Breakfast Stout Bottling Day

I recently bottled my new Breakfast Stout recipe and wanted to document the steps involved. While I don’t bottle many of my brews, when I have all my kegs full or when I want to age/condition a style, sometimes it is the best method. Below are the steps involved with bottling a 5 gallon batch.

The first step for bottle conditioning a batch is to measure out the right amount of priming sugar and boiling it in a small amount of water for a bit to be sure it is dissolved and sanitized. This sugar will be food for the yeast still in suspension which will allow the beer to carbonate in the bottle. (Sorry I don’t have a picture of this part of the process)

bottling1The next step is to be sure that all of the bottles are clean and sanitized. I clean mine out just after use so I only have to sanitize them on bottling day. I use a Vinator with Star San to shoot the solution directly into the bottle. Star San does not need very long contact time to sanitize so by the time I’m done with all of the bottles they are ready to go! I also spray/soak the siphon, hoses, bucket, refrac eyedropper, caps, and keg as well.

bottling2After letting the carboy sit for a little bit to be sure that it is all settled again from being moved I will pour the priming sugar mixture into the bottom of the bottling bucket. The beer will be siphoned onto the sugar to be sure it is mixed well. This way we don’t have to stir later causing any more oxygen being introduced into the beer. 
bottling3While the beer is siphoning I will take a tiny sample with my refractometer eyedropper and text for the final gravity of the beer. This will help me determine the alcohol content and how effective the yeast was for this particular batch.

bottling4You can see in the picture here that there is about a gallon left to be siphoned out. Here is where you must be careful to leave as much of the trub behind to not let any solids get into your bottling bucket. The trub is all of the leftover yeast cells, hop particles, and any other material that was used in the fermenting and leftover from the brewing process.
bottling5I’ll usually give one more shot of Star San right before I fill each bottle, just in case anything settled into the bottles and for a final rinse. Star San is great because the amount left clinging to the sides of the bottle after inverting is harmless to the beer. It can also be kept for quite a long time mixed when using distilled water.
bottling6Here is a bottle being filled. I’ll fill it up all the way to the top so the correct amount of headspace is in the bottle when the tube is removed. Immediately after bottling I will cap with a bench capper. I typically use oxygen absorbing bottle caps which when wet they will start to absorb oxygen in the surrounding area. Since I soak them in Star San as well, there is no need to invert the bottle to wet the cap.

bottling7Here is the final product of a batch of Breakfast Stout. 47 twelve ounce bottles and 4 sixteen ounce bottles. Because they are being bottle conditioned, patience is the key. They can take from 1 to 2 months to fully carbonate and mature in the bottle, though their flavor will probably get even better with even more time!

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