What utilities & connections are required? (using Meheen bottling line)
Co2: CO2 should be on a high flow regulator, meaning it can't trickle out CO2 to the bottler. We recommend a 1/2” bore, rebuildable Co2 regulator. These can be had for $25-50- We have had good luck with Coilhose brand. Pressure is typically set it at 35-40psi. Our Meheen fillers use a 3/8" NPT fitting, but we bring adapters and hoses. Please make sure no other equipment (i.e. keg washers or your brite tanks) are pulling from your C02 source while we are bottling- this can result in inconsistent fill levels. For bottling, we can work with bulk CO2 or individual tanks. If you are using individual tanks, make sure to have spares and keep an eye on the pressure.
Compressed Air: If you have a compressor that provides at least 15scf@90psi and provide constant pressure of 100+psi to the machine at all times, we'll use that. If not, we do bring compressors, which take standard 220v. We have adapters to work with 3 phase outlets. Hose should be at least 3/8″ inside diameter for runs 50′ or less, with a 3/8" NPT fitting for connection to our Meheen filler.
Water: A standard garden hose fitting is all we need. Water is used for post-rinsing the bottles only.
Electrical: Other than our compressor, all our equipment runs on standard 110v/60hz electricity.
How much space is required? (using Meheen bottling line)
We will roll the equipment into your brewhouse- 48” wide door required. The in-line labeler and Meheen 6-head filler both require 3’-6” clear width and 6’ clear length. They can be arranged in-line (12x3’-6”), in a U-formation (6x7’), or at right angles, depending on your space.
How should we staff for a bottling run? (using Meheen bottling line)
Brewery to provide a staff of three, to load empty bottles on to the labeler, and transfer full bottles from the filler back into the cases. A staff of two can work if the brewery opts to skip the internal bottle rinsing, which takes place between the labeler and filler.
What else should we consider to be prepared? (using Meheen bottling line)
A loading dock and pallet jack, or forklift is typically required for glass delivery. If these are not available, please notify Mobile Bottling Source to arrange glass delivery using a truck with lift gate. In some areas this may require an extra 48hrs to coordinate.
Typical start time is 8am unless otherwise coordinated.
At the beginning & end of the bottling run we will need:
(1) 5-gallon bucket caustic (Dissolve four ounces (one-half cup or about 125 grams) of Birko CELL-R-MASTR™ or similar in 5 gallons of 120-1300F water.)
(1) 5-gallon bucket hot water
(2) 5-gallon buckets sanitizer (Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2) or Peracetic Acid (PAA)
We try to minimize mess, but the bottling process does generate overspray. Please clear the bottling area of any brewing ingredients or supplies.
Make sure to have plenty of packing tape on had to seal full cases.
What is required to bottle with the larger rotary trucks? (In addition to all the requirements listed above for the Meheen fillers)
With our rotary trucks, the equipment stays within the truck, rather than being loaded into your facilities. So we will need to park as close as possible to your brite tanks or fermenters, and the parking spot needs to be level. The truck dimensions are 40’ L x 8’ W x 13'-6" H. Brewery to supply hoses from brite tank to truck, a Co2 line rated for high pressure, and regulated at 80psi min, and a water line with a standard garden hose fitting. Your hoses must be long enough to reach the parking location. Product and waste hose connections are 1-1/2" triclover, although we bring an adapter for the waste hose to convert to male garden hose. The rotary trucks have on-board generators and air-compressors, so you will not need to provide electricity or compressed air. The big trucks work best with bulk Co2 systems.
For cleaning before and after our bottling run, we will need a minimum of:
50 gallons Caustic (Dissolve 10oz ounces of Birko CELL-R-MASTR™ or similar in 50 gallons of 120-1300F water.)
50 gallons hot water (120f max)
50 gallons sanitizer (Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2) or Peracetic Acid (PAA)
Brewery to supply minimum of 4 staff to load/unload bottles. At 200+ cases per hour the additional help is critical.
Can you date code?
Yes, all our labelers are equipped with date coders, and there is no extra charge. Many of our customers prefer not to date code, so if you do want your bottles date coded, please let us know when we schedule your bottling date, and also discuss with our bottler during set-up. You will need to let us know the format (bottling date or expiration date). Please also check the first bottles filled to make sure the code is as you expect.
The larger rotary trucks place the date codes directly on the bottles, while the labelers used with our meheen fillers place the date code on the label.
Date codes can only be vertically oriented, and our equipment does allow us to control the placement of the code on the bottle. Some customers have a "bottled on" box or field on their labels, which we can hit pretty consistently. A .25x1.5" field is large enough.
Can we provide our own bottles? Are there any requirements?
Yes, some of our customers do supply their own bottles. For a variety of reasons we really encourage customers to source bottles through us. We can offer great pricing due to the volume of bottles we purchase. Our suppliers also offer excellent support for their products.
If you are interested in supplying your own bottles, we'll need at least one sample case to test for compatibility with our equipment. Contact us to coordinate.
Please note: Mobile Bottling Source cannot be responsible for any issues that arise with customer supplied bottles. We have occasionally seen problems with inconsistent tolerances, or bottles that work with occasional issues. A single sample case is not always enough to determine how bottles will perform during a full bottling run. We do guarantee any bottles we provide should run without issue.
Can we provide our own labels? Are there any requirements?
Yes, some of our customers choose to source their own labels. Our equipment requires that the labels be a "#4 wind" - this is the orientation of the label on the backer, and how the roll is wound. The inner roll diameter needs to be 3" with a maximum outside width of 12". 2000 labels per roll is preferable.
Please note: Mobile Bottling Source cannot be responsible for any issues that arise with customer supplied labels. We have experienced issues with paper or "estate" media labels, and do not recommend them. Our equipment also works better on a white backer (as opposed to craft/paper color or transparent). Generally, larger labels are more prone to wrinkle/crease.
Can you do separate front & back labels or neck labels?
No, sorry. Our equipment is calibrated to put one label on each bottle.
How can we make sure the product is ready for bottling?
Maintaining consistent tank pressure and temperature is critical. Product should be between 32-33F and at 15psi. Ideally your brite tanks are fully jacketed with glycol temperature no lower than 30F. We can bottle out of cold-storage/walk-in coolers, but it does occasionally create issues with temperature management.
Making sure your beer is at the proper temperature and pressure, and is carbonated appropriately will insure that we are "capping on foam" when crowning the filled bottles. This is critical in preventing premature oxidization.