Making Beer With A Home Brewing Kit Part 2
How To Bottle The Beer Made With Mr Beer’s Home Brewing Kit.
In the second part of the beer brewing process I show you how to bottle & carbonate home brewed beer. I also share my thoughts on how the finished brew turned out.
Check out the first part of this series to learn how to get started with the MrBeer home brewing process:
After two long weeks of waiting for the bottled beer to ferment I was finally ready for a first taste. You will know when the beer is ready to bottle and carbonate by tasting a small sample. Yay! Our friend Mark happened to be visiting on beer sample day so we poured three little samples.
Our beer samples look and taste just right
At this point the beer should taste like flat beer. If the beer is sweet, make sure that it is being stored at the correct temperature range 68-76° F. (20-24° C), and let it sit for a few more days. Don’t let the beer ferment longer than four weeks though. Once the fermenting process is complete it’s time to transfer the beer into bottles and start the carbonation process.
Carbonation is created when yeast metabolizes the priming sugar to create carbon dioxide. Under pressure, the CO2 bubbles have nowhere to go but to remain in the beer. So… in order to carbonate beer it must be transferred to bottles. The Mr Beer Home Brewing Kit comes with enough carbonation drops for all the bottles included.
Priming Sugar Equation – each 500 ml beer bottle requires 1 carbonation drop or 1 tsp. sugar.
Beer Bottling Process
Just like before, all the equipment that comes in contact with the beer must be cleaned, that includes the beer bottles and caps. Dissolve the second half of the no-rinse cleaning solution (included in the beer making kit) in warm water, using a 1 gallon water jug.
Cleaning Empty Beer Bottles
Then distribute the cleaning solution equally among the beer bottles, we screwed on the caps and shook the bottles vigorously. Mark and I set the bottles aside and waited for 10 minutes to let the stuff do its thing. We removed the caps, put them in a large bowl and emptied the cleaning solution into it. (You can use this solution to clean any other items you might be using at this time like a funnel or other beer containers.)
Do not rinse the bottles, they are now ready to be filled with delicious home brewed beer.
Filling The Very First Beer Bottle
Per Instructions We Added 2 Carbonation Drops to Each 750 ml Beer Bottle
(See the Priming Sugar Equation above for different sized containers.)
Sealing The Beer Bottles With Cleaned Caps
Each beer bottles gets filled to about 2 inches from the top. I hand tightened the caps and gently turned the bottles over to make sure they were all sealed tight. It is not necessary to shake the bottles to distribute the sugar.
We’re A Beer Making Team (Silke’s Behind The Camera) :)
Conditioning The Beer
Store the filled beer bottles upright and out of direct sunlight in a location with a consistent temperature for the next 2 weeks. We once again used our trusty Coleman cooler to store the beer. If the bottles are exposed to temperatures colder than 68° F they will take much longer to carbonate. If warmer than 76° F, off flavors can be accelerated in the bottles.
A good way to tell if the beer is properly carbonated is to squeeze the bottles. If the plastic bottles are hard as a rock then the beer is fully carbonated. Some bottles may condition more quickly than others, but within three weeks they will all be fully carbonated.
Used Beer Barrel
As soon as I was done bottling the beer I cleaned the used beer barrel. You can see the leftover sludge in the bottom of the barrel. I wasn’t ready to start the next batch of beer but once the stuff dries inside the barrel it’s going to be impossible to get clean again, I suppose.
Wash the barrel, spigot and lid with warm water and liquid soap (use unscented soap if you have it). If you want to take it a step further you can use a powdered brewery wash that is specially formulated to power through calcium carbonate build-up in your brew barrel and bottles.
Home Brewed Beer Taste Testing
After the beer bottles have conditioned and they’re all fully carbonated I was finally able to transfer them to the refrigerator. :)
Our Home Brewed Beer Is Finally Ready
It is recommended to let the beer sit in the cold fridge for another two weeks or so to give the beer time to develop more flavor.
I tried my first bottle after 10 days, here is what I discovered:
Tasting Mr Beer’s Aztec Mexican Cerveza
The First Tasting
The first bottle of the home brewed beer I drank was very over carbonated and it tasted blah. There was really no taste at all.
The 2nd and 3rd bottle of beer, drank over the next couple of days were pretty much the same… over carbonated and just bland in taste. Not like the light tasting pale lager Mexican beer I’ve had before, even the lemon in the glass didn’t make much of a difference. After re-checking to make sure we used the correct amount of carbonation drops that were recommended for each bottle (we followed the instructions – 2 per bottle), I began to think that using one drop would have been enough.
A few days later I was curious enough to tried another beer. It tasted much better! What it ultimately came down to was waiting a little longer for the conditioning process to take hold. If I would have waited an extra week to try my first beer I’m sure it would have been just fine.
I have no idea what the alcohol content of this beer is. You can purchase an alcohol hydrometer online if you’re more serious about home brewing than we are. I’m really not sure my beer had any alcohol in it at all at first, it tasted that flat. Once again, it pays off to wait a few extra days. These days my home brew is offering a nice little buzz after having just one.
The taste of this beer after sitting in the refrigerator for about three weeks is crisp and very refreshing. I actually enjoy drinking the beer now! So… the longer you wait (3 – 6 weeks) the better the beer gets! Lesson learned. :)
This was a great gift I received from my sister! It will be fun to play around with all the different beer flavors they offer, from different craft beers to IPA’s and International beers. This home brewing kit can be used to brew your own hard cider as well.
Get your own Mr Beer Home Brewing Kit:
Do you brew your own beer at home? Leave us a comment below.