I found some time last night to bottle the Dead Pony Club clone and was hoping for some capping success using my new bench bottle capper – as recommended (or similar) by John (Thanks John!) in a previous post – http://twotailsbrewery.co.uk/my-dislike-of-capping-bottles.

Unfortunately I seem to have drilled lots of holes in various fermentation buckets (there was a reason!) but don’t have enough thermowells to fill them, so using my small fermenter as a bottling bucket was out of the question unless I wanted to use it as a sieve! 

I’d fermented this smallish batch (8L) in the big plastic fermenter (25L) and so used the tap and some tube to syphon the beer back into one of my kettles a couple of days ago. I’m glad I didn’t try and bottle directly from here as there was a lot of trub and floating hops which would have got in the way (I need to adjust the dry hop schedule for this recipe as it comes out rather more hoppy then desired, especially when you leave the hops in there for 5 days rather than 3 again….).

This meant I could re-sterilise the big bucket, and syphon back into there before using the bottling stick to fill the bottles – in the end I managed to get 15 bottles filled, not great but less lost than in previous attempts.

Hand capper (left) vs bench capper (right)

I think, unfortunately, my bench capper has come fitted with the 29mm attachment rather than the 26mm, it did a great job of half fitting the caps! I put a cap on every bottle using this (which at least made sure they were on straight) and then followed up afterwards with the hand capper. The hand capper worked much better on caps that were already held relatively securely in place.

Slightly large capper (I think!)

I had a quick measure of the capping attachment and it definitely seems too big (unless I’m missing something really obvious!) so I shall email the supplier and try and get that sorted asap. Other than that, the capper seems like it is good quality and should make one of the more painful parts of the brewing process a little less stressful – now if only I didn’t have to wash and sterilise all those bottles….

I discovered a new top tip on one of the homebrew forums whilst trying to get the horrible sticky label residue off of all the bottles we had sat around. A paste made of olive oil and bicarbonate of soda smeared onto the bottle and left for a minute before wiping off removes all the glue, amazing! I can’t believe how well this worked 🙂

Mid capping!