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 Kölsch.