My porter had been in the secondary fermentor for two weeks and was ready for bottling yesterday.
Chuck had been helping me prep for this moment since December. For Christmas he got me several dish-machine racks that hold 18 bottles each and built me a shelving system to hold them in our storage room. He coordinated with our local pub to have them save their German beer bottles so I could use them for my homebrew. Then he washed all the bottles, peeled off the labels, and scraped off the foil. When it came time to bottle my beer yesterday, the bottles were all ready to go and conveniently in racks. What a sweet guy!
After laying out all my bottling gear and reviewing the bottling section of the Basic Brewing DVD, I was ready to get started. The bottles Chuck saved for me were larger than the typical 12 oz bottles, which meant I didn’t need as many of them. They hold almost 17 oz, so he brought up two racks – which is 36 bottles. With 12 oz bottles I would have needed 48 of them. I definitely recommend the larger bottles.
After racking the beer from the secondary fermentor to the bottling bucket and boiling the corn sugar in a small amount of beer for 10 minutes, I was ready to start filling bottles. The bottles filled up nicely and I had an appropriate amount of air space in each one. The process was a bit messy, but not overly. I didn’t have any major mishaps to increase the amount of clean up that I had to do.
After filling the bottles, it was time to cap them. That was my favorite part of the process. It took a few bottles to get used to the hand-held bottle cap crimper, but I soon got on a roll and was converting my filled bottles to finished bottles of beer. They look so cool all capped up!
I’ll wait two weeks before taste-testing my first bottle, but am expecting it to be one to two months before my porter is really ready to drink. I’ve decided on a name for my first batch of beer. It’s “Jenne’s I-hope-it’s-not-crap Porter.” We’ve been tasting the beer each step along the way and have found no off-flavors so far; so we’re optimistic that it might actually be drinkable!
Now I have to figure out what to brew next!