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LGM86 02-08-2013 09:54 PM

Bottling questions...
So I bottled my first batch last night (Midwest Supplies Autumn Amber), and I have a few after-the-fact questions:

1. I totally forgot that the kit came with a bottling wand, and so I simply used the spout on the bottom of the bottling bucket to fill the bottles. A good amount of splashing occurred when filling each bottle - is this something (oxygenation) that will probably ruin my batch?

2. Because the bottles were filled without a bottling wand, a good amount of foam (caused by the splashing) was created while bottling. After looking at the bottles this morning, the foam has dissipated and there is roughly 1 inch of headspace in each bottle. Is this too much?

3. The kit instructed me to simply use the entire 5 oz pack of priming sugar for the 5 gallon batch. While siphoning into the bottling bucket, I left the last 2 inches or so of beer and sediment at the bottom of the primary fermenter. Should I have measure exactly how much beer was in my bottling bucket and then measured the correct quantity of boiled sugar solution to add, or does it really not matter?

And as a bonus, one general non-bottling question: I left my beer in the primary for a little over 4 weeks with temperatures in my apt ranging anywhere from 65-70 degrees. When I opened the primary to prepare for bottling, I noticed a sharp fruity smell, sort of like a strawberry daiquiri. The beer sample I tasted had a slight fruity flavor as well. Did something go wrong during fermentation, did I leave it too long in the primary for a low gravity beer, or is this completely normal?

Sorry if I come across as a nervous wreck (RDWHAHB, I know). It's just that it's my first batch and I want it to turn out half decent. I appreciate any and all feedback!

nsrooen 02-08-2013 10:11 PM

Answer to most of your questions:

Nothing you can do now. Wait and taste about three weeks after bottling to see what happened.

- all the splashing probably introduced some oxygen / off taste

- 1" in the top of your bottle is not a huge issue. When you use a bottling wand and then remove it you are left with an airspace anyways.

- As long as you gently mixed and or racked in a whirlpool motion (coiled hose from you racking cane) your priming sugar solution would have been fine. Leaving a little behind with sentiment is fine. The best method is to measure your priming sugar by weight and use the recommended amount for the beer style. For example stouts are generally carbed lower than say an ale.

- The fruity taste might have been from esters produced by your yeast by fermenting on the high temperature side. As for the smell not sure.

My guess is that your beer is not ruined by any means but time will tell.

LGM86 02-13-2013 01:52 AM

Thanks! I appreciate the response. Almost a week in and no signs of oxidation so far, but it's still early. Heavy fruity flavors probably caused by the high fermentation temperatures, but I'm not trying to win any awards with my first brew, so what the hell.

unionrdr 02-13-2013 12:55 PM

Many ale yeasts,such as English or Austrailian,like Cooper's produce fruity esters that became part of the style. It becomes more evident at higher temps. But since yours was 65-70F,it shouldn't be too strong. And bottling wands do leave the right amount of head space by way of volume dispalcement. so the 1" you left was fine,but the way you did it would likely leave some oxidation off flavors.
Leaving 2" of beer on the sediment doesn't have to happen. Just be gentle when tipping the fermenter to drain that last bit into the bottling bucket. I can get all but about half a bottle or less when racking out of the fermenter.

grem135 02-14-2013 05:46 PM

Here is some good reading to help in bottling written by Revvy.

Jayhem 02-14-2013 05:50 PM

If you fermented at air temps of 65-70 you likely got a lot of fruity esters from the yeast since the beer was probably in the mid 70's at peak of fermentation. Beer creates heat as it ferments so you have to ferment ales with the air temp in the low 60's at least till the krausen (foam) subsides.

I have bottled without a wand because I lost mine but I just attached a piece of tubing to the bottom of my spigot so it could fill the bottles without aeration.

zeg 02-14-2013 05:53 PM

My bet is that the oxidation from splashing won't ruin your beer, but it won't have a long shelf life.

But at this point, all you can do is wait and see. Then hopefully report back. I'd be interested to know whether and how quickly the flavor deteriorates for you.

e710 02-14-2013 06:11 PM

I think that Midwest picked the kits available with their bundles to minimize effect of errors in brewing for the new brewer. I certainly managed to screw up a few times making mine, also the Autumn Amber and it came out great (pretty bad boilover at the hot break, didn't aerate the wort, etc). I did pick up a carboy and racked to secondary. Mostly because the itch to start a second batch got to me after a week ;)

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