Bottling from Primary Fermenter

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Evil_Mouse_Brewery, Feb 6, 2022.

  1. Evil_Mouse_Brewery

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    Hi all,

    I’m trying to figure out the best way to bottle my beer while also reducing the amount of exposure to Oxygen.

    I’ve tried using a bottling bucket with the priming solution in but in my mind this seems to expose the beer to Oxygen as the new bucket is not purged with CO2. Also there are loses due to the extra dead space (when using a tap).

    I would like to bottle from my primary fermenter but what is everyone’s preferred method:

    - Slowly add priming solution to fermenter.
    - Carbonation drops.
    - Spooning priming sugar into each bottle.
    - Syringe each bottle with priming solution.
    - Or something completely different.

    I have tried carbonation drops but you have no exact control of the carbonation amount. Also I have tried Spooning the priming sugar but I find this a bit more of a hassle. I’m thinking about syringing the priming solution but how exactly would you go about this. Do you boil a measured amount of water with the sugar (accounting for evaporation losses) and then add a measured amount in each bottle when cool?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Minbari

    Minbari Well-Known Member

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    I used to do it from the ptimary all the time. Make the priming sugar and slowly mix it in.
    Personally, the bottling bucket works best. The O2 exposure is only for a minimal amount of time.

    If you are worried about it, purge it first
     
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  3. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    If you go the solution route, just boil it up, cool enough not to melt the syringe and then add it to all the bottles first. Then bottle the beer directly from the primary. A siphon clamp is a great tool to help with this.
    Cheers,
    Brian
     
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  4. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I use a syringe to put some sugar solution into each bottle. I'm packaging 10 litres or less, so it's not that annoying. I add the sugar to a bottle then dilute it with an easy to divide amount. So for 10 litres I'll dissolve the sugar in 100 ml of water (or 200mL if it needs more dilution). So a 330 ml bottle gets 3.5 ml. A 500 ml bottle gets 5 mL, etc. I've got one of those attachments to the syringe to make it easer to get the liquid out of the bottle with the sugar solution and to then put it into the bottle. It keeps things relatively simple for me and less to wash up.
     
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  5. Evil_Mouse_Brewery

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    how would I go about purging it?

    thanks
     
  6. Evil_Mouse_Brewery

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    sounds interesting, I only do half batch sizes as well (11 litres) so could work for me.
     
  7. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    It seems like you are going to extremes for not much reward...IOW, is you squeeze worth the juice? Mixing of air and Co2 is bound to happen somewhere and on the homebrew level, your exposure to air time is not that long and can be minimized with some help while bottling.

    What sort of beer are you bottling that has you concerned about oxidation?

    And to what ends are you trying to reach by taking this route to bottling?

    Have you considered purging the the bottling bucket and call it a day? If you are draining the fermentation tank with gravity, air is going to mix there or were you planning on pushing that out with Co2? The surface area for air exposure in the bottle is much less than the bucket.

    Not being a Negative Neelie here...just asking why. :)
     
  8. Evil_Mouse_Brewery

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    Good points. I’m only draining fermenter with gravity, I do not have any means to purge or push out with CO2 (or at least I don’t know of any methods, I simply have a fermenter with tap and some tubing). Is syphoning out better?

    I brew all different sorts of beer but want to come up with a good bottling system.

    If like you say bottles have less air in them, then am I still not better then to use syringe method and just bottle straight from fermenter?
     
  9. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Ok...cool, I'd stick with that. I siphon and IMHO, it has it's disadvantages ...one more thing to go wrong whether it be another vector for bad bugs, lost suction, sucking up trub, etc.

    Less air...ok...fine point here...well yeah.... but less surface exposure was what I was getting at. And the syringe...I see that as yet another vector for $hit to happen. Get a nice uniform mix in the bottling bucket with your priming solution and use gravity again to fill your bottles.

    The best things I would say make up a good system for bottling at home would be cleanliness, besides your hose from the fermenter, a bottling wand is a big improvement. Also, someplace where you don't have to worry about over flow so you can top off the bottle and have a nice uniform air space in each bottle when I remove the wand and a smooth, repeatable rhythm to the process. I actually put the bucket on the kitchen counter and fill up the bottles on the opened dishwasher door...any overflow goes into the washer drain!

    I'm a bottler since day one. Yeah some may see it as a hassle but it's worth it to me from a cost stand point...I'm a self proclaimed cheap ba$tard, it's makes an easily portable container that takes little to no forethought if I want to share some brew or take a couple bottles on a picnic with Wifie and it makes it easy to answer the question of how much did I drink last night.
     
  10. Minbari

    Minbari Well-Known Member

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    Co2 tank?

    Even a simple paintball co2 tank works and they are cheap
     
  11. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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  12. Evil_Mouse_Brewery

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    Ah, I’ve have the little CO2 gas bulbs. So how exactly I do that then. Add Priming Solution, then purge (or other way round). Does the CO2 stay in when I open lid to insert tube from the fermenter (I’m guessing yes if CO2 is heavier than air).

    Thanks
     
  13. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I make small batches and stay primitive ;)
    I put sugar per bottle. I use the smallest of the set of measuring spoons: 1/8 th.
    3 for 500 ml bottle.
    I use an auto syphon for bottling as not all my fermenters have a spigot. Not the easiest, but it works.
    Remember: I do small batches
    I quite often re-use the trub in the fermenter by pouring new wort on it. I got scared of the bottling via the spigot, as I couldn't clean it in between.
     
  14. Minbari

    Minbari Well-Known Member

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    It is heavier. I had a valve on the bottom, so I just removed the airlock.

    If you are using a tracking arm or tube, just leave the cap in place as much as you can. Honestly though. Unless you are taking 3 hours to bottle. B it won't make much difference.
    Are you purging the bottles too?
     
  15. Herm brews

    Herm brews Well-Known Member

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    I am a bottler with a Speidel 12 liter fermenter and a FerMonster 3 gallon fermenter, both with spigots. Initially, I used a bottling bucket, but recently I have been bottling directly from the fermenter. I only use the direct from fermenter process for beers that are not dry hopped. In this case, I make a priming solution and use a syringe to deliver a measured amount of priming solution to each bottle. When all of the bottles are primed, I fill then cap and crimp. I use cleaned and sanitized tubing from the fermenter spigot, with a cleaned and sanitized bottling wand on the other. Like @Ward Chillington I put my fermenter on the counter above the dishwasher, with the dishwasher door serving as the bottling platform. I also use a deep plastic tray to hold 2 bottles at a time. Each bottle gets filled until it just overflows, and the plastic tray contains the mess. The bottling wand then goes in the next bottle, and another empty, primed battle is placed in the tray. The perfectly filled bottle is then capped and crimped with my trusty wing capper.

    When bottling a dry hopped beer, I still use the bottling bucket, with priming solution mixed in the bucket. My process is different because when dry hopping, I add hops pellets directly to the fermenter. To filter the hops debris, I use a sanitized hop bag on the out end of the tube when transferring beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket. There are some potential solutions for this that I have yet to explore. @Donoroto suggests connecting a sanitized metal scrubby pad to the inside of the fermenter spigot port to act as a hops filter, while @Sunfire96 uses a screen tube accessory with her FerMonster.
     
  16. Evil_Mouse_Brewery

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    how would I do that?
     
  17. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #17 HighVoltageMan!, Feb 6, 2022
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2022
    Oxygen ingress in beer is a huge problem in beer both for homebrewers and commercial breweries. It's also not an easy problem to overcome. Unless you can keep the beer completely away from atmosphere after pitching the yeast, you're going to have some oxygen getting into the beer and degrading the beer. Most breweries shoot for 50 parts per billion or lower in final package, extremely difficult to accomplish. But it can be done even at home, but it requires an anal retentive process. The best way to get to these levels is by fermenting in a vessel that can be pressurized and then transferring to a completely purged keg. Then purging the bottles with co2 for 20-30 seconds and filling the bottles aggressive enough to cause foam to come out of the bottle, then quickly capping on the foam. It's kind of a PITA.

    The good news about bottle conditioning beer is that the yeast is a great antioxidant. So yeah, the beer is exposed to oxygen, but it's really tough to get around it. Purging bottles or purging bottle buckets will do little to keep oxygen out. But despite that, it's possible to package the beer and get decent results because the yeast works in your favor as an antioxidant. Don't sweat it too much. Everyone, whether they know it or not, struggles with oxygen ingress. It shows up as muted malt flavors, an odd sweetness in the beer, dull finish, muted hop aroma and flavor and the classic wet card board. Wet cardboard is the worse case condition.

    Just do your best to avoid splashing. Don't be afraid to fill the bottles nearly to the top, there is really no need for much headspace.

    A couple years ago I switch to pressurized fermenters and purging kegs by filling them to the top with Starsan solution, then forcing the solution out with co2. Then transferring the beer from the fermenter to the keg under pressure. It made a big difference in the beer and it keeps a lot longer.
     
  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Purge your bucket with CO2 and you'll be fine. You can't keep air out of the headspace, anyway... Adding to the fermenter will stir up gunk.... Think about it this way: The classic methods are classic for a reason, the reason being they generally work. We may find ways to improve on them but the classics tend to work.
     
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  19. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    For the little that I bottle, I use carbonation drops. They are super simple and have worked very well for me. I acknowledge that you lose some control over the level of carbonation, but these will work just fine for most beer styles.

    To bottle, I go this route:
    Clean and sanitize bottles and a short piece of tubing.
    Add carbonation drop to each bottle.
    Fermenter on the counter. Bottles in sink.
    Short piece of tubing from the fermenter valve to the bottom of the bottle.
    Turn spigot on, fill bottle, turn spigot off.
    Fill 6, then cap. Repeat.

    Sometimes I will only bottle a few to give away…maybe 4-6. Then the rest of the beer goes into a keg.

    It’s primitive, but fast and effective. Maybe 10-15 minutes tops for a case of beer. And it’s about as O2 conscious as I’m willing to get. And all I have to clean, besides the fermenter, is a short piece of tubing.
     
  20. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    One of the reasons I went to the syringe. Bottling bucket and the transfer are more steps and cleaning than the syringe for me and getting a uniform mix in either the bottling bucket or the primary fermenter is another challenge that I don't have with the syringe. Keeping the syringe sanitised is an extra step, but I'm OK with the trade off.

    I just find the syringe process simpler. I suspect that if there's any differences in the amount of oxygen added between the approaches, the refermentation for the bottle conditioning will scavenge the oxygen from both approaches as long as you're sensible.
     

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