Thursday, January 1, 2009

second brew (red ale), part 7

It was bottling day!

The brief instructional videos at Homebrewers Outpost are very helpful.

It all went pretty well to plan. Specific gravity was unchanged. No trouble racking to the bottling bucket using the cane and siphon. Filling went smoothly. For carbonation I boiled 4 ounces of corn sugar in ale rather than using water. Used Five Star PBW and StarSan for cleaning and sanitizing.

I used a mix of 16 ounce flip top (EZ Cap) and 12 ounce standard bottles. No doubt I need to work on my technique, but at this point it takes me on average a lot longer to install a flip top than to crimp a cap. The standard bottles were a mix of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen, Sam Adams seasonals, and New Belgium Mothership Wit. I'd say the shorter ones were a little easier to cap. Other than that, consistency in size for easy storage is probably the only important factor.

Bottle washing took a loooooooong time. They were fairly fresh and clean to begin with, without any dried residue or other unwanted crud. I soaked and scrubbed to remove labels, let dry overnight, and then scrubbed inside with plain water and a bottle brush. They sat in the dishwasher rack for a while, then I sanitized with an Avvinatore Vinator (pretty fun to use!) and racked them up again. Optimization of bottle prep merits some contemplation.

I ended up with 32 of the 12 ouncers and 12 of the 16 ouncers, for a total of 36 pints, or 4.5 gallons. It's kind of painful to see that last inch of beer sitting atop the yeast go to waste!

Out of fear that a bottle bomb could set off a chain reaction I wove sections of newspaper between the bottles in a big plastic tub. I didn't have any empty cardboard cases with dividers, other than for the EZ Cap bottles.

Should be ready for the Superbowl. Woohoo!

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