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Author Replies
02/25/10 10:32 PM  
Corker problem
I bought a zenith bench corker a while back and recently tried to use it and ran into a problem. when i try and leave enough cork out of the bottle to put the cage on its impossible to get the bottle out without ripping the cork in two. the hole in the plate below the iris is the same diameter as the compressed cork. has anyone had the same issue and if so how do you fix it?
02/27/10 05:59 PM  
Re: Corker problem
I use a Ferrari floor corker, and have had the same problem. On my corker, there is circular, spring-loaded platform that supports the bottle and holds it in place while bringing the arm down and sinking the cork. There is a small lever on the bottom of the corker that will release this platform without lifting the arm and decompressing the cork. Once I push this lever, I can jiggle the exposed cork out of the iris. Not the pretties operation in the world, but it works.

I don't know how similar your corker is to this set up, but maybe you can use my solution somehow.

02/27/10 08:05 PM  
Re: Corker problem
With the Ferrari, all you have to do is raise the corker plunger arm all the way up and then the iris releases the cork. No need to play with the bottom spring lever.
02/27/10 09:41 PM  
Re: Corker problem
Are you guys using standard corks and just not pushing them all the way into the bottle in order to use the cage? Or using proper champagne-style corks that the cages neatly fit onto?

If the former... Why not just push it all the way in and cap it? Better protection for the beer, though may not be quite as stylish....

02/27/10 11:07 PM  
Re: Corker problem
I raise the arm all the way and it releases the cork but the metal plate or housing beneath the iris and above the bottle is the same size as a compressed cork so when the iris releases the cork the cork is too big to pull through the hole without tearing it in two.

i use the belgian style corks. not quite as big as a champagne cork but bigger than a wine cork. corking all the way and capping is an option on some bottles but not on the duvel/ommegang type bottles and i dont want to risk the cork popping out on its own when the pressure eventually builds up.

02/28/10 10:24 AM  
Re: Corker problem
John - maybe you should drill out the hole in the metal plate to a slightly larger diameter.

I have the Ferrari champagne corker and it does not have this issue.

02/28/10 12:07 PM  
Re: Corker problem
I originally borrowed a champagne corker from a friend it worked great. So I bought what I thought was the champagne version but got the standard wine one. Should have realized it based on the price. Worked well enough with standard wine corks but months later with belgian corks, starting to have the tearing problem. I did get the 29 mm capper attachment, so now most lambic/wild bottles get fully inserted and capped for long term storaage.

With partially inserted and caged belgian corks, I find that by leaving the handle down and the cork compressed for a minute or so and then raising the handle and immediately pulling the bottle down with a twisting motion gets the cork out of the iris without damage. Slows down the process but gets the job done.

I may increase the bottom hole size, but be careful if you do since if you make the hole too big, then when you put the cork in, the bottom of the cork may sit below the bottom of the jaws and not compress properly and insertion could be a problem. The champagne model has a bigger hole but I think it has an extra lever underneath that holds the cork at the proper level and pulls back when the jaws compress the cork.

Cisco, does yours have the extra level? What's the diameter of the bottom hole?

02/28/10 08:58 PM  
Re: Corker problem
No extra level on mine. The hole is 1 & 1/8 inches in diameter.
03/02/10 02:44 PM  
Re: Corker problem
Thanks guys. im going to try and drill this thing out to 1 1/8" like Ciscos. in the mean time ill try what Ted suggested. worst case ill sell this one and get the champagne corker (which i should have done initially.
03/17/10 11:24 AM  
Re: Corker problem
I'm sorry I'm late on this, I was in Belgium. I hope you didn't drill your corker yet. I think you're over thinking it. I have the cheapo Portuguese floor corker and use it almost exclusively to cork and cage Belgian bottles.

Here is my procedure:

1. Insert cork 1/2 way

2. Lift up lever

3. Hold onto bottle

4. Lower bottle platform with foot

5. Lower level again

6. Cage

It's really very easy, and I can knock out bottles fairly quickly using this procedure. I haven't ripped a single cork, nor had any sealing issues or anything like that. I hope you get a chance to try this before you drill your corker.

03/17/10 09:03 PM  
Re: Corker problem
Yes, don't drill your corker. I use the same procedure as tankdeer.
03/17/10 10:53 PM  
Re: Corker problem

i havent drilled out the corker yet. actually im getting ready for a trip to Belgium too.

since this sits on a table top i cant lower the bottom. i may try and have my wife help me loosen the adjustment and raise the corker so i can pull out the bottle. thanks for the tip.

my old metal hand corker seems to be putting grooves in the cork. it may be causing lousy carbonation. would a gilda type corker help me til i figure this out? i still have several batches to bottle when i get back.

03/19/10 11:17 AM  
Re: Corker problem
ah, ok. I missread - thought you had a floor corker. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the bench or hand variety, so I probably won't be of much help there.
tom sawyer
03/31/10 03:17 PM  
Re: Corker problem
That helps me tankdeer. I've been struggling with a Ferrari hand corker for my Belgians, but I have a floor corker and it sounds easier to do it this way.

Out of curiosity, how do you judge when you are halfway in the bottle?

03/31/10 04:14 PM  
Re: Corker problem
Look in the description here for my tips on getting the right cork depth.


03/31/10 04:17 PM  
Re: Corker problem
I use the ol' #7 stopper trick. I think Cisco was the pioneer on that one.

Basically put the (drilled) stopped over the plunger rod and adjust so that you have the right amount of rod sticking out. (sounds so wrong) 1 1/2 - 1 3/4", depending on your corker.

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