Sometimes Homebrew is Better in a Bottle

Kegging is often the go to for most homebrewers, but sometimes it's better to have your homebrew by the bottle.

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Good morning. Happy Spring! If you are interested in brewing a Marzen beer for Oktoberfest, now is the time to get started so that you can lager it through the spring and summer. Marzen actually means “March”, indicating the season it is brewed.

-Brandon Copeland

Bottling Beer Can Be Simple

As I mentioned last week, I have purchased and now received the Last Straw Bottle Filler from Northern Brewer, and I’ve put it to the test! This is the first timer that I have used a counter pressure bottle filler, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. This is the filler I personally chose, but you can find different models at a variation of price points on MoreBeer.

My apartment setup for filling bottles… gotta do the best with what you have

The setup was easy - technically you need two CO2 lines - one for the keg you are filling from, and one for the bottle filler. However, I filled 8 bottles of beer just using the pressure that I left on the keg after disconnecting the CO2. For my purposes, this worked perfectly fine.

All I had to do was screw off the ball lock gas line connector, and connect it directly to the bottle filler. The bottle filler came with a liquid line that I connected to the keg and to the liquid line of the filler. After that, I took my pre-sanitized, chilled bottle and purged it with about 5-10 seconds of CO2 (at 10 PSI) and then started filling the bottle.

My attempt at taking a picture while filling the bottle with the other hand

The advice that I had received was to “cap on foam”. So this means when you’re filling, you overflow and waste a decent amount of beer. On the first bottle I filled, I think two things were wrong: 1. The keg was over pressurized, it was at 10 PSI - next time I would max leave it at 5 PSI and 2. The second foam overflowed out of the bottle, I stopped. What resulted was a bottle that was actually only half full.

With lower pressure and more foam overflow, I was able to fill all the way up to the top of the bottle, and then when I lifted out the bottle filler, the proper amount of room was left in the bottle, and there was still foam to cap on. It took a couple bottles to get the process down, but after that it was easy and repeatable.

Now that I have the bottle filler, I am certain I will at least fill a 6 pack from every beer I brew, just as an easier way to share it with friends and family. The keg is great, but filling a few bottles gives that extra flexibility of keeping it for later, or transporting it easily.

I personally used the counter pressure bottle filler from the keg, but you can also use it from the fermenter into bottles when you are using priming sugar. You’d just need to pressurize the transfer or use gravity as your friend. The CO2 purge was a nice touch that a basic bottle filler does not have.

Have You Used a Counter Pressure Bottle Filler?

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Beer Trivia Question

🍺 In 1553, the Duke of Bavaria decreed that beer could not be brewed during several months of the year in Germany. What months were these, and why?

Read to the end to find out if you're right!

Brewgr Recipe of the Week

Going with the theme - this is a solid Marzen recipe with a decently complicated grain bill, but just one simple Tettnang 60 minute boil addition on the hop side. Just be prepared to let this one lager until September when it should traditionally be enjoyed.

Credit: BeeBrew

Poll Results: How Do You Carbonate Your Beer?

Most people were in favor of bottling their beer using the tried and true priming sugar in the bottle. People cited the flexibility that it gives them - they don’t need to finish all of their beer before starting the next batch, and that way they can keep more options available in the fridge. Can’t argue with that.

However, there isn’t anything more satisfying then pouring a fresh glass of homebrew from the keg. And when you add on a counter pressure bottle filler into the mix, then you can have the best of both worlds.

And the Answer Is...

🍺 Brewing lagers during the summer months was outlawed, specifically between April 23rd and September 29th. They did not understand the fermentation process yet, and that lagers needed to be fermented at cold temperatures. However, wheat ales were still permitted to be brewed during the summer. This restriction was rescinded in 1850.

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Happy Brewing!

- Brandon, Brew Great Beer Team

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