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Bottle waxing.

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by sicandy63, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. So I recently bought a pack of bottling wax. I wanted to know what is the best way to melt down the wax. Also should I let the bottles I have in the fridge come up to room temperature before dipping then into the wax? Thanks for the help in advance guys.
    Shmuffalo likes this.
  2. InebriatedJoker

    InebriatedJoker Champion (800) Ohio Sep 16, 2010

    I wax all the time and I use a small crock pot I found at a thrift store for $5.00 , It's takes a little while for the wax to melt but works perfect and you don't have to worry about spillage or working with a hot can ..
  3. I did it on room temperature bottles and it worked just fine. As InebriatedJoker said get a small pot that you plan on using just for this purpose.
  4. InebriatedJoker

    InebriatedJoker Champion (800) Ohio Sep 16, 2010

    I forgot to add , I do them at room temp as to not put something cold into the heat with a risk of explosion or a cracked bottle.
  5. black13

    black13 Savant (390) Oregon Apr 11, 2010

    I've waxed bottles at room temp and from the fridge and never had a problem. The bottles are out of the fridge for such a short time it doesn't really matter. Have fun.
  6. Old soup can in boiling water, then you can just melt dip and you're done. The can can store extra wax or just be tossed for easy disposal. I make my own wax with crayons and hot glue.
    kenatbeerswap, smutty33 and Onenote81 like this.
  7. dc55110

    dc55110 Advocate (505) Minnesota Oct 24, 2010

    ^^^This right here!^^^
    Go to your local Goodwill or Thrift Store and by a cheap crockpot. No fuss! No mess! If you line the crock with aluminum foil, the leftovers can easily be removed (once cooled) and stored for future use.
    Kump likes this.
  8. 2378GCGTG

    2378GCGTG Savant (270) Texas Dec 7, 2011

    old metal coffee can in a double boiler, I do mine no the accessory burner of the grill, then mess doesn't matter and neither does smell
    and I prefer hot glue and crayons to any of the commercial bottle waxes out there, hot glues makes it SOO easy to remove when the time is right.
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Champion (930) New York Mar 12, 2009

    Good timing here. I suppose I could look in hb, but this ones going. I plan to use ratio of twenty glue sticks and 12 crayons. Anyone find a better ratio?
  10. jivex5k

    jivex5k Advocate (550) Florida Apr 13, 2011

    Forgive my noobness but does waxing a bottle help preserve it better? Or is it just for looks?
    DelMontiac likes this.
  11. Heated debate to follow...
    Shmuffalo and merc7186 like this.
  12. jisom123

    jisom123 Savant (330) Indiana Aug 21, 2008

    I've not seen any previous threads with this debate yet, so I'm kind of interested... as long as participants use sound reasoning and testable scientific theory; and not personal opinion, speculation, rumor, or rely heavily on results from limited personal experiences.

    Is the debate usually regarding the material performance and PSI retention properties of a well sealed cap versus the PSI retention of a thin film of wax over a well sealed cap? Or is the debate about whether wax dipping is beneficial to preserving the elasticity retention of the rubber gasket and preventing polymer oxidation/degradation to the caps rubber gasket?

    I wonder if there have been any tests performed to see if the act of dipping the metal cap, into the molten wax, is counter productive to maintaining a tight seal, due to the metal expansion from heating the cap?

    Also, does anyone wax-dip Caged and Corked bottles (commercially or in the basement)? If so, what kind of results have you observed?
    Hop-Droppen-Roll likes this.
  13. Thank you guys fr all of the feed back. I just waxed most of my bottles last night. Here is s pic of the end result. [​IMG]
    brewpaab and InebriatedJoker like this.
  14. jisom123

    jisom123 Savant (330) Indiana Aug 21, 2008

    Looks good. Nice thickness and consistency. Will you be waxing any of the caged/corked bottles?
  15. Mbrown44

    Mbrown44 Savant (255) Delaware Dec 7, 2011

    This might be a dumb question but is bottling wax different than candle wax and if it is, where do I find bottling wax?
  16. InebriatedJoker

    InebriatedJoker Champion (800) Ohio Sep 16, 2010


    Bottling wax is way different than candle wax , bottling wax has more of a plastic in it and won't melt as easy as candle wax ..think wax on a makers mark whiskey bottle when thinking bottle wax ..
    jisom123 likes this.
  17. jisom123

    jisom123 Savant (330) Indiana Aug 21, 2008

    I wonder what New Glarus is using....
    pjkelley82 likes this.
  18. It's cheaper to buy crayons and hot glue sticks and melt them together. It also provides you an endless color combination.
    kmatlack likes this.
  19. pmoney

    pmoney Advocate (595) Illinois Apr 15, 2011

    I tried this method originally, but it was just such a pain in the ass. Peeling the crayons took FOREVER, the glue to crayon ratio was hard to nail-down, the glue sticks took forever to melt, and the crayons stink when you heat them up. After a huge headache with trying the DIY route, I bought a pack of bottling wax and it's 100 times easier IMO.
    Thickfreakness and swoopdog like this.
  20. Never really thought about that aspect of it. My fiancée teaches art so she has her students peel broken crayons as a punishment. She was working on a wax project and saw her doing this and thought it would work perfect for sealing bottles. It was only later that I learned it was a fairly common practice.
    I figured out that about 20 fat crayons and 3/4 of a bag of sticks worked perfectly.
    derekbphotography likes this.
  21. pmoney

    pmoney Advocate (595) Illinois Apr 15, 2011

    I'm sure a lot of people have success with this method, but I just wasn't one of them. A bag of bottling wax is around $12 and lasts quite awhile. The little bit of extra money was well-worth avoiding the headache.
  22. They must be using candle wax....it's greasy, and melts after being out of the fridge for 2 minutes. Not a fan of the NG wax at all.

    I brought a bottle to a summer BBQ and poured a few tasters for people, left the bottle on the deck and it melted off and stained my deck
  23. This.
  24. Timmush

    Timmush Savant (330) New Jersey Jan 5, 2008

    bottling wax from an internet homebrew shop. I also used a metal coffee can with water and a smaller soup can with the wax inside it (like a double boiler). Works great, no mess and heats kind of quick. Whetever wax I had left, I just kept the can and can use it next time.
  25. 2378GCGTG

    2378GCGTG Savant (270) Texas Dec 7, 2011

    about 3 glue sticks to 6 to 10 crayons worked great. and instead of peeling the wrappers just cut with a serrated knife and melt all together in a coffee can. remember to let bottles warm to room temp first. this mixture was perfect for me, its cheap, effective (in my experience) and much easier to remove than any commercially available bottle wax I have tried. the debate on how effective it is lacks any scientific evidence, but to me, if its an expensive brew that I'm planning to age, I wax it. It can't hurt, and I have found that 2 beers (SN bigfoot 2008) purchased as a six pack, one waxed, one not, stored next to each other in the same cellar for about 3 years had marked differences. Though bigfoot can certainly age much longer, the waxed bottle retained the hops much better and to my mind was slightly more carbonated, however thats only one experiment, and I'm sure people will disagree. I also have 3 different vintages of dfh world wide undergoing the same experiment, to be opened at 5 years for comparison. I'll be sure to update in 3 years.
  26. so im planning to wax a 3L swingtop. should i fear melting the rubber gasket?
  27. kmello69

    kmello69 Advocate (505) Texas Nov 27, 2011

    Honestly, the wax shouldnt really be that hot. You're not trying to boil it, just get it warm enough to be liquid. I dip a spoon in to stir my wax, and can scrape the wax off of it with my finger within 5 seconds of taking it out of the wax. As long as its just warm enough to be liquid, you won't melt a rubber gasket with it.
  28. Loganyoung

    Loganyoung Aficionado (220) Georgia Jul 16, 2011

    Ive had a commercial one, It was grand teton's XX mountianberry double wheat. Total pain in the ass to get opened but you should be fine.
  29. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (550) Illinois Nov 10, 2012

    People can tell u what they want but for the most part, it is for looks and differentiating between vintages without writing it on the label. If it was to preserve the contents, then the majority of very expensive wines would be waxed and they are not. I have bottles of very expensive ($500+) bottles of french wines and none are waxed. Same principles apply in this specific comparison between wine and beer. The 2 most harmful things for wine and beer are light and heat.
  30. Boilerfood

    Boilerfood Savant (425) Indiana Jun 5, 2012

    This is my mileage as well. I am also big enough to admit its purely vanity. Stuff I know I am going to be holding onto, I wax to match the label color. If it happens to prevent any extra oxidation, or my cat from knocking it over and busting a cap, it all gravy.
  31. CityofBals

    CityofBals Initiate (0) Illinois Sep 12, 2012

    Because wine interacts with cork the same way beer interacts with polymer (or with cork, for that matter).

    Also, I will be waxing bottles tonight using several colors and a secret method. Will be posting results tonight for better or for worse.
  32. CityofBals

    CityofBals Initiate (0) Illinois Sep 12, 2012

    So, I ended up not opting to go multicolored (crayons, for this purpose, are cost prohibitive). Instead I opted to use unscented white candles. I used two 12" white tapered candles and removed the wicks. I found my first run was a little less rubbery than I wanted, so I added more glue and eventually settled on 2 candle sticks:7 4" hot glue refills. I found this gave a good combo of color saturation and flexibility.

    I used the double boiler method seen below (I found about 10 minutes at boiling was enough time for everything to incorporate fully):

    [​IMG]

    Here they are after their Brazilians:
    [​IMG]

    I ended up triple dipping some of them because I'm anal retentive.

    Here's some more bottles of 15 that I waxed:
    [​IMG]

    They ended up getting a second dip as well, but I forgot to take pictures so you'll have to use your imagination.

    All in all, it cost me about $15 in materials to wax well over 3 cases of BCS, and 20+ bombers of beer. 6 candles ~$10 and a 20pack of hot glue refills ~$5 (found them at a local hardware store, not a single grocery store or convenience store had them!).

    So, unless you really have your heart set on buying some pre-mixed wax/plastic from the online shops, I'd suggest getting some candles in a color you like and use those. They are much cheaper than buying multiple packs of crayons for a single color.

    Cheers!
    swoopdog and PaulQuinn like this.
  33. chocosushi

    chocosushi Savant (450) Oklahoma May 1, 2011

    This.
    I always just use Tealights (wicks removed) & Gluesticks.
    From there you add crayons, glitter, etc. for some color.
    CityofBals likes this.
  34. Jimbobebop

    Jimbobebop Savant (325) Illinois Jun 12, 2013

    Can't beat the child labor route. Just have to have the fiancee set up some home tutoring and start home brewing.
  35. The only reason I could think of for not waxing cold bottles is the possibility of trapping any condensation under the wax. It may cause rust on the cap. This is only a theory with no facts to base it on.

    I don't think there is any concern for explosions from temperature change though.
  36. Caged & corked bottles are a pain to wax, and don't look very good, even after double dipping with a thick wax. And it's also a right pain in the arse to get off when it comes to opening the bottle.

    I've always bought my wax from these guys, Kingswax in Victoria, British Columbia. All good high quality waxes, and just a huge selection of colours.

    I was going to go the crayon/gluestick route, but when adding up the cost, it was cheaper to by a 1lb block of wax for $16.00 & add shipping. The 1lb block will do roughly 80+ bottles. Gluesticks & crayons are stupidly expensive here....and nowhere sold packs of single coloured crayons!
  37. My wife also is an art teacher, actually, we're both artists and I just discovered this homewaxing business is a thing - I can pretty well guarantee that we'll be experimenting with this - but what I'd really like is a more specific ratio of crayon to hot clue - they both come in different sizes so saying 'this many crayons to this many glue sticks' is not helpful. Can the experienced home-waxers here please give a 'x parts crayon : x parts glue stick' ratio? Let's assume the crayons and the glue sticks are identical in size (full disclosure: I'm personally accustomed to small crayons and huge glue sticks).
  38. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (620) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    It's like applying tire shine to your tires - looks cool, rides the same.
    Macurr4 likes this.
  39. Kbyfield

    Kbyfield Savant (265) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2009

    I like carnauba

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