August 05, 2013

Bottling. Sucks.

Five beers, back-to-back over three weekends, and I’m over it. As of today, one of those has been bottled. The prospects for the other don’t look good. It’s time to drop the cash on more kegs.

There’s two sides to making beer, the brewing and there’s the rest. Everyone loves mashing and boiling. But no one gets as excited about the bottling and cellaring side. After the beer’s made, it gets stressful. Transferring the beer and checking it’s gravity, dry hopping, all that falls under “the rest”, and it’s usually here where contamination and other bad things happen. Enter the keg.

Beautiful, clean, cold, German steel. I’m not sure it’s German, that just seemed to fit. Kegs allow the homebrewer an extra vessel to play with. Not only are they convenient for looong term storage, it’s also a place where the beer can be dry hopped, spiced, and naturally or forcefully carbonated (with CO2). It can serve as a cask for making Real Ale (beer that is served from the vessel it was fermented in) which is effin’ yummy. And once carbed, bottles can be filled anyhow. I do this all the time and it’s spectacular.

But without kegging, bottling on a large scale will undermine your resolve as a brewer. In my case, we’re looking at 200 bottles. Do it all at once and it’ll soak up the day. Do it over many weekends and it’ll eat up 3 hours each weekend. So, I kind of just let it fall by the way side and left it to “condition”.

Makes for great research! Most of them are Belgian or Saison, classically fermented on the warm side. Some brewers might think it’s a waste to keep such expressive yeasts so cool. But fuck that, this can only be planned so far before you have to kind of let it go. Huzzah! Progress!

Sorachi Saison - Wyeast 3711 - OG 1.054

American IPA - White Labs 001 & 008 - OG 1.054

Belgian IPA - Wyeast 3522 - OG 1.077

Multigrain Smoked Saison I - Wyeast 3724 - OG 1.042

Multigrain Smoked Saison II - White Labs 565/Wyeast 3711/White Labs 550 - OG 1.042