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Beer Gun Bottling

It’s time to send off your bottles to the National Homebrew Competition. So, I broke out the Blichmann Beer Gun and got to bottling.  If you keg your beer a beer gun is not an absolute necessity but its pretty damn close. It makes to process of transferring your beer from the keg to a bottle virtually painless. It uses patented Blichmann engineering to produce the perfect bottle fill every time. Thus, reducing or eliminating oxygenation and excessive foaming.

The Blichmann Beer Gun runs about $75.00 and can be ordered online or from your local homebrew supply shop. It is money well spent if you compete or transport your beer frequently.

Using the beer gun is simple and almost idiot proof. The kit comes with the beer gun itself and pre cut plastic tubing. You may need to get an additional fitting or two to make it work with your specific system. You will need a splitter for the CO2 so you can charge the keg and the beer gun. Ask your homebrew shop if you’ll need anything else when you’re ordering.

brewgun2.

The first thing you need to do when you are ready to start bottling is clean and sanitize your equipment. Dismantling the beer gun is a snap. All you’ll need is a small adjustable wrench. Most of it comes apart by hand.

Beer Gun apart

Next clean and sanitize your bottles. I reused bottles for this session but it is always better to use new bottles when bottling for a competition. Use your standard method making sure your bottles are ready to go (PBW & Starsan for me). Don’t forget about your bottle caps.

Sanatized bottles

Once they are sanitized I will place them in a bottle carrier put them in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes while I connect up my kegs and CO2. Chilling the empty bottles to the same temperature as your beer will reduce the possibility of foaming.

Clean BottlesFrozen Bottles

Now, you need to hook up your beer gun to your keg and CO2. There are a few critical things you need to do to make sure your process runs smoothly. 1) Once you unhook your keg from the CO2 bleed the residual pressure out. 2) Turn your CO2 regulator down to a very low pressure. I use 3psi. 3) DO NOT alter the length of tubing that came with the beer gun. This is cut to a specific length to help balance the pressure and reduce foaming.

Now, connect the CO2 tube to the fitting on the bottom of the beer gun and the beer tube to the back of the beer gun.

 Beer gun assembled

Connect the other end of the beer tubing to the beer “out” disconnect. DO NOT DO THIS WHILE IT IS CONNECTED TO THE KEG! Connect the tube to the disconnect then reattach the disconnect to the keg.

Now you’re ready to go. Pull the trigger on your beer gun and bleed off any excess air and foam into another vessel. Once you have a smooth flow you’re ready to bottle.

Place the gun in the neck of the bottle all the way to the bottom. Now purge the oxygen out of the bottle by pressing the CO2 trigger and filling it with CO2. This takes only a few seconds.

Next pull the main trigger on the beer gun releasing the beer into the bottle. Fill the bottle to the rim and then remove the gun. This causes the beer to recede to a consistent fill level every time.

Now cap it and move on to the next bottle. But be careful. Sometimes you can get carried away… :-(

 Bottle cappingBroken Bottle

So, that’s it. Once you are set up you can empty a keg in no time. All that’s left to do is clean up.

Happy Brewing!

Clay

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