It seems that the part of brewing that receives the most ire is bottling. That’s why so many keg. Well, we bottle. Brewing 10 Gallons and splitting between three households does not lend itself to kegging very well. We finally got in to a groove with bottling and it does not really tend to be much of an issue for us.
Of course, having a minimum of three people bottling will do that. If you’ve read this blog for a bit, then you know that just because something works, there is no guarantee that I will leave it alone. To Hell with “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I like Tim Taylor’s answer better: “MORE POWER!”
How exactly do you make a bottling bucket better? Read on, my friends. Read on.
I got all the parts for this modification from my Local HomeBrew Store (LHBS).
Small Racking Cane – $2.25
Drillled Stopper – $0.70
That brings this mod to a grand total of $2.95. This is the least expensive mod so far.
The size of the racking cane doesn’t matter. Choose the smallest and cheapest you can find. You’ll see why.
Start out with your basic Bottling Bucket
Here are the newly purchased parts. My LHBS let me take my “valve” from the bucket in to size the stopper.
Put the stopper in the back of the valve and the racking cane into the stopper. Do this so that the cane is upside down. Measure the distance from the horizontal arm of the cane to to bottom of the bucket.
Once you have this measurement, mark the cane. This is where you will cut it. I used my Handi-Cut tool again. I tested the cut on an area close to the bottom of the cane to see how it would cut. It left a jagged edge, so I heated the cane with a heat gun and cut again. This time, it cut through like butter. Nice, smooth edge on the cut, too.
One thing to note, if you use a similar tool, the area you cut may flatten or come “out of round”. Heat it up again and it will go back to its original shape.
I cut mine on an angle so that the long edge rests on the bottom of the bucket while still allowing the suction to grab the beer.
You should take this time to soak your valve in some Oxi Clean or Bar Keepers Friend. This is an often overlooked part that needs to be cleaned regularly. Maybe not after every brew, but certainly after every four, depending on how aggressive your brew schedule is.
Here are all the parts laid out after a good sanitizing soak. Notice the Small piece of tubing I cut from the bottling tube.
This is how the pieces fit together.
Make sure the cane extends all the way through the stopper
Push the stopper into the valve. This is how it is assemble one the valve is installed into the bucket.
You can definitely see the beige standing out beside all the clear and white. This picture is why I showed the assembly outside of the bucket.
I then took the small piece of tubing that I cut and heated it enough to slip over the output on the valve. Heated it again to insert the bottling wand. The length of this piece of tubing will be different depending on your valve and wand. Mine ended up at 1 5/16″
A couple small wire ties to hold things in place
I decided to keep the valve that came with my bucket. This valve allows me to turn it 180 degrees so that I can store the bucket on a flat surface.
It’s a pretty simple mod.
Stack it on top of another bucket with a lid and you have an easy bottling system that you can use while sitting down.
Push the bottle up on to the wand and let the magic flow!
No, it’s not water, it’s a 4% ABV Hefeweizen. Sure, your arms may get a bit tired from holding the bottle, but it’s a lot easier than the methods used previously.