Extract Brew #3: Leftovers – Bottle Day


Bottles – post sanitisation

Yesterday I bottled my latest batch of home brew.

I think, if I wasn’t up against the clock (want it to serve it in 3 1/2 weeks), then I would have left the beer in the bin for another few days – possibly even another week.

This comes after I’ve read quite a lot online about the benefits of leaving it that extra bit longer, given the yeast a chance to clean up after itself and therefore improving the flavour profile.

Learning Lessons

One thing that has come up in my last 2 bottle days – figuratively and literally – is the yeast cake.

Yesterday I noticed that it was quite loose and therefore there was quite a bit transferring to the bottles. Not that this is a MASSIVE issue, but for the aesthetics of the beer, I would prefer to avoid transferring too much.

There are currently two solutions on the cards:

1)  The use of a secondary fermenter – i.e. racking the beer from the primary fermentation bin to a 2nd to lose the yeast cake

2) Improved siphoning method.

My preference at the moment is the 2nd option. I have read through a number of forum threads regarding the pros and cons of racking to a second fermentation bin, and having weighed up the arguments, I currently side on those who just use the primary.

This could also be due the fact I’m scared of needlessly risking contamination during the transfer from one vessel to the other.

Improve Bottling the Beer

Anyway, so I need to improve my method of siphoning. I am planning on doing this by:

a) buying a cap for the siphon tube, hopefully reducing the amount of yeast cake sucked up

b) letting the fermentation bin sit for several hours if I move it into a new position of the bottling

c) being more skillful with the positioning of the siphon tube – I have read that many people hold the tube in place around half way into the beer and then lower it as the beer drains, never coming into contact with the bottom of the bin. I’ve just been dumping it in and that is not helping!

I also need to improve the way in which I prime the beer bottles, but that is a different topic for a different day.

Who said learning and evolving your home brew style would be easy? No-one? Oh well… at least they were right when they said it would be fun.

So, there we have it. Beers bottled and lessons learned. All to do now is wait and hope that it is drinkable in 3 1/2 weeks.

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Jan Harding

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