Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beer Bottling

   So just this past Sunday I went ahead and decided it was time to bottle up my Kolsch that has been cold conditioning in my refrigerator. To let you guys know I have been working on small two gallon batches which is plenty for myself especially if it becomes a bad batch. I don't feel as bad throwing away two gallons opposed to the normal five gallons. Plus all of my batches are in that experimental stage so that means as of right now no flagship beers. Don't worry though once I come across a batch so good I am sure you will here about it here without a doubt in my mind.
   Well anyways on to the tedious part of bottling beers by hand. Those of you who do homebrew know about this fun and ever so addicting hobby and its downsides to it as well. Bottling beer has got to be one of those downsides. First there is the preparation washing and sanitizing the bottles and bottle caps. Second you have to prime your beer with some type of sugar solution to get the amount of carbonation you want. Third comes filling them up with beer and capping each one. Finally the waiting period. Depending on the beer you just bottled it can be between 2-4 weeks until you can enjoy your final product. The conditioning phase is sometimes the hardest phase. Having a pipeline is advised.
Sanitizing bottles
   Now the Kolsch that I just bottle has been in the bottle for almost a week now I will probably give it another day or two until I set them back in my refrigerator to cold condition. The cold conditioning phase is to help out with the clarity for one and give it that nice crisp and clean taste that makes this style resemble a lager. This is a great craft ale for anyone who is still stuck drinking Buds! You may notice in the picture above that I have a Mr. Beer fermentation vessel behind me. I love using this vessel its small fits in my refrigerator does not take up much space at all. I use other vessels to but usually I bottle from the Mr. Beer. All I can say is that it works great for the small batches.  

Tedious work
  I have had some great luck not having any bottle bombs so far. This is when either a) Your wort has not finished fermenting or b) You used to much sugar when you bottled the beer. So much pressure builds up inside the bottle that it turns that bottle into a grenade (in a nutshell). This must be a mess to clean up and something I hope to never need to clean up. Just make sure you have the patience for this hobby. If you pay attention to the details then accidents like this can be avoided but none the less we are only human. Eventually I will move to a keg setup but we all start from somewhere. Even when I do start using kegs there will always be some bottled beers too.