With the holidays, life got in the way of beer making and the blog. I hope you all had a wonderful season, full of giving and laughter and people you love. If you missed the article and recipe for gluten free beer, you can find it here.
Once the wort has fermented a couple of weeks, it is time to bottle or keg. I’ve never used kegs – another project for another time – but here are some step by step instructions on bottling:
To begin, sterilize your 5 gallon plastic bucket, siphon hose, and racking cane. Insert the racking cane into the end of the siphon hose. Being careful not to stir up the sediment at the bottom of the carboy, siphon the wort into the 5 gallon bucket. There will be some liquid left on the bottom of the carboy, but if you want clear beer, don’t be too fanatic about “getting it all.” Pour the sediment on your compost pile, if you like.
Put a sterile lid on the bucket and allow it to settle for about 24 hours before bottling. Word to the wise – clean your carboy immediately after draining. Dried on wort is very hard to scrub through the narrow neck of a carboy. We recently bought an attachment for our kitchen faucet that sprays a jet of water inside the carboy to clean it, which is wonderful, but scrubbing is still necessary.
On bottling day, put 1/2 cup of sugar in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup of water. Many beer makers insist on corn sugar, but I have found my palate does not mind regular sugar for this recipe. Boil the sugar until it dissolves, then cover the pan and allow the sugar syrup to cool completely.
While the syrup is cooling, again make sure everything is sterile. I use the sanitation cycle on my dishwasher for the bottles, but still make sure to inspect every one for cleanliness and to allow time for the bottles to cool before filling them. To begin, pour the cooled sugar syrup into the sterile 5 gallon bucket. Siphon the beer for sediment a second time, as previously, so the syrup and wort mix during siphoning.
Insert the sterile racking cane into the siphon hose and attach the bottle filler. I place the bucket on the counter above my dishwasher and use the door of the dishwasher as a platform to fill my bottles. It makes it easy to access my sterile bottles to fill them, and it also makes cleanup of spilled beer easier.
Now fill the bottles to the top – when you remove the cane, the liquid should be about an inch below the mouth. Cap and store the bottles in a dark place at room temperature or a tiny bit cooler (65) for two to three weeks to allow the beer to carbonate.
This beer will have sediment, no matter how hard you try, so when drinking, pour carefully into a glass and leave a fraction of the beer in the bottle along with the sediment.
Even gluten-intolerant beer lovers can join enjoy a malty beverage. Let me know how yours turns out!
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© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.