The finishing touch on home brewing is usually putting the beer into bottles. The problem that many individuals face is trying to pour the beer directly into a funnel or using a spigot and hoping that it will not accidentally spill. Using a bottling wand can reduce the number of hassles and make the process of bottling much faster.
Problems of Bottling Without a Wand:
Trying to bottle beer without a bottling wand comes with a wide range of potential hassles and complications. The process of bottling is more difficult because it requires the use of equipment that is not specifically made for bottling purposes.
One option is pouring the beer through a funnel. This usually requires two individuals because one person will need to hold the bottle and funnel steady while the other lifts and pours the beer. The result is a potential mess of spilled beer, foaming that leads to changes in the flavor and the possible oxidation that might occur throughout the process.
The alternative that uses a spigot can help reduce the number of spills and provide more control, but it has the same risk of foaming and oxidation that pouring through a funnel will provide. The spigot will still result in the beer traveling through air before filling the bottle.
Regardless of the bottling method, the risk of over or under filling the bottle is high. This can create problems when it comes to pressure build up or oxidation that makes the beer go flat during storage.
Benefits of a Wand:
A bottling wand has a few key benefits that stand out from other methods of bottling home brewed beer. Understanding the benefits makes it easier to see how the hassles are reduced when the beer is ready to bottle.
An advantage of using the wand is the improved control over filling the bottles. The wand is attached to the spigot on the barrel or container used in brewing and is then placed inside the bottle until it reaches the bottom. The option to open and close the wand also provides better control while filling because it is possible to close the wand and stop the flow of beer.
Filling the bottle does not result in foaming, which reduces the amount of oxidation. This results from having the end of the wand directly against the bottom of the bottle. As the bottle fills, the amount of foam is minimal. The lack of oxidation means that the brew will last longer and will taste better.
The wand also ensures that the appropriate head space within the bottle. When filling the bottle with a spigot or pouring through a funnel, it is easy to accidentally over or under fill the bottle. The appropriate amount of head space is necessary to limit popping from over filling or going flat from under filling the bottles. When a wand is used, the flow of beer is stopped when the bottle is full and the wand is pulled out. When the wand is removed from the bottle, the appropriate amount of head space is left in the bottle.
Problem with Wands:
Wands are a convenient way to fill a bottle, but some types of wands have the potential to malfunction and get stuck opened or closed while filling the bottles. The best way to avoid the potential for a wand to stick in the open position is selecting a quality wand.
Avoid the least expensive plastic wands and opt for an option that has quality materials. The final choice is personal, but opting for quality will avoid the necessity of replacing the wand when it gets stuck and ruins a few bottles of brew.
A bottling wand is a useful home brewing tool because it eliminates the hassles of filling up bottles. While it is important to select a quality wand, the tool itself will make home brewing simpler and more enjoyable.