Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Deception Cream Stout - Bottling

After 5 long weeks of hanging out in the fermentation chamber, my latest batch was finally ready for bottling! Here are some pics from the bottling session.

Getting everything washed...






Next step -- make sure I have enough corn sugar to prime the bottles. Using an online calculator, I determined I needed 2.9 or 3.0 ounces. I just barely had enough! I'll have to remember to pick up some more before I make another batch!


Time for coffee!! Depending on what's going on, sometimes I'll have a couple beers while brewing/bottling, but more often than not coffee is my drink of choice.


With the coffee ready, it was time to sanitize everything. I mix up the sanitizer in the bottling bucket first and let it soak for a while before transferring it into another bucket. The important thing to remember here is to make sure the spigot is sealed well and in the closed position! I've definitely made that mistake before!




Heating up some water to dissolve the priming sugar in...


While the water was coming up to a boil, I mixed up the sanitizer. I've used other sanitizers before, but I've had great luck with StarSan since I switched to it. Looks like I'm almost out of that, too!



It gets really foamy.


Checking for leaks...


The bucket's only about half full, but the bubbles go all the way up to the top!


Weighing out the priming sugar...


And dissolving it in the boiling water.


Next up was deciding which caps I wanted to use. I've acquired quite a variety of caps from the various kits I've purchased, but I'm kinda weird in that I like all of the bottles from the same batch to have the same cap. It really helps me tell them apart (especially since I don't label the bottles). And the blank caps are nice since I can write on them.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite have enough plain silver caps, but the silver caps with the "B" on them worked perfectly for the rest of the bottles. More on that in a second.


Boiling the caps to make sure they're sanitized as well.



Running some of the sanitizer through the spigot to sanitize that as well...


And dumping the rest into a spare bucket.


Coffee situation? Eek! Almost gone!


Here's the star of the show! Look at all gunk in the blow-off tube!




Setting up a gravity system to transfer the beer into the bottling bucket.


Bottling bucket and auto-siphon in place...


Ready to open the fermenter! Look at all that gunk! That's the result of a very active fermentation!


Ewww...


Getting the siphon ready...


Pouring the priming sugar into the bottling bucket. "Racking" (or siphoning the beer) onto the priming sugar helps to make sure it gets evenly distributed, which helps reduce the chances of having bottle bombs.


Starting the siphon...




Checking the spigot again for leaks. A leak now would be devastating!



Slowly but surely all of the beer is transferred over.



Soaking some bottles in the sanitzer, getting them ready for filling (finally!).


Here's what's left in the fermenter. There was quite a lot of trub left in the bottom of this batch. I've never brewed with lactose before, but I think that (and pitching a large quantity of healthy yeast) contributed to it.


And here is the delicious beer, ready for bottling.


First, I needed to move it to my bottling station.


And give it a quick (and gentle!) stir, just to make sure the priming sugar is mixed thoroughly.


Here's the bottling station setup. I hook the bottling wand to the side of the sanitizing bucket, which holds the bottles until I fill them. The bottle caps and capper are conveniently located on the other side of the sanitizing bucket.




Here we go!


First bottle filled! Only about 50 more to go!



Alright, so remember those "B" caps from earlier? Well since this is a sweet stout (hopefully containing chocolate, coffee, and caramel flavors), I thought it might be nice to try some bottles with various amounts of bourbon in them. I've never tried this before, and I definitely didn't take a scientific approach to it, but we'll see what happens.


The first of the bourbon bottles!


Just a little bit of bourbon in the bottom...


Fill, cap, repeat. Fill, cap, repeat. It seems to go on forever!


So here's what I ended up with -- 48 12oz bottles (8 of which contain various amounts of bourbon), along with 5 flip-top pint bottles!


I LOVE the flip-top bottles! But since this is a richer beer, I thought it would be best to save the majority of the flip-top bottles for a lighter beer.


Really excited to see how these turn out! I'm probably going to let them age for at least a couple months first, though.


Here's what I wasn't able to bottle. Yeah, it doesn't look like much, but after a couple hours in the fridge (to help settle the solids out) it actually tasted really good! Even Jennifer said it wasn't as bad as she was expecting!


Time to clean up! I made the process more enjoyable by having the last of my Dogfish Head 60 Minute Clone (aka OCD IPA) that I made last August. Still tasted great! And look at that pillowy head!



Cheers everybody!

1 comment:

  1. This beer is almost palatable to me... who am I becoming??

    ReplyDelete

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