Monday, August 31, 2009

Bottling Alternative

I taught a class in extract homebrewing recently and took the opportunity to try an experiment when it was time for the bottling process. I filled several 2 litre plastic soda bottles with the beer we were bottling and screwed the caps on excessively tight.

5 gals. will fill 8.5 plastic soda bottles

My concern was that the bottles would not seal tight enough to contain the co2. Well, as it happens, the plastic bottles of beer carbonated perfectly and were ready to drink in two weeks after bottling, just like 12oz glass bottles. I was very pleased with the results which has encouraged me to move forward with my plans to use this idea while in Mexico this year.

Saving bottles can be problematic down south as all glass bottles are worth money and require a deposit, so people return them to the store where they were bought. This means that it's difficult to collect enough for re-use in beer making without having to buy and consume large quantities of light Mexican lagers(not my favorite beer although Bohemia is pretty good). Whereas the plastic bottles are everywhere and pretty cheap. I could easily afford to purchase some inexpensive soda or water, drink or dump it down the drain and reuse the bottle for my purposes.


I thought that the amount of yeast dregs (a typical condition that occurs when bottling beer with priming sugar) at the bottom of the bottles would prove to be a murky problem but after carefully serving two or three pints of beer, the yeast cake (US05)remained undisturbed at the bottom of the bottle and didn't make the beer any more cloudy than the first pint drawn off. This will make it a lot easier for me to package beer for beer/food pairings and also to transport to the restaurants.

The down side is that once you open the bottle be ready to consume it all before it looses its carbonation and have a friend or two around because a two liter bottle is a little more than four pints.


Scott-TheBrewClub said...

How odd. A friend of mine was trying to home brew for the forst time and he asked me if he could use soda bottles. He thought it would be easier and more efficient to bottle and store than a bunch of regular bottles. I told him I didn't know the answer, but in theory it should work. Now I know it does! Cool!

mark said...

Hey Scott,
thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I typically keg but in the future when the need for bottling arises I will be going with these 2 ltr bottles. Easy, convenient and saves a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if water bottles would work as they aren't made to hold carbonation pressure.

mark said...

Yeah, I wouldn't try water bottles because of that concern but, I may just try one next time to confirm or dispell my beliefs about it.

Fermented Fellow said...

I tried a 2-liter on my first homebrew when I ran out of bottles. Worked so well I've been filling a couple with every batch I've made since then. No problems.

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