Shortly after posting my fermentation article, I moved on to complete the bottling of my Three Wise Men stout. Overall, it was a fairly uneventful bottling session, but with the addition of a few new tools, I was able to be a bit more thorough in my cleaning process.
I decided to clean my bottles by hand this time, while also giving my bottling equipment a good soak in a cleaning solution. Rather than wait for an extremely long dishwasher cycle that used a lot of excess water, I elected to use the soaking solution, a bottling brush, a rinser and bottling tree to clean everything up.
This was a very tedious process of scrubbing and rinsing, but it gave me something to do while I waited for my sugar solution to cool and for the trub (sediment) to settle in the fermenter.
This time around, rather than add the entire 5oz packet of priming sugar, I only used 3.3oz as was recommended for this style of beer according to Brewer’s Friend.
Once all the bottles were cleaned up, I began to transfer the beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket. I took a sample for the hydrometer to confirm final gravity, which ended up at 1.010. This meant the beer will have a 5.25% ABV. However, during the transfer I forgot to add my priming solution, so I had to sanitize a large spoon and stir it in at the end.
Then I started the process of sanitizing all of the clean bottles before adding in the beer. The bottle rinser made this much faster and easier than dunking and pouring the bottles like I had in the past. Everything went smooth and by the end of the session I had filled 14 of the 12oz bottles and 17 of the 22oz. They were stored in a warm closet to speed up carbonation and keep them away from any light that could affect flavor.
It has been a week since bottling day, and I was anxious to test one of these beers so I pulled one out on New Year’s Eve to try with family. It had built up some carbonation, but I think they will need some more time to be fully carbed. The flavor was very good, with chocolate and coffee notes with a roasted character. It was surprisingly light, possibly due to the low efficiency or the method of mashing, but I’ll have to research this topic further. It has an initial bite from the hops that mellows out quickly to a very smooth, malty feel.
Overall, I am pleased with the first tasting and am looking forward to see how these turn out in with extra time to carbonate. I might set aside a bottle to age and see how the flavor changes over time. More to come very soon.