The devil is in the details

“Where people work, mistakes are being made.” This is a Dutch saying. As a matter of fact I use this whenever I make a mistake because the opposite is also true. “If you don’t work, you don’t make mistakes”. And I made a lot during the last 10 years.

As I said before; I share my mistakes so you don’t have to make them again.

Putting beer (Or champagne) in bottles.

The last step in making beer is putting it in bottles. It is my least favourite step because it looks a lot like working.

You can do this as follows:

  • Dissolve bottling sugar in water and add the right amount of the solution to each bottle and add the beer.
  • Add the right amount of sugar to each bottle and add the beer.
  • Add all the bottling sugar to another demijohn or bucket and rack the beer to that bucket. Then put it the beer in bottles.

The last option is my favourite because you don’t need to be very precise. Instead of measuring 2,64 gm per 0,33L bottle you can measure 120 gm per 15L. I also believe that is less work. I am not 100% sure of the last part because it requires one last racking extra.

So what I do is the following:

  • I clean a demijohn and add the bottling sugar. Usually about 8 g/L for beer (or 20 to 25 g/L for champagne.)
  • Rack the beer into this demijohn. Don’t worry too much about splashing and oxygen because you need oxygen to give life to your yeast again. Also don’t worry about racking some yeast. Your beer needs it. Try to get as much beer in this demijohn as possible. There is no need to to work extremely clean because new yeast will form in the bottles anyway.
  • Shake the demijohn until you are sure that all the sugar is dissolved in the beer. (For champagne this takes a bit longer because there is a lot more sugar to dissolve.)
  • Siphon the beer from the demijohn in the beer bottles. Get this tool if you don’t have it. It is worth its’ weight in gold!

So here comes the DOOOHH!! part. I made 2 huge mistakes in these simple steps.

  • I forgot to add the bottling sugar completely. I just racked the beer in another empty demijohn and into the beer bottles. After 1 month I found that there was no CO2 at all in the finished beer.
  • I added the bottling sugar to the demijohn but did not dissolve it properly in the beer. The result was that some bottles had very little CO2 in them but other bottles had very much and they created so much CO2 that you could barely taste the beer.

Learning all the time.



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