How to bottle beer from the kegWednesday, August 26th, 2009
Once a brewer begins kegging, he/she will never go back to bottling, or will they? There is something to be said for the convenience of bottled beer. It travels well, it can be given as a gift and it is the only way to get it to a competition. How do we get that sweet carbonated nectar into the bottles?
There are commercial CO2 bottling wands, guns, beer guns… but they are entirely too expensive and unnecessary to accomplish this simple task. There is no need to spend $50, $60, or $100 dollars to fill a bottle with beer effectively. Here is how:
- You will need a 7′+ beer line with a picnic tap on the end Fig. 1
- You will need a plastic bottling wand OR racking cane (this will fit into the picnic tap) Fig. 2
- You will need a #2 drilled rubber stopper Fig. 3
Assemble these components in this manner:
- Cut a 45 degree angle on one end of the bottling wand/racking cane to allow the free flow of beer into the bottle
- Slide the uncut end of the bottling wand/racking cane into the picnic tap
- Slide the #2 stopper up onto the bottling wand/racking cane (this will seal the bottle while filling)
- Attach the beer line to the keg itself.
See Fig 4.
You are now ready to bottle beer, and there are some simple rules and procedures to follow to be successful.
- Be sure that your beer line and bottles are cold, this will reduce foaming during bottling.
- Shut off the gas to your keg, use the pressure relief valve to relieve excess pressure.
- Turn your regulator down to 3-5 PSI and turn the gas back on to the keg, this will give you a gentle flow rate to reduce foaming.
- Open the tap and run a small amount of beer out as waste, this will prime the bottle filler.
- Place the bottle filler in the bottle and seal the bottle with the rubber stopper. Fig. 5
- Open the picnic tap to LOCKED position, and as the flow slows due to pressure, squeeze the side of the stopper to relieve the pressure and fill bottle until beer flows out the top, not just foam.
- Move to next bottle and repeat.
- When finished, give all bottles a quick shot of beer to top them off (place the tip of the bottling wand about 1” below the level of the beer in the bottle and secure the stopper when accomplishing this step)
- Place caps on all bottles.
- One at a time, tip each bottle on its side and upright again while holding the cap on. When the beer foams over, lock the cap on, repeat with all bottles (purging CO2). Fig. 6
Remember when you are finished bottling, to again increase your regulator pressure to maintain the proper level of carbonation in your keg. Happy bottling!