Preparing to Bottle Beer

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,402
    Gary Glass from the American Homebrewers Association teaches you how to prepare to bottle your beer.

    Gary Glass: Hi! My name is Gary Glass. I am the director of the American Homebrewers Association. I am teaching you how to make beer at home. In this segment we'll prepare our beer for bottling.

    I've got some beer that I've actually already made, a batch of the Hefenweiser. So we'll use this pre-fermented beer for our bottling today. I've still got the sanitizer in our bottling bucket from when we were doing the last segment. So I am going to use this sanitizer to sanitize all of our equipment.

    I've got about two-thirds of a cup of water that's boiling, it's going to boil for 10 minutes, I've already got it boiling now. And then we're going to stir in some corn-sugar. I've got three quarters of a cup of corn-sugar also known as dextrose. And what this is for is to prime the beer before it goes into the bottles. And the reason you do that is that, that adds sugar to the beer, that the yeast that's still in the beer is going to ferment in your bottles. Once the bottles are sealed, that yeast will activate, consume the corn-sugar, it's going to carbonate the beer in the bottles. So we're getting natural carbonation.

    5 gallons of beer, it's going to make fifty 12 ounce bottles of beer. So we need to sanitize all the bottles. These are clean bottles that I bought from my local home brew supply shop. You can also use recycled bottles. If you've drank the beer already, you can soak it in some ammonia overnight or so, that will clean the bottles, it'll also make it so that the labels on the beer bottles will come right off.

    So it's a nice little trick for reusing the bottles, you don't have to buy your own bottles. It's a little extra work but it's pretty easy to do and it's a good way to reuse bottles as opposed to having to purchase new ones.

    So I am going to remove the water from the boil. That's sanitized. I can have the sugar in. Okay, so we'll let that sit for about 10 minutes, that'll sanitize the sugar for us. In the meantime we can start sanitizing the rest of our equipment in our bottles. So we just take our bottling bucket which already has the sanitizer in it and I am going to transfer into the kettle that we used. So I am just going to use that to store the sanitizer to sanitize everything else. Just got to make sure that all the surfaces of that bottling bucket come in contact with the sanitizer.

    I want to sanitize our hydrometer because we're going to a hydrometer reading of the finished beer. I am going to sanitize our bottle filler and we need to sanitize our racking cane. Now this is a little tricky because we're going to need to start to siphon with this thing. Take the cap off of that. The cap on the end of the racking cane keeps it above the yeast that's settled at the bottom here. So you're going to want to use this on the racking cane when you make your siphon. The way you want to keep this siphon going, is you could fill this with water, to start with, seal that on. You got your ends sealed for now. We're going to stick those right into the sanitizer. I am going to get my hose all sanitized, sanitize the cane.

    You're also going to want to sanitize all of your bottles too. So with this sanitizer you can just stick them in here. We'll just sanitize each one of these bottles, like so. But we'll also need to sanitize our bottle caps, so I am just going to take a bowl of the sanitizer and dump our bottle caps in there. So we've got there a racking cane that's filled with water. We need to sanitize the inside of it. So I am going to place the bowl on the floor and then I am going to siphon the water out and it's going to pull the sanitizer through. You want to make sure that whatever you're siphoning from has to be higher than what you're siphoning into. Put this down in the bowl, let that go and then we've got sanitizer flowing through it.

    So our racking cane is clean. Now I am going to open up our fermentor. And you see a little bit gunk around the edge here, that's perfectly okay. That's just a by-product of the fermentation process. So we'll drop our hydrometer into the beer and get our final gravity reading and what that's going to tell us is the difference in density between our original gravity reading which we noted was 1.

    049 and final gravity which is right around 1.

    017, which is fine for this beer, little under 5% alcohol probably.

    Now we've got a racking cane full of sanitizer. Stick the racking cane into the beer. Now we're going to pull the sanitizer through via siphon and that's going to bring the beer into the siphon. You don't want the sanitizer to go into your bottling bucket. Run the siphon until all of the sanitizer comes through and then we'll clip the hose shut again, see, now I've got beer coming through, we can transfer it into our bottling bucket. Before we open that up, I want to out our corn-sugar into the bottling bucket. And then as the beer fills up, it's going to mix that corn-sugar in with the beer. So it'll be thoroughly mixed by the time we go to bottling.

    Okay, so we're just about down to the bottom. Don't want to pick up any yeast, you can see a few chucks coming through there, cut off the siphon and we're done with this portion of the segment. Next up, we're going to bottle the beer.