The What’s and Why’s of Counter Pressure Bottling

August 10, 2015

The What’s and Why’s of Counter Pressure Bottling

Since launching our crowd funding efforts for our bottling plant in May things have been coming along rather nicely for us. However we’ve been rather quiet about it on the Internet so we thought it was about time that we went in-depth and told you why we chose the bottling system we did and what it does differently to the others.

Counter pressure bottling, what is it? Counter pressure bottling is the most popular bottling method in the world, and unless you’ve drunk bottled homebrew before you’ve probably never had anything different.

Counter pressure bottling is, in essence, exactly what it says on the tin; but the tin isn’t too self-explanatory so here’s a breakdown for you:

  • An empty bottle is connected via an airtight seal, simultaneously, to: a CO2 gas line, a beer line, and a bleed valve.
  • The bottle is then filled with CO2, displacing the air inside, until it has an equal pressure to the beer in the connected keg.
  • The beer is then pumped in and the CO2 bled out until the bottle is full (this takes about 5-10 seconds).
  • The bottle is then removed and a cap is whapped on as quickly as possible.

That’s the what, but we still here you asking, why?

Well there are a number of reasons that this method is more beneficial, for us the brewers and for you the drinkers. These are down to two components of beer: yeast and carbon dioxide; mega breweries have been bottling their beer this way for 100+ years and we shall explain the reasons why; but first, here’s a little bit of background knowledge for you.

Other methods of bottling require what is called “bottle conditioning”, meaning that the beer is not carbonated before it gets bottled and therefore yeast needs to be put into the bottle with the beer so that it can carbonate. Once it’s finished its work the yeast settles to the bottom as sediment and lies dormant; but, unless it only sits on your shelf at home, this is not good for beer. Why? We’re happy you asked:

  • During transportation the yeast will rise from the bottom of the bottle up into the beer meaning that you will have to wait for it to settle afterward, and this can sometimes take several days.
  • You cannot drink from the bottle and, when pouring, you must leave the last half an inch or so of precious beer inside the bottle; or the yeast will affect the flavour, and you’ll be farting until it has cleared your system.
  • When the yeast rises it is also in danger of seeping unintended flavours into your beer, ruining all our hard work and putting the flavours of your beer out of balance.

Counter pressure bottling uses beer that is already carbonated and conditioned, therefore no yeast needs to be put into the bottle. So now you’re as educated as we are on the subject here are the reasons why it is so good for our beer:

  • Transportation: It allows us to transport our beer as far as we want without having to worry about it getting ruined by rising yeast.
  • Consistent Carbonisation: Because the beer is carbonised in one large batch we can control it and ensure that, from one bottle to the next, our beer will always meet the same high standard.
  • Longer Shelf Life: The beer comes into less contact with oxygen ensuring that it keeps its carbon for longer.
  • Flavour:  Coming into contact with less oxygen also means that the beer shall taste fresher for longer. The lack of yeast in the bottle also means that each beer shall always have the same great taste!
  • Finish it!: No sediment means you can take every last drop from the bottle without having to worry about ruining the flavour or farting all night long. The equal pressure method also means that we can empty the keg into bottles, instead of having to wait and drink the last of it from our taps. Allowing us to get the keg ready for our next batch even quicker!

There you have it! Although it is more expensive than other available methods, counter pressure bottling is by far the only method for the best beers. Like the idea? Like the beer?! Well you can help!

Our crowd funding effort, has an excellent a twist for you! We’ve already ordered our bottling plant (due to arrive in November) so either way we’re getting it. However we would like some help in funding it, so we can pay off the bank and work in the brewery full time, putting even more love and craft into our brews. How can you help? Just go to our Help Fund Us!! page, pre-purchase a few of our stubbies, available full of nine delectable favours, and voila!! You’ve helped two guys down the road to achieving their dream! And because we’ve already ordered the plant you’re guaranteed to receive your beer! There’s more information available on the Help Fund Us!! page. Thank you in advance, and happy drinking!