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Now that fermentation is complete, your brew is ready to be transferred to containers that provide
optimum storage and aging conditions. While kegging is an option, beginners prefer to use bottles.
For the 5 Gal batch we whipped up, about 50-55 12-oz. bottles will be needed. A good way to get
refillable bottles is the returnable ones. When choosing bottles remember paper labels are easier to
remove than the foil ones since a scraper blade might be needed. Brown bottles are necessary since
they keep out the most light. With sanitation being all-important it is a good idea to inspect the bottles
prior to sanitizing procedures. Again, to insure cleanliness soak all the collected bottles in a B-Brite
solution a few days, with the labels falling right off and any grime easy to brush away. The jet bottle
washer attachment for faucets cuts time and water usage.
All the bottles should be prepped well before brew day and stored upside down in the original box if it’
s clean. On brew day check each bottle as you place them in the dishwasher, add a little B-Brite wash
and rinse hot. Be sure the dishwasher is free of jet dry since the residue would destroy the desired
head of foam in the glass. Leave them in the dishwasher to cool with the door open. The door can
now serve as a clean shelf to fill the bottles. If filling the bottles outdoors take the bottles out of the
dishwasher and place them right side up in the clean case box and cover with clear plastic wrap until
ready to use. If you’re not using a dishwasher a quick bottle washer rinse of properly clean and
stored bottles should work out fine. If you’re worried, a dip in Star-San solution and inverting bottle is
advised. Fully fermented beer has alcohol and therefore has less of a chance to become
contaminated. At this point remember to avoid splashing and aerating the beer because it could
cause off-flavors to occur.
|Bottling - (continued)
At the completion of fermentation the beer is flat with little CO 2 in solution. To carbonate the beer
requires the addition of primer sugar equally in each bottle. It is not advised to add some to each
bottle for obvious reasons, so we will mix up enough for the whole batch. To do this we will prepare the
primer and add it to the clean bottling bucket, then transfer the beer on top of it. For a 5-gal batch use
5/6 cup of corn sugar in 1-½ cups of water, boil and cool in the pan. With a clean paper towel wipe the
pan and pour the primer into the bottling bucket with minimal splashing. Place the bucket on the floor
with the transfer valve turned up and the carboy on the counter, or if outside, the bucket on the deck
or patio and the carboy on the picnic table. Connect the racking cane and tubing and clean and fill
with SSS to get ready. Rack the clear beer, avoiding the sediment, from the carboy to the bucket with
the corn sugar solution. Carefully take the S.G. avoiding any contamination of the priming bucket. This
is called the final gravity. You could gently stir with the hose before taking it out of the bucket to help
with the mixing. Try not to aerate the liquid while racking or stirring since it could cause a cardboard-
like off flavor in the beer. I like to cover the bucket with clear plastic wrap. The best way to fill bottles is
to use a bottle filler tube. Check it out to see that the end has a spring and shut off feature. Connect
tubing to the bottle filler and siphon cleaner and SSS through. The bottle filler works great since it fills
without aerating and when shut off and removed it allows the proper amount of headspace in the
New caps are clean so I just count out about 60 and put them is a pan with SSS. There’s no need to
boil them since this can damage the plastic seal. Set the bottling bucket on the table or counter turn
the transfer valve down and hook up the tubing assembly. This system also works on gravity so height
difference is required. Open the valve and insert the bottle filler in a bottle press down and see the
beer filling the tube. Once it is running all beer, release the pressure and start filling all the bottles. As
each bottle is filled I like to place them on the clean floor or deck and put a cap on right away. After
they’re all filled crimp the caps on with the capper. Wipe the bottles and place them in the case boxes.
Dry the caps and mark each one with a magic marker 1 for your first batch. Congratulations! You did
it!! Now comes the wait. Everybody is going to wonder what the alcohol content is of your new brew.
Well there is a way to get an approximate percentage by volume. Subtract the final gravity from the
original gravity then divide by7.5 Example 42 - 11 = 31 = 4.1 % 7.5
The bottles are best stored if placed in the fermentation area, since it is the proper temp. After 2 weeks
test for carbonation by opening one up and pouring it into a large glass, preferably a pint.
At bottling time enough yeast was alive in the beer to consume the primer sugar thus producing a little
more CO 2 to be trapped in the bottle and carbonate the beer. If your bottles haven’t carbonated
enough just leave them another week and test another one.
At this point they are ready but might still be considered “green”. If it was a lager you brewed put them
in a refrigerator as cold to 32 F as you can. In about a month they will improve greatly and will probably
have cleared nicely. Ales also benefit from aging like this, at the temp of fermentation or even slightly
less, say 50 F for a few weeks.
Homebrew beers bottled this way are said to be conditioned in the bottle and have beer sitting over
yeast. It is for this reason that they last longer than the pasteurized ones you get commercially.
All homebrews made this way should always be poured into a glass that can accept the whole bottle
leaving the sediment in the bottle. Living yeast can cause gastric distress so don’t drink from the bottle
and get all that sediment. Enjoy, you deserve it.
Kettle 32Qt. For 5 gal. batches 15.5 for 10 gal.
Transfer Tubing 3/8 “ inside diameter (food grade vinyl)
Wort Aerator - O 2 or Air system
Steeping bags (as per recipe)
Jet Bottle washer
Tubing shut off clamps
Racking Cane / sediment avoidance fitting and tube clip
Three Piece Airlock
#6 ½ or # 7 White Rubber Stoppers with hole
Remote Thermometer or Floating Thermometer
Glass Wort Sampler - Pipette
Gypsum or Calcium Carbonate
Beer Bottle Brush and Carboy Brush
Brewer’s Cleanser and Star San
Priming Tank with Transfer Valve
Spring Tip Filler with Flexible Tubing
50-60 12 oz. Brown Bottles
Approximate cost Burner $55.00
See you next month for the final installment.
Don't forget, if you have any questions
just e-mail email@example.com
|Beginner Brewing Tips
and Secrets Revealed!
By Michael Orloski