I was bottling last week so thought I would throw together an article on how I perform it as some questions do come up from time to time. The process that I am going to describe is what I use for bottling. I am not advocating that this is “the” way to bottle but simply “a” way that might give some brewers some thoughts on how to improve their own results. However, if you have a competely different process or perhaps made a piece of equipment to help then please tell us about it.
First off, batch priming is simply the process off adding all of the secondary fermentation sugars to your whole batch of beer to ensure that you get consistent levels of carbonation in all your bottles. This is opposed to the system advocated on the instructions of beer kits which suggests adding sugar directly to each bottle.
What do you need?
- a “bottling bucket”. Simply a fermenter with a tap.
- some steriliser (I use VWP)
- sugar for priming (T&L for me and I usually use between 60g and 80g per 5 gallon batch).
- a length of syphon tubing
- the “little bottler” (this will fit onto the tap of the bottling bucket)
- some crown caps
- a capper
- some beer!
- clean bottles (this process only covers the sterilization of the bottles)
The first job is to sterilize everything which is easy enough to do with the bottling bucket. I fill the bucket with cold water then mix in a small amount a of VWP. I then throw in the syphon and the little bottler to soak. I take the bottles in batches of 20-22 and half full each bottle from the bucket and let the sit for a few minutes. I then give each bottle a good shake before emptying back into the bucket and rinsing each bottle out a couple of times under a cold tap. I then repeat with the second batch of bottles.
I also sterilise the crown caps by taking some liquid from the bucket.
As I am sterilizing the second batch of bottles I get me priming sugar ready. I take the sugar and add it to a small saucepan with aroung a half pint of water and the being to a simmer for a few minutes to ensure that any “nasties” are eliminated. I then take off the heat while I get the bottling bucket ready.
You prepare the bottling bucket and syphon by thoroughly rinsing.