Opinions on counter-pressure filling

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by J A, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    So I made this:
    [​IMG]
    And it works great! :D
    I still have to work out the CO2 purge apparatus, but now that I have the option of filling from a carbed keg I'm wondering if there's any disadvantage in doing that as compared to bottle-carbing and conditioning.
    I ask because I've got a Pils ready to come off a few days of cold-crashing and either go into a keg or directly into the bottling bucket. I won't bulk-lager in a carboy because I don't have the space to do that. I'll either keg, carb and chill for a while and C/P fill bottles for further lagering or I'll bottle, carb 3 weeks and start chilling down for bottle-lagering.
    The obvious advantage of keg-carb and C/P is timing. I could have clear, carbed beer in bottles within a week or less that are ready for further lagering.
    The possible advantage of bottle carb/conditioning is the presence of a small amount of yeast to continue secondary fermentation for a short while.
    What say ye?
     
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  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    with a counter pressure you wait until the beer is fully carbed then bottle
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it'll still have to carb up, but that can happen a lot faster in a keg. ;)
     
  4. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    I've been using a counter pressure bottle filler off and on for a while. Never considered carbing then lagering. I use the carb a keg then bottle method for beers that go in the cellar to age so to add lager time would probably work just fine. There are 2yr old beers that have aged well this way in my stash. Still pop when opened.
     
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  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    don't rush your beer to the counterflow, Ive thought beer was carbed then bottled but friends say it was flat, you have to wait the correct time to carb in the keg, it will not keep carbing after bottled
     
  6. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    yup! no replacement for time when making beer
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm with ya...
    Mostly the deal is that I have more cold-temp space for an extra keg or bottles than an extra carboy. If I go from crashing this Pils to a keg, I can hold it for over a week while it carbs (20-30 lbs for 2-3 days and then holding at closer to CO2 volume for style for a few more days). It'll get a start on lagering and continue to clear. When it goes into bottles (fully carbed) I can store at least half the bottles at lager temp for consumption in a month or so. If some of the bottles sit at room temp for a while and then go to lager temp for a while, they should be just fine.
     
  8. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    The plus is you get to "check for carbonation" until its ready. :D
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that big ol' glass of quality control every day is very important to the process. :)
    By the time it's good and ready, there should still be at least a case of beer to bottle. :lol:
     
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  10. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    A bit of a tangent, but does anyone keg knowing they're going to bottle? It seems to me it'd just be easier to bottle if you planned on bottling a number of bottles. Is there an advantage to kegging first? I always thought the counter pressure process was more for an afterthought of bottling.
     
  11. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    I don't filter any beer so there are beers that are kegged to force carb so won't have much sediment in the bottle. They get stashed in the basement (or frig for samples). Huckleberry Saison was clearer sooner this way. Barleywine seamed to age well this way. With the Trappist yeast I bottle condition as it seems to me to be a long shelf life type of yeast.
    Some time in the future I will try watching gravity with tests and keg or bottle with proper amount of points left for carbonation, but that's another practice altogether not related to post.
     
  12. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the only reason to bottle is to save a keg for racking if you run out or quick beer on the road or give to friends
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    My thinking may be off base, but my reasons for wanting to do an entire batch that way are:
    1. Slightly extended lagering time before bottling because I have more space to chill a keg than a carboy.
    2. Somewhat quicker carb by kegging/carbing/bottling so that lagering continues uninterrupted rather than a lag time of 3-4 weeks of conditioning and then bottle-lagering.
    3. Clearer, cleaner tasting beer that you can actually drink out of the bottle rather than me having to instruct everybody who tries my homebrew on the finer points of pouring and drinking a bottle-conditioned yeast-sedimented beer.

    ...and, yes, to make the most effective use of my limited keg space.
    ;)
     
  14. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I see where you're coming from. Kegging first would certainly lead to clearer, more yeast free bottles. But I say, more power to ya! Too much work for me! :D
     
  15. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Not planning for this to be a regular routine, but I'm trying to work in several brews over the next few weeks and I have a few in process. Fermenter and cold-crash/lagering space is the bottleneck. A more normal routine (and cooler weather) would allow for one brew to take up my fermenter space for a month, but right now I need to put up a couple more brews while my set up is intact (we're selling our house and there's no telling when I'll have to uproot everything) and everything except Hefe and Saison needs some sort of temp control.
     
  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Related question:
    Does pressure filling really require CO2 purging the bottles?
    I made an apparatus to do just that, but I realized that as soon as you're bottom filling with carbed beer, there's no way O2 is going to hang around. It's going to be pushed out by the expanding CO2 as you fill. You really can't keep any oxygen in the bottle, especially if the beer is foaming slightly as you cap.
     
  17. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the only thing its good for is that inch in the neck, you don't want that to be oxygen
     
  18. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, but that happens every time you bottle prime. There's some CO2 being displaced from even still beer as it's transferred into the bottle. When you fill to the rim and pull the bottling wand out, there's a little O2 sitting there.
    If you're C/P bottling carbed beer, there's a lot of CO2 being displaced and it's foaming up into the void created when you pull the filler tube out.
    I don't know of anybody who purges every bottle when bottle-priming. Why should I worry about O2 with carbonated beer. There's no way there can be any oxygen that isn't displaced by the time you manage to get a cap on it.
     
  19. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I have the y valve version and ive often thought the same thing, I did purge every bottle but don't now, but sometimes I add just a touch right at the end just in case
     
  20. OAE Iceman

    OAE Iceman Member

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    I did an experiment by filling a few bottles from my keg that was fully carbonated and not purging the bottles with co2. I filled them and let them overflow slightly and then caped them. Left them in the fridge for a month and then opened and poured and they were fine. I now have a hose coming off my co2 distributer where If I want I can purge the bottle first and then fill. I was going to purchase one of the devices that do it in a fancier way but decided its not worth it ,,,,,or is it?
     

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