Tag Archives: recycling

Crazy Cool Coasters

6 Dec

[BONUS POINTS FOR ALLITERATION]

As mentioned in my previous post on recycling bottles for homebrew some labels were left in tact from the soaking process.  These labels provided the grounds for a very simple and easy craft project that yielded some decent beer coasters (I suppose that the coasters would work for any beverage but I am not going to pretend that mine will get the chance.)

Home-made Beer Coasters

The project was too simple to even list directions.  Basically, once you have the labels go buy yourself some thin particle board and some wood glue and get measuring and cutting.  Coat the surface of the particle board with glue, lay the label on top of it (if you don’t know how to glue things onto flat surfaces perhaps you should rethink the project entirely) then do a thin layer of glue over top of the adhered label.  Make sure that you buy water resistant glue so that it will hold up during use.

The Pangaea and Brown’s cherry-raspberry labels were fairly larger than your average coaster size.  I am just telling people that they are meant to hold multiple drinks in order to discourage drinking alone.

Recycle your Bottles at Home

22 Nov

Every Homebrewer is faced with a slight dilemma: after brewing 5 gallons of beer you have to put it somewhere.  If you’re small-time like me then you are probably not set up with a kegging system and have to rely on bottling.

There are several options on how to go about this: you can buy bottles from homebrew stores that come without labels, or you can reuse empty bottles that you have drained yourself.  I do the latter because, number one it is cheaper and, number two it becomes a game to find cool bottles that I can reuse for my own beer.

Coolest shaped bottles I have found: Samuel Smith bottles are larger and darker; Sierra Nevada bottles are more stout shaped, same as Anchor Brewing Co,; Schneider weisse bottles are taller but pretty narrow and elegant looking; larger, almost wine-sized bottles can be found but you have to make sure that a regular sized bottle cap will fit, wine bottles won’t work but a nice fit is any larger bottle put out by Dogfish head; I have a lot of really old Genesee pint bottles that are tough to come by nowadays; I also have a really nice, older Sapporo bottle that is pretty large and most definitely in charge.

Don’t bother with twist-offs, there are of no use and should be returned for deposit money.

I have tried various ways of getting labels off and I haven’t noticed much difference in effectiveness.  I have tried baking soda and soap mixtures which seem to work fine and I hear the Oxyclean really does the trick, but that isn’t a product that I own so soap, hot water and maybe some baking soda is my solution.  What I can tell you is what brand’s labels come off the easiest and the toughest.

Tough Ones: Brooklyn labels are, in my opinion, the worst.  You can let them soak in your solution overnight and they are still incredibly resistant to leaving the bottle.  I don’t bother with them anymore, I would rather have the deposit than deal with that headache.  In general, American craft beers are tougher.  I am not sure if we use more adhesive, or just superior adhesive but the labels are stubborn.  Samuel Adams is not the best, but can be done.  If you don’t mind scraping some paper and scrubbing off some glue residue then grab some Sam.  Any beer bottle with foil on it presents some scraping, but is very doable.  Bottles in which the label has been etched or adhered in some other way present problems as well.  Stone Brewing Company’s bottles must remain with their demonic icons in place, I don’t bother trying to make those bottles naked.

Easy Ones: For the most part, when German brand beer bottles are soaked the labels just slide off.  Leave the bottles in the solution for about an hour and when you return the labels will be floating on the surface waiting for you.  Brand’s I have tried: Paulaner, Spaten, Ayinger.  Goose Island is the same way, again I don’t know if it is less adhesive or inferior adhesive but the labels just jump right off of the bottles.

Something I am trying right now is retrieving the labels that come off in one piece, drying them out and adhering them to a piece of hard board to make coasters.  Look for a post on that in the future and I hope that this was helpful in some way.

Patience

19 Nov

It seems that instances of automotive crisis in my life are often paired with great beer moments (see September’s post Near Disaster Turned Milestone.)  The other night my car was towed (If I was blocking your driveway  I am truly sorry and I was unaware that I was doing so) and hence the following morning I had an ordeal when trying to get to work.  Those of you fortunate enough to have never had this happen should know that it is a pretty costly offense and certainly put a damper on my day.

On my way home that evening I stopped to buy some porter to cook dinner with at Oliver’s on Colvin and ran into a day-changer:

Estate Ale hits Albany, NY, and more importantly: my refrigerator.

Finally, Sierra Nevada’s Estate Ale has made it’s way to Upstate NY.  If you are unfamiliar with the premise of this brew, let me fill you in: it is probably the most environmentally friendly beer on the market.  Every ingredient in this beer is grown at Sierra Nevada’s brewery, they have also invested in solar power, fuel cells, recycling of materials and spent grains, etc.  For more info check out their website: Sierra Nevada’s Environmental Stewardship.

The beer is a little more cash than your average larger bottle of beer, but well worth it.  It is a wet-hopped ale: hops are added before they have been dried, resulting in hop flavor without as much bitterness.  This beer was a must-have for me and it certainly turned my day around, I recommend it to anyone curious to find a very ‘green,’ tasty beverage.