TAG | bottling
This update is a long time coming, but I wanted to make sure to get as much information as possible into this post. Let’s get started.
When we last looked in on batch #1, we were in primary fermentation, hoping we were on the right track. All signs indicate that we did everything right so far. It took a full 36 hours in the bucket for primary fermentation to begin, but sure enough, she started bubbling away right on cue. I waited a full 7 days beyond that point before taking the plunge and moving the brew to secondary fermentation. I wanted to make sure that the gravity readings stayed the same for 2 days in a row, which they did. I want to put this beer through secondary fermentation in the hopes of adding some clarity to it.
I begin this process by sanitizing everything. The siphon tube and beer line, airlock and the carboy all get treated to this process.
At this point, it’s as easy as popping the lid on the primary fermentation bucket, putting in the auto-siphon and giving it a crank.
This beer will stay in secondary fermentation for 10 days.
10 Days Later… Today, I’m fortunate to have my wife helping me out. This is not a simple job. The sanitizing of the bottles and tools, pouring of the beer and capping all have to be done quickly to prevent outside air from negatively impacting the beer.
Once everything has been sanitized, I boil some water with my priming sugar. Once it has mixed sufficiently, I pour that into my bottling bucket. Next, I use the auto-siphon to move my beer from the secondary fermenter to the bottling bucket.
After a quick stir with my spoon, we’re ready to begin bottling. I was going to use the spigot of the bottling bucket for this step, but I found it to be a bit haphazard and difficult to control. Instead, we opted to use the siphon tube again with a bottling wand. This was definitely the way to go. It kept the mess to a minimum and made controlling the amount of brew in each bottle simple.
At this point, we got into a rhythm of me sanitizing the bottles and passing them off to be filled. Each time I dropped off 2 bottles to be filled, I would bring back 2 bottles and cap them.
I tried a variety of bottle sizes to see if there would be any difference in the way they conditioned over the next 3 weeks. This batch produced 24 – 12 oz bottles, 10 – 22 oz bottles and 1 growler. I’m planning on storing the bottles for 2 weeks of bottle conditioning, followed by 1 week in the refrigerator.
At this point, I expect my tasting party to fall on the 2nd Saturday in February. I’ll probably crack one open the night before so I’ll have time to call the whole thing off if the beer turns out terrible. Judging from the smell of it during the bottling process, it should be delicious, but smell isn’t generally the best indicator of taste at that stage. Look for the final post from this batch sometime in mid-February. I’m going to be starting on a hefeweizen during that time. I’m feeling sort of daring, so I’ll be using my own recipe. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the progress of batch #2 as it comes along.
UPDATE: Tasting Day!