Author’s Note: Post Contains Affiliate Links
No gray area here… I think bottling via the traditional methods is one of the most irritating, time consuming, patience-testing processes in the entire brewing world. Not only that, but if you just want to give your friend/brother/cousin/cat a small sample of your beer, you’re obligated to open a whole bottle. Cross your fingers, pop the cap, and pray the bottle isn’t a gusher. NO.THANKS!!
So, why would I advocate bottling at all? Maybe you want to enter a competition which requires bottles, or you would like to take a home brew six-pack for your next tailgate. You could also bottle some of your famous imperial stout to do a vertical tasting with future years’ versions. Bottles can even make unique gifts. Bottling does have its merits, but if all of your beer is in kegs, how can you get it into bottles without causing oxidation, losing the proper carbonation level, or using an expensive beer gun? I’m glad you asked! Follow along…
Step 1: Increase the Carbonation Level Slightly
Adjust the dial on your CO2 gauge to 3-4 PSI higher than standard serving pressure. For example, I serve around 11 PSI. When I get ready to bottle, I crank the PSI to 15 for a couple days beforehand. This will infuse a bit of extra gas into the beer, which will help retain the proper carbonation level once the gas has dissipated into the head space of the bottle.
**This step is optional for short term bottling, but it is important for competitions and long-term storage.
Step 2: Drop the Pressure to 3 PSI
Remove the gas line and vent your keg. Reduce the gauge pressure to 3 PSI, and return the gas line to the keg. This will cause the beer to run through the line slowly, which will allow you to fill your bottles to the appropriate level without excessive foaming.
This simple device will also reduce foaming and oxidation risk by filling your bottle from the bottom. It has the added advantage of creating the perfect head space when you remove it (similar to a bottling wand). Different faucets require different attachments, so select the appropriate link for your faucets: Standard, Perlick 525, or Perlick 630.
Step 4: Fill and Cap on the Foam
Attach your growler filler, and begin to slowly fill your bottle. As the level nears the top (approx 1/2-inch), close the tap and remove the bottle. The foam should continue to rise to the top. Quickly place and seal the cap with your bottle capper as the foam begins to overflow. Wipe away any foam that escaped. Capping on the foam will ensure that no oxygen gets into the bottle to wreak havoc on your beer as it ages. You may make a mess with the first couple bottles, but I promise you will get the hang of it. Keep a towel around, just in case.
Step 5: Return to Serving Pressure
Crank the CO2 gauge back up to serving pressure. If you followed Step 1, you may encounter some foaming issues when you try to serve from the tap, due to over-carbonation. There is a very simple fix for this. Remove the liquid and gas lines from the keg. Vent the keg, and then run CO2 through the liquid line. Listen for the bubbling to stop, and vent the keg. Repeat this process 1-2 more times and VIOLA, the correct serving pressure should be restored!
If you find the content on Brew on a Budget to be valuable, please consider ways you can offer support. Cheers!