Friday, April 24, 2009

Bottling Our First Batch

Ok, life has finally calmed down enough where I can take some time to recap our brewing adventure this past Sunday. Before Jimmy and I began brewing, we had to bottle the first batch I made back on the 4th. I had heard horror stories about adding too much sugar to the bottles and having them explode, so that was my only concern. Otherwise, with a two man team, it was an extremely easy process. So much so that we were done before we could snap any pics, so below is just our finished product.

All the process entailed was sanitizing the bottles with the One-Step cleanser, putting an appropriate amount of white granulated sugar into the bottles for carbonation (we had a chart to tell us how much for each bottle), filling the bottles with beer up to two inches from the top, and capping them. For those not familiar with the process and thinking "What the hell is the sugar for?", white sugar is added to each bottle in order to create the carbonation in the beer. The active yeast left in the beer while bottling will continue to ferment with the newly introduced sugar, where one of the byproducts is CO2. Now you can see why we were so worried about putting too much sugar, too much sugar means too much CO2 in a capped bottle means shattered glass and *gasp* spilled beer. We chose to use both growlers and 12 oz. glass bottles in order to gain experience with the bottle capper and to see if the beer favors being in one size over another. Originally, we also had plans to cold condition (carbonating while in the fridge) a couple bottles, but the idiot that I am forgot to stick 'em in the fridge after bottling. We'll do that for the next batch.

Lastly, I did sample the beer during the fermentation process thanks to the tap at the bottom. In the usual 5 gallon glass carboy, it's not advised to open the fermenter at any time as it can introduce contaminating bacteria which can spoil the beer. The first time I sampled it one week into fermentation, the beer was very cloudy, light, and a tad bit sour. I was worried that I hadn't sanitized my equipment well enough, but as the second week wore on, the sourness faded and the appearance cleared. By bottling time, it was an extremely light pale ale, but at least there was alcohol, which indicated fermentation had occured. Good enough for me with mediocre ingredients.

1 comment:

TeamRamRod said...

Congrats on bottling your first batch! It's pretty rare to get bonafide carbonation your first time so well done!

I've been brewing my own beer for about three years now and it's so much fun. There's no time like your first though, eh? ;)

Just wanted to pipe up and recommend Bottle Your Brand for beer labels. They're the only ones I've found with labels that are actually waterproof and that look decent on the bottles. If you feel like labeling your bottled they're the best.