Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bottling sucks part 201

One of my goals for this summer is to build a bar in my basement. At that point I will start kegging my beer. Until then, I bottle... and it still sucks. It is a tedious process and one that must be choreographed significantly.

The first step involves the sanitation of everything. I fill my bucket with water and star san sanitizer. I soak everything (tubing, bucket spout, bottle filler, racking cane) in the bucket. While everything is soaking, I rinse my bottles with my bottle washer and put them into the dishwasher.

The wash and sanitize cycle takes about 90 minutes. During that time, I drink some beer.

Once the bottles are sanitized, I dissolve 1 cup of dry malt extract (DME) in boiling water. Using sanitized equipment, I siphon the beer from the carboy into the bottling bucket. While it is flowing, I add the DME to the bottling bucket. Once the siphoning is complete, the bottles are removed from the dishwasher. I put them on my kitchen floor and put the bucket on the counter.

Even though everything is sanitized, before connecting tubes or commencing the bottle filling, I spray everything with vodka from a spray bottle.

Before I start filling bottles, I put bottle caps in water and boil the water while I fill the bottles.

While filling the bottles beer gets spilled. This always happens.

After all of the bottles are filled, I dump the water from the caps and carefully (the caps are hot) place a cap on each bottle. One by one I crimp the caps onto the bottles and place them into the box. Since the bottoms of many are wet from spilled beer, I wipe them off.

Once the bottles are all capped and in the box, I label the top of each bottle.

Then the clean up begins. Everything needs to be washed and that's just plain annoying.

Then the worst part, I need to wait about 2 weeks to drink.

I went on a bottling blitz today and bottled my two batches of cream ale. I plan on bottling my pilsner and dark lager by next week.
Before March is out, I plan on brewing the K├Âlsch.


rangermonk said...

I still bottle and probably always will, even if I also start kegging. When I bottle, I also use the dishwasher on sanitize cycle. But, I don't take the bottles out of the dishwasher. I put my bottling bucket on the counter above the dishwasher and fill the bottles while they sit on the door. No beer spills outside the dishwasher.

Chemgeek said...

That's a great idea and a very simple solution to my spilling problems.

mjenks said...

I read this and thought of all the large, sturdy plastic trays we have around the lab for secondary storage. You could try that. It would keep the spillage contained, at least. I was just worried about spamming up your comments sections by being excessively bored the other day (changing projects is so thrilling, especially while sitting around waiting for other people to work out the "important" steps themselves).