Bottling and Tasting

I am behind on my updates and this is only our second brew.  Oy.

We bottled on April 4, which now that I look at it, is probably way too late.  Happily, Ben was home to assist me on this bottling so things went quite a bit quicker.  Added bonus of making Ben do stuff–I didn’t ruin my nails and fingers trying to get the damn fermenter top off!  While Ben was working on getting the top off, I prepared the priming sugar. 

When we (finally!) got the top off, we tried to take a hydrometer reading but again the thing sank like a stone.  I can only guess that we’re waiting too long to bottle, so we’re losing a lot of volume.  But again, we have no idea what the ABV% is because we couldn’t get a good hydrometer reading.

All of this brewing–well, there have only been two, but all of this siphoning I guess–is leading to me to seriously consider an auto siphon.  We had a tough time getting the siphon going to get the beer into the bottling tub…probably the toughest time we’ve had.  There seems to be a lot of siphoning–once from the pot into the fermenting tub, then again into the bottling tub.  And if we ever getting around to buying a secondary fermenter, there’s yet another siphoning step.  Can you tell I’m trying to sell myself on the auto siphon?

We finally got the siphon going and started moving the beer into the fermenter when I reread the instructions and realized we were supposed to add the priming sugar before we transferred the beer.  Oops!  We just added it when I noticed, praying we hadn’t made a critical error.

The rest of the bottling was fairly standard.  I did the first one, Ben did the second.  When I was filling up the third, Ben tried to advise me on better technique.  I had bottled an entire brew from start to finish and he had filled one bottle.  I don’t really remember what the advice was, or if he was right or wrong.  All I remember is being pissed that he was making suggestions after one bottle…and he hadn’t even capped it!  Men, if you are reading, no matter how right you think you are, when your woman (I can’t speak for how men would feel in this situation) has already done something, and done it more often than you have, wait until you have some more experience under your belt before critiquing.

So we finished bottling.  I ended up mostly filling up the bottles and Ben did the capping.  It is the more fun part, to be sure.

We let the beer sit for about a week before trying it two nights ago.  Yet again, to our somewhat surprise, it was good!  I keep expecting to have a bad batch, but so far so good.  Of course, it’s only been two brews and we’ve used kits every time.  I like the kits, but I am anxious to feel experienced enough to try some new stuff.  I’d love to be able to recreate a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, or maybe even a stout that does not include fish bladder (naaaaasstttyyy!!)…or something really crazy like something with kiwis and strawberries and all kids of fun fruitiness.  Wow, I sound like such a girl!

I am struggling to name this beer.  I’m thinking about something like All-American Girl Pale Ale…some sort of play on the whole “American” thing.  I’m probably trying to be too creative.  “American Pale Ale 4/2014” is probably all we really need at this point in our brewing careers, but this is the part that’s more fun to me.

While I ponder the name for this beer, I think the Easter Bunny may be paying a visit to our local home brew store to get another beer kit.  I wonder what style he’ll bring us this time…

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