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Old 05-09-2010, 02:30 AM   #1
DirtyJersey
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Default First Bottling Day

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.

Thanks all....

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:37 AM   #2
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Congrats. Sounds like you did well, but I'd leave them in the bottle for at least 2-3 weeks before cracking one open. It'll make a big difference.

You've got a lot of posts and an early join date for brewing your first beer.

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:46 AM   #3
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Sounds like you did everything right. If you can, wait. Its the hardest part, especially early. Remember, its going to be pretty rough tasting shortly after bottling. Better to have 1-2 more good ones later on than 1-2 'meh' ones early.

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:51 AM   #4
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Yeah, I was lurking around this site for about a year before I actually started my first brew.

I've learned that this hobby requires a lot of patience; something I have, but I'm anxious as well. I've learned the importance of a "pipeline."

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:06 AM   #5
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Go ahead and taste on after a week. I'm just on my second brew now, but I tasted my first at 1 week, 2 weeks and now 3. The difference is really noticeable. After 1 week my Red ale had a strong alcohol taste that pretty much disappeared and really smoothed out after 3 weeks. I suspect it will get even better.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:54 AM   #6
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i got the same kit in secondary rigth now. I've had 2 bottling days so far. the second one was 100% better/ore efficient. I set up in the basement and watch a game while i do it. So for me its not tedious cause i am doing something else when i might just be sitting on the couch doing nothing. I have to improve on my sanittaion process, soo inefficient, but onceyou figure out your process i think it'll be much better for you.

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Old 05-09-2010, 01:14 PM   #7
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i always get someone else to 'share' the experience of bottling day/night. it's usually my wife, but if i don't feel like pressing my luck i call my brother. I sanitize my bottles in starsan in the sink and place them on the dishwasher racks. I have my bottling bucket on the counter aside of the dishwasher. I sit on a chair and fill the bottles and then hand them off to my partner who caps them and places them back into the cases.

Actual process takes around an hour or so with cleanup. I just rinse my fermenter out and fill it with an oxiclean solution to soak over night.

Yeah it's tedious, but you only do it about once or twice a month. It's not really a big deal once your get your system down, and like i said having someone else help out makes all the difference in the world. Homebrewing is one of those things that people like to help you do.

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