Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Step-By-Step Bottling

After all the hard work that went into conceiving a recipe, brewing a batch, sanitizing equipment, and fermenting for several weeks, bottling and packaging can seem like an afterthought. Chances are you've moved on to the next project, or are at least dreaming it up, and the couple hours needed to properly bottle seem like they could be spent on better things. Not so. Bottling - or kegging, for some brewers - is a vitally important step on the road to great beer and must be treated with the care and attention that every brewing task demands.

As with every step that takes place after the boil, all surfaces that are to come in contact with the beer must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This means buckets, siphons, tubes, bottles, caps, everything... After cleaning and flushing each bottle with hot water, I fill them with a
solution of Starsan, an acid-based sanitzer developed for the brewing industry. Starsan is amazing stuff: strong enough to kill unwanted bacteria, but gentle enough to not require rinsing once the solution is drained. It also produces a thick bouffant of foam that works into every nook and crevice.

After sanitizing the bottles and bottling bucket, it's time to prepare a corn sugar solution that will carbonate the beer in the bottle once the cap is sealed. This process is pretty amazing and is definitely a little mystifying if you haven't seen it before. In a nutshell, the fermented beer is transfered, by
a sanitary siphon, from the fermenter to the bottling bucket (a 5-gallon plastic bucket with spigot at the bottom), in order to separate the beer from the yeast and hop material (brewers call the mix trub) that coats the bottom of the fermenter.

While the transfer is taking place, I measure a little more than 3/4 cup of corn sugar and mix it with 1/2 cup of water and place it on the stove burner. I mix and bring the solution to a boil for 5 minutes. The sugary mix is rapidly cooled in an ice water bath, added at room temperature to the beer in the bottling bucket, and stirred with a sanitized spoon. Once the slightly sweet beer is sealed in the bottles, the yeast that has inevitably stayed suspended in the beer during the siphoning will consume the simple sugar converting it to a tiny amount of CO2, which is trapped in the bottle and dissolves into the beer over the course of about two week. Caps are applied, in my case, with a hand-held capped that can be cumbersome, but gets the job done.

Voila! You have produced a bottle-conditioned beer.


34 comments:

  1. Since it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.............................................

    ReplyDelete
  2. 能付出愛心就是福;能消除煩惱就是慧。........................................

    ReplyDelete
  3. 如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。.............................................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。.............................................

    ReplyDelete
  5. 很高興見到你哦!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  6. 唯有用熱情、用智慧去觀察事物,這事物才會把他的秘密,洩漏給我們......................................................................

    ReplyDelete