Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bottling Day

I bottled up four and half cases of beer yesterday. It should be ready for consumption in a couple of weeks. In the picture above, I am siphoning five gallons of beer out of the carboys (those glass jugs) and into my bottling bucket, where it is mixed with a touch of corn sugar to start the carbonation phase. That usually takes 10-14 days.

I did five gallons of an apple-infused, Munich-style Lager and five gallons of Telepathy, which is a European Pilsner that I custom hopped for my sister. I'll tell you the Telepathy story in minute. I want to write about this Apple Lager first.

If you look back to my March 22nd post, you will find the thread where I created the Apple Lager and Telepathy. I actually attempted to brew an Apple Lager back in February, but accidentally wound up with an apple and marionberry infused European wheat beer, that we named "Bloody Marion." It is an unusual beer, but it tasted fine. In fact, some people really love it. Nevertheless, that mistake taught me a little bit about how apples interact with the hops in beer.

For instance, I used a Macintosh apple in the Bloody Marion. But after tasting that brew in its beginning stages (before it conditioned itself in the bottle), I decided the Macintosh might be a little too tart for the Lager I was using. So I brewed this batch with Fuji apples. I also let these beers condition in the carboys for an entire five weeks. I usually bottle a beer after two weeks of fermentation in the carboys.

I noticed after a couple of weeks in the bottle, the hops in the Bloody Marion toned back a lot of the tartness of that beer. Still, it seemed like each bottle of Bloody Marion that I tried was at a different stage of conditioning. At times the tartness was stronger than others. I tried to remedy that in the Apple Lager. (BTW, I am going to try another batch of Bloody Marion without the apples this time, and I will probably add just a hint of honey instead).

I don't know if the longer conditioning time will actually make a difference, but my hope is the longer time in the carboys will help this batch condition evenly. It was also a nice excuse to delay bottling for two extremely nice spring weekends.

After tasting an uncarbonated Apple Lager last night, I suspect it worked. There was no tartness to the beer, and I can taste the hops balancing the subtle apple tones. I think this is going to be a damn good beer. I wanted very much to have another one last night, but decided to hold off a couple days until a little carbonation builds up in the bottles. I used Grolsch-style bottles (see picture below) this time because beer carbonates faster and stronger in that type of bottle. If anyone has some of these bottles that they want get rid of, I can find a home for them.
I bottled the Telepathy in 22-ounce bottles with oxygen caps. The special caps are supposed to aide in carbonation and long-term storage. We'll see I guess. BTW, Sunny is capping some of the Telepathy in the picture at the top of this post, and the picture at the bottom is closer view of the capping tool.

Ok, now for the Telepathy story. When Sunny I were just out of high school, we were at my place drinking Ranier pounders (16-ouncers) one night and my sister came over to visit. She was about 17 or 18 years old and had never drank. She wanted to try a beer, so we let her have one and then another. After her third beer or so, she looked over at me and in all seriousness said "Oh My God, I think I have telepathy." We laughed so hard that night, and we have never let her live that down. Telepathy has been an inside joke for years. My sister also had her first hangover the next day, and she hasn't been a fan of beer ever since then.

Anyway, my sister stopped by my house a couple years ago just about the time my very first two batches of beer were ready for testing. I was drinking a glass of the European Pilsner and it was fantastic. I talked my sister into trying one and she reluctantly agreed to try it, but when she did, she loved it... between the two of us, we must have drank a half rack of that beer and she had to sleep over. She claimed the beer as hers that night, and of course, we agreed on the name: Telepathy.

Here is Sunny putting the cap on the last of Telepathy yesterday.

16 comments:

  1. I love this article and since you shared the powers of your sister's telepathy to me personally, well I laughed just as hard the second time around.

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  2. Ha! Jeanie, I can't wait to share this apple beer and the Telepathy...

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  3. We call those big glass jars 'demijohns'.... dam I wanna taste your beer :)

    I use to love making country wines..... if I was not so busy or knackered I would get all me stuff out the cupboard and start again....

    x

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  4. Hey Marmite, I just asked DFO to send me your postal address. I will send you some Apple Beer and Telepathy as soon as it is ready. well, as long as the postal service will deliver it...

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  5. As a beer lover, I feel left out. Sniff, blubber.

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  6. Bent has an event every so often at the corner of 10th and Mountain, down by Sanders Beach. Look for the next one, and you won't be disappointed. I always enjoy those events, as I get to try them all. Thanks Bent for the pleasure of trying your passion. The Stickman

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  7. Thanks Herb. I deleted the address to be on the safe side. BTW, you are always invited. I will make a point to personally invite you on your blog at the next tasting. I was thinking about asking Taryn to host an HBO exclusive tasting at her studio. that way you guys up there get a chance to try things out. Stickman..would you come? nevertheless we could always do two tastings.

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  8. Looks good! You inspired me to make another batch of "First Street Ale" today.
    It's too cold to work outside, might has well make some home brew.

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  9. :) MrB... cripes fanks a bunch :) - I think if you put on the customs that is 'Olive Oil' you might get away with it LOL....

    But, please, it would be heavy to post, so dont worry, I will taste a bottle when one day I get over to visit left of the staples :)

    fanks though it was very kind of you..

    x

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  10. Cool, BayviewBob. It's nice to have another hobby brewer commenting on the blog. I am toying with the idea of having a tasting Spirit Lake, so HBO's northern crowd can sample some of my beer. I hope you come if I get it set up. Keep an eye on the blog and I will announce it here...

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  11. Marmite, Herb gave me your address, so I will give it a try. If I pull it off, I could say my beer is an international sensation... Well, if you like it anyway.

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  12. Apparently, he does Marmite. I figured he must have been a penpal or something.

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  13. Bent: I would definitely come if and when you have another event and it's not here. I think the next one will garner a few more people, as you are becoming more famous for the delicious brew you make. Keep up the good work, and I have a few bottles for you next time you are around. The Stickman

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  14. If my boss finds out I'm posting during work I'll be in so much trouble..... :) This is a great blog - I am duly impressed Bro-in-law! Thank goodness you didn't put up the plumbers crack! Are we doing herbs this weekend or is sunny working at home? I may go over and do the herbs in any event. I think I need to connect with Marmite and begin stomping grapes - epiphany! we should be growing grapes! I suppose I can make wine out of one of the tomato varieties....

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  15. Great Blog Bent and Sunny. That apple beer is going to be great. Thanks for all the work in the garden it looks awesome. We will have to get toghether again soon.

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