I hate bottling because...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by kacanepa, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. kacanepa

    kacanepa New Member

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    There are many reasons why I find bottling abhorrent but the one that really stands out has to do with getting rid of the labels. Spending several hours cleaning 52 bottles was just the tiniest bit excessive.

    My question is this: How does one get label glue off beer bottles? Particularly the glue off of the plastic labels? Those labels peeled off easily - leaving a glue more closely related to cement in its tenacity.

    I tried PBW solution; I tried citrus cleaner; I tried alcohol solvent. I would have tried white spirit if I'd had any. The only thing that mostly worked was using a knife to scrape it off. And then scrubbing the residue off with a steel scrubber. Darn you to heck St Austells [shaking fist in the air]!

    Yes, I could have left the labels on but if you're giving your homebrew away as a gift, someone else's label is a bit misleading. They also start to look pretty bad after multiple washings.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated including which beers have the easiest labels to remove. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    I have had great success with the oxy clean in hot water soak in the sink. Disclaimer: the vast majority of bottles I've cleaned so far have been from the now defunct Michigan Brewing Company, so maybe it's not as easy with all brands, but many of the labels really do literally float off, the residue left behind is so thin, it washes right off; I didn't notice that some bottles fealt a little sticky after they dried, but that was a quick easy clean also. And labels that didn't float off, peeled off with ease.

    (I've also found that paper labels applied with milk (very very little milk) really does work also and those peel off clean with no help from anything).
     
  3. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

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    I agree. Letting them soak overnight does the trick. Some brands come off more readily, but they'll all soak off eventually.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Ammonia, the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart, works well. Soak, peel and scrub the glue off. The glue will come off easily unless the brewery used a petroleum-based glue.
     
  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I am guessing you are in the UK(?)
    This could make a recommendation for easy-to-peel bottles difficult. You guys don't even have deposit bottles, never mind reusable deposit bottles like here in Germany. Because the bottles here are almost all reusable, the labels are extremely easy to remove. :D
    You might try finding a brewery which offers deposit bottles. (not sure if any in the UK do that...)
    Or, try buying imported German beer. The bottles *might* be reusables. (wheat beers most likely, Becks...probably not)
     
  6. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Oxyclean soak for a few hours or over night. Anything that doesn't fall off and wipe clean, gets tossed.
    Kegging is the best answer though! :mrgreen:
     
  7. TheZel66

    TheZel66 Member

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    or, leave them on.. its easy to remember what is and isn't homebrew. homebrew bottles have the boring gold bottle cap on top.
     
  8. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Yes, German bottles are the easiest when it comes to removing labels :)

    In the US it largely depends on brand. Some come off more easily than others. If I need bottles and some of the ones I bought give me more trouble than I want to spend I'll give up on them.

    In general I had good success with an overnight soak in a baking soda solution. Don't use hard water for this since it will precipitate chalk that clings to your bottles. In that sense, PBW might be more practical.

    Kai
     
  9. shizzy

    shizzy New Member

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    that's how I do it. I fill a plastic tub with PBW and fill it with empties. if they don't slide off in the morning, they get tossed in the recycle bin.

    once you get a good stock built up you are only going to need to soak and peel a six pack worth here or there.
     
  10. skorch11

    skorch11 New Member

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    Blasting the crud out of bottles using a Jet bottle washer right after you pour does wonders.

    Also, I've used TSP (Trisodium phosphate) to remove labels with great success. It can be found in the hardware store with the paint supplies. As most people have stated though, it depends on the brand. Some labels are more difficult than others and some glue will not come off no matter what.
     
  11. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    In the 500ml bottle size I think most will come off with hot water, wire wool and a bit of elbow grease. I think the supermarkets are the worst culprits for using adhesives that are waaaaaaaay to strong - the co-op in particular.

    In the 750ml bottle size I remember Hoegaarden and Leffe labels come off like a dream in hot water.
     
  12. SimenK

    SimenK New Member

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    If I *know* that water-based solutions will not do the trick, I put the bottle in the oven at 150 C for 5-10 minutes, peel of the label, and remove the remaining glue.

    Often, water or water with soda does the trick. If not, I use vegetable oil, like sunflower oil. Yes, that's right.

    You will probably not believe me, but ordinary vegetable oil is wonderful for removing the gunk that sticks to the bottles after you have peeled off the paper. Use e.g. sunflower oil and scrub with a paper towel for a minute or two.
     
  13. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    German bottles are the easiest with respect to label removal since they are designed for reuse.

    Kai
     
  14. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    No kidding... talk about German efficiency!

    Is home brewing that popular in Germany relative to the US?
     
  15. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Relative to the US........I doubt it. At least here in the former east there don't seem to be very many of us. :(
    (at least not officially)
    There is definitely no brewshop anywhere nearby, and I live in a city of 400k+

    I think there is more activity in the South/Soutwest (Bavaria, Frankonia, etc), but I am not sure how much more exactly. (just know that is where all my supplies come from :lol: )
     
  16. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    The home brewing community in Germany is much smaller and much less organized than in the US.
     

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