June 25, 2010

Step 2 - Prep cont.

So we're ready to go with some nice clean bottles. Of course these will always be rinsed and sanitized prior to each batch to ensure that any dust or random stuff inside has been cleaned off. A solution of a little bleach in hot water will do the trick nicely. The hotter the better.
With my first test batches, my plan is to mix up a syrup, carefully fill with club soda, cap, chill and enjoy later. I figure this is how it's done at the commercial bottling plants, just on a larger level. The trick is going to be finding the right sweetness and the right amount of syrup in each bottle. More to come on that later while I gather up some recipes.

Step 2 - Prep cont.

As you can see from the picture, after a good soak, it comes right off. If you soak it for long enough, it will actually start to just run off as you pull it out of the solution. To be sure it's all off, go ahead and wipe it off, a scrubber helps but is not necessary if it's been soaking long enough.

Bear in mind that while this came off easily, other bottles may be different. I also picked up some empty Corona bottles and wanted to clean the printing off of those as well. They use a three color screen print; blue over yellow over white. So those took some scrubbing, extra soaking, and extra CLR. If doing this yourself, you'll just have to play around with it a bit and see what works best.

Step 2 - Prep

Once the minimal equipment arrived (caps, bottles, and capper), I was pretty much ready to go. But while I liked the look of the blue bottles with the white screen printing, I wanted a blank canvas to exhibit my own creativity. I wanted blank blue bottles.

I had read previous to purchasing them that the print can be cleaned of with a 10:1 mixture of water and CLR. So I mixed some up and set them to soak. I was disappointed with the results. There was still an outline of where the print was, and on one bottle there was scratching from the scrubber only where the printing had been.

After playing around with it some more, I discovered that a 4:1 mix was more appropriate, and the more CLR you have in your mix, the less time it needs to soak. 4:1 needs about 8-12 hours for good results. It's important to use CLR and not something like Lime Away, because while they seem like similar products, Lime Away warns against using on food surfaces, while CLR gives instructions for cleaning coffee pots. If you're worried about getting the chemical inside the bottle, you can always cap it first. Be sure to fill it with water before capping so it won't float in whatever you might be soaking it.
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