Let me first say: My Kingdom for a Kegerator! Sadly, that is not really an option at this point, so bottling it shall be.
First step: check to see if all supplies are in the house (priming sugar, bottles, bottle tops both regular or flip, sanitizer, siphon thing, bottling wand, tubing.
Second step: go to Brewstock to get the random flip top cages and assembly as well as a couple new liter swingtops. (subset of the second step, burble to Aaron about your beer and your future homebrewing plans and get the scoop on the First Annual Louisiana Homebrew Competition).
Third step: Sanitize the living crap out of everything, starting with the bottle tree, the bottles, the spigot, the tubing, the auto-siphon, bottle caps, and bucket.
NOTE: Ensure the spigot on your bottling bucket is CLOSED.
Fourth step: boil 4oz of corn priming sugar in 2 cups water, let cool, then pour into your sanitized bucket. Lower the end of the tubing so that it's submerged in the sugar liquid as much as possible, put the other side of the auto-siphon which is inserted in the fermenter, crank the siphon up, and watch, mesmerized, as your beer flows out from the nasty-ass fermenter into the clean bottling bucket. This takes a little while. Rest up while you can, 'cause filling the bottles is quick and somewhat stressful work! I actually had a few minutes to remember that I should take pictures for this blog post.
|That's me! brewing beer!|
|You are feeling very sleepy.... hypnotic filling of bottling bucket|
|Close up of the auto-siphon and the beer's former and now very gross home, the fermenter.|
|The yeast left behind|
|Bottle tree! Where sanitized bottles are left to drain upside down until it's time to fill 'em up|
|These bottles are FILLED WITH BEER THAT I MADE.|
I did need to cap a few beers with regular caps, which was easy enough- sterilized the caps in vodka, and the bottle capper is pretty intuitive at levering that cap right on there.
Last and most annoying step: Cleanup. Rinse out the tubing, the autosiphon, the bottling wand, the bottling bucket. Wipe out and rinse off all the yeast in the fermenter, then put a cleaning solution in there (and then put the bucket away, cleaning solution and all, till the next brew day). Put your beer away. Wash your floor. It's a pretty messy process.
Now I just need to wait a couple weeks for the remaining yeast to eat up the priming sugar so that it is naturally carbonated, and I can give it a try!
Many thanks to Tom, who was an awesome assistant. Honestly, I don't know how people do this with only one person, there's so much stuff happening, it's so much more manageable with two people! Well, now I can help him on his brew days as well. Even with an experienced homebrewer as my assistant, I do feel like I did my own brewing. And next time I'll know more and won't need as much advice, but will probably still need that extra pair of hands and eyes.
Exciting, but exhausting. I'm tired and sore and wish I could figure out a way to just keg my batches. I feel like a real homebrewer now.