Saturday, November 13, 2010

Well I'll Be a Monkey's Dunkel - Primed and Ready.... To Bottle That Is

So we have reached the point where fermentation is pretty much done.  The majority of the yeast has flocculated and settled out, the beer has been siphoned off into a new carboy to continue fermenting with the remaining yeast and the CO2 production has slowed to a crawl.

This scenario means that it is time to bottle the beer.  Granted it would be a lot easier and less time consuming to Keg the beer, but one would need to invest in said keg (cornelius kegs being the easiest to deal with) and a tapping system for said keg and more than likely some form of refrigeration for said keg to keep beer cold.. Blah blah blah blah.....

Bottling is less expensive and though more time consuming, more attainable for most of us.  Granted, you will need bottles and bottle caps as well as a bottle capping device.  This still represents a slight investment, being the caps and a capper, but if you drink beer already then you have a supply of bottles.  Just don't turn them in for the 3 cent refund.  You can remove the labels, and run them through the dishwasher and voila!  Bottles.   Just be sure they are NOT the twist off cap type.

In order to Bottle, or at least the way my brother does it, you will need a "fermentation bucket" or some such container to move the beer to.  Most fermentation buckets have a spigot, it is to this spigot that you will attach the filling hose.  (I know, more equipment)  The bottle filling hose has a special fitting on the end, you insert the hose into the bottle and press the end against the bottom. 

This allows the liquid to flow, as the liquid flows it creates very little agitation and thus incorporates very little or no oxygen into the finished beer (cause at this point, oxygen will just oxidize you beer and make it taste weird.)  When the bottle is full, simply raise the hose off of the bottom of the bottle, and the flow will stop.... Super easy...  and no mess.

BUT before we can begin bottling, you need to get those bottles clean.... Soak them in iodine solution, even if you ran them through the dishwasher.... They MUST be sanitary.  You can dry them by throwing them back in the dishwasher and running them through the dry cycle.

Boil your bottle caps in a small amount of water for at least 5 minutes.

Now you can siphon the beer into the fermenting bucket.....

And attach the sanitized filling hose (you remembered to sanitize this as well right?)

Take your last gravity reading (I sear this is the last one).  The Dunkelweizen reading was 1.013 (I will explain the mathematics in my next post)

Now take a moment, grab a beer glass...  Pour the liquid from the gravity test into it and admire the color of your beer....   It's OK to feel proud of your accomplishment.... Just a little more patience and you can drink it....

Now you are going to have to "prime" the beer before you can bottle it. This adds more sugars back into the beer and allows the the yeast that are still around to produce more CO2 and alcohol.  It's not so much the alcohol that your after time, but CO2. (Unless you like flat beer)  And yeast produces a lot of CO2

In order to Prime the beer for bottling you will need to make a malt syrup (or you can use corn sugar).  I chose Unhopped Wheat Malt as my priming sugar (after all, this is a wheat beer and I had already added hops during the boil)

The generally accepted ratio for the syrup is 1 pint of water and 3/4 cup corn sugar or 1 1/4 cup Malt for a 5 gallon batch of beer.  if you like your beer a little more fizzy I have head you can add up to 1/4 cup additional Malt, I am not sure how much more corn sugar you can add before you beer explodes.

So boil the syrup on the stove and let it cool slightly.

Pour this syrup into the beer,

Then give it a gentle stirring (remember, no bubbles or you get oxygen)

OK, Now you can fill bottles.

Simply slide the bottle onto the filling hose and press.... Fill the bottle ALL the way to the top before stopping the flow... When you slide the filled bottle off the hose, you will have the perfect amount of head space.  (remember the hose is displacing some of the liquid while filling)

Place a cap on the top of the bottle....

Crimp it down with the bottle capper.....

Place it in a box, upright....

Once you have filled all the bottles (I got 48) move them to a warm spot..... Now your beer will be ready in 7-10 days... preferably 10 though.  At only 7 days, there may still be some "green" flavors in the beer.

I know this seems like a long journey, and a lot of waiting... But your patience and perseverance will be rewarded.  Trust me.

Stay tuned for the final installment....   Let's Get Crackin!!

Cin Cin!!

1 comment:

Patti T. said...

I don't like a real hoppy beer this ones sounds like one I might like. Hubby and I went to a brewery for lunch today and enjoyed some really great beers. Oh, and a great burger too, ha ha.