Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Night Time Swearing: Why You Need a Bottle Filler (or Friends)

If you've been tracking my progress on the Brewer's Best European Bock recipe I've been working on you're probably wondering if it's turned to vinegar by now. Fear not, loyal followers! I just left it in the secondary fermenter an extra couple weeks. I bottled it Sunday night, so let's explore how that went.

I don't know about you, but I'm generally a pretty calm person. There aren't many things that cause me to yell obscenities at the top of my lungs besides the usual misplaced hammer blow to the thumb, catching myself in a zipper, or dropping something large, glass and expensive in anything other than a moon bounce room. Apparently one of those things (of which I was not previously aware) is the inability to stop free flowing beer from splattering all over my bathroom floor. No, I'm not talking about a late night at the bar, but good guess. I'm talking about not using a bottle filler - to disastrous effect.

A bottle filler is a specialized tube with the gravity sealed valve on the bottom. You don't technically need one, since you can just open and close the spigot valve on the bottom of the bottling bucket (or so I thought.) The first time I bottled a batch I was outdoors, where very few liquid spillage rules not involving toxic waste, oil, or blood apply. My only concern then was losing too much to overflow and drips. Last time I bottled, I had help; one person worked the valve and tipped the bucket while the other held the bottles. My bright idea was to hold the bottle, operate the value, and tip the bucket simultaneously.

See the problem? Let's look at the hand requirements for these activities.

  • Hold The Bottle - 1 Hand
  • Operate The Valve - 1 Hand
  • Tip the Bucket - 1 Hand or 1 Mouth, but not sanitary
Being a mortal man of average aptitude I only possess two hands. Ordinarily I'd borrow one, but there wasn't anything "to hand." Riiiiiiight (Dr. Evil voice from Austin Powers.) Anyway, what ended up happening was that I could open the valve while tipping the bucket back (so it wouldn't spill out), then position the bottle and tip the bucket forward to fill it. Unfortunately, tipping it back the other way didn't work out so well and a quantity of beer spilled out each time. This all added up to be quite a mess since it was falling from about four feet onto a hard floor. Given that this was near midnight after I had been cleaning and sanitizing bottles for several hours, the only words that came to mind were four letter and generally rhymed with firetruck or spit.

Next time I'm going to try the bottle filler.

Gene and I really want to try and increase our blog traffic this year, but for that we need your help. If you know anybody who would like our style of material, pass along the message. For those of you who also blog or have a website, post a comment with a link to it and a little bit about yourself. I'll relax my usual Anti-Spam no-link rule and give you all a chance to hook some of our traffic. I still manually approve posts with links though, so no Viagra, Cialis, Rolex, or Chinese Stocks please.


  1. I dont know what I would do without my cheap bottle filler. My wife (although supportive) "doesn't want to smell like beer for the rest of the night".

    Cheers, and you are placed on my blogroll.

  2. Smelling like beer kinda goes with the territory, I'd be more worried about ants!

    I'll add you to the Blogs of our Followers section. Thanks for reading!