Exactly four weeks ago today, I brewed my first beer. It was an Irish Red Ale extract kit with specialty grains from Midwest. I left it in the primary fermentor for exactly three weeks, and in the secondary for one week. I know a great debate exists whether or not to use a secondary, but my reasoning was that I have never used an autosiphon, and due to my inexperience, I didn't want to siphon too much sediment into the bottles. I figured if I used a secondary, whatever sediment I did get would eventually settle, and I was hoping that less sediment would actually find its way into my bottles.
I don't want to start a debate, but I was honestly amazed at the clarity of the beer when I siphoned it today. Last week, I siphoned it into the secondary, and it was quite cloudy. I literally can't get over how much it cleared up in just one week. I suspect it probably would have done the same thing if I let it sit in the primary for another week, but nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised. It looked like beer. It smelled like beer and most importantly, it tasted like beer.
So today was my first bottling experience. I had two cases of brand new bottles (came with my kit), so I gave them a rinse and sanitized and began the process. Needless to say, my first go around at bottling was quite slow. I filled the bottles, put a loose cap on them, and then when I had 8-10 bottles, I would use the capper and then transfer them into a box. This is a fairly tedious process, huh? I attached my bottling wand directly to the spigot of the bottling bucket, rather than using the tube, and it worked quite well.
So now, I'll sit and wait a few more weeks, but I'm finding it hard already not to crack one of those bottles open. Maybe I'll do a test bottle in 3-4 days.
I've picked up a ton of tips on this forum from many individuals, and I really believe that the advice has helped me produce a beer that will be better in the end.