Relieved at having seen the yeast take hold and spark some life into our wort, I expected the gas lock to be bubbling like crazy for a couple weeks. Somebody put the red plastic cap back on the gas lock, so I just left it there. The entire three-week fermentation turned out to be quite calm with only a few intermittent burps escaping whenever I rustled the fermentor on the odd day I was down there to check. So after exactly three weeks, on February 17, we figured it was time to bottle.
Cool Daddy Ejlertsen donated a bunch of cool swing-top bottles, giving some style to this first-ever Summersalt batch of black brew. No capping was necessary, but we did have to thoroughly clean the bottles, disinfect them, and sanitize the rubber washers separately. We let the bottles soak in hot water, then used a bottle brush to clean the insides out, then placed them in a giant pot of boiling water for 10-20 minutes and fished them out with the big wooden spoon, while wearing mittens. And finally, we dunked them in the sanitation fermentor along with the rubber washers. Quality control expert, Slim Sonne, made sure we were good to go.
Meanwhile, we had to add the bottling sugar. This shouldn’t have been as complicated and worrisome as it was. With several conflicting pages of homebrew advice on-line, estimations from microbrew friends, and our own shady calculations all making us feel insecure about how much sugar to use, we finally decided on using 78grams of glucose for our 15 Liter batch of stout. This turned out to be the perfect amount.
It took a while, but we were finally ready to start bottling. The bottling-siphon-tube worked pretty well to begin with, but the little thing at the end that’s supposed to keep beer from flowing when it’s full, well, got stuck or something. So, we made a bit of a mess trying to fill all the bottles on the fly, and so had to wash the floors afterwards.
In the end, our yield was less than what we first anticipated before the whole homebrew project started, but seeing as how we boiled our initial 27L of beer down to about 15L, we were satisfied in assuming we’d sacrificed quantity for quality. All in all: 24 bottles @ .33L, and 12 bottles @ .50L.
We then let the bottles sit in the brew cellar for 26 days before trying the first full bottle last night…March 14th…a preview for Paddy’s Day…
The result? Let’s just say the most trusted beer appreciator in Copenhagen gave it a good review, and is looking forward to tasting it again after a couple more weeks. To keep him anonymous, we’ll call him Morten E.
Nah, too obvious. We’ll call him M. Ejlertsen.
With the Miller brothers coming into town, we’ll probably bust one open for Paddy’s Day, but the rest should rest for a few weeks more.
Oh, and one other thing. It’s no longer gonna be called Summersalt Stout. It’s something like a Black Granola IPA.
To be re-named later…