And Then We Bottled The Beer

Today we bottled the beer. This took a lot longer than I thought because we had to wash and sanitize all the bottles which we didn’t get to until Theo showed up. I should have brought them home with me the night before and started them early in the morning. It took well over an hour just for this part; so long in fact we ended up going out to lunch rather than just standing around not doing anything. I can’t complain about the lunch part since the pizza was fantastic; it some combination of the white pizza with chicken, tomatoes and spinach. But unlike so many other times the crust was perfect. Maybe I was just hungry but the pizza was perhaps the best one we’ve gotten from there.

Once that was over the bottles were ready and Theo prepared the mixture of priming sugar and we transferred the beer from the carboy to the bucket, then from the bucket to the bottles. It all seemed to go pretty well. The hardest part was getting the swing tops onto the bottles. You would think after doing a dozen or so I would have been pretty good at the process. Well, you would be wrong. I still managed to mess up most of them and more than once I had to pry the top off so I could do it again. And just think, next weekend we have to do it again. And we need to buy all new bottles.

On the plus side we did have the exact number of bottles we needed. I mean exactly. I think this was due more to blind dumb luck rather than any sort of good planning by either one of us.

And the verdict?

Not bad actually. It’s not really as strong in flavor as I would have expected but it was certainly palatable. I think with a bit more aging it will be pretty good. We aren’t going to win any awards with this stuff, but on the whole I think we did a pretty reasonable job for our first batch. There is still another month of aging it will go through in the bottles (which are now in my garage) so by then I suspect it will be pretty good. There is another batch we have to put in bottles next weekend and since we have two dark ales right now we might make something lighter for the next brewing like a Mexican Cerveza. That should be good for the summer months.

Overall this has been extremely interesting and a heck of a lot of fun. I’ve been wanting to do this for years and I’ve had a great time making this with Theo. We’ve made some mistakes no doubt about that, but there is something very neat about opening up the carboy for the first time and smelling beer that you’ve made yourself. It’s not the cheapest hobby in the world, but then again neither is cycling, cameras or computers. I’m already looking forward to the next batch we make.

Here is the beer right from the carboy. Yep, it’s a little cloudy.

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And here is the first bottle of beer we made! It’s a momentous occasion!

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Just to show you, here’s what it looks like in a clear bottle.

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And here is the whole amber army at the ready! You can see that carbonation is already starting in a couple bottles.

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And this is the all the sludgy stuff from the bottom. That is a big cupful of yeast! I kept wondering if we cooked it down if we’d get Vegemite.

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