Part II: Bottling Beer

Now that it has been three weeks of fermenting beer, today I learned how to bottle it.

We had saved beer bottles and bought the rest of the materials, including carbonation tablets, bottle caps and a handheld capping gadget.

Beer Bottling Materials
Beer bottling instruments and carbonation additive.

After taste-testing the base, I determined it was not too sweet (a sign it needs more time fermenting) and was basically flat porter. Then I realized that the carbonation tablets, which are essentially sugar, needed to be cut into 3/4 otherwise there would be too much carbonation for the size bottles we were using. Too much sugar and the bottles would explode.

Sugar For Carbonation
Cutting the sugar tablets for proper carbonation measurement.

Next, we needed to sanitize the bottles and caps.

Sanitized Bottles
Bottles fresh from the dishwasher.

I washed them all in the dishwasher and peeled the labels off. Per the directions, using the no-rinse cleanser, I filled the bottles equally with the solution. While holding the cap on, I shook each one vigorously then let them stand for 10 minutes. One-by-one, all the bottles and caps were cleansed, emptied and set aside.

Now we had an assembly line.

Assembly Line
Beer base, carbonation tablets, sanitized bottles, sanitized bottle caps and capper.

I was prepped and ready to drop the carbonation tablets in the bottles, which I then filled with beer, leaving two inches of room for carbonation. The carbonation started immediately foaming and time was of the essence to get them bottled.

As you can see, I didn’t quite know what I was doing and it took me a bit of time to figure it out. Once I did, though, it was fairly quick from start to finish. The key is to flip the bottle upside down once it’s capped to ensure that it’s sealed. Some I didn’t cap right and needed to re-cap with newly sanitized bottle caps, but we had enough to do so.

And there you have it. Eighteen bottles of beer have now been put into the pantry to now sit for another three weeks. I’ll let you know how it tastes once it’s all done.

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