Tips on Improving Priming, Bottling and Aging Processes in Home Beer Brewing
Home beer brewing is a fun and easy way of making your own beer at home. Unlike many preconceived notions, this process is inexpensive as well as easy and can provide you with a safe, self-made drink. Ingredients used in brewing can easily be found at any brewers store at an affordable cost.
How to Improve Priming and Bottling
The process of priming during beer brewing is usually done after cooling off the boiled wort so as to prepare the mixture for bottling. During priming, sugar is mixed with the beer so that it can activate the yeast and cause the mixture to continue fermenting even after bottling. The sugar used in this stage is called the priming sugar and apart from ensuring continuous fermentation, it also carbonates the beer, causing it to become bubbly. Immediately after priming, the mixture is siphoned into bottles that are quickly capped, after which it is stored for a few weeks. This process is called bottling.
In the priming stage, a plastic bucket is usually used for mixing the sugar and the beer. The prime sugar must mix thoroughly well with the beer so as to create more effervescence. To make priming and bottling much better as you brew your beer, you should do certain things right.
(i) Use the right sized bucket. It is advisable to use a large bucket with a cover when priming your beer as this will enable you to evenly and thoroughly mix your prime sugar and beer. It will also prevent spillage during this procedure.
(ii) Clean and sterilize your equipment and bottles. During this stage, bacteria can still get in your beer and ruin it. This is why it is advisable to use a sterilized bucket and bottles for priming and bottling. You can clean your equipment and bottles using brushes and weak bleach or specific sterilizers bought at the brewer store. Using these tools and detergents, you must work to ensure that no debris is left in the bottles or the equipment.
(iii) Take caution when siphoning. Siphoning should be done gently to avoid any spills and also prevent air from getting into the beer mixture.
(iv) Leave space in the bottle. It is advisable to leave a small space, say an inch or more, in your bottles as you fill them with beer. This will give room for carbonation and fermentation.
(v) Use firm bottle caps. When bottling the mixture you have to use firm caps to prevent leakage. The caps must not come off easily, instead, test them to ensure that they are slightly tight as this will prevent loss of bubbles from your beer.
Improving the aging process
Aging is the process through which the beer is stored in cool dark places for approximately 8-15 weeks so that it can gain more flavor. Although the beer is normally ready to drink two weeks after priming and bottling, aging makes it more flavorful and increases its quality.
During this stage, excess yeast fall off to form a residue at the bottom of the bottle. To make aging better, you need to avoid refrigeration of your beer for the first two weeks after bottling. This is to ensure that your drink is well carbonated before refrigeration.
Home beer brewing is not as complicated as many think. However, you must exercise a lot of caution during the priming and bottling stage as any bacterial contamination can ruin your beer. You also have to exercise patience and let your beer age before consumption. Even though 8-15 weeks is the recommended timeframe, you can still have your beer after 3-4 weeks of storage.