Remember back a couple of weeks ago when I passed on the valuable skill of beer making to Amy? To jog your memory, the post was titled “Beer Making With Amy“. It was great fun and we put down two brews to ferment.
Two weeks later, with the beer ready to bottle, my trusty helper was called back to learn how to bottle the beer.
Now as I had a downshift day today, I decided to bottle the first batch myself. So bottle I did, and silly me didn’t take any photos of the process. I had a major drama with the tap, which did not work as planned, so I had to syphon the brew via a hose into each bottle without making a massive mess. It went well, with sixty four 330ml bottles filled, capped and put away for storage. Sweet Matilda Pale Ale, in the bag.
After Amy finished work we got stuck into the task at hand.
The first order of business was to wash the 66 bottles required for this batch of Aztec Gold. All the bottles were clean (as I rinse them after pouring the beer out), so all we had to do was quickly scrub each one and sanitise.
Here I am, showing the student how it is done. Anyway, it didn’t take too long to clean them all. As we were using Sodium Metabisulphite, we had to rinse all the bottles with cold water so as not to leave a funny taste in the beer.
With all the cleaning completed, it was time to prime each bottle with sugar. We used Coopers carbonation drops as our priming sugar, but you can use 1 teaspoon of white sugar if you like for each 330ml bottle. Double the sugar if using 750ml long necks.
I was sitting down, filling each bottle, and Amy had the job of capping. I haven’t laughed so much in ages. The first few bottles, her technique needed work, and she was a bit cack-handed, but got there in the end. Well done DD.
I think my daughter needs to work on her biceps! She was scared that she would break a bottle by capping too hard, but I told her that the machine would not let that happen. Mind you, I have broken a few bottles in my time using a hand capper that you have to hit with a hammer, but never with a machine like this.
So after about two hours, we finished the entire process. Here is what we had to show for our hard work. 66 bottles all ready for storage in the stockpile cupboard.
We felt so cocky that we put down another Cerveza that you can see in the fermenter. Because we are now both seasoned brewers, we put this batch down in 30 minutes. Quick as a flash. Should be ready for bottling in a week or two.
As payment for all her hard work and skill learning, I gave her a dozen bottles of Sweet Matilda, and a six pack of Aztec Gold to take home. This gives her the added responsibility of making sure that the beer is kept in a dark coolish place for secondary fermentation to take place and add the carbon dioxide to the beer.
We shall be cracking a few cold ones in three weeks time!
I love passing on simple living skills to my kids (hint, hint). Maybe one of them will get interested in gardening one day and ask me how to grow food. That would be so much fun!
Who else is passing on simple living skills for the future?
My kids are a lot younger but we try to teach them how to live sustainably and simply. Jas helps with cooking, even on the wood stove, he’s helped with kneading dough for bread making and Allegra helps me with sewing (she “does pins”) and they’ve both done some sewing with a wool needle and cardboard with holes in it too. They both helped beat up the cabbage for sauerkraut and also sowing seeds in the garden. We’re also trying to teach frugality and the kids recently chose their fabric (old pillowcases and sheets) for their new pyjamas and nighties for the summer. I’m sure should we give beermaking a go they would want to help too. Orik is a little young yet but he is starting to join in by sitting and watching intently so not long before I gain a 3rd helper. 🙂
Gavin Webber says
Jess, your little helpers are well on their way to living a simpler life when they grow up. Love the way you teach them every day things and keep it fun.
you were in the navy when i used to make my home brew, and the rest of the family didnt drink beer
Gavin Webber says
Hey Dad. It was your brewing skills that inspired me to learn brewing all those years ago. You lead and I followed in your mighty footsteps!
Joy Belle says
My 23yo son has an interest in brewing his own cider – so he’s getting a brew kit for xmas. Both my girls and their brother can sew (I’m a sewist/crafter/gardener) but no one is interested in growing food or even flowers for that matter. Hubby is useless with the garden – unless it is ripping out stuff he’s not supposed to.
I wish I had been more interested when I was younger. As a child we always had veges and fruits growing in our backyard. Tomatoes, silverbeet, onions as well as10 fruit trees, 1 of which had 3 varieties of plum grafted to the one root stock. But now I have to learn all this from books and the internet – my dad has severe aged dementia and is in care and is unable to answer any questions I may have.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Joy, Nice xmas present, and well done on passing on sewing skills.
Yes, it is difficult when younger, as there are so many conflicting priorities, however it does encourage me that many younger folk do want to learn these things.
Gavin, I’m a Wisconsin follower. Got a question: That fermenter you have sitting on the counter… does that spigot draw off some of the sediment when you’re bottling? We use a siphon, but the spigot would make things easier.
I’m also a brewer… and a cheese maker, fermenter, gardener, canner, cook from scratch (made your pasties recently), beekeeper, chicken keeper, hand spinner, knitter and experimenter. I love your blog, you are an inspiration.
Gavin Webber says
Hi BTrue. The little tap is well above the sedimentation layer once the brew is finished fermenting. The inside of the tap is made in such a way that it only draws liquid from above it.
Well done on all the other cool sustainable living stuff you do.