Pints for Prostates

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bottling Beer #1

Sanitized bottles with plastic wrap
Today was bottling day for Batch #1, our Extra Pale Ale. I was a little overwhelmed by all the things that needed to be done in a specific order so I wrote the steps down. Having the list of steps helped the process go smoothly, without mishaps. The steps we used are numbered below.
  1. Put a bottle cap on bottle, then take it off. 
I included this step just for the experience. I didn't want my first try to be with a full bottle.

  1. Mix priming solution of sugar and water. (2/3 cup in 16 oz of water for corn sugar, 5/8 cup in 16 oz of water for table sugar)
  1. Bring solution to boil, then let cool.
Bottle caps in sanitizer
Kim took care of the priming solution preparation. She boiled the water and sugar solution in a small pot. When the water hit boiling, she turned the burner off and removed the pot from the burner.

  1. Prepare sanitizer in bottling bucket and sanitize the following:
  • sanitize autosiphon and tubes
  • sanitize bowl
  • sanitize thief
  • sanitize spoon
  • sanitize bottles --> put bottles aside and cover with plastic wrap
I used StarSan to sanitize everything. 

Beer sample to find final gravity

Kim fed me some crackers with cheese and pepper jelly while my hands were all wet. The snack was much needed as we neared noon.

  1. Try siphoning sanitizer into a bottle.
Again, I added this step so that I could try the autosiphon. Apparently, you need to start with three pumps, not one.

  1. Pour sanitizer into bowl.
  2. Count bottle caps and put into bowl with sanitizer.
My daughter was in charge of all things bottle caps. She counted the bottle caps and put them in the bowl of sanitizer.

    Using the autosiphon to move beer
    from fermenter to bottling bucket
  1. Take final gravity with the thief.
Kim used the thief to get a beer sample so that we could get the final gravity (FG) using the hydrometer. We got a reading 1.012, which seems low to me. That number, coupled with our original gravity (OG) suggests a beer with 4.2 ABV. I thought the beer should be closer to 5.5 ABV.

  1. Empty sanitizer from bottling bucket.

  1. Pour priming solution into bottling bucket.

  1. Siphon beer from fermenter into bottling bucket.
12. Stir gently to mix with solution.

    One case capped
  1. Use bottling wand to siphon beer into bottles. Place cap on each bottle after it's filled.
My daughter helped by placing the bottle caps on the bottles as I filled them.

  1. Cap bottles.
Once all the bottles were filled and capped, I put the beer in a dark, warm closet to condition.
15. Wash everything.

The whole activity took about two and half hours. I'm sure this duration could be shortened with experience.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Looks like you two had the capping process under control.

    Can't wait to try our first one!