Wednesday, June 23, 2010

AG #3 - ISO Standard Stout - Kegging & Bottling

So I finally got around to kegging and bottling my ISO Standard Stout. This beer sat in primary for 11 days, and had fermented down to 1012. Slightly lower than my target gravity of 1014, however this is no harm as it will make the beer less sweet and a little bit dryer. The ABV came in at a very sessionable 4.02% and so this should make a good session beer to have on tap over the coming month.

Due to the fact that in the main I keg my beers, I always find that I do not have any bottles on hand for tastings or to give to friends or family. With this in mind I decided to make a larger brew than I have previously and so after fermentation I had a full 25 litres, this meant that I could fill a corny keg and still have enough for 13 or 14 500ml bottles.

Bottles in an old fermenter getting
the starsan treatment
First thing that needed to be done was to sanitise the bottles and keg I would be using. Many people describe an arduos and multi-step process to cleaning and sanitising their bottles, life is too short, and so I have a pretty simple and easy system. After a bottle has been poured it gets a rinse in cold water to remove any yeast or debris, it then sits in the kitchen until a few bottles have built up, all the bottles then get a wash in the sink with hot water and then they are thoroughly rinsed, drip dried and put away until bottling day. On bottling day they get a quick check to make sure they are clean and then they get the starsan treatment. After being submerged in starsan solution they are emptied and filled straight away. There is no need to rinse the bottles after using starsan, also you will notice there will be some foam left in the bottle from the starsan solution, you don't need to worry about this foam, it will not effect that taste of your beer.

Fill the keg from the bottom in order to
minimise the risk of oxidising the beer.
After all of the sanitation comes the filling of your keg and bottles. On this particular day I had a problem with not having the right tubing to connect to the tap on my fermenter and so I ended up using an auto-syphon and improvising a bottling wand at the end of this. It worked very well and in no time at all I had 13 x 500ml bottles ready to be capped (the caps, capper, bottling wand etc all have to be cleaned and sanitised prior to use). Next was the kegs turn, the end of the syphon tubing is placed at the bottom of the keg and the beer is racked. It is important not to oxidise the beer at this stage and so this is why the end of the tube is placed at the bottom of the keg. Once the keg is full the lid is put on and the keg is given a few bursts of CO2 in order to make sure that the lid forms a proper seal. Once this has been done you can leave the beer to condition for a week or more at room temperature or just place straight in your keggerator. Before force carbonation it is important to leave the keg in the keggerator for a few days before commencing carbonation, as cold beer will carbonate a lot quicker than beer that is at room temperature.

Last but not least it is time to design some labels for my bottles. I was never good at art and so my labels are nothing special, however it adds to the whole process. Here is what I came up for ISO Standard Stout:

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