Once you’ve made your first batch of homebrew and the fermentation is over, it’s understandable that you’re excited. You’ve waited patiently, but unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait just a little longer to enjoy that first sip and pat yourself on the back for picking up that beer brewing kit.
Now that it’s time to bottle your beer, hopefully you’ve already picked up the supplies you need for bottling your homebrew. What do you need? You’ll need bottles of course but you’re also going to need a bottling bucket that is a food grade plastic bucket large enough for your brew, a siphon, a bottle brush, sugar, some basic sanitation supplies and of course, a capper and bottle caps.
The next step is to thoroughly clean and sanitize all of your bottling equipment: bucket, siphon, bottles and caps. It’s a chore, yes, but if you neglect to do this, you could end up ruining your beer! Give everything a wash with hot water and a mild detergent followed by a very thorough rinse and then sanitize using an oxygen based sanitizer or a mild bleach solution. Don’t forget to rinse everything very thoroughly again afterwards.
While your bottling supplies are getting sanitized, you can get your priming sugar ready. Adding priming sugar to your beer will make sure that your beer will still have all of the natural effervescence it needs. What this sugar does is to feed the last remnants of yeast in the beer, resulting in carbon dioxide. Without this, you’ll have flat beer.
What you need to do is to dissolve about 2/3 of a cup of cane sugar (or about ¾ cup of corn sugar) in two cups of boiling water. Let the mixture cool to just above room temperature, a healthy temperature for yeast. The priming sugar should be added to the bottling bucket right before you siphon in your beer – this allows the beer and sugar to mix together as the bucket fills.
Time to Bottle the Beer
Now you’re finally ready to start bottling. Siphon beer from your bottling bucket into the sanitized beer bottles. As you fill each bottle, cap it right away. If you can enlist a friend to help you with this step, then this will save you a great deal of time.
So once you’ve bottled your beer, it’s ready to drink, right? Actually, not quite yet. There’s just one more thing to do. Your beer should be put somewhere dark for another two weeks for a quick final fermentation – and then it’s finally ready to refrigerate and enjoy!