Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bottling Days

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on on June 16, 2010)

Today is a bottling day. Tomorrow is as well. Here's what bottling entails, in case you were wondering.

As with everything in brewing, sanitation is a very important part of bottling. I use a bottle cleaner like the one in this image. It shoots up a jet of sanitizing solution into the bottle. I don't have a drying tree for my bottles, so I just leave them on the counter to dry and dump out any extra sanitizer before filling the bottles with beer.

In this stage, the beer is siphoned out of the carboy and into the priming tank where it mixes with the priming sugar. The fermentation in the carboy was complete, but we want to feed the yeast a little more sugar before bottling to get it to produce some carbon dioxide. Bubbly beer is better than flat beer.

The bottles get filled. I fill to about an inch or so below the top of the bottle. This allows the CO2 to have some space to fill and keeps the bottle from either blowing their caps or (worse) bursting.

I use a bottle capper much like this one. It takes a little muscle, but not too much, and does the job of crimping the bottle caps over the top of the bottles.

It takes about two weeks for the carbonation to build up in the bottles. Some people will at this point move their beer to a fridge so that it matures nicely. I don't have enough fridge space for this, so I just keep it in a dark closet until I'm ready for it. Typically, beer will have aged nicely 3 to 5 weeks after bottling.

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