Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beer Bottling and Brewing

Yesterday was the third step in the brewing process. Bottling! Our beer has been fermenting for slightly more than 2 weeks and despite the fact that we didn't actually do any measuring to ensure that it was ready, we decided to bottle it! To be fair, it is only suppose to ferment for 2 weeks, so we figured that it was probably good. I suppose that the end results will determine this though. :)

In addition to bottling we decided to brew another batch of beer at the same time, so it was going to be a busy evening.

The first step was to clean and delabel the bottles. To do this we used Katie and Will's dishwasher, since mine doesn't really work. This process actually took a lot longer than I had expected. Specifically taking the labels off. We loaded all the bottles in the dishwasher and then had some dinner.

Since we had a lot to do we had to start the process of brewing and bottling while the bottles were being cleaned. So we went back to my place and started that.

We started the water boiling and then began the sanitation process. We had to sanitize a lot of stuff. Below we are starting the process and sanitizing the bucket so that we can add the sugar to our first batch of beer. The sugar will be eaten by the yeast and will help to carbonate the beer, at least that is the hope :p.

Once everything was sanitized and we boiled the sugar mixture up we began the process of mixing the beer. This required us to create a siphon and to suck the beer out of the carboy and into the bucket, which would then slowly mix with the sugar and stir it around. Chris B. who we determined was the least sick did the siphoning. This went well, although at several times during the process the tube curled up and got a little messed up. Thus we determined that we probably needed a little tube at the end to have better precision.

Here is a picture of the siphoning in action:

At the same time we started our next batch of beer. This time we are making a the Best Brown Ale. Which is... supposed to be brown. This one used a lot fewer malts but it still seemed almost as dark as our first batch, although it did lighten up after a while.

Once we mixed the sugar it was time to actually bottle. The two pictures below show us in the bottling process. It was actually pretty easy since the tube had the automatic thing that would only dispense if it was pressed down.

It was still a little bit messy, mostly because I wasn't as careful as I could have been. We also ran out of bottles and so we had to run over to Katie and Will's and get a growler for the last 1/2 gallon or so. We aren't sure if it is going to carbonate as well as the bottles, but we figured it was better than nothing.

I didn't actually do any of the capping, but Eric and Chris B. both did and it seemed to go smoothly, they both were a little nervous about the whole thing at first and were worried that they were going to break the bottles, but it was easy and once they got over that worry things seemed to go smoothly.

We loaded the beer up, which Sprinkles quite enjoyed.

We then stored the bottles and finished our next batch. It seemed to go much faster this time, but was actually only about 20 minutes faster. However, since we were doing bottling and stuff the whole time, it just seemed to go much faster.

Our first bottles of beer could be done in about a week and then we will be able to taste it!

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