Uses for Your Empties

collection of wine bottleIf you enjoy or brew your own beer chances are you may have some stray empties lying around the house, and while they can fetch a pretty penny down at the recycling plant empty beer bottles can also hold other useful purposes. The same thing goes for old wine bottles.

For instance, if you clean the bottle’s inside, fill it with a bit of water, and place a single flower inside you can give your sweetheart a fairly simple, yet charmingly unique wedding or birthday gift.

Another romantic gift idea is the wine bottle candle. You simply wash the bottle well and place a long, narrow candle in the neck of the bottle until it is snug. Wine bottle candles can help add a romantic atmosphere to any ordinary dinner table.

Empties can also be easily turned into Christmas decorations. Just look at the example below!

wine bottle decor

If you’re looking for a more artistic use for your empties, you could always try assembling broken bottle glass into a mosaic, or you could also set them up for a still-life painting.

Most importantly, if you are a home brewer or wine maker you can reuse your commercially purchased wine bottles and save a considerable amount of money. Don’t forget to re-label your recycled wine and beer bottles with your own, customized beer and wine labels.

15 Summertime Recipes

Most of us don’t need an excuse to celebrate summer weather. Brewfests and competitions abound, family reunions are planned and backyard parties pop up — even wardrobes get the special treatment with short sleeves and sandals. So why not brew something that tastes great at the beach or barbecue, a thirst-quencher that goes down great after a day of gardening or while grilling?

Summer brewing doesn’t differ that much from brewing during the other seasons. You may slap a few more mosquitoes while mashing, but the biggest difference comes when it’s time to chill your wort and maintain your fermentation temperature.  When making a summer brew, make sure to check the temperature of your chilled wort (with a sanitized thermometer).  As your tap water is likely warmer in the summer, you may need to add a few more ice cubes to your water bath to cool your wort down to proper fermentation temperatures. Likewise, higher outside temperatures means your usual “cool spot” in the house may be too warm for fermenting.

Try one of these tried and true seasonal recipes from homebrew shops across the country. (BYO calculated the brewing statistics, such as OG and IBU.) Or, use them as inspiration for designing your own summer sipper. In this collection, we present a beach-ready golden ale from the U.S. Gulf Coast, a Mexican lager from California (lime optional), a crisp rye pale ale from Vancouver and many more. Feeling refreshed yet?

DeFalco’s Golden Ale
DeFalco’s Home Wine & Beer Supplies
Houston, Texas

www.defalcos.com
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.047  FG = 1.011
IBU = 23  SRM = 5  ABV = 4.6%
It’s so bloody hot on the Gulf Coast, this summer recipe is popular pretty much year ‘round.

Ingredients

6.0 lbs. (2.7 kg) Alexander’s Pale liquid malt extract
(or 5.0 lbs. (2.3 kg) Muntons Extra
Light dried malt extract)
1 lb. (0.45 kg) domestic two-row pale malt
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) CaraPils® malt
6 AAU Cascade hops (45 mins)
(1.0 oz./28 g of 6% alpha acid)
2.25 AAU Liberty hops (10 mins)
(0.5 oz./14.2 g of 4.5% alpha acid)
2.25 AAU Liberty hops (0 mins)
(0.5 oz./14.2 g of 4.5% alpha acid)
1 pkg. Burton water salts
1 pkg. Nottingham Ale or Wyeast 1056
(American Ale), 1007 (German Ale), White Labs WLP001
(California Ale) or WLP 029 (German Ale) yeast.
1 pkg. Bru-Vigor
0.75 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Step by Step

In a small saucepan, bring a gallon (3.8 L) of water to 160–170 °F (71–77 °C). Add the bag of grains and water salts and steep 30 minutes. Now, gently sparge (rinse) the grains with hot tap water (ideal temperature 168 °F/76 °C) and bring the total volume up to two or more gallons in your brewpot. Bring to boil.

Turn off heat and add malt extract. Return to boil, add the hops at the times specified in the ingredient list. Add the last does of Liberty hops and immediately turn off heat. Let stand for 20-30 minutes in a cooling bath. Pour the cooled wort into the fermenter. Bring the volume up to five gallons (19 L). If the temperature is less than 80 °F (27 °C), pitch the yeast and the packet of Bru-Vigor (if using) into the wort and place the lid and airlock over the fermenter. Ferment at 65–70 °F (18–24 °C). After fermentation, check the specific gravity. The F.G. should be 1.011 or less. If it is higher than 1.016, allow to ferment and settle for a few more days. Prime and bottle. Allow beer to age at room temperature for at least two weeks. Peak flavor is reached after six weeks.

To read this full article, check out: 15 Summertime Recipes

Wine Bottle Wedding Vases

Are you looking for a fun and unique wedding favor? Do you have a pile of empties in your garage or kitchen that need to be utilized?

Why not turn them into a wedding table flower vase?

Wedding center pieces tend to add up, especially if you purchase them in sets. But if you make your own out of cost effective wine bottles you save quite a bit, not to mention you get a set of center pieces that are truly unique.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to turn your empty wine bottles into the perfect wedding decoration.

Items you’ll need:

-An empty wine bottle (if you don’t have enough lying around try asking friends, family, and local bars for their empties)

-Flowers (your wine bottle and flowers can match in color if you like)

-A bottle cutter (if you don’t have one the highest in price they range is around $40, well worth it in the long run)

-A candle (and eventually, matches to light the candle)

-Ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Clean the bottle thoroughly in warm soapy water. Try to scrape off as much of the original label as possible.
  2. Score the bottle using the bottle cutter. It’s important to maintain pressure on the bottle toward the back end of the bottle cutter. The lines should be even and match up with each other at the end, but if they don’t it’s easily corrected. (Please note that the sound scoring glass makes isn’t exactly pleasant, so you may also want to invest in earplugs or play some Heavy Metal with the volume turned to 11)
  3. Slowly rotate the scored line of the bottle over a candle flame. Maintain inward pressure on the bottle, gently flipping and pushing the neck and the bottom rim toward the center.
  4. Take an ice cube and quickly slide it around the scored edge to cool it down.

Wala! Now you have a brand new flower vase that can be given away as wedding decoration, a birthday gift, even a holiday present. Attach one of the many expertly designed labels or gift tags available from Labels on the Fly to complete the look and you’re finished.

Image provided by: http://greenwinebottles.com and reproduced with permission of the copyright owner

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries