I had this post pretty much good to go last week, but since then a lot has changed so I’ve had to rewrite the whole thing. But I’ve included new images and a few bottling tips. One thing I really love about homebrew is bottling in the most random selection of bottles. It’s really cool when you see a shelf with loads of different bottles, it’s something different and saves trips to the bottle bank.
I’ve recently been playing around with the Coopers Mexican Cerveza kit. After the primary fermentation I took a few samples, if Tesco did value beer that would have been it (maybe they do? I don’t know). However after a week in a secondary bin, the change is shocking! I’d say in another week or two I’ll have a batch of beer that would give the likes of Corona a run for it’s money! I’ve done the maths and it’s working out at just under €20 for 22L of amazing Mexican style beer. Which averages at around 45c per 500ml bottle or 30c per 330ml bottle.
Bottling Homebrew – The Basics
I usually transfer my brew into a secondary bin a few days before bottling. It helps it clear up a bit and also takes it off that nasty bed of sediment that builds up during primary fermentation. My secondary happens to have a really handy tap on it, and when I bought it came with a dead handy Bottle Filling Stick (horrible name for a product I know!) which makes bottling such a breeze.
It has a valve at the bottom that opens when inserted into a bottle allowing you to fill from the bottom for minimum air contact.
Sterilising bottles is really important. I first started using WVP, which by the way does an amazing job when left overnight in a teapot! No stains what so ever left. However it has a fairly long contact time (3 hours) and when you’re as impatient as me, it’s not a match made in heaven. For this batch I ended up using a product called Chemipro OXI, it’s got a contact time of 2 – 5 minutes and it doesn’t need to be rinsed off. Which saves around 15 – 20 minutes. You’ll also need to sterilise the bottle caps, as they’ll also come in contact with the beer at some stage.
As you can see the beer has gone really really cloudy and there is icky sediment at the bottom. This is why you shouldn’t disturb your beer when you’re filling bottles. When you get to the end it can’t be avoided, but should be done carefully. I actually left what you see in the image in the bin as I didn’t really fancy having all that sediment in one or two bottles. The other 40+ bottles however I was shocked to see had really cleared up.
Which means I can store them sideways without having to worry about disturbing any sediment on the bottom of the bottle. Turns out the secondary fermentation creates sediment, so they can’t be stored on their sides or shook! My bad.
Finally, I used these little beauties for this brew. Rather than messing around with sugar, you can drop one of these in each bottle instead. It’s basically a compressed sugar tablet, which dissolves in the bottle and carbonates the beer. Use 1 for bottles up to 500ml or two for 750ml bottles.