I bottled on Sat May 8th, which was 13 days after brew day. (Yes, this post is very late.)
For this homebrew, I checked on the fermentation progress every couple days (using my “maturity checklist“), to judge when it would actually be ready for bottle conditioning.
Newbie homebrewers are afraid of opening the fermenter too frequently, because we hear that you risk bacterial contaimination each time you do so. It’s like the fear campaigns from high school health class (“this is your brain on drugs!!”) — you get older and wiser, and then find out it was 90% bullshit.
Anyways, it was actually interesting (and, dare I say, educational) to see the changes.
As you can see, the yeast bros had really tuckered themselves out by day 10.
It may look subtle, but the beer was clearer after four days. The FG was stable.
However, the beer still tasted like it needed a few more days (I don’t know how to describe the “not-finished” flavour … “unripe”? “immature”?). The two-week golden rule seemed appropriate.
On bottling day, the FG and appearance hadn’t changed from last time, and the flavour seemed okay (although warm and uncarbonated).
I sniffed the beer and accidentally dunked some of my hair in it. Pro-tip: if you have long hair, tie it back for brewing and bottling. I wasn’t worried about it though, and I don’t think it’ll affect the beer much. (At least I wasn’t the guy who dropped an oven mitt into their fermentor).
InEfficient Process, aka, poor planning
I did things in the wrong order. Almost like I’d forgotten some of the process from last time
The sugar mixture (“priming” sugar) has to be boiled and then cooled down before being added, so I really should’ve done that first. I’d also siphoned the beer from the fermentor to a new pail before even doing that, which also isn’t optimal.
Well, at least my bottles were already relatively clean (and the sanitizer solution was mixed).
So, I got to use my new auto-siphon. Once you get the hang of it, it seems to work really well.
I don’t have many pictures of this part because I didn’t want to screw up this bottling (like last time).
I used a chair again, with a tea towel on it.
After a while, I found a system. I’d raise the bottle and tube (to be level or higher than the bucket) when it was close to full, slowing down the flow. This took me an embarrassing amount of time to hone.
I still got the chair and floor all sticky, but I feel like I spilled less than last time.
I got a whole 1.1 L more than last time.
- 14 flip-top bottles
- 2 wine bottles (which should fit nicely into my wine fridge)
- 1 full growler (1.89 L)
- 1/2 growler labelled “Yeast Ahoy” (it was the last bit I could siphon, and some of the yeast got in there, so I’ll have to pour this one carefully)
Total yield is around 11.34 L.