Pints for Prostates

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bottling the Chinook IPA

Today was the day to bottle the Chinook IPA, aka Beer #3. It took me much longer than previous bottling days. The difference is due to my taking a longer time to wash the bottles and a lunch break.

One of the hidden costs of making beer is the electricity used to heat water. I used a lot of hot water washing two cases of 12 ounce bottles. About the equivalent of three teenagers in a twenty-four hour period, give or take a few gallons. I filled one side of the sink with hot soapy water. For each bottle, I submerged the bottle until it was full of water, washed the outside with a sponge, and scrubbed the inside with a bottle brush. When I had 12 standing bottles in the other side of the sink, I rinsed each one with hot water. Rinsing a single bottle may mean adding water a few times to get all the soap suds out of the bottle. After all the bottles were washed, I filled the bottling bucket (the one with the spigot) with hot water and StarSan sanitizer. I submerged each bottle until the air bubbles stopped rising, then placed the bottle in a tray and covered with plastic wrap. No rinsing is needed with StarSan. This may all seem a bit much, excessive, or anal, but washing and sanitizing bottles is necessary. Now, having brewed three beers, I'm increasingly conscientious about the process and cleanliness.
Beer Sample
The final gravity of the beer is 1.015. Coupled with the original gravity of 1.052, I can determine that the beer has an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of 4.5. That's low for an American IPA.  
Sanitized bottles and equipment
Bottling brush, bowl of sanitized bottle caps, hydrometer

Three extra bottles
I learned last time that it is smart to have extra bottles cleaned and sanitized. Sometimes there is enough beer for more than 48 bottles. Certainly don't want to miss out on beer! I did, in fact, end up filling two extra bottles this time. That makes 50 beers total.
Filled bottles with caps placed on top
Capping bottles
When I bottle, I sit on a small step-stool. In front of me is a chair with a cutting board and paper towel. The cutting board makes for an even surface. The paper towel soaks up any beer on the bottom of the bottles (from sitting in the tray) and keeps the bottle from slipping. I affix the bottle caps and place the bottles in a box on the floor.  
Bottle caps with the number "3"

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