5/22/2010

Brew 1.4 - Red Ale (5-22-10)

Today was a productive day. First, we bottled the first brew, and brewed two more. I'll be posting about those two seprately.

I've never bottled, but I've watched it done several times online. A lot of the people I know who brew will tell you that it's the worst part of the whole experience. After my first time bottling, I have to say, I disagree. I enjoyed it immensely.

I've been saving bottles and growlers for a little while now. The growlers have no lables, they are all painted, so I didn't have to deal with those much. The bottles are a different story. I learned that not all bottle labels are created equally. I've stripped Sam Adams Boston Lager and Sam Lite, and Cherry wheat lager bottles, Bass Ale bottles, Guinness Draught bottles (and removed the little plastic air doodad) and Troegs Hop-back ale, and Smithwicks.

Ok, so the Guinness Draught bottles were the easiest to strip, they're wrapped in a plastic label. A simple slit with a razor, that label peels right off. But the Co2 doodad in there, you gotta get out. Fortunately, I have some long, tough tweezers that yank them right out. I like these bottles.

Second in line is Sam Adams. These labels come off easily when soaked in hot water. Smithwicks are by far the biggest pain in the ass bottles to remove the lables from. It's really kind of amazing how well those labels stay on!

First step of the bottling was to heat the water to mix in the priming sugar, and move to the bottling bucket. This is the new sugar that the yeast will use to produce a little more alcohol, and Co2, to carbonate while in the bottle. I believe it's basically Corn sugar, but from what I hear you can use regular confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar, but for now, I'm just using what the kit gives me.

This mixture is poured in with the beer as your transferring to the bottling bucket.

Sometime during this process, I checked the gravity. I wrote it down though, and can't find the paper I wrote it on. It was right where the directions said it should be though. Which... was the paper I wrote it on...

Anyway, we finished moving the beer from the primary to the bottling bucket, and the sludge left in the primary was pretty nasty, as you can see.

The bottling then began. We filled 6 growlers, and twelve bottles. I have to say, collecting, cleaning, filling and capping the 12oz bottles was rewarding for me. Maybe it's just because it's the first brew I actually made, but I found all that to be kind of a labor of love, as corny as that sounds. I really did get a good sense of accomplishment out of it though.

Here's the yield, currently sitting downstairs in the basement for a week, after which I'll toss it into the fridge for two more weeks.