A couple of weeks ago, I brewed a batch of Kolsch. I promised that I’d post again documenting the process of racking to secondary and bottling. That’s what I’m posting about today. Unfortunately, life got away from me and I didn’t rack to secondary. So today I will show my bottling set up of a single stage fermentation.
Note: Please keep in mind that any equipment that comes into contact with fermented food should be sanitized prior to use.
The first step in bottling is kind of a pain in the butt. Cleaning, sanitizing and draining the bottles is fairly time-consuming, but must be done. I do the entire bottling process in the laundry room. I start out by scrubbing the bottles out with a bottle brush. Next is to sanitize them, I use a bottle rinser, folowed by hanging them on this bottling tree. Of course the bottle tree does not hold enough bottles, so I do most of them and come back later to finish the process.
In order to carbonate in the bottles, we have to add some sugar to the wort before bottling. I could use honey, DME or in this case, corn sugar. Boil the corn sugar in 16 ounces of water for 5 minutes. Dump the sugar-water in the bottling bucket. Siphon the wort from the fermentation vessel into the bottling bucket. This will mix the sugar throughout the wort so it carbonates all the bottles evenly.
While the wort is filling the bottling bucket, I count out my bottle caps and put them in a container of sanitizer solution. I also put 40 bottles into the container I use to contain any spilled beer. This also helps avoid knocking over bottles while filling others.
Attach the hose to the spout on the bottling bucket and attach the bottling wand to the other end of the hose.
The bottling wand allows me to fill the bottle without adding oxygen to the beer. It also leaves the perfect amount of head space. Insert the wand into the bottle and compress the spring valve on the end. This allows the beer to flow. When the beer is even with the rim of the bottle, release pressure and take out the wand. This is where the spilled beer comes from, it is tough to stop it perfectly.
I don’t have any pictures of the capping process. But I pull a bottle out of the tub, place a sanitized cap on it and use my capper to crimp it down. Then put the capped bottle into the box.
I ended up with 52 bottles of beer from this recipe. That’s about normal for me. It takes about 2 weeks for the yeast to consume the sugar I added and carbonate the beer. I’ll leave the bottles in my basement until the carbonate.
The ingredients for this batch of beer cost $34.19 for a cost of about $0.66 per bottle.