Categories
General

Making your own labels and pump clips

As many of our regular club members will know, I enjoy making labels and pump clips for my home-made beer almost as much as I enjoy making the beer itself. So I thought I’d share a blog post I wrote in my own blog about how I go about making my own labels and sticking them to the bottles. I think this is something a lot of home brewers are thinking about just now as we sometimes give beer as Christmas presents so obviously you want people to know what beer you have given them but also it’s nice to give a gift that looks good.

Step 1

so where do I start? Well usually by looking at beers available in my local beer store or supermarket and deciding which labels I like and why. A lot of the time, the labels can influence our decision to buy a beer (even if we don’t like to admit it), so it’s a good exercise to do, what do I like about the label, what does the label imply, what assumptions am I making?

I also look online and one blog I have found which I love just for looking at really nicely done graphic design for the beer industry is OhBeautifulBeer.com. They regularly show fantastic labels and poster and other beer paraphernalia and usually with a nice back story from the designers about they came to their decisions when designing. I would recommend popping onto the blog for a look and some ideas.

Step 2

So you have looked at other beer labels and decided on the kind of thing you like. Now you need to work out what size your label should be. The simplest way to do this is to measure one of the labels you liked.

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Step 3

You have your label style idea, you have your label size. Next sketch your idea out on a bit of paper. This way you can keep adjusting your ideas if you realise you’ve forgotten something important or if things don’t look as good on paper as they did in your head. The important thing here is just to get your ideas down on paper; it doesn’t matter if you are a fantastic artist or if you just draw some boxes and a stick man. After all a lot of artisan products these days go for the “rustic/handmade” look.

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Step 4

You have your label idea, now you need to decide how you are going to create it. Are you going to draw your label and then photocopy it or are you going to create it on the computer? What way suits you best?

If you do decide to create it on the computer, you might want to think about what software you will use. Graphic design software is great and offers you so much versatility in what you can do, but it’s also expensive. But a lot of software comes with a 30 day trial for free or there is even some free graphic design software out there.

Free software to try:

• GIMP – http://www.gimp.org/

• Paint.net – http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

• Inkscape – http://inkscape.org/

Try something out, look up YouTube videos to teach you how it works and then have a good play and see what you can do.

Here’s the finished label I made.

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Step 5

Once you have your labels designed it’s time to print them out and attach. I’d recommend using a laserjet printer for this as the ink is less likely to run. I’ve found that the ink runs a little on deskjet printer so if I use a deskjet I also spray hairspray onto the labels after printer to help “fix” the ink.

Now you have some choices on how to attach your labels to your bottles. It depends on how you are going to treat the beer.

If you are giving the bottles away as gifts, you might want to either print onto sticky paper labels which you can buy in stationery stores of your could use pritt stick to attach them to your bottles. The last thing you want is for the label to come off.

The down side to doing this is that if you want to reuse bottles for another brew, these glued or sticky labels can be a right hassle to get off the bottle again.

If I’m just bottling for us to drink at home my solution is that I stick the labels on using milk. Yup plain old milk. If you coat a very thin layer on the back of the label it sticks perfectly to the bottle and in about an hour you have a perfectly affixed label that will come off really easily in a little hot water when you clean your bottles. I know some folk worry about the idea of using milk incase it smells but don’t worry. I don’t know the science bit, but it doesn’t smell. Honestly I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and you’ve all drank my beer at one meeting or another 🙂

Some of my labels and pump clips

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PUMPCLIP golden

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You can see more of my beer and other blog posts on my blog – http://www.elidonald.co.uk/blog

 

Categories
Events General

18 October 2014 – Enjoying a tour of Alechemy

chatting with the brewersOne of the only sunny days this October saw us indoors sampling beers and chatting about all things brewing with James and Adam from Alechemy Brewery in Livingston. 15 of the Scottish Craft Brewers group enjoyed a chance to pick the brains of one of Scotland’s finest breweries to learn new skills, improve on existing skills and go away with ideas to try at home not to mention the cases of beer they bought.

James and Adam, brewery founders, led the group around the brewery explaining various pieces of equipment and processes, discussing yeast and talking scary sized boil overs giving the group the grand tour. The guys even had time to spend with individual brewers from our group giving advice and helping to solve various conundrums they had faced.

This was all discussed further over a couple of glasses of Alechemy’s new beer “Merica” and a chance to share and provide feedback on some of the club brewer’s own beers.

A thoroughly good day for experienced and new home brewers alike.

 

Categories
Recipe

American Style Amber Ale – All Grain

American Style Amber Ale

american amber aleThis recipe should give a 19litre batch using my equipment but obviously you will need to take into account your own set up and tweak as necessary.

Batch Size: 19l
Style: American Amber Ale ( 6B)
Color: 21.4 EBC
Bitterness: 37.7 IBUs

Boil Time: 60 min

Est OG: 1.055
Est FG: 1.012

 Ingredients

  • 3.37 kg Pale Malt
  • 1.00 kg Munich Malt
  • 300.0 g Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L
  • 200.0 g Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
  • 4.g       Galaxy [14.7%] – Boil 60 min
  • 4.g       Galaxy [14.7%] – Boil 20 min
  • 5.g       Galaxy [14.7%] – Boil 15 min
  • 17g     Galaxy [14.7%] – Boil 10 min
  • 28 g    Galaxy [14.7%] – Boil 5 min
  • 1 pkgs Safale American US-05
  • 50g     Galaxy [14.7%] – Dry Hop 4 days

 Process

Mash at 66 degres celsius for 60 minutes.

It’s a 60 minute boil and then chill and pitch your yeast.

Dry hop with 50g of hops for 4 days

 

by Eli Donald