Bottling day has finally come, it’s time to bottle that goodness we call beer. Yes that’s right it’s not wort anymore, its glorious beer and you’re not too far away from enjoying it!
In case you missed it, my last post was an introduction to bottling. Which included the types of bottles available, sourcing and the preparations required. Click here to check it out.
This post is aimed more at beginners who may be bottling beer for the first time. The method I’m be positing about today is individually priming bottles with carbonation drops or sugar. If you do happen to be bottling for the first time and you want to bulk prime, there is no reason not to, it’s not difficult at all. If you are looking for a guide to bulk priming, I’ll be posting it shortly!
First of all make sure you have calculated how many bottles and caps will be required to bottle your home brew. It is always a good idea to add a couple more to the tally in case of breakage. The last thing you want, is running out of bottles near the end and have to go prepare more. Brewers Friend have a great calculator for mixed bottle sizes.
Oh no I said that word again. I’m not going to apologize this time, but I will be brief. Remember if you have not cleaned your bottles this will need to be done before sanitising.
On bottling day give the bottles, bottling wand and caps a soak in no rinse sanitiser. Once the bottles have soaked in sanitiser for at least 10 minutes, you’re ready to start bottling. Pour out as much of the sanitising solution as you can and set the bottles aside ready to rock n roll. It’s best to drain your bottles right before you ready to start filling them with beer.
Because we are using a no rinse sanitiser there is no need to worry if there’s a little left in the bottle. To drain your bottles completely, there are bottling trees and racks available. I just sit them on the bench and flick out the few drops after they have sat there a minute. Some people use the racks in a dishwasher, but unless you’re positive it’s clean of bacteria, I wouldn’t recommend this.
Bottling Day Steps using Carbonation Drops or sugar.
If you’re new to bottling, these basic steps below will guide you through bottling you’re brew. With this method you will bottle from your primary fermenter using carbonation drops to prime each bottle.
If you want a slightly cheaper option or don’t have and carbonation drops on hand, just add sugar to each bottle at step 6 instead of adding carbonation drops.
- Clean and sanitise your bottles, lids and bottling wand. If you have a spray bottle of no rinse sanitiser, give it a good squirt up the tap outlet.
- Place caps/lids in a small container of sanitiser near your capper.
3. Place the fermenter on a bench top where are you are going to do your bottling. Preferably not over carpet! Be very gentle moving your fermenter by not disturbing the yeast cake on the bottom.
4. Clear the tap of any yeast that may be in there. This is as easy as filling a testing flask for to take a gravity reading.
5. If using Carbonation Drops. Place the required amount into each bottle as follows:
1 Drop per 345-375ml bottles.
2 Drops per 740-750ml bottles.
If using table sugar. Measure and place the following amount of white sugar into each bottle as follows:
1/2 teaspoon of white sugar per 345-375ml bottle
1 teaspoon of white per 740-750ml bottle.
DISCLAIMER: Aussie Brewer Blog takes no responsibility for exploding bottles due to over priming, be sure to follow this step carefully.
6. Attach the open end of the bottling wand inside the tap opening. Make sure it’s a tight fit and that the valve end securely fitted.
7. Remove the air lock or loosen the fermenter lid then turn on the tap. Don’t freak out with this because the valve/trigger on the end will hold. The valve will open when pushed up against the bottom of the bottle. You may get some drips so place a towel on the ground underneath the bottling wand.
8. Grab your first bottle and guide the wand all the way to the bottom until it the valve opens and beer starts flowing.
9. Hold the bottle there until it fills all the way to the top, then pull the bottle down to shut the automatic valve off. It’s important that fill as close to the top of the bottle as you can. The bottling wand takes up the volume required to give you the correct amount of head space in the bottle.
10. If you have a partner helping you, pass the bottle to them to cap. Otherwise fill a few bottles then cap them before filling more. You want to reduce the amount of exposure your beer has with the open air.
11. Grab another bottle, then repeat steps 9 & 10 until you have bottled all your beer.
12. At the end, if you choose to, gently tip the top end of the fermenter towards the tap to get more beer. Keep in mind these bottles may end up with a bit more sediment.
13. Store your bottles in a dark place that is the same temperature as what your fermentation was for at least 2 weeks. I usually put them in a large plastic storage box in the laundry.
After your beer has conditioned
After 2 weeks you should be able to start drinking your beer, so chuck some in the fridge standing up right. It’s best to leave them in the fridge for at least a day before you drink them to let the sediment on the bottom settle. The longer you leave beers in the fridge the more they will clear up.
Pouring your first beer.
When you crack your first beer open, pour it into a glass leaving the last cm or so in the bottle to avoid the sediment. Now enjoy this moment because all hard work as finally paid off. In due course, I’ll have a video up how pour a bottle of home brew.
How did you go?
We would love to hear how your bottling day went and if you enjoyed your first beer? Let us know in the comments section below.