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Packaging and Carbonation

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# [[Racking cane]] or [[auto-siphon]]
 
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# At least 50 12oz brown long-neck or 28 22oz bottles.
 
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# A [[bottle capper]]

Revision as of 16:24, 28 March 2011

The Beer Brewing Process
1. Preparing the Ingredients
2. Cleaning and Sanitation
3. Making the Wort
4. Boiling the Wort
5. Cooling, Racking, and Aerating
6. Pitching the Yeast
7. Primary Fermentation
8. Conditioning the Beer
9. Packaging and Carbonation
10. Dispensing and Serving

Congratulations; your beer is finished! It's also flat and probably in a pretty inconvenient container. To create a finished product, you need to carbonate it and package it in a way that makes it easy to get at and drink. How you package your beer will help determine how you carbonate it as well. For additional information check out the article on Storing Your Beer.

Contents

Carbonating and Packaging for the Beginning Homebrewer

Beginning brewers generally prime their beer with sugar and bottle it; this is the simplest method of carbonation and packaging and requires the least amount of extra equipment. The simplest way to prime your beer is to add a measured amount of sugar (which may have come with your ingredient kit) to your beer in the bottling bucket, stir, and bottle (this is known as Bulk Priming). You should read the section on bottling below to ensure that you properly bottle and cap your beer, and if necessary the section on priming to determine how much priming sugar you need to add.

Bottling

The process of bottling beer is fairly simple and straightforward; however, it can be rather time consuming. The equipment you will need for bottling is as follows:

  1. A bottling bucket
  2. Siphon tubing
  3. Racking cane or auto-siphon
  4. Bottle filler
  5. At least 50 12oz brown long-neck or 28 22oz bottles.
  6. Crown caps
  7. A bottle capper
  8. Priming sugar(other options such as "Krausening" are viable but much more difficult)

The basic steps for bottling are as follows:

  1. Dissolve the priming sugar into 1 quart of water and boil, then let cool to 70 degrees F
  2. Sanitize your bottling bucket, tubing, racking cane or auto-siphon, bottle filler, bottles, and caps
  3. Add the now cooled priming solution to the bottling bucket
  4. Rack the beer into the bottling bucket (this should ensure a good mix of the priming solution into the beer)
  5. Attach some tubing to the spigot on the bottling bucket and attach the bottle filler to the other end of the tubing
  6. Fill and cap each bottle
  7. Store in a dark area at temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F

It typically takes 3 weeks for bottles to become fully carbonated. During that time they should be kept away from light and at steady temperatures. Once the bottles are carbonated, they can be refrigerated until serving.

A Word About Bottle Bombs

Bottle bombs are a serious concern for the home brewer. These are caused when excess amounts of carbon dioxide are produced during the carbonation process. If the excess pressure builds up too much is can cause the bottle to explode, potentially harming anyone near the bottle.

Bottle bombs typically occur when beer is bottled prior to fermentation ending, as the yeast are continuing to eat the sugars in the beer along with the added priming sugar. This concern underscores the need to take hydrometer readings to determine when primary fermentation is truly complete.

If there is a potential for bottle bombs, or a bottle has already exploded, carefully place the remaining bottles in the refrigerator. It is highly advisable to wear gloves and eye protection during this process. The cold temperatures will slow the yeast down, reducing the risk of explosions. Once the bottles are under control, the beer can be enjoyed as usual.

Kegging

{{ #if: | Main article: [[Kegging|]] | Main article: Kegging }}

Many home brewers choose to build a kegging setup as it is less time consuming than bottling and beers can be enjoyed sooner with force carbonation. Kegging is initially more expensive with a basic 2-keg setup costing around $300, but the result of having your own beer on tap is well worth the extra cost.

Casks

This section is a stub.
Help make this wiki better and contribute some content.

Mini-Kegs

Mini kegs are like regular kegs, only smaller.

Carbonation

{{ #if: | Main article: [[Carbonation|]] | Main article: Carbonation }}

Carbonation is created by dissolving carbon dioxide into the beer. This can be achieved in two ways: by adding extra sugar to a bottle, keg, or cask, and allowing the still viable yeast to create carbon dioxide through fermentation, or by forcing pressurized carbon dioxide into a container (usually a keg) and allowing it to dissolve into the beer.

For more detailed information on the various methods of carbonating beer, see the entry for Carbonation.

What do I do next?

Congratulations - your beer is finished! All you have to do is wait for carbonation to be complete, and you're on to the ultimate goal of the beer brewing process: Dispensing and Serving.