View Full Version : Used bottles and the carbon nation...

07-30-2005, 08:44 PM
I'm wondering how safe it really is using collected beer bottles for carbonated homebrew.

Depending on the style of beer, the volume of CO2 can be from 0.8 - English Bitter or Scotish Ale, to 4.7 - Weizenbock or Belgian Lambic. In discussion's on bottle priming it seems that most home brewers use an arbitrary amount sugar to prime the brew prior to bottling, not knowing anything about the volume of CO2 it will produce (and pressure), but based on how they like the end results. Cider tends to have a greater volume of CO2 then beer and sparkling wine may have a volume greater then 8 liters of CO2 at 0C and 1 atmosphere of pressure.

Is it safe to assume the collected bottles that some beer came in will stand up to the pressure of your homebrew if We Do Not know;

A. The volume of CO2 contained in the beverage that came in a bottle.

B. The volume of CO2 a cup of sugar in a quart of water added to 3 gallons of Mead / Braggot will create.


07-30-2005, 09:16 PM
I reuse good quality bottles (Karlovaco, Sam Adams, Budwiser bar issue longnecks, etc.) and haven't ever had a bottle bomb. Knock on wood. I take a look at the bottles before i delabel them and if they seem sketchy I pitch them immediately.

Otherwise it's into the PBW for a soak and scrape with the ultra-violence ;D



07-30-2005, 10:43 PM
Oskaar, how do you recycle your bottles and where do you get them?
I fill mine with water, a touch of soap, wash the inside with a brush, and toss into a bucket of 1:10 simple green and come back in a half hour to peel the labels off and wash the outside.
At the recycling center the amount of bottles with thread caps rather than standard caps makes it very diffucult to sort through and find anything. However, finding used wine bottles is a dream. Every day I pull on average 3.5 champagne bottles (visually inspected of course) and can get 1 dozen clear burgundys, 1.5 blue bottles (depending on how much reisling the local winos drank that week), and whatever else I want.
I'm only still going in search of Arbor Mist bottles (misted hock screwcaps! Hot!), 1.5L blue bordeauxs (rare, but HOT!), and the occasional fish or animal shaped bottle (the girlfriends love them).

07-31-2005, 02:15 AM
I'm on the board of directors for two non-profit social/fraternal corporations and one non-profit art/cultural corporation.

Two of the three organizations have facilities that operate bars (one has two bars, the other has one bar) and the third hosts dances and events in which we sell beer and wine. I have an arrangement with all three to get the empties whenever I need them. It works out pretty well for me.

I have a few of the big 11 gallon tubs you can buy at any supermarket during the summer for about five bucks, I fill those with bottles, and then sprinkle in some PBW (Powderized Brewery Wash) and fill them with hot water (my faucet in the brew-works puts out 160 degree water) and let them sit overnight. In the morning after breakfast I call a couple of buddies, we pop a few coldies, grab the putty knives and scrape the labels off, and place the bottles into another tub with more PBW and hot water. Then we scrub the adhesive off with those 3M scouring pads, and run the bottles through the dishwasher. After that it's the power cleaner attachment on the sink, a brush, and then sterization before bottling. No muss no fuss.



07-31-2005, 08:09 AM
scrape with the ultra-violence ;D

Been at the Moloko plus again Oskaar? Don't let the millicent viddy you ded. Ditch the droogies, govorett an appy polly loggy, skorry shvat the devotchka, or you'll be oddy knocky. Shoot the pee and em, take pretty polly, make up your rassoodock to get pyahnitsa and try for a bit of the ol' in-out in-out. Pony? ;D

If any of you have access to a printing facility they use a stuff called Blanket Wash for removing Inks, it also works EXTREMELY well for removing adhesives of all kinds. If you have access I highly recommend using it, it will save you lots of time, just wet down the labels with BW and let sit for 10-15 minutes. The labels should scrape off pretty easy. Then wet down the scrub side of a sponge with BW and you'll quickly take off any remaining glue. I wouldn't recommend soaking the bottles in it, just to keep the chemicals out of the bottle for safety reasons.


07-31-2005, 11:16 AM
The amount of sugar I add when I prime is certainly not arbitrary. One ounce of corn sugar added to one gallon of must/wort will give you two atmospheres of pressure in the bottle. Sparkling beverage bottles containing up to 4 atmospheres of pressure are generally safe to handle. For most beers I use one ounce of priming sugar per gallon, for English bitters I use 0.5 to 0.8 oz per gallon, and for meads and ciders that I want champagne like I have used as much as 1.5 oz per gallon and have never had a problem. As long as you inspect your bottles for defects and measure your priming sugars carefully, using standard beer/champagne bottles should not pose a threat. Of course if bottles are damaged and priming sugars are added in arbitrary amounts all bets are off.

07-31-2005, 04:45 PM
Thank You Joe,

A lot of home brewers I've talked with couldn't say why they use the amount of priming sugar, how much pressure it created or exactly how much pressure a beer bottle could safely hold.


08-01-2005, 04:32 PM
Another quick question...
I found a double magnum bottle that I thought would be cute to put one of my gallon batches into.
But it has red wax at the top.
is there any way to get the wax off easily?

08-01-2005, 04:39 PM
I use bottle wax on a lot of my wines and meads. To get it off i usually make a slit vertically up the middle of the wax with a knife and then it just peels right off.

08-01-2005, 05:14 PM
this wax is almost more like an epoxy or resin since it flakes off and resists my knife very well.
I will try dipping the top of it into hot water and see if that helps.

08-02-2005, 03:19 PM
I pour boiling water over resistant wax, and that'll usually do the trick.

Then boiling water in the sink to remove any stuck wax.

11-07-2005, 03:11 PM
A very useful little bit of info from the Powersbrewery site (thank you Mr. Powers again) on Priming:



11-07-2005, 06:12 PM
Very nice link, Angus, thanks! Good info there.


11-07-2005, 07:30 PM
And for the mathematically impaired...

- http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/brew/widgets/bp.html -


11-07-2005, 09:11 PM

Most excellent! Much easier than mine. Thanks.


11-07-2005, 10:33 PM
N.P. Angus,