The Penultimate Step in the Beering

I have news! News which you would never guess! In fact, the title of this post doesn’t even come close to hinting at what my news is!

Caroline and I have gone to a goldsmith to speak about a wedding ring for me! The idea involves wood perched in a silver band. The would wood be in place of any kind of stone or other adornment, held in place by those little claws used for stones. I’ll include a sketch of it at some point, if I end up ordering it. It would (wood?) be a custom made ring, so the price tag is a little heavy.

In other, far more important news:

We have bottled our beer! All 23 (give or take some) litres of it! It has taken a fair bit of waiting, and a lot of cleaning – you don’t even know how much cleaning. The large barrel/bucket needs to be cleaned before anything happens, so does the big stirring spoon, as well as each and every bottle, and each and every bottle cap. It’s not just a wipe down, the cleaning involves beefy detergent, and a sterilizer.

It took a long time.

We ended up sleeping in between the two steps.

So, after all the cleaning was done, we took all the bottles upstairs and began filling the little devils up with ale!

Bottles

The photo doesn’t do them justice, in my opinion. A big portion of these bottles are 440ml and 500ml bottles, there’s even a 750ml wine bottle. ‘Member that big ol’ bucket o’ beer from this post? That’s how many bottles…

Bottling the beer went nice and smoothly – here’s the obligatory photo of Caroline in position.
DSCF0334In case it is not clear, how it works is pretty clever. The long pipe attached to the tap that’s hanging from the bucket there has a kind of shut-off. By pushing up on the little pipitjie, you open the way for beer! So all you have to do is push it in with the inside-bottom of the beer bottle. This ensures that the beer gets in the bottle without spilling, and without losing any of the carbonation it’s built up.

Something I did not know about brewing beer, is the use of carbonation drops (you can see the packet next to the bucket) that give the beer more fizz after it’s been bottled. They look like large, sugar sweets, and each bottle gets one.

My job was capping and packing the bottles. Capping is done with a bright red doohickey which I assume is called a capper or something similar. It pretty much clamps down the sides of the cap evenly, nothing fancy. Lo! A super smooth .gif for thee!PopAs you can see, it was a very complicated task I had to perform, which is why I had to do it myself. Not all the bottles were so magnificent, most were plain old Black Label, Castle, and Hansa bottles…. with screw caps. I had to stop playing with my toy. I was sad.

That’s not to say that capping these bottles was any less tricky, or exciting. For those of you who don’t know how to cap a screw cap beer bottle, here’s another super smooth .gif for you.
ScrewYay! Education!

Now the beer needs to sit to carbonate and clear – most of the yeast was left behind in the bucket, but there’s still some floating around in the bottles. The hordes of bottles need to sit for about a week or so before it’s considered ready. The longer it sits, the clearer (and ‘smoother’) it will be, up to a point obviously. Beer does have a shelf life, home-made beer even more so, which means only one thing…

…I will have to drink it all quickly while making another batch! Whoo!

Actually, the next batch of anything to be made is mead! Which means more cleaning…

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