11 September, 2014

Bottling the First Beer

Beer the First has been in secondary for just about a week now.  It doesn't look like it has done anything at all.  No bubbling, no mess, no fuss.  To me, it doesn't seem to be any clearer, but there's definitely a small sediment layer at the bottom of the carboy.  So I suppose that's something, right?

I thought we were going to wait until the next brewing to bottle, but Greg picked up some supplies and we're ready to go.  The extra time spent waiting isn't going make the beer any better, so may as well get it in bottles - it's that much closer to drinking...
We didn't have enough bottles from Greg's previous foray into brewing, so he picked up some more.  (We've also been saving the non-twist-top bottles from the store-bought beer to re-purpose, but we still hadn't amassed enough.)  In addition, Greg acquired a bottle tree for us.  We had already washed the bottles in the dishwasher, but they need to be sanitized too.

This is another part of beer-making where prep, sanitizing, and clean-up actually takes longer than the beer process.  It took about a half hour to bottle the beer, but we spent an additional hour and a half prepping, sanitizing, cleaning up, and sanitizing again.  I keep thinking it's a wonder that anyone from hundreds of years ago had any beer at all...

So what I didn't know (and it wasn't included in the recipe) is that there's one more additive to the beer before bottling: corn sugar.  This apparently gives the beer its carbonation.  So we boiled water and added the sugar, then transferred the beer (one more time!) to a 5 gallon bucket with a spigot at the bottom.  We put the sugar water in first so the beer would (hopefully) mix evenly to get good carbonation.
From there, it's out the spigot and into the bottles.  Now to wait for two weeks - then this batch should be ready for drinking.  (*fingers crossed that it's drinkable - or even tasty - rather than drain cleaning poison.  I'll know in two weeks...)

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