In my video, Make Your Own Brew – Episode 001, I said I would be doing a bottling video. Well it didn’t happen this go around because I was a bit pressed for time. I had to get the beer in bottles so they would be properly conditioned by the 4th of July.
So, I bottled my first batch of beer yesterday. It was the Vienna Lager that I brewed with ale yeast. Bottling beer is pretty straight forward, no real surprises, although I did make a little bit of a mess on the floor from a couple over fills.
I first sanitized my beer bottles which I had been previously collecting. I used the dishwasher for 30 of the 54 I would need, my dishwasher wouldn’t hold anymore than that, and sanitized the others by hand.
Next came the priming sugar which I boiled up into a simple syrup in 2 cups of water. Boiled that for 5 minutes and then poured into my, sanitized, bottling bucket. I then transferred the beer from my better bottle secondary fermentor into the bottling bucket, being careful not to splash the beer around. You want to be careful about NOT oxygenating the beer at this point, it can result in skunky beer if you do. I then GENTLY mixed the beer for one minute.
Before bottling we took a bit of a sample. Now I don’t like flat or warm beer and this was both, but it does taste and smell like my first batch will be a success. Again, this is the Vienna Lager which is a favorite of my dad’s so his thoughts are more important on this batch than mine and HE said “Wish it was cold.” So you see? That’s a GLOWING recommendation coming from him. Trust me.
Oh, I took the FG before adding the priming sugar and it was sitting at 1.015 which is right at the upper limit of the target gravity. The math works out to be 3.5% ABV, which is pretty darn low. I am HOPING that my OG reading of 1.042 was off as it was the first time I had ever done a hydrometer reading. If not this is going to be some pretty weak beer… but that just means that my dad will be able to drink more of it before feeling all sleepy and being needed to put to bed.
In contrast my second batch of beer’s OG was 1.050 and is sitting now, 6 days later, at 1.014 gravity which gives it an ABV of 4.7%. Sounds to me like the English Brown Ale is going to have a bit more of a kick.
NOTE: A week before I had taken a reading and the gravity was 1.011. I don’t know. This gravity thing is a pain in the butt. I never did see vigorous fermentation with this batch, although I didn’t know it at the time. I just thought that was the way it went, until I saw the fermenting going on for my second batch.
I was then ready to bottle, which I did. It helps tremendously to have a bottling buddy so my dad gladly filled that role, he is going to help me drink it after all. I put the beer in the bottles and he capped and kept me supplied with empty bottles. After about 10 minutes of filling bottles we were done and had our 54 bottles of home brew ready to go.
I’ve got to say, I now know why people move to kegging their home brew. Which I plan on doing in the NEAR future. It wasn’t the bottling that was a pain… it was all those bottles that needed to be cleaned and sanitized. That was a lot of work.