Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bottling your beer

Once you determined that your fermentation is completed by having 3 consecutive days of same gravity measurements on your hydrometer, now it is time for the last step, bottle your beer. Here's a list of equipment you will need sanitized prior to start the process:

  • A 6gal carboy where the beer will be transferred to and primed, then bottled.

  • Hose that will be used to transfer the beer from the fermenter to the bottling carboy and from that to the bottle

  • Bottle filler, bottles and caps

  • A big spoon or stick that you will need to stir in the bottling carboy

Here's the step-by-step to bottle your beer:

1) On your stove in a small pan, add 1 cup of regular sugar or priming sugar from you LHBS with 2 cups of water. Preferable water without chloride. Boil for 15min stirring few times. Let it cool till room temperature.

2) Pour the syrup from step 1 into the bottling carboy. Remove the stopper from your fermenter, then transfer the beer to the bottling carboy. Avoid splashing the beer. Oxygenation needs to be avoided at this point . Whether you use any syphoning method to transfer the beer or a spigot you previously attached to the fermenter, avoid the solids on the bottom of the fermenter. Those solids are the yeast that decanted along with the proteins. There will still be enough yeast in suspension that will promote the natural carbonation inside the bottles. Once the transfer is completed, stir the beer gently to make sure that the priming sugar is well mixed with the beer.

3) At this point, you beer is ready to bottle, attach your filling hose and bottle filler and fill each bottle, avoiding oxygenation of the beer. Fill each bottle leaving about 2 inches to the top. Now, using the bottle caper, close each bottle. Contamination can be an issue so take all measures to avoid contact with the parts that will touch the beer. Using a latex glove during this process is a good idea.

4) Leave the bottle at room temperature, in your garage or basement to develop and mellow the flavors as well to promote the natural carbonation. Wait at least 2 weeks, chill the bottle to you preferred drinking temperature, then taste your first batch of beer.

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