Many people think that once you have a keg, that you will never use bottles again. But, if you have a keg, you probably already know that you will want or need to bottle from your keg at times. There a a number of different reasons to bottle from your keg, here are just a couple.
Reason #1 is to bottle your beer for competition. If you want to enter your beer into a competition at your local home brew club, you need to submit your beer in bottles.
Reason #2 to bottle is when you need to free up a keg for your next batch of beer. When you keg a new batch of beer, you will usually have to wait at least 3 days or more for the beer to carbonate. So, you may want to bottle the last of the current keg. After all, what will you drink while waiting for your keg to carbonate. You don’t want to do the unthinkable and run to the store for a 6-pack of Bud.
Reason #3 to bottle is to share. Sure, you can fill a growler to take to your friends house, but a growler is only good for a couple of days if you don’t open it. What if you want to have 2 or 3 different types of beer in your house when friends show up or when you go to a friends house? You can buy a couple more kegs, or you can fill a couple of bottles and stock your fridge.
Simple and Cheap
The easiest method for bottling is to use a picnic tap with a 10″ to 12″ growler filling hose slid over the end of the picnic tap. If you have a keg, you probably already have a picnic tap and or beer faucet. While this is very easy, inexpensive and it gets the job done, it can introduce some oxygen to your beer. If you don’t plan to have to bottles around long, then a little oxygen won’t hurt.
Draft Bottle Filler
A better, but more expensive option is to buy a draft bottle filler. These usually run around $90, but they also have a lot of benefits. First, they have 2 beer lines and 2 buttons, one line connects to the keg and the other line connects to your CO2 tank. This allows you to purge the bottle with CO2 with 1 button and then to fill the bottle with the second bottle.
Chill Your Bottles
Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to follow your normal cleaning procedures and chill your bottles. This is important. Your bottles should be at the same temperature as your beer. If you are bottling with room temperature bottles, you will have foaming problems and your experience will be misserable and you will likely end up with flat beer. You don’t have to put your bottles in the fridge, as they will likely take up a lot of space. But instead you can use cold water when sanatizing your bottles. Let the bottles chill in the sanitizer and enjoy.