Today I put into bottles my first mead, well my first one in over 12 years. I used 375ml clear bottles for this and love them, I will use these for future meads as well.
This was just a simple 1 gallon recipe using cherry juice from Trader Joe’s. My overall my goal was to finish dry enough so this didn’t taste like cherry cough syrup. Success.
- 2 quarts Trader Joe’s 100% Cherry Juice (15 Brix)
- 1 quart Trader Joe’s 100% Tart Cherry Juice (14 Brix)
- 1 lb Clover Honey (Costco) added to obtain 25B (1.100)
- 1/8 tsp DAP
- 1/8 tsp yeast energizer
- 3 grams Lavlin 71B (Narbonne) yeast
This was put together 3/7/13
3/10/13 18B – added 1/16 tsp DAP, 1/16 tsp yeast energizer
3/17/13 11B (1.007 corrected) very slight sweetness and strong alcohol flavor.
3/31/13 Racked over to new bottle, almost completely clear
9/2/13 Bottled in 375ml clear bottles.
Now that I am full on into kegging again, I wanted to give bottling a shot from the kegs. This would allow me to quickly move a batch out (into bottles) and free up kegs for batches waiting. Also I get the benefit of forced carbonation and hopefully very little at the bottom of the bottles, AND I can give the bottles away immediately (no priming).
Keg Bottling Wand
I had seen a post on homebrewtalk from ‘BierMuncher’ several years ago about how he bottled from kegs, and also had seen a brewingTV episode showing the same thing. I gave it a shot and I am pretty happy. The main things needed to make the special ‘wand’ are a plastic siphon or bottling wand and a drilled #2 stopper.
Cut the bottom of the wand at an angle to allow filling, and slide the stopper to the length needed given the bottle you are filling (I used 22oz bombers today).
Today I kegged up my Tart Raspberry ale and my disappointing ESB. Similar to BierMunchers post here are my basic steps, after first chilling my bottles in a freezer:
- Shut off the gas to your keg momentarily and open the (keg) relief valve to bleed excess pressure from the the keg.
- Turn the PSI on your regulator down to about 5. This needs to be a slow gentle process.
- Go ahead and open the tap and drain some beer into a waste bucket. This will prime and cool the lines.
- Now place the bottle filler into the bottle with the stopper pushed down snug onto the bottle neck. Open the picnic tap to the locked position.
- The bottle will begin filling but slow to a stop as the pressure builds
- Gently push the side of the stopper to allow the pressure to “burp” out of the bottle and the beer will begin to flow again.
- Continue the fill until beer (not just foam) begins overflowing and turn off the tap.
- Quickly move the rig to the next bottle and repeat.
- When all the bottles are full, give each one a quick “burst” of beer from the tap to top off.
- Move the bottles to your capping bench and place a cap on each bottle.
- Before locking down the cap on each bottles…tip the bottle on its side and back (holding the cap on with your finger of course). This will cause the beer to begin to foam.
- Place the capper on the cap loosely and as soon as the foam begins to overflow…lock down the cap.
I bottled up the chocolate porter today, using 2 oz of white table sugar and getting 25, 12 oz bottles when I was complete. I should have cleaned 3 more bottles, I likely could have filled them up. I usually do have 3 to 4 extra bottles just in case I calculate incorrectly.
This finished at 1.030, really high, but pretty much expected after mashing it so warm 156F. The next chocolate porter I do, I will bring that down to 154F and try to get it a little dryer. The issue is though, and I know from experience, is you can easily get a weak thin tasting beer from what would otherwise be something nice, by mashing a chocolate porter too low. It doesn’t take much either.
The nose was intense chocolate / cocoa. I loved the smell, it was excellent. The taste of the flat beer was not as chocolate intense as the nose, but seemed pretty decent. There is a definite residual sweetness, and I will be interested to see how it turns out when there is some carbonation.
I was shooting for 2.0 volumes of CO2, and contemplated even going lower. I will taste test in 1 week, and then do an official tasting in 2 weeks, which reminds me, I need to do an official tasting of my last Irish Red, which I am now calling a Black Irish ale.