How do you currently fill your glass bottles? Do you measure it? Do you do it by eye?
We've been talking to a few of our customers and the method varies. From weighing out the correct amount in each bottle. Using machinery specifically set up for the bottle. Or just by eye.
Obviously some of these methods are more accurate than others.
Filling your bottles can be a time consuming job and it can be quite difficult to fill every bottle exactly the same. But there are steps you can take to help speed up the process.
Filling Your Glass Bottles
We recommend having a standard way of filling each bottle. So every time you come to fill your bottles you follow a simple set of rules.
You can use a measuring jug to fill each one. And mark on that measuring jug exactly the right amount for each bottle.
Or you could put each bottle on a set of scales and then weigh out the correct amount of your liquid or sauce.
You can even use a piston funnel which you can also mark with the correct amount. You can then pour your product in and place the bottle underneath to get the correct quantity each time.
Checking You Have Filled your Bottles Correctly
Even using a standard measuring method across all your bottles can be flawed. So we recommend spot checking random bottles to make sure that they are being filled correctly.
For this you can use a fill height gauge. These are like rulers for your glass bottles which will show the fill height for the bottle. These can be purchased online but they can be tricky to get hold of.
You can also use a set of digital callipers which are easier to get hold of but aren't designed for bottles specifically.
So we've come up with two solutions that you can make at home to help you out! And they will be made specifically for you and your glass bottle.
How Full Should Your Bottle Be?
Every glass bottle that is made to contain alcohol will have a fill height. The fill height can usually be found embossed on the base of the bottle. Along with the fill height you can usually find the capacity, the manufacturer and batch numbers. These are all really important bits of information to have on every bottle.
If these details aren't on your bottle they can be found on a technical drawing of it. Detailing the exact manufacturer measurements of the bottle. You can get these drawings by contacting us!
The fill height is the measurement we need to pay attention to for this guide. And the main thing to know is that the measurement is from the top of the bottle! Not from the bottom
Lets look at a standard 330ml beer bottle for our example
As you can see from our bottle. The fill height is 47mm. This means that 330ml of liquid will fit in this bottle with a gap of 47mm at the top.
But how can you check that you have filled correctly?
As mentioned there are tools out there that can help. But they can be expensive or difficult to find.
So we've come up with a few simple solutions to help.
How to Make a Home Made Fill Height Gauge
For the first solution all you need is 3 ice cream sticks, a ruler, a craft knife and some glue.
Glue 2 ice cream sticks together at a 90 degree angle as shown in the picture below. Use a set square or something you know is square to help you get the correct angle.
Measure down the vertical stick from the bottom of the top stick. It's important that you measure from the bottom of the top stick as this will be resting on the bottle and therefore the top of the measurement.
In our case we will measure down 47mm and make a mark.
Cut your third ice cream stick in half and create a point at one end. Glue it on to the others as shown below. Make sure the top end and point line up with the mark you made earlier.
Rest the top longer stick on top of your bottle. You can now see exactly where your fill line will be.
For taller or wider bottles you might need some longer sticks but the principle is still the same. Just make sure you have a different gauge for each different size bottle that you use.
How to Make a Fill Height Cut Out
With either foamcore board or cardboard you can create a bottle cut out which can show you the fill height.
We've used a thick cardboard for our example.
Lay your bottle on your piece of card board. If you have a big bottle, make sure you have a big piece of board!
Draw around your bottle, leaving about a 1cm gap around it. You can use a ruler to help you with getting this accurate.
It doesn't have to be perfect. It just need to be bigger than your bottle!
Use a sharp craft knife to cut out your bottle shape from your cardboard.
Mark the top of your bottle on the card and measure down from it to mark your fill height.
Draw a line for both heights so you can see them clearly.
Mark the fill height and maybe label the cut out. This is a great idea if you use lots of bottles.
You now have a cut out perfect for your bottle to be placed in and ready to check.
What did you think of our latest guide? Did you find it helpful? We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let us know what you would like to see in our next blog.
Thank you for reading this blog and don't forget to share it with your friends. This blog is for anyone who makes their own beers, hot sauces, spirits and more.
All the best
The Team at Sen5es