Saturday, 12 October 2013

Bottling your home-made beer

So your beer is ready to bottle. You've checked your hydrometer reading and it's A-Okay.  What's next?  Well, it's time to assemble your bottles and other equipment (as covered here) and transfer the beer from the fermenter into your bottles.

Here's how we do it.

Rinse out your clean bottling valve with sterilising solution and attach it to your fermenter

Sterilise your clean stubbies and add the white sugar to each (required for the secondary fermentation in the bottle). We fill the bottle rinser with 500 ml of the sanitiser and use that to sterilise the bottles. All you do is place the bottle over the spout and push down a couple of times. This causes the sterilising solution to be sprayed into the bottle.

Then using the funnel and the priming scoop, add the sugar to the sterilised bottle.  The smallest measure on the priming scoop is the right amount of sugar for a stubbie.

The bottle is then ready to be filled with beer. Put the bottling valve in the empty bottle so that the tip presses down on the base of the bottle. Open the tap on the fermenter and fill the bottle. Remove the bottle when full and gravity automatically cuts off the flow.

Now it's time for the lid.  We spray sterilising solution on a clean dinner plate and then cover the surface with lids, with the underside of the lids facing up. Spray sterilising solution over the lids and then turn them over.  This will keep them clean while you do the bottling.

Now get your capper ready. We use a bench capper because it's easier and there's minimal chance of the bottle breaking while you're capping it. Sit the bottle on the rubber base of the capper (the rubber base is orange on our capper), sit the lid in place on the bottle, adjust the height of the capper if required, and then pull down on the lever. Release the lever and your lid will be firmly on the bottle.

Invert the capped bottle a couple of times to ensure the sugar is well mixed. Then repeat the process on the next bottle.  When all the bottles are done we write the date and type of beer on the caps and store them in boxes. Here's the end result of our last beer batch:

Leave the beer for at least a month before drinking as the flavour will improve over time.

And that's all there is to it - you have now made your own beer!

So what's this got to do with sustainability? That's a topic we'll cover in another post..

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