The second beer that I home-brewed was a Porter that I drizzled some vanilla extract into. This beer has been sitting in the fermenter (glass carboy) for 3 weeks now. According to many brewing sources, I probably could have bottled this batch a week ago. However I am plodding into the unfamiliar lands known as “patience”, so I am trying to allow the yeast more time to do its thing. Although my bubbler (air lock) was no longer going nuts and bubbling every 2 seconds, there was still yeast eating up sugars and impurities in the beer. Like with many things, this “patience” might pay off, hopefully with a better beer as an end result.
In order to prepare for bottling, I had to clean everything. Sterilization is everything, apparently. This is probably why people get sick of home brewing. Not because they stop liking beer, or more importantly the beer that they make. It is because cleaning all this bullshit takes time.
“Cleaning” means filling up my plastic bucket with water and some added cap fulls of the sterilizer. Anything that touches the beer should be sterilized. All the tubing and my pump (racking cane) went into the bucket and let the sterilizer do its work. Isophore, as shown below, needs 2 minutes of contact with the item to be sterilized, in order to properly do its job. Star San only needs 1 minute, allegedly.
While the bucket and all the bottling equipment was getting sterile, I had to clean and sterilize the actual bottles as well. Honestly, this is another pain in the ass. Some of the bottles were brand new, so I did not have to do much to get them ready. However, some bottles were being re-used after I recently drank some beers from companies that have permanent labels. Rogue, Stone and Anchorage Brewing Company have especially cool bottles. Since I do not have labels of my own yet, I figured that this was a simple way to make my first few batches a little more interesting. This and the custom bottlecaps that I had made at Grogtags.com. Grogtags is expensive. Custom bottle caps cost me $30.00 for 100 of them. Plain bottle caps at the home brew store are $4.00 for 100.
Part of bottling beer is adding some more sugar for the yeast to eat. Once beer is sealed in the bottle, the additional sugar will be eaten, which creates carbonation. For my first batch, I used 3/4 cup of bottling sugar dissolved into a pint of boiling water. Once dissolved, the sugar water is the first thing that I put in the bottling bucket. Once you add the wort/beer, it is important to stir and mix the beer so that it is consistent throughout the bucket. That way, each bottle of your home brew tastes the same, rather than having some more thick than others.
Once the sugar water is in the bottling bucket, the beer is tubed from the glass carboy into the bottling bucket.
Once the beer is in the bottling bucket, mixed with the pint of sugar water, some plastic tubing is attached to the plastic spigot and the beer is transferred, bottle by bottle.
I got 2 full cases of 22 ounce bottles (24 bottles) out of this batch. Once each bottle was full of beer, I proceeded to throw them out the window, into my driveway. I then did a little jig and slammed my face into the refrigerator. ((just wanted to make sure that you were still with me))
Actually, I used the bottle capper (shown below) and attached a cap to each bottle. My bottle capper came with my first home brew kit, and as I understand it, is one of the nicer ones.
Now I bury this box of beer in the garage and wait at least 14 days for the yeast to eat the priming sugar, which will create the carbonation that we love so much. CHEERS