When it comes to choosing a storage vessel for your homebrew, bottles are probably the most obvious option for homebrewers both new and old. Bottling homebrew is a great choice for those starting out because bottles are easily accessible and can be reused time and time again. They’re also great for their versatility in being able to store smaller individual servings in many settings and for ease of transportation.
Seasoned homebrewers also like using bottles for bottle conditioning which allows the beer to further mature and develop over time in a safe and secure package that can be easily stored for long periods of time. Regardless of why you may choose to use bottles to store your brew, one thing homebrewers can agree on is that a big disadvantage of bottles is the inconvenience they present when it comes to cleaning and drying them.
While most all-inclusive brewing kits come with a bottle brush and sanitizer to clean bottles they almost never include a tool for drying and storing them. To remedy this, many use dish racks, some even roll up paper towels and insert them into the bottle, and others may simply balance them upside down on a cloth or paper towel. However, these are all bad ideas for one reason or another, with the biggest issue being that some part of the bottle is coming in contact with another surface that is most likely unsanitary.
In brewing, beer must only come in contact with surfaces that are absolutely sanitary so you may ask yourself, “How can I properly dry out a bottle without having anything touch the inside or mouth of the bottle?” Luckily for you, there are people out there that have already answered that question. Enter the FastRack.
The FastRack is a great alternative to dish racks and bottle trees because it safely holds your bottles without having any part of the drying rack come in contact with the inside or mouth of the bottle.
Instead of resting on a dish rack with the chance of tipping over, or a bottle tree where the arm is actually inserted into the bottle, the FastRack suspends the bottle by the outside of the bottle at the base of the neck, upside down, allowing gravity to take care of the rest. With each bottle in its own special spot you can ensure that they’re securely held in place without coming in contact with other bottles, all while eliminating the chance of them falling over or moving around and breaking.
The FastRack is also designed to allow you to conveniently stack racks on top of one another, enabling you to make the most of the vertical space in which you store your bottles. The FastRack designers also created a tray that’s made specifically for use with the FastRack to neatly catch and hold all of the water underneath the drying rack.
The racks come in three different sizes—two of which are ideal for beer. The first FastRack will hold up to twenty-four standard 12 oz. longneck bottles and will even accommodate some specialty bottles 330ml to 375ml in volume. The second size is designed for larger bottles and is perfect for holding up to twelve 22 oz. bombers and 750ml Belgian style bottles. Using two racks for whichever bottle type you use will be suitable for a 5-gallon batch of beer. And to add to it all, all materials are dishwasher-safe, making for one less thing that you have to clean by hand.
So you’ve got your bottle drying situation figured out, but what about that really big bottle you have sitting over there? Yes, the beloved carboy — great for fermentation but perhaps not so great when it comes to cleaning it. With the help of a carboy brush and maybe a hose or jet bottle washer you can certainly get it clean, but what about drying?
Carboys present difficulties when it comes to drying them because they have narrow openings and wide bodies where almost all of the weight is centered. Because of this, they can be very hard to balance upside down to allow water to drain out. This is where a carboy dryer comes in handy.
A carboy dryer is a simple yet extremely helpful piece of equipment that creates a sturdy base upon which you can place the carboy upside down. Doing so allows the carboy to drain and dry as long as needed without the possibility of tipover. Much like the FastRack, no part of the dryer comes in contact with the inside or mouth of the carboy.
Additionally, the wide base of the dryer allows you to stack carboys one on top of the other to conserve space. For those of you that brew multiple batches at once and have an ever-growing collection of carboys, picking up a carboy dryer for each carboy can be a very wise purchase.
These two pieces of equipment may seem simple but are popular for good reason and certainly worth every penny when it comes to added convenience in the beermaking process. Save yourself the hassle while maintaining proper sanitation with the FastRack bottle drying system and carboy dryer.