Thursday, September 26, 2013

Labeling your bottles

 Once you've brewed a few batches you may find you have bottles building up in your supply.  Often I've had one that was significantly darker than the other so I would identify the bottles in that way, but then when was which brewed?  A sharpie with a small mark on the caps will help but it's not very visually appealing.

 This was working for me, but then one time a friend sent me a couple of bottles of an IPA she brewed, which she also had made labels for.  I was really impressed.  I always thought it wasn't so important but I was really surprised at how much a label improved the presenation.  Some people might be unsure if they want to drink something with no label, maybe even with small pieces of the original label still stuck on the bottle.  Having your own label on the bottle makes your brew look like a legitimate product that you could have on the shelves of your local beer shop.

Here are the lables on my Long December brew:

 There are many ways to make your own labels.  I've even seen a site that will sell you caps with custom words on them.  Since I got those two IPA bottles I've been labeling my bottles as well.  It gives me a place to put the date I bottled my beer, and lets me know what is in the bottle at a quick glance without holding it up to the light and take a guess.

 What I've been doing is going to and creating my label there.  It's free to create a lable there and if you want you can have them print and ship the labels.  Once I have one I like I save the image and print it out.  I go to a copy store and make color copies of the print out, take them home, cut out the labels and I'm ready to go.  To attach them I use a strange trick that I like.  I take the cut out label and I brush milk on the back and then attach the label.  Once the milk dries the label is stuck and when I want to reuse the bottle the label comes off easily.  Try with a test piece of paper and any bottle.  Once you brush the milk on the paper should curl up a little, then apply it to the glass, wipe any excess milk and let it dry.