Wednesday was refill the barrel and the jugs day. I went to town twice to fill. The first trip, I filled seventeen five gallon jugs and two 7 gallon jugs. From these, I filled the 55 gallon barrel. I figured a way to fill with the five gallon jugs that didn’t give me a hernia. I used two packages of


I put the rest in the house, and returned to town to fill another 54 gallons to get every single frickin’ jug in the homestead filled…done.

Today, was bottling the Irish Red day.

Preparing to bottle


OK, math time. There are 640 ounces in 5 gallons. We must prepare enough bottles and add the ounces to have at least that much capacity. It’s really frustrating to run out of bottles, so I always plan a couple extra; assuming that there are 640 ounces to begin with.

I had 2 cases of 22 oz bombers (12 each), 3 1 liter plastic bottles (33 oz each) one 12 oz Corona, and a sixteen ounce plastic Coke bottle which was more than enough. If you count, will notice that the bottles that were filled only count to 567 ounces; about 60 ounces short of 5 gallons…why? you may ask.

I will answer that one. Every time the beer is siphoned into another container, we lose some beer; an acceptable loss to avoid getting the sludge and sediment into our finished product. If you must have 640 ounces to bottle, you must add more than five gallons of water before you begin your ferment. You will still lose beer in the siphoning process; there is no way around it. If you add more water to your ferment, you will lower your gravity…less alcohol by volume due to dilution.

They have since invented what is called a “conical fermenter” that sits upside down, and one can release the yeast from the bottom of the “cone” when the ferment is done, or using a spigot installed on the side, drain out the beer with worrying about the sludge.

Ss Brewtech Chronical Fermenter 7 Gallon Northern Brewer

Ss Brewtech Chronical Fermenter 7 Gallon

This baby is $400. I’ll stay old school.

Our final gravity

was at 1.018. Yep it went up a little since we racked into our secondary…why? you may ask.

OK, since we lost 60 oz, more or less during our two siphoning procedures, you must remember that when we bottle, we add 3/4 C corn sugar and a pack of yeast to our wort to achieve our desired carbonation. Is 3/4 C corn sugar enough to raise the gravity 4 points? No; still the fact remains.

It is possible that my mark on the 6 1/2 primary fermenter is not exactly 5 gallons…likely.

I deem it a success thus far, and await for the beer to carbonate. It should take about a week; maybe a little longer.

The bombers are for personal consumption. The plastic ones I use to ship to buddies, and I always bottle one clear one to see the settling process while it carbonates. When the beer settles and cleared, likely it is drinkable. All beer benefits a little ageing, but once it is carbonated, it  must go into a refrigerator. You have live yeast in there, and they continue to feed on sugars, and will keep on adding carbon dioxide, thus increasing pressure in your bottles. I have heard stories about folks who put there carbonating beer in the hot garage, only to hear exploding missiles as the tops of the bottles are blown off. What a mess.

More rain in the forecast for tomorrow and the next day. Looks like mowing will have to be put off…rats.


6 thoughts on “Updates

  1. Howdy from New Jersey! We outran the storm up I85 Wednesday night and stayed in High Point NC – 5 hours from Atlanta. We left High Point this morning when the storm was pummeling Augusta and caught bands of rain till noon when we passed DC. At $19.60 worth of tolls we pulled into Mt. Holly NJ eight and half hours after pulling out of NC. I got a text from a neighbor the storm was a light shower and a 15mph gusts of wind.

    Those “conical fermenter” are a great source of getting an active starter when they are peaking on the yeast production. The brew supply store that I used in the 90’s had 4 of them in their walk in lager refrigerator. Clients could rent an 11 gallon fermenter and would “borrow” a 12 oz sample from the most active fermentation going on. There was always a 3 month waiting list and we kept a Lager strain going for almost a year that way.

    I killed the yeast and would drop in a clarifier for a final racking. I would carbonize with a CO2 tank when I kegged. I almost always had clear beer.

    • In all my twenty years brewing, I have never come across a homebrew store that rented anything. I can clearly see the advantage of owning one if one brews a lot.
      Good to hear you escaped the storm.

      • The guy that owned that one made big bucks in the 80’s as a programmer. He went to a 9 month school in Germany to get his “Reinheitsgebot” brewers certificate. He came back to Atlanta and opened a brew supply store and retail outlet in a defunct butcher shop that had a walk in freezer that he had reworked for 40-50 degrees. He rented space for Lagers and had the conical fermenters and guaranteed a successful fermentation and cleaned the fermenter afterward. He was the supplier to most of the south east US brew shops. He had 20 types of grains, a roaster, and cracker. He sold full startup kits, dry malt, liquid bulk malt, and the canned kits. He was Wyeast’s largest client in the 90’s. His hops varied from plugs, pellets, vacuum pack, and to loose leaf that was guaranteed to be less then 30 days old (seasonal). He designed a trailer that would take the grain and water at one end add hops along the way to a cooling tower that had wort filling hose for filling your carboy at the other end. It also could be cleaned with a garden hose. He gave classes from basic brewing to advanced classes of which I had a few. He was also the brewmaster at two different brew pubs.

        He was actively recruited by a microbrewer in New Zealand. They gave him a $100k sign on bonus and moved him to New Zealand. I heard from him 4 year later and he was a multi-millionaire brewmaster for the kiwi’s. The dip shit that bought his business ran it into the ground so it went under in less than a year.

      • That is so typical…selling a business and having it run into the ground by the new guy…seen it at the old bicycle/lawn mower shop where I used to work.

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