Monday, February 17, 2014

Bottling the carob porter

I bottled the carob porter (previous posts: initial brewracking into secondary) today.

Cleaning / sterilization

I washed everything with soap and water yesterday, I used a brush to scrub inside of bottles and auto-siphon.  I sterilized my equipment and the bottles using iodine solution, prepared by filling the bottling bucket with the hottest possible water. I added about ~3 splashes of iodine solution from the bottle until the the color of the solution was light orange.  Everything sat in solution at least 2 minutes, and then was allowed to drain / dry for several minutes.

bottling bucket - after use in sterilizing everything else, inverted over fresh aluminum foil to dry.

bottles:  submerged in solution upright, then sat for 2 minutes in solution.  I used a sturdy cardboard case with lids that PBR bottles come in, lined the bottom with fresh aluminum foil, and then after taking the bottles out of sterilization solution, I inverted them in the case.  I sterilized 30 bottles, the extra six I put inverted into a cardboard six pack holder which I had the bottom lined with fresh aluminum foil.
Dead soldiers getting sterilized
Auto-siphon:  separated into cap, outer tube, inner tube.  Cap sat for 2 minutes in solution then allowed to dry.  Tubes sat first upright for 2 minutes in solution, then inverted for 2 minutes.  Also see below.  Placed inverted over fresh aluminum foil to dry, wrapped opposite (bottom) in fresh aluminum foil.  Also, shaking the auto siphon while it is submerged produces increasingly higher pitched noises.

large spoon:  each end soaked for 2 minutes, then allowed to dry sitting on fresh aluminum foil.

tube:  ran solution through tube (using auto-siphon) for 2 minutes, then allowed to soak submerged for 2 minutes, then ran solution through it and the bottle filler for 2 minutes.  Then spun ends to try to remove some liquid, then hung to dry by hanging middle from kitchen cabinet, fresh aluminum foil over ends.

bottle filler - allowed to sit for 2 minutes in sterilization solution.  Then ran solution through it (using auto-siphon and tube) for another 2 minutes.  Then dried with end wrapped in fresh aluminum foil.

spigot for bottling bucket - ran solution through it for 2 minutes.  Transferred solution to secondary bucket, disassembled spigot (main part, rubber gasket, plastic nut) and soaked these for 2 min.

 bottle caps:  sat in solution for 2 minutes, then dried inner side down over fresh aluminum foil.

Beer in secondary fermenter, about to be siphoned into bottling bucket


I measured out 3/8 cup corn sugar (dextrose) into a small pot, and then added 8 oz. (1 cup) of water, to use as priming sugar.  This priming sugar is added now not to generate more alcohol or flavor, but to generate carbon dioxide (CO2) in the bottles, so that the beer is carbonated - unlike previous fermentations, since the bottles are sealed, the CO2 stays in the bottle and carbonates the beer.  Brought this to a boil over high heat, reduced to 7/10, allowed to boil for 5 minutes.  As this finished boiling, I began siphoning from the carboy into the bottling bucket.  Once the boil was finished I poured the boiled sugar-water mixture into the bottling bucket with the beer as the siphoning continued.  The spigot of the bottling bucket was facing up so it wouldn't touch the floor; I kept an eye on it to see if beer would come out, because I can never remember which was is open.  It was open so when I noticed the level of beer in the nozzle of the spigot rising, I closed it!

After the beer was siphoned into the bottling bucket, I stirred it vigorously (about 15 seconds) with the sterilized spoon to make sure the priming sugar was thoroughly mixed with the beer.  I then set the bottling bucket on the counter, attached the hose and bottle filler.  I set out my sterilized bottles on the floor underneath, and then began filling them.  

The way the bottle filler works is that the end has a small piece that when pushed by liquid in the tube will seal the opening, stopping the flow.  When you push the end of the bottle filler and this small piece against the bottom of a bottle, it causes it to open, allowing the liquid to flow.  When you lift the bottle filler off the bottom of the bottle, the flow of beer presses against the small piece closing the opening, stopping the flow of beer.  It is invaluable and so much easier than pinching the tube (or some other mechanism) to start and stop the siphon flow.  

I filled each bottle so that with the bottle filler submerged in the beer bottle the liquid level was at the top of the bottle.  This leaves a reasonable head space in the bottle after the bottle filler is removed.

I was able to fill almost 26 bottles (the last one is not quite full) by tilting the bottling bucket to get the last bit out.  Note that the spigot does not pull from the very bottom of the bucket, so even with tipping there is some liquid left behind, and sediment - and that sediment doesn't get into the bottles (well, we'll see about that last partial filled bottle!)

I then put the sterilized caps on all of the bottles and used the capper to seal them.  I tasted the beer that remained in the hose and the bottling bucket - not bad, it tasted less bitter than last time.
Who says you can't resurrect dead soldiers?
Now the bottles sit for 2 weeks to 3 months to finish.  I keep them out of sunlight by closing the PBR case, and covering the others in the aluminum foil I used previously.

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