From the HBD Archive
From: hplabs!garth!apd!phipps
Subject: Re: The great label controversy
Date: 1989-11-11 05:20:26 GMT

>[someone other than I] wrote:
>>After capping,
>>we mark the batch number on each *cap* with an indelible marker.

Because I didn't know of a conventional labelling method that I liked (thus
stimulating my recent submissions to this mailing-list), I originally marked
my bottles only by coloring their caps with different-colored magic markers.
After my first dozen batches, I tired of what had become an exercise in
heraldry. "Hmmm. Did my ginger beer have a circle crimson in a cap azure, or
was that a dot scarlet on a cap azure ?"

On 6 Nov 89 08:25:46 EST (Monday), dw <Wegeng.Henr@Xerox.COM>(Don) wrote:
>[Indelible marker ink] can be difficult to read
>if you're using surplus soft drink caps.

Indeed. I was using surplus "California Ale" caps--dark blue--at the time.
"Now I remember: my ginger beer had the red ink circle over the blue cap; am I
looking at that, or is this faded purple ink over the blue cap ?" :-( This
also makes it a hassle for someone to grab you the correct cold one when
they're already up and in the fridge or the ice chest.

I now use one of those dial-a-number stamps with multiple digit bands, along
with a conventional stamp pad, to apply a batch number directly to each cap
after capping. Stamp-pad ink does require some time to dry on plain gold
caps; it can easily smear into illegibility before it dries. BTW, I originally
bought the stamp for identifying photographic slides on their mounts (for
which it is fast and effective), so its 7 digit positions are overkill for the
frequency with which I brew. :-) There are stamps available with far fewer
digits; they only cost a few bucks.

>I write the bottling date on a 1/2 x 3/4 inch self-adhesive label
>(similar to an address label - available at any office supply store),
>which I place on the bottle cap.

An even better idea--from a member of my homebrewing club--is to place one of
those colored penny-size dot-labels (available at most office-supplies stores
?), printed in advance with the desired markings (I'll use a rubber date or
multiband digit stamp) on each cap after capping. I originally intended to use
the color of my stamp pad ink, applied directly to the cap, as an indicator of
beer type, but I learned that some colors of inks can be difficult to
distinguish, even on generic gold metal caps. Furthermore, I have little
desire to amass a huge collection of stamp pads. Different colors of dots will
be a far more effective distinction. This is probably the labelless system
that I will adopt in the near future; however, I still expect to use
traditional bottle labels from time to time.

[The foregoing may or may not represent the position, if any, of my employer, ]
[ who is identified solely to allow the reader to account for personal biases.]
[Besides, this is a work-break way after hours during what is now the weekend.]

Clay Phipps {ingr,pyramid,sri-unix}!garth!phipps
Intergraph APD, 2400#4 Geng Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303 415/494-8800

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