Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bubbling and bottling - Coopers Lager Part 2

Waiting for the beer to ferment reminds me of a child waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning to open his presents. Instead of a tree to go to for the presents I went to the kitchen counter where TheCreativePot graciously allowed us to turn it into the fermentation station. It sounds a lot fancier than it is really - just a bucket with a hole on top for an airlock and a tap at the bottom. But I do like the sense of occasion so fermentation station it is!

Temperature and hydrometer readings (with comments):

2011/02/07 18:30 - 28deg C
When I came home from work the first thing I noticed was that one side of the bucket/fermenter's lid had been pushed up slightly. And the there was a lot of froth coming out from the airlock. This really freaked me out. More the fact that the lid has started to come off than the frothing. I thought that something like that would start to happen. The next thing that came to mind was the fact that there was no more water in the airlock. Even when I added more water it just kept bubbling away!

2011/02/08 18:30 - 27deg C; SG = 1.020 + (0.0018 adjustment)
This morning there was still a bit of bubbling. I left it like that for the rest of the day until I got home from work. The bubbling seems to have subsided. Not that much activity that I could notice.  I also decided to have a bit of a taste; seeing how I had already taken some beer for the hydrometer reading - it did not taste very nice! Hope this is normal.

2011/02/09 18:30 - 28deg C

2011/02/10 18:30 - 30deg C; SG = 1.006 + (0.003 adjustment)
I decided to have one last taste. Its getting better! Its also smelling like some of the beers that I'm used to drinking. Here's to hoping that the secondary fermentation will finish off what was started. I want good tasting beer dammit!

2011/02/11 18:30 - 26deg C; SG = 1.004 + (0.0014 adjustment)
This last reading was done to determine whether we could bottle tomorrow or not. I hope I have understood the kit instructions correctly!

Bottling day finally came on the 12th. I expected the exercise to take roughly 45min to an hour. WRONG!!! In preparation for this momentous occasion (I know there will be many more such momentous occasions, but bear with me - this is my first time!) I went out to buy 3 cases of empty quart (750ml) bottles from our local bottle store. The owner of the Spar Tops (Andrew) was kind enough (and enthusiastic enough) to sell me the empties. Mike however had little luck in getting any quarts. 

I spent the better part of the envisioned 45min rinsing the bottles. When Mike arrived we spent a further 90min on removing the labels and scrubbing the bottles clean and then sterilizing and rinsing the bottles. While this is our first time we have read everywhere on the web that cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to bottling your beer - anything that your beer is going to touch MUST be cleaned and sterilized!!!

The actual bottling is a very quick process. I think it took just under an hour to fill all the bottles and a further 15min to cap them. Mike filled the bottles while I added the Coopers carbonation drops into each bottle. 


From this side of drinking the final product it seems as if all the hard work has now been done. I thought that the 6days went by slowly! Man does 2 weeks feel like an eternity away! In part 3 of this series we will open our first bottle and describe as best we can how successful this exercise was. 


Nicola said...

Just a week to go till taste day, is the anticipation getting strong? I'm interested to know where you bought your kit and bottling supplies.

Phillip said...

Have tasted it. I will be posting soon on it. :-) I got the bottling supplies and kit from The kit includes the fermenter as well as all the bottling equipment. Including your first set of ingredients. The bottes I had to get from the bottle store around the corner.

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