When we last saw our heroine she had left her glass jug full of beer in a dark corner to ferment, and ferment it did. I checked on my beer several times over the two weeks it was fermenting, each time half expecting for something dramatic to have happen. It did not. It foamed at the top, then the foam dissipated. One day it would seem to be darker in color, the next it would look lighter. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like at this stage in the process, so when my friend Matt showed up and said it was “looking good,” I was relieved. With him, Matt brought two bottling contraptions that would help me get my beer ready for mass consumption.
We transferred the beer from the glass jug into a plastic bucket with a spicket using a long piece of tubing. Then we added one of the most important ingredients: priming sugar. This is what carbonates the beer once the bottle top is sealed shut. We added it to the nearly five gallons of beer we had brewed and started bottling.
I have to say, bottling is my favorite part of brewing, maybe it’s because it is the most active part of the process. One by one we sterilized the new empty bottles I purchased (some people use empty bottles after they have drunk their store-bought beer, but because it was my first, and perhaps only batch, I wanted the bottles to be neat and free of label residue from their former life) and filled them up with my brew. I then used a red bottler to seal the bottle top on. Using the bottler took a little bit of effort, but not enough to tire from (even when bottling two cases of beer). I got a huge sense of satisfaction with every “THWAMP” the red contraption made.
After we filled 50 bottles, the moment of truth had come… I was finally going to taste my I.P.A. I was infinitely nervous about this. What if I had over hopped my wort and it was too bitter? What if the yeast didn’t get enough sugar and it had no bubbles? I had talked a big game and invited dozens of people over to try my beer, what if it was disgusting? I took a slow sip…mind you, I am not a huge I.P.A. drinker, so I wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed to taste like, but you know what? It tasted like beer, and that was enough for me! Matt, who does drink I.P.A.’s, said that it was good, it was at that point I breathed a huge sigh of relief. At the very, very least I won’t poison anyone.
I am super excited to share my brew with my friends, I will report back after the mass taste-test!