Monday, 3 February 2014

Bottling 'Joan Jettison'

Well it is that time again. Cleaning time...

The fermenter has been cold crashing in the fridge for the past week while I was in Australia, and I was due in the Manawatu on Saturday afternoon so I had a window of opportunity Saturday morning to bottle.

I wish I had gotten up earlier.

You would think I would have learnt after the first bottling experience that it is not a quick process - and really should not be rushed. I of course rushed.

First stop was at The Brew House to get some plastic corks and cages - rather than using plastic 750ml bottles, I have been collecting the wife's discarded champagne bottles along with the usual empties that I generate (purely in the name of research of course). Because the plan is to cellar the stout I am hoping that glass bottles will keep the beer better.

I then grabbed some more canned cherries from the supermarket. I was hoping to find some cherry extract or syrup but I kind of ran out of time. The syrup from the canned cherries will be added to the priming sugar to hopefully give a bit more of a cherry hit.

Because of the crap generated from the chocolate syrup and the pureed cherries in the fermentor covering the tap I ended up picking up a auto-syphon and syphoning the beer from the fermentor into the Brewtec fermentor and bottling from that.

I primed with 36g of table sugar and 30g of chocolate syrup (dissolved in boiling water and let cool) and the syrup from the two cans of cherries. I am a bit paranoid after how over carbonated 'Catrina Neue' is so I used a priming calculator and selected a low carbonation level as I couldn't factor in the sugar from the cherry and chocolate.

The only problem that I encountered after all the cleaning was it turns out not all champagne bottles are created equal. By equal I mean with the same neck diameter. Even after softening the plastic corks in boiling water there were two bottles that I couldn't get a cork into (and I tried, I have two munted corks as proof). I do have a slight concern that there is the chance that if the beer is not carbonated enough, there is no way those corks are going to come out again!

The final yield was just over 17l, meaning I lost 3l. I know where about 500ml went (I consumed it un carbonated while bottling - quality control), but the rest must have gone to the hydrometer testing, trub and bottling process.

Now the bottle conditioning wait begins...

1 comment:

  1. Nice one! Looking forward to hearing how the champagne bottle conditioning goes...v tempted to go that way myself...