Friday, November 15, 2002

And that's a wrap!

First things first: I'm taking a holiday today, so I'm at home. I got a nice little note from HR telling me that I'd lose 32 hours of "personal time" if I didn't use them by January 9th, so booyah!

Well, I was a good little brewer and waited until this morning to bottle, because the literature says to wait a full 24 hours after moving the fermenter. Bubbling was at 3 minutes 40 seconds this morning, so so much the better. :-)

I wound up with slightly more beer than bottles, so - darn the bad luck - I'm getting to drink two glasses' worth after bottling. %-D Not bad for 11 AM on a Friday.

The priming, racking and bottling process went well, though not flawlessly. I got all the equipment, caps and bottles sanitized with no hitches. A nice little plastic "bottle tree" did a great job holding the bottles while I boiled the priming sugar solution. Note to self: priming solution (especially when combined with a bit of the beer) foams like a beast! No boilovers this time, but several close calls, and many times blowing down the foam. When it came time to rack the beer from the fermenter via siphon, that went well, but there was a fair bit of bubbling at the end of the bucket that I wasn't ready for, and I probably aerated the stuff more than I should have. Oh well. "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew," as the HB gurus say. :-)

Stirred in the priming mix (crash-cooled; getting better at this) gently, so the solution was evenly distributed but not aerated any more than it had to be, and began to bottle. I filled about a dozen bottles at a time, then capped them with my shiny red capper, boxed them, and proceeded to the next dozen. Twenty-four 12-ouncers and twelve 22-ouncers total. It went more quickly than I expected.

I'm sitting, equipment washed and yeast sediment waiting for feeding to the dogs tonight, and looking at one of my leftover glasses of 2Red - the other's in the fridge, chilling. It's a very deep red, nearly brown, actually, and cloudy, though it will clarify a great deal during bottle aging. When you hold it up to the light, though, it's a deep red-brown; a beautiful autumn color, not unlike (nonalcoholic) apple cider.

Ain't she purty? Click for bigger pic!

The taste, though, is another thing altogether. That cidery sweetness from a few days ago is diminished, and the hops' bitterness is beginning to come out, though I can certainly do with more, and will do, in future batches. :-D It's my beer, and it's gorgeous.