So, you’ve done everything else, you have your brew ready for the sacred art of bottling, but you have no idea how to go about it? You’ve come to the right place.
The idea of bottling is not as simple as it might seem. First of all, you have to start with the so-called priming sugar or DME (dried malt extract), which will provide the carbonation for your beer once you manage to get it into bottles. The process is relatively simple: start boiling the aforemention sugar or DME in a little water, and then cool it down. Add it to the empty, clean (sanitized!) bucket. Cleanliness is next to godliness, they say, and it holds true very much when it comes to beer. Remember, poor conditions while the beer ages mean poorly aged (and perhaps undrinkable) beer.
Next step is a little tough. In order for the beer to transfer between your fermenter and your bottling bucket without trub (sediment) and with as little aeration as possible you need to be gentle. Use a sanitized plastic tube to siphon-transfer the beer. On the off-chance you have just one bucket (be better prepared next time!) make sure you let the fermented beer settle after you stirred in the priming sugars. You don’t want the trub in your beer – unless you do want it to taste a bit off.
Get your bottles ready! As everything else they should have been fully sanitized and clean. Now, if you are using a bottling bucket (with the spigot attachment – it’s quite handy), put the bottle filler at the bottom of the bottle, open the spigot and let that yellowish-brown goodness flow. If you are still in the one bucket phase (just get the bottling bucket, trust me, it’s worth it),fill he plastic tube with water and put he open end in the fermented beer. Let the water come out in some kind of jug, mug, glass or whatever, but be ready to move the tube back into the beer bottle once the beer starts going. Once each of the bottles is almost ready to overflow, remove the bottle filler which will leave a nice airspace just at the top of the bottle. Now it is time to cap the bottle with your trusty bottle capper. Rinse and repeat, for as many bottles and as much beer you have made.
It’s time to age your stuff! Bottles should be stored for one to two weeks at room temperature. Now, if you are brewing some complex taste, with lots of spices or strong flavored malts you will need extended periods to condition your beer properly. However, if you are doing that stuff, you’re far from a beginner anyway, so why even bother reading this!
The final summation for bottling is much like the one for every part of the process of home brewing. Practice makes perfect and the more you experiment, the better your beer will be, and a large portion of that will be thanks to a proper handling when you are getting the beer ready for packaging. Cheers!
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