My project beer is finished, bottled and in the retail store. There are still lots of bombers left, but the 20L keg sold out that weekend. Martin was saying that people were coming in on Saturday with recommendations from someone at 40 Creek Distilling to try the Katoberfest. Feeling a bit perplexed, as I don’t know anyone at 40 Creek, so it seems to be genuine. Insert Sally Field-esque they like it, they really like it.
Since I had no big duties, I lent a hand to Martin and got 3 x 50L and 2 x 20L kegs bottled. I like using the big bottler; while it still has quirks, it’s far faster than the other one.
I didn’t have to go to Intro to Brewing as they were going over SmartServe certification, which I already have. Instead, I put some insoles in my rubber boots (my feet went aaahh) and went to the brewery to see if there was anything I could do there.
Bottling. Bottling was what I could do there. From keg to bottles to box in several easy steps
Grab a box of new bottles off the skid. Find out immediately that they are upside down and the tops are not sealed. First one was dodgy, but I didn’t drop any.
Take ’em out of the box and stick them in the label machine one at a time.
Disinfect them by spraying ozonated water in each on, then put on the rack to drip dry
Put bottles in the filler, 4 at a time. Close the guards, pressurize the bottles, fill, pressurize again. Remove from the filler.
Put a sanitized cap on.
Wipe off bottle.
Put in box. Label box with style and date.
There was more to it than just that and it’s got me thinking already of ways that it could be set up more efficiently. I will have to be shown again how to attach the keg and shown a few times how to flush and clean the filler. But honestly, I loved it, being able to hold a finished product in my hands.
We also had our first sensory evaluation class, where Ray introduced us to the 5 basic tastes (sweet, sour, salt, bitter, unami), and had us do tastings of doctored water and beer. What does it say about my taste buds that I liked the sour? Even the citric acid doctored beer tasted more appealing than the one with sugar added. Of course, the control glass was the best of all *grin.
I’m not sure what I expected when I opened up the pail that had been under for my counter for two weeks. I think I’d built up my errors in my head so much that I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a pail of green mold.
Thankfully, there was no mold. What I found instead was a liquid the colour of dark honey that smelled of windfall apples that have fermented on the ground of the orchard, yeasty and sweet. It smelled so good. This, I thought, is not the smell of something that has gone bad. It made me hungry.
I watched more videos on YouTube about bottling. I read the instructions that came with the kit and got everything ready.
Everything got sanitized, including the counter. I cleaned and sanitized six of the 750ml swing-top bottles I’d gotten from Three Brewers, but it turned out I only needed three. I think I was a bit short on the liquid I’d poured into the pail, and then I had a small mishap with the siphon; I thought it was in the bottle, but it was actually sending everything right down the sink.
So in the end, I have three 750ml bottles of what will hopefully be White House Honey Ale. I am (im)patiently waiting for the first taste test in two weeks.
I’m also planning my next batch; the Mocha Stout from True Brews looks pretty good. I’ve researched it and can get all the beery ingredients from Toronto Brewing, I just need to get a grain mill as inexpensively as possible from somewhere. The recipe also calls for cocoa nibs, which means I’ll have to make another visit to Soma Chocolate. Always good to have an excuse to head there!