BWO magazine and process from brewing network Brew Strong show.


    Postie that up.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,929
    Oh, and 20 or 30 psi?????????? I do it at like 2 psi.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • CurlyFatCurlyFat
    Posts: 59,793
    I do FZ's procedure, basically. I don't bother with the stopper to stop foaming, though. I just shove the bottle filler to the bottom, let 'er fill up and foam (done over a bucket), then cap immediately. It's always turned out fine, but I think the longest I've had one sit before consuming was a month. No problems, though! Mostly, I just fill growlers for short-term sharing.

    "Balls."
    - Thym's 100,000th post

  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    C_dubbs said:

    Oh, and 20 or 30 psi?????????? I do it at like 2 psi.



    When you use the rubber stopper, it keeps the beer from coming out, you slightly tilt to one side to allow the pressure to escape and beer will flow. That's the counter pressure part of it.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    One side hooks to the keg, the other screws to a gas line. You can slide the stopper up and down depending on bottle size. Clean out with a keg with some star San.
    image.jpg
    2592 x 1936 - 2M
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,207
    Benvarine said:

    One side hooks to the keg, the other screws to a gas line. You can slide the stopper up and down depending on bottle size. Clean out with a keg with some star San.



    holy cow! now i get it. all this time i never really understood the idea of a counter pressure filler. i might just build one and see if i can't figure out how to use it too.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,929
    Benvarine said:

    One side hooks to the keg, the other screws to a gas line. You can slide the stopper up and down depending on bottle size. Clean out with a keg with some star San.


    I missed the counter pressure part. You literally built a beer gun. You also REALLY need to postie a build thread.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,453
    C_dubbs said:

    Benvarine said:

    One side hooks to the keg, the other screws to a gas line. You can slide the stopper up and down depending on bottle size. Clean out with a keg with some star San.


    I missed the counter pressure part. You literally built a beer gun. You also REALLY need to postie a build thread.


    Yeah, without the counter pressure aspect, 20-30psi would be a devastating mess.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,453
    Devastatingly funny anyway... I'd like to see that experiment on video.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • morsmors
    Posts: 231
    I bottle all my beers out of kegs. I typically only bottle for competitions. I use a counter pressure filler like this one...except mine is alittle easier to operate. It has a 3 way ball valve in the middle... left gas...right liquid....middle off.
    Benvarine said:

    One side hooks to the keg, the other screws to a gas line. You can slide the stopper up and down depending on bottle size. Clean out with a keg with some star San.



    BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
    Cicerone Certified Beer Server
    AHA Member
    CRAFT Homebrew Club
    Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
    HBT "mors"
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,453
    mors said:

    I bottle all my beers out of kegs. I typically only bottle for competitions. I use a counter pressure filler like this one...except mine is alittle easier to operate. It has a 3 way ball valve in the middle... left gas...right liquid....middle off.

    Benvarine said:

    One side hooks to the keg, the other screws to a gas line. You can slide the stopper up and down depending on bottle size. Clean out with a keg with some star San.





    i've thought about the counter pressure filler design for a while, i think that's about as clean as you can get it.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • morsmors
    Posts: 231
    Yeah having used both a counter pressure filler and a blichmann beer gun.. My preference is towards the CPF. Though I will say I did use a CPF that had multiple valves on it and it was a pain in the ass... You need the 1 valve design.
    BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
    Cicerone Certified Beer Server
    AHA Member
    CRAFT Homebrew Club
    Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
    HBT "mors"