Most things that we tuck away in our basement are things that we’re able to readily forget about. If we’re not able to readily forget about what we’ve tucked away down there, 90% of the time it’s due to some incredibly dark circumstance – too upsetting to get into here. Luckily, I find myself in that other 10%! I’ve had something stowed away in my basement for two weeks that I can’t stop thinking about… because I’m so darned excited about it!
In the two weeks since I installed the airlock, my little jug of beer has turned a lovely gold-brown colour, and has developed a layer of beige sediment at the bottom. I was worried about this, until I did some reading and learned that this is called “trub” and it’s totally normal. You should be more worried if your beer doesn’t have trub, for some reason. You’re really in trub if you ain’t got that trub.
My beer, now sufficiently aged, is ready to be bottled. I’m sure that this will be a straightforward process that won’t involve beer getting all over my floor and countertops.
As with the preliminary stages of beer-making, the Brooklyn Brewshop instructions mostly involve making sure that things are clean and sterile. If I had known there would be so much cleaning, I probably would have just continued to let other people make my beer for me. But now I’ve started on a path, and that means giving these bottles a lovely bath.
The next thing to prepare is a sugar solution. This provides some food for the yeasts to munch on in the bottle, providing the beer with most of its carbonation. I mixed some honey into some water for this, and put the mixture into the bottom of a big pot.
The basic mechanic of the bottling process involves siphoning, which is a great skill to learn. I’ll never pay for gas again.
You’re supposed to fill this tubing with sanitizer solution, and then stick the glass end into your beer. When you unclamp the rubber end, you’ll empty out the sanitizer into the sink, which pulls your beer through the tubing. When beer starts shooting out of the tube, you’ve gotta clamp it shut, move the exit end to your big pot, which will then fill up with your beer.
Well, I’ll tell you something: Filling this fucking thing with sanitizer is ridiculously difficult and I fucking had to use my mouth to do it, so I may have ruined my beer. There. I said it.
Anyway, when your beer has landed in your pot, it will mix with the sugar solution, and you are ready to bottle! The instructions say that you should siphon it into the bottles, but I just used a funnel and poured it in. Siphoning is just an exercise in anxiety and depressing spillage.
I should mention: The beer itself smelled credibly like beer. I’m not sure what I’m going to end up with, but I’m fairly confident that it will actually be something that one would classify as beer.
Once I’d filled six and a half of these nifty swing-top bottles, I was ready to put them back into the basement to age in-bottle for another two weeks. Exciting!
Cleaning the trub out of this jug was the least fun part of the whole beer-making process. Just terrible. Wanted to break the jug. Trub indeed.
I can’t drink my beer just yet, but in the meantime, I think it’s important to come up with some marketing concepts in order to ingratiate my product to beer lovers everywhere.
I’ve determined that there are a few things that everybody loves. Everybody loves folksy charm. Everybody loves straw hats. Everybody loves beer. And Everybody loves cats.
Since the one of the cats that I live with had a literal hand in making this beer, when he was splashing around in the blow-off tank, it’s only fitting that he get some credit for the creation of what is sure to be a very special beverage. His name is Elliot, but we like to call him Smellton, Smelliot, or Smellington.
I’m going to print up six of these to stick onto the bottles before distribution can happen. Please place your orders with me ASAP. Supplies are limited.