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Author Replies
Baums
01/22/08 10:51 AM  
Capping Belgian Bottles
So, I bought the 29/31 mm adapter bell for my Red Baron wing capper. I also got a bag each of 29 mm and 31 mm caps.

When I try to cap a 750 mL Fantome bottle using either type of cap, the cap is still loose enough that (with some effort) I can rotate it. This seems like it might be a problem.

Does anyone successfully cap

a. 750 mL champaign style Belgian beer bottles (Fantome, Dupont, Cantillon, etc)

b. 375 mL "normal" Belgian bottles (St. Bernardus, De Dolle, etc)

c. 375 mL "stubby" Belgian bottles (Duvel, Chimay, etc)

and if so, can you tell me how? I'm especially interested in the 750s.

Thanks,

Baums

Al B
01/22/08 11:07 AM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I once had this capper long ago - I found after awhile it failed to crimp regular caps on certain bottles (just like you describe). After changing the capper (a black one), I haven't had any more issues on any bottle that I can remember. I'll be doing some stubbys soon to verify those.

I suspect the capper.

Baums
01/22/08 12:54 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Al, are you saying that with your new (black) capper you can cap regular US caps (~26mm) onto Belgian 375 mL bottles, and that with your old red one you couldn't?

Al B
01/22/08 01:06 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
No, I'm just saying I had an issue with loose caps using the red capper (not 26mm). I'm no engineer, but no problems after changing cappers.
Al B
01/22/08 01:36 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Looks like the Agata Bench Bottle Capper will do 26mm caps via an adapter (same or different one, I don't know).

The Black beauty doesn't use an adapter bell, so I don't do 26mm caps. The black beauty uses regular caps on the 375ml of every bottle type without any looseness. I thought it was the caps, then the bottles, but I think it was the capper.

Ross
01/22/08 01:40 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I use the Super Agata(spelling ?) capper with 29 mm adapter and cap the green 750's and 375's with the 29mm caps. I also cap the stubbies but they are the standard size caps.

I'd be willing to bet the 29 mm bell adapter is not right.

Al B
01/22/08 01:50 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
yeah but, the bell adapter is connected to the....Red Baron. And since I had the same problem using a red baren with standard caps......I think its a capper-clunker. I bet ya a beer! ;)
Baums
01/22/08 02:19 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Hmm, this is all kind of confusing. I'm not sure we're on the same page with what's what. Here's my understanding of what caps are available:

26mm (standard US size)

29mm (supposedly for some variety of Belgian bottle)

31mm (supposedly for some variety of Belgian bottle)

I have zero problems capping 26mm caps on standard US 12-ounce and 22-ounce bottles with my Red capper and its original bell.

I have actually capped 375 mL Belgian bottles (both stubby and longneck) with 26mm caps with my Red capper and its original bell. I've only done about 10 bottles that way and figured I just got lucky.

And I've had no luck with 750 mL bottles, using my new 29/31 mm adapter bell and either 29 or 31 mm caps.

One thing about the Red Baron... it has those removable metal plates in the bottom that you have to flip around to accomodate the thick neck of a champagne bottle. It did look though like there wasn't much clearance between the red plastic and the bottle neck... maybe there's something going on with that. Since Ross can make the adapted work with 29 mm caps, it does seem like my capper must have some problem. Ross I did compare the adapter to the original bell and it does look bigger...

Al B
01/22/08 02:23 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
oops, I can't measure - I meant 29mm not 26mm for the non-standard caps (non US)
Baums
01/22/08 03:13 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Gotcha. Sounds like you use your black capper (with no special attachment) and normal US 26 mm caps for everything (but don't cap 750s).
Ross
01/22/08 04:18 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I have the Red Baron too, I almost forgot about that. It does have those plates that must me turned around when using the champagne bottles. If I remember correctly, the plates are stamped with a 26 and either 29 or 31 on the proper end. Make sure the fit around the bottle neck is loose enough so the plates just grip the step that's molded into the lip/neck area of the bottle. The plates may be hanging on the neck of the bottle and you may not be getting a complete crimp due to the bell not being able to slide fully down, over the cap. If you still have trouble, I can send you my Red Baron for comparisons' sake.

The only 375's I've capped are the champagne styled ones that Dupont comes in. They take the 29 mm caps as the 750's do.

I've not had a situation where the 31 mm caps are needed.

Al B
01/22/08 06:28 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I can cap certain 750s (US bottles like Jolly pumpkins, Captain Lawrence for example). Just started using a corker.
BPotts
01/22/08 07:39 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
The red capper works on ALL US 750 mL CHAMPAGNE bottles. I've been using these for years, both bought from the homebrew store and reused from commercial breweries. I really like the dogfish bottles, they're extremely dark brown. Any 750ml champagne style bottle of beer or champagne from the US will work with the capper plates turned around. I have capped those normal 11.2 oz belgian bottles too, although sometimes the capper doesn't grip the neck well so I stopped using them. The only european champagne style bottle I've found to work, without adapter, is an 8 oz pocket size (neat for big beers or tasters). I recently noticed in the Midwest Homebrew Supply catalogue the adaptor you are talking about (i think...it only cost a few bucks right?) for euro sized bottles, but haven't tried it yet.

BPotts
01/22/08 10:19 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
PS - I think i tried the stubbie type once and it didn't work because of the way it gripped the bottle, on the wider middle tier it was too much.
Baums
01/23/08 10:04 AM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I forgot about the US 750s--which of course take the same 26mm cap as other US bottles.

I messed with it more last night. The plates have the perfect (slightly loose) fit around the capper neck. The problem seems to be that the bell itself just doesn't have the right shape. When I push down on the wings of the Red Baron (really really hard...) they still just don't quite go down quite as far as they do with a normal cap on a normal bottle. And when I'm done, the crimp is less complete than it looks on a bottle of Cantillon I looked at for comparison.

Ross, when you use your bulb (with either your bench capper or red baron) to cap a 29mm cap on Belgian champagne bottles, can you twist the cap around when you're done?

Ross
01/23/08 01:08 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
<<Ross, when you use your bulb (with either your bench capper or red baron) to cap a 29mm cap on Belgian champagne bottles, can you twist the cap around when you're done?>>

Man, I hope not!!!! I'm arriving home from my trip tomorrow late afternoon. I'll cap a couple of bottles with the Red Baron and report back. I have some bottles capped with the Super Agata alread on hand so I'll check those too.

I can say though, I've never had a carbonation issue when capping with the Red Baron or Super Agata.

Narvin
01/23/08 02:24 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I don't know if my red baron is magic, but I haven't had a problem capping any of these types:

Standard bell, standard caps, jaws in normal position: US 12 oz, Belgian 375.

Standard Bell, standard caps, jaws inverted: US 750ml champagne.

Larger Bell, 29mm caps, jaws inverted: Belgian 750ml champagne.

BPotts
01/23/08 10:45 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Man, I really gotta invest in of those. I go through euro champagne's so much more than american....
Baums
01/25/08 09:43 AM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Sounds like my bell is just bad then. Guess I'll go through the hassle to send it back and try a new one.
troy
01/25/08 11:07 AM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
So do the 29mm caps fit on the straight-sided 750ml belgian bottles with the big fat lip on them?
Ross
01/25/08 11:56 AM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Okay Bros-

Just got back from California and took a look at the cappers.

I have bottles previously capped with the Super Agata capper; all of these bottles check out fine. I can't twist the caps without tearing the skin off my hands.

However, I just capped a Dupont bottle with my Red Baron and guess what? I can twist the cap if I try.

I flipped the plates around and installed the standard bell and capped a bottle. Same thing, I can still twist the bottle cap but this cap does fit tighter.

Looks like the Red Baron capper is going into the crapper.

Baums
01/25/08 12:55 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
troy: no, it won't.

Ross: Damn, sounds like it is the red baron that's the problem after all. Weird, because when I look at my 29mm capping efforts, it seems like the crimped part of the cap is not fully compressed, and it's hard to blame that on anything but the shape of the bell. But I guess a capper that creates more leverage can do better...

Ross
01/25/08 03:09 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Baums-

I agree, it just may be the cappers' leverage and not the bell. The only thing left would be to measure the bells on both cappers and note any differences. I don't have that technology at the house though!! :-)

I just capped that same Dupont bottle with my Super Agata and the cap is tight as a drum.

Al B
01/25/08 03:18 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
I'm TELLIN' youse guys dat Red Baron Capper gave me loose 26mm caps without dat dumb bell thing........
Ross
01/25/08 05:09 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Al Baron-

Now I KNOW you're from N.J!!!!! What a crapper capper! :)

Baums
01/28/08 12:25 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Yeah Al, I was hoping it was only *your* Red Baron that sucked, since I can cap 26 mm caps with mine just fine. But it looks like either way it's garbage for the 29mm caps...
Ross
01/28/08 08:36 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Okay, here's something weird going on. I bottled a batch last night in 12 oz and 750 ml bottles with the Super-I-Gotta-Pay-More-Money-For-A-Capper.

After bottling I randomly tried to twist some of the caps. The 750's were tight but some of the 12 oz guys were twistable. I removed the caps on the five that appeared loose and recapped them with similar results. Could it be that some bottles are a bit undersized??? I really doubt it. I also wonder if it has something to do with the caps being wet with sanitizer that allows them to twist on the bottle but are air tight regardless. Anyway, I marked the bogus bottles and we'll see in a few weeks if they are leaking. I've never noticed this before with any other bottles I've capped..hmmm...

Baums
01/30/08 03:10 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Yikes. Let us know how those bottles turn out.
danyP
01/30/08 03:37 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
hello! do you say the Cork can go on ! alone ?..
ErikH
01/30/08 06:30 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Hi Dany!

I have successfully corked many recycled Fantome bottles, but of course you must leave a portion of the cork protruding and use a wire 'cage' or 'hood' like you see on a Champagne bottle to guard against carbonation pressure unseating the cork.

This serves the same purpose as putting the cap over the cork in your own finishing method.

Hope I understood your questions OK . . . ?

Baums
01/30/08 06:41 PM  
Re: Capping Belgian Bottles
Bonjour Dany.

(et pardon pour ma francais mal!) Quelque homebrewers en Amerique utiliser des "corks" (je ne sais pas le mot en francais...) sur bouteilles 750 mL, mais toujours avec les "fils metal" (?) pour empechez le cork de partir.

Mais moi, j'essaye utiliser des 29 millimetre "chapeaux metal" (je dis "crown caps" en anglais) sur des bouteilles 750 mL--de Fantome et de Dupont. Mais mes chapeaux n'attaches pas bien sur les boutailles. Je crois que mon petit machine c'est mal, quand il utilise les chapeaux 29 mm.

Je sais que vous utilisez des corks ET des chapeaux. Est-ce que vous pouvez dites moi que le Fantome utiliser 29 millimitre chapeaux sur ses bouteilles? Ou 31 mm?

J'aime tres bien vos bieres. Best,

Baums

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