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Old 01-27-2011, 10:44 PM   #1
Jan 2011
New Orleans, LA
Posts: 7

Howdy everyone, I'm looking to make my first batch of beer soon. I have been doing a little research but I'm sure experience is everything when brewing beer.

I want to make a very simple small batch of beer, darker the better. I've read you can cook it and then let it ferment in growler jugs (carlo rossi jugs in my case)

how important is bottling the beer? It seems it ferments the beer a little more and carbonates it, does it do more? I also read I can just bottle it in plastic bottles (for like juice and soda). I'm always traveling so I need to keep equipment to a minimum.

If anyone has any good links for a starter or instructions on making a small batch (about a gallon) of beer, any help or direction is greatly appreciated.


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Old 01-27-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
JonK331's Avatar
Nov 2009
Fremont, CA
Posts: 2,099
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If you just want to get started and experiment Mr. Beer isn't a bad way to go. It's how I started. Beware though, if you catch the brew bug, you WILL want to move on from it. Mr. Beer can come out just fine, especially if you use different yeast.

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:55 AM   #3
Jan 2011
New Orleans, LA
Posts: 7

Thanks Jon,

I'd like to make a beer that is somewhat complex and use quality ingredients, I just want to make a few small batches using basic equipment from around the house to start (like growlers and 64 oz plastic bottles). I've been scanning the forums and it has answered a lot of questions. Do you know how detrimental it is to skip the bottling process? I like all beer, but prefer thick dark beer like guinness

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Old 01-28-2011, 02:07 AM   #4
Feb 2010
Posts: 225
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Bottling is the easiest way for a beginner to carbonate. All you need is some used bottles, new caps and a handheld capper. But you can certainly use plastic bottles if that's what you want.

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Old 01-28-2011, 02:12 AM   #5
Jan 2011
Murray, Utah
Posts: 7

Look up the "Party Pig" I think they are awesome

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Old 01-28-2011, 02:17 AM   #6
Smokeater233's Avatar
Sep 2010
Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 277
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Growlers are often NOT recommended for bottling as the glass can sometimes be thinner than your standard bottles...they are meant for transporting beer, not for carbing-up and conditioning...

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Old 01-28-2011, 02:18 AM   #7
Mar 2007
Cortez CO
Posts: 217
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Why not get a beer kit for a under 200 bucks and an extract kit from Austin Homebrew or Northern Brewer?

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Old 01-28-2011, 02:20 AM   #8
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,921
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Originally Posted by Smokeater233 View Post
Growlers are often NOT recommended for bottling as the glass can sometimes be thinner than your standard bottles...they are meant for transporting beer, not for carbing-up and conditioning...

Carbed beer and carbonating beer are 2 seperate things.

To carb a beer whether or not is is done naturally or with co2 you are forcing the gas into the solution. The pressure builds up, then there's a point where either the bottle fails or the co2, seeking the path of least resistance, forces itself into solution. You could call it a peak point, where there is a lot of pressure in the bottle, both already in solution and in the headspace trying to go into the solution, eventually it balances out and the beer is carbed.

Beer bottles, champagne bottles and kegs are rated with a higher psi/volume of co2 than wine bottles and growlers.

Already carbed and kegged beer is at a stable volume of co2 which is below the volume that growlers and winebottles are rated at. The FORCING of the co2 already happened. Why do you think kegs are made of metal and very very strong? To handle the pressure.

Our Buddy Rukus

Originally Posted by RukusDM View Post
This is because during carbing, the pressure can go above 30 or 40 PSI. I have a thread in the cider forum where I did several tests bottle carbing sweet hard cider. There is allot of data there if your interested.

I have a bottle with a pressure gauge on it. I recorded pressures during the carbing process. This is how the data was generated. I also recorded pressures while pasteurizing the cider.

I recently bottled some lager I made. I also filled my gauge bottle and my lower pressure gauge bottle pegged at 35 PSI as that was the limit of the gauge. It probably ended up in the 40's, but no way to tell for sure.

When we bottle condition beer, we are really simulating force carbing like the keg folks do. We cause a ferment by adding sugar. This creates a high pressure in the bottle. CO2 doesn't like to dissolve in a warm liquid. We then put some bottles in the fridge. The temperature of the liquid drops and the CO2 then begins to dissolve in the liquid.

It seems to take several days at fridge temperatures for the CO2 to fully saturate the liquid for a maximum saturation for that liquid temperature.

While the CO2 is moving into the liquid, the pressure slowly drops. I've monitored this process as well with the pressure gauge.

Pressures go way higher than folks think while bottle conditioning. In the following data, I carbed sweet hard cider and stopped the carbing and then pasteurized the cider when the bottle was at 22 PSI. My Lager went above 35 PSI. The data doesn't show the extremes the pressure rises with beer as I stopped the cider at 22 PSI, but it would have continued if i hadn't stopped it.

The gauge bottle has a nice side effect, it tells you when your bottles are conditioned as the pressure rise stops. I then throw them in the Fridge to cold condition for several days before I open. The gauge also tells you when they are carbed as the pressure drop stops. Pretty basic really.

Originally Posted by RukusDM View Post
No, when you bottle condition, the slight fermentation we cause by adding priming sugar just builds pressure up in the bottle. The pressures seem to go up into the 30's and 40's PSI from what I've seen.

The CO2 doesn't really move into the liquid until the temperature drops. Some CO2 may, but not the majority of it. CO2 doesn't dissolve into solution until a lower temperature.

This is really what we do when we force carb in a keg. We raise the pressure up when the beer is cold. The CO2 moves into the solution. The tap pressure is lowered for proper delivery and the beer either sets for cold aging, or it is consumed at that time.

What you would see with the pressure gauge (if you use one bigger than my first bottle had. Should use a 100 PSI Gauge) is that the pressure climbs over time and will level off.

Once the pressure levels off, that means all of the priming sugar has been used up by the yeast. Next, you put them into the fridge. You will see the pressure drop over several days. Eventually, it also will level off. I like to let them sit for a few more days after that, but really if the pressure stops dropping, all of the CO2 that can be dissolved at that temperature has been achieved.
I think it goes down to it worth playing Russian Roulette with your money and the time you spent bringing your brew along from grain to bottling day???

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:03 AM   #9
Jan 2011
New Orleans, LA
Posts: 7

Thanks for the info guys.

Revvy, I wouldn't skip bottling if there was a chance it would ruin the batch. It seems the main reason to bottle beer is to carbonate it, I'm curious how crucial that is to the overall batch. Does to take away from taste? lower the alcohol content?

The reason I ask is because I have a friend who has made a few batches, and I believe he kept one in the same container he fermented it in, and just siphoned beer out whenever he wanted some. It was a decent.

It seems there are several processes in brewing, and I'd like to acquire a thorough understanding of all of them.

Cravej: It probably would be a good idea to just save some dark bottles, buy a few caps and a capper, they are small enough for traveling.

As an alternative, do you think it would be better to bottle in a small glass jug or a plastic container? (4L Carlo Rossi jug / 2L soda bottle / 1 gallon water jug) How about for fermenting?

There is much more pressure involved in bottling then fermenting right? I've read somewhere about fermenting with a carlo rossi just and a stopper.

PUD: For whatever reason I have no interest in a kit right now, although I may get one eventually if my efforts fail.

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:21 AM   #10
Jun 2009
San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 1,043
Liked 26 Times on 23 Posts

The carbonation of the beer has a large impact on the overall taste. In some belgian styles (Golden Strong) the beers are carbonated to 3 - 4 volumes (fairly high average beers are 2.5) because they add a certain type of astringency which can often be tasted as bitterness. Guiness is famous for using nitrogen for bubbles which lends to a certain silkiness.

Honestly with homebrewing you're going to get out of it what you put into it. If you want to make some good beer, buy yourself a plastic bucket for fermenting (my best beers have been made in open fermenters) and take the time to bottle. If you don't feel like measuring out sugar, boiling it in water to sanitize, cooling it etc... pick up some cooper's carbonation tabs. Great time saver.

If you have the money to invest get yourself a kegging system. For $150(ish) you can get yourself a used corny keg, C02 tank and tubing. It's also a lot quicker than bottling. You can rack straight from primary into your keg.

Hope this helps.
On Deck:
Primary: Lambic-ish
Kegged: Das Funken Weisse, Un Poquito Wylde
Bottled: Epik Barleywine, Chocolate Chili Pumpkin Porter, EKG Amber
Adventures in Zymurgy - Homebrewing and Sour Beer Blog

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