Bottling the Home Brew (and a few other things).

After a week in the primary, and one in the secondary, today was the day to bottle the beer. I realized that I forgot to dry hop this batch when I siphoned it into the secondary, so was a little disappointed, but after cracking open the carboy and taking a sip, the disappointment faded. This is an incredible batch of IPA.

My first step was to sanitize the bottles. About a week ago I’d already soaked them in the sink and removed the labels, so I just needed to make sure they were sterile. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to run them through the dishwasher on the “sanitize” cycle. It gets all of the residual glue off of the bottles from the labels and kills any bacteria.

While the bottles were washing, I decided to do a little work on the door. I started by filling all of the cracks with spray foam made for windows and doors, and then adding the last of the furring strips around the edges. With that done, I put in a piece of drywall.

I still need to do the sides, but it’s coming along. With that done, I anchored the door the rest of the way – the door was really just being held into place by a few nails through the brick molding. I used a counter-sinking drill bit to pre-drill 4 holes, 2 in each side of the door.

Then using 4 3” wood screws I secured the frame of the door to the studs. Perfect fit.

I didn’t put screws in the top of the door because if the house settles, it can knock the door out of alignment or bust the frame altogether (thanks, Dad!). With the screws in, I filled all of the nail holes with famowood wood filler.

Then, back to the kitchen, while the bottles were washing, I started preparing the beer for bottling. First, I sanitized the bucket I use for the primary fermenter, so I could siphon the beer back into it and add the priming sugar without stirring up the remaining sediment on the bottom of the secondary.

After it was sanitized, I prepared the priming sugar. To do this, I used ¾ cup of corn sugar to about 2 cups of cold water and brought it to a boil. When the sugar was melted, I added to the bottom of the bucket. Then, using the siphon, I transitioned the beer from the carboy into the bucket and mixed well so the sugar was well incorporated.

A quick check for clarity, and taste: Beautiful and delicious respectively.

I purposely left a little beer in the bottom of the secondary so I didn’t suck up the yeast cake into the bucket I was going to bottle from. My dad, from whom I acquired my taste in beer, decided this meant he should drink the dredges.

With the brew ready, the bottles had finished sanitizing, so I pulled them out of the dishwasher, and set them up to fill. I like to put them inside of the stock pot I use for boiling the wort, since there is always a little spill over.

With them in place, I started the siphon, added the filler attachment, and got to work, filling all of the bottles. After they were full, we started to cap them. Before starting, I’d boiled the caps to make sure they were sanitary.

Then, I just place the caps on each bottle, and using the capper, sealed them on.

He’s like a MACHINE!!!

This batch made about 36 bottles, because I’d taken out about 3 bottles worth at each phase (wort, primary, secondary). I’m going to use these later this month to help illustrate the process beer goes through as it ferments for a few home brewing novice friends of mine.

At this point, the bottles will sit at room temp for about another week before they’re carbonated enough, and then they’ll go into the fridge.

With the kitchen cleaned up, Helen and I jumped into the car and headed out into the gorge for a hike at Dry Creek Falls.

We pulled off at Cascade Locks and found our way to the trail head.

It was in a bit of a strange location, but after about ¼ mile, the sound of the freeway dissipated. We hiked along the trail for about 2.2 miles when we stumbled upon the creek.

A bit farther, and we found the falls.

They’re really incredible. I think my favorite part is that unlike all of the other falls in the gorge, there aren’t 1,000 people standing in front of the falls taking family photos. It was just Helen and I.

And this guy.

After wandering around a bit, and discussing how to get up above to where the falls come down from (the verdict: impossible) we turned around and headed back down the hill.

Now, back at home, I feel like I have arthritis because my ankle is absolutely killing me, and tomorrow the work week beings. Ugh. 3-day weekends should be mandatory in Oregon during the summer.

Anyone with me?

Posted by Kevin 1 comment