How to bottle wheat beer

Posted by admin on Saturday 5 April 2008

The bubbling sound coming from our fermenter slowed the other day so BEER mom and I bottled it Thursday night once baby went to sleep.

We had a rough first few nights with him, because waking up every 3 hours wasn’t something we were used to. He also didn’t like something Laura ate so we quickly learned about the most useful parenting secret – mylicon drops.

He’s sleeping fine now and had his first doctor’s appointment yesterday. There are more pictures of him after the bottling pictures.

How to bottle beer

I’ve already talked about how easy it is to make beer, and bottling is no different. You typically need 2 1/2 cases of bottles for bottling time (if you are making a 5 gallon brew) ± another 4 – 6 depending on how full you fill them.

The first and most important step when bottling is having everything sanitized and prepared before you begin.

Sterile Bottles

My collection of bottles was slowly getting smaller, so I picked up another case of them last weekend. The bottles are by far the most expensive part of brewing beer (if you don’t try to market the beer), so it’s generally a good idea to reuse them and have others collect as many as possible.

We used a one step sanitizer that we purchased from our homebrew store to get the bottles ready for priming. They are other ways to sanitize them, this just happens to be the method we use.

Priming beer with sugar

While I was sanitizing them, BEER mom primed them with 1 tsp of corn sugar each. This is so the yeast has something to feed on while sitting in the bottle (sometimes called secondary fermentation) and makes it so the beer is fizzy and carbonated when opened.

Primed and ready

She primed about 68 bottles because we were not sure how many we would need. Next we got the caps ready by sanitizing them, prepared the siphon hose and bottling wand, and I brought up the fermenter from its resting place in the basement. Again, you can tell when the beer is ready to be bottled because the bubbling in the airlock begins to slow.

Ready to bottle

No bubbles means it’s ready to go.

Next I pried off the lid and saw that the beer did in fact look different than before. I suppose it could be a scary site to some (Laura said the coffee beer looked like poo had been smeared around the edges), it also smells a lot like beer at his point too.

Fermented wheat beer

Once the lid was off we needed to work fast to bottle it. I already had the siphon hose prepared and a pot ready to catch any mess I made. As with the other times we bottled beer, I filled the bottles, handed them to Laura, and she capped them.

Beer Siphon Hose

We set the fermenter on the counter and the bottles on the floor so gravity could do most of the work filling the bottles. This is what the bottling wand looked like.

Bottling Wand

The wand is made so when beer will flow through when placed in the bottom of a bottle. When the bottle is full you pull it out and the flowing stops. You usually need to leave space at the top of each bottle incase it foams when being filled, and so the bottle has a place for the CO2 to go once they become pressurized.

A lot of beer

We ended up with a lot of beer once we finished filling everything. 70 bottles in all because some were more full than others.

As with the other brews, the next step was storing them at approximately 70°F away from light. They are in our basement for the next few days; after this they will be moved into the fridge. I’m not sure how I am going to get them all to fit in there though with Kaden’s bottles and our food.

Once again I would like to emphasize that making your own gives you a lot of beer…

70 bottles of wheat beer

I called my brother after making this batch because he likes wheat beer and I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of them. I’m sure someone will come help me drink them.

The final thing we did before heading to bed was put away all the supplies and clean the fermenter. Once you get all the beer out there is usually a little sugar and yeast still in the bottom (the sediment). This is how that looks.

Fermenter Sediment

I’m sure this could be used for cooking, but I don’t plan on trying. In 5 – 7 more days I will try one of my wheat beers though. I will share how that turns out.

As promised, here are the most recent pictures of Kaden.

Ale, Bottling, Parenting | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “How to bottle wheat beer”

  1. Laura aka BEERmom

    His hand looks giant in that last picture.

  2. Christen

    I agree with BEERmom…

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