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.
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.