Gowanus Brewery

Extra Pale Ale – Bottled by Jeremy
January 7, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, extra pale ale

I bottled the extra pale ale today, which a few weeks ago I named Cleaner’s Pale Ale, and it all went off without a hitch. Third time’s the charm.

This was by far my most successful bottling. I got 48 bottles of beer out of this batch, compared to about 43 from my first two. This I owe mostly to a change in my bottling method that I discussed previously, which allows me to preserve a maximal amount of beer through the fermentation process. According to the retailers I’ve used, the upper limit here is about 50 bottles.

I made a change to my brew process today that I’ll describe briefly. In the past, my girlfriend and I labored for hours scrubbing labels off old bottles, just to slap on a new label when we were finished. Removing the glue that binds both commercial labels and even our own homemade labels is next to impossible. We tried boiling the bottles, soaking them over night, we even used a citrus-based degreaser. Nothing really seemed to make the job reasonable. The daunting task of scrubbing the hell out of 50 bottles took all the fun out of bottling my second batch of beer, the Chinook IPA. So, this time I did things a little differently. I did nothing.

As you can see in the picture, I just threw the new labels on over the cruft clinging to the bottle after cleaning and sanitizing. For some, that meant the original label was intact and it looked like I was pawning off, for example, Long Trail Blackberry Wheat Ale as my own. For others, that meant the original label was an unreadable, pulpy mess. It’s makes for an inconsistent, raw look, and is completely worth the time saved. As soon as I decided to go this route, a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I got excited about getting to the work of putting this beer to bottle. If possible, I’ll let labels accumulate over time, to build up into thick, uneven layers. Maybe I can craft an aesthetic here, even if it is based on what amounts to laziness. Besides, I feel like slick’s been done and a grungier look is more fitting for a brew produced a block and a half from the Gowanus Canal. Long live Gowanus!


3 Comments so far
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I can definitely understand the label headache, but I learned a trick that works really well for me. Boiling is always a good idea, it kills anything that may have been living in the bottle, but here is the trick:

First, before boiling, I soak them overnight in water with some dish soap and bleach, then I will check the labels, sometimes that soak will do it, then I boil the bottles, make sure they are full of water, after the boil, I use a single edge razor blade, the labels come right off, most of the time anyway, there is always that one!

Love your site, I have added you to my Blogroll, so others can find you, I am also putting a feed from your site in my sidebar. Keep up the good work!

Comment by CarpetGuy

[…] bottled the Cleaners almost a month ago and sampled the beer once a week since then to track its progress. To say I was worried the first, […]

Pingback by Cleaners Pale Ale Goes Over « Gowanus Brewery

I love your website, I found it loking for recipes.
I know getting labels off bottles is a hassle.
Try soaking the bottles in a bucket of hot water with Oxy Clean (cheaper than PBW) and after half an hour the will slip right off.
Keep brewin’!

Comment by Frritzkrieg Hop

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