Monday, December 3, 2007

Bottling of My Dunkel Weizen

Sunday morning was bottling time for me. My DunkelWeizen reached a specific gravity (SG) of 1.011. By doing the math, that would make my Dunkel Weizen a respectable 5.32% ABV (Alcohol by Volume). The bottling process when pretty smooth and only took me about 2 hours.

I first made sure all my equipment was sanitized properly. I used a second Better Bottle Carboy as my bottling bucket. I heated up about 2 cups of water in a tea kettle then added the 5oz of priming sugar to the pot. I used the tea kettle because it had a pouring spout. Since I was using the carboy, I didn’t think I could pour a normal pot into the mouth of a carboy without spilling it. And for some reason, I couldn’t find a funnel in the house, so a tea kettle it was.

I siphoned out the brew from the secondary fermentor into the bottling carboy. The smell of the brew was nice and semi sweet. Since I used a brew belt during fermentation to keep the temperature at 73-75 degrees, the weizen yeast create more of a banana aroma. If I didn’t, the aroma would have come out more like cloves. I prefer the banana over the clove.

Once the brew was in the bottling carboy, I pour in the priming sugar solution I created. I gave it a little swirly mix with the auto siphon I was using to bottle to make sure the sugar solution was evenly distributed. Bottling was pretty easy. I filled 46 full bottles out of the wort I created. I am guessing that I didn’t have exactly 5 gallons in the fermentor to start, but I don’t mind. When I placed the wort into the fermentor to start, I didn’t measure the level by gallons. I measured wort level by the specific gravity. I was looking for a target of 1.050. Anything less would make the beer’s alcohol level lower.

Capping the bottles was extremely simple. I have made a couple of batches of wine in the past and always had an issue corking the bottles with a hand corker. The $15 hand capper I bought worked like a charm.

Now that my 46 bottles are all capped, I just need to wait about two weeks for the live yeast to carbonate the brew. By adding the priming sugar, the live yeast will feed on the sugar and produce natural CO2. This is what makes the beer bubbly and creates the head on the beer. It only takes about 2 weeks in the bottle to achieve this in the Dunkel Weizen. Some higher gravity beers take up to 6 months. This helps to smooth out the high levels of alcohol. Since the beer contains live yeast, it will improve in complexity with time. A DunkelWeizen will not improve tremendously, but it will keep improving after a couple months. After that, all improvements are minimal.

In 2 weeks, will be pouring my first homebrewed beer. I will review it then. In the mean time, I will be researching recipes for my next beer.