Tonight I was busy with one of my favourite hobbies, namely beer making. Now how could beer making be green, I here you ask? Well glad you asked. Have a read of this post titled “Gav’s Eco Beer” to get a good understanding of the environmental benefits of making your own beer.
Anyway, I made up a simple recipe that I found on a the back of a Coopers leaflet called Aztec Gold. I put 500g of Dry light malt and 1 can of Coopers Cerveza brew mixture into the fermenter, added 2 litres of boiling water and mix. Once mixed, I added rain water to make up 23 litres, take an original specific gravity reading (mine was 1036) and then pitch the yeast when the temperature goes below 25C. To see how the process works, have a look at my Home Brewing video tutorial.
I made it up on Sunday 9th, before I came down sick, and it has been bubbling away merrily for 6 days. Kim let me put the fermenter in the laundry, because the temperature variation in the shed has been ridiculous and she likes Cerveza!
The beer stopped fermenting on Friday so I could have bottled it after work, however from experience, I always leave the beer in the fermenter for an extra two days, so that the beer settles and clears without the use of finings. The final specific gravity was 1008.
After washing and sterilising all 66 bottles, I added just under a teaspoon of white sugar to each bottle, then filled them all up as you can see below.
Then I went about putting the crown seals on each bottle with my hand capping machine.
My darling daughter Megan (who took the photos) always catches my best angle. Here is a sealed bottle. Once sealed, I invert the bottle a few times to dissolve the sugar to start secondary fermentation. This produces the beer bubbles.
Here is an action shot. It is a pretty simple process, and from start to finish bottling usually takes me about 90 minutes.
In about three weeks time, I will sample the Aztec Gold and see if it is a winner! It smelt very nice, and was crystal clear as I siphoned it from the fermenter to the bottles. I will let you know how it turns out when it is ready. Beer making is a great hobby, and I suppose that if I draw a really long bow, it is a great skill to have if the breweries every shut down or go broke, and besides that, the satisfaction of sharing your own home made beer with mates is second to none. Especially when it tastes great as well.
We have beer to brew and should have done it this weekend ;). Even without the environmental and personal financial savings, I prefer our home brew to anything we buy.
For caps, we use the flip-top caps, and usually like them, although on a couple of occasions we’ve ended up with flat beer (thinking, perhaps, the seals weren’t tight?). How do you like your bottles with caps? And did you purchase them specifically for making your beer?
john (dad) says
as you know gav i made home brew for 30 odd years. you cant get a better feeling making it, and then drinking the finished product sharing it with friends
HI I'M DONNA says
Looks very nice, Im not a big beer fan but i do like a shandy or two!
Darren (Green Change) says
Beer is a great medium of exchange, too! I’ve bartered beer for fencing wire, equipment loans, vegies, mulch, etc.
A few bottles of home brew make an excellent thankyou gift for favours done, too.
Oh, and leave a few out at Christmas for your garbo, postie, etc.
Looks great. When I used to brew beer, on bottling day I would disolve my priming sugar in some water then add it to the beer. Give a stirr to ensure it’s properly distributed, then transfer to bottles. Easier than spooning into each bottle, and ensures all bottles get an equal amount of sugar!
We have a broken bar fridge with a light globe and thermometer in,the fermenter fits in nicely, this keeps the beer at a constant temp while brewing. Need it warmer or cooler change the size of the globe, mind it has to be an incandescent.
I did purchase bottles for the beer that was in it, but chose that brand because it used crown seals. So in a way, yes. I do like the crown seals better than PET bottles, which most of the home brewing companies are selling at the moment. The plastic leaks CO2 over time, and the beer goes flat after a year or so.
I agree. I like sharing them with you mate!
I will save you one!
It is a great medium of exchange and an even better reward as you mentioned. Especially when it tastes good. Some home brews I wouldn’t drink for all the tea in Sri Lanka. Rancid.
It would be a good idea for a darker ale, however as I wanted to minimise the sediment in the beer due to the clear bottles and not wanting to decant into a glass, it would not help me in this instance. I will try it next time I make an ale.
I have a neighbour who uses the same method except that he uses a cupboard with a thermostat. He can brew most of the year around, except on really hot (30+C) days.
Mickle in NZ says
It is too bad that I don’t like beer, and neither do my troublesome innards. However, you also make cider and have some apple trees out in your front yard – yes?
You have so many delicious crops growing now (and in the future) to have a ball with fruit wines – to enjoy with your amazing cheeses.
Happy eating over many months, sending care and huggles to you all,
Michelle in Wellington
Ah, yes. It’s been a few years, and I fogot that to reduce the sediment problem I would transfer (via syphon) the beer from the glass carboy back into the primary fermentation bucket. This required moving the carboy up onto the counter (or chair) the day before bottling (again to let it settle). This left most of the sediment that forms during fermentation in the carboy and the beer remained clear. If you’re using a single bucket system (which works fine too) then this won’t work.
Oh, by the way, I found your site after getting into cheese making myself! I’m going to try some of the ones you’ve posted. I’ve only made a couple batches, but so far things are going well enough to continue.