Well, the patience has paid off. After fermenting for 11 days the St Peter’s Ruby Red Ale is ready for bottling. The FG was 1012, below the 1014 required by the instructions and should result in an ale of about 4.2% ABV. It was a relief reaching the bottling stage after having waited so long for the fermentation, but that was just a first brewer’s impatience.
Using Coopers 500ml, I managed to get 42 bottles worth, which is around 54 pence a pint(ish)! Not bad for 11 days waiting but let’s wait until the taste test to see if the ale has turned out okay. One of the big unknowns for this first brew is the local water quality. As I keep fish I know quite a lot about treating water and luckily for brewing, chlorine levels are low in this area.
Still, it’s an unknown… but the beer did smell like beer. Although I didn’t bring myself to drink from the fermenter. I figured it’s better to wait for carbonation to take place in the bottles and then do a taste test properly — expect that in the next couple of weeks.
Bottling was a long process, although I’m sure it could have been sped up by some additional equipment. Bar three glass bottles, the rest were Coopers PET and all required sanitising and washing out before it was time for filling.
Of course, each bottle was primed with sugar, enough for the 500ml bottles and headspace was left (an inch) for air. With a FG of 1012 there should be no risk of bomb bottles! In fact, I was a little blown away at how clear the liquid was straight from the fermenter — the red was beginning to shine through, although this should improve with age.
The bottling procedure itself was easy, although a little tiring. After sanitising, washing out, priming, a gentle shake, and storing; perhaps an hour and a half had passed. It would have taken a little longer if it wasn’t for the help by my girlfriend!
Anyway — until I know the beer has turned out okay I won’t write any tips about bottling! After all, I’m still learning. I will do a taste test once the ale is ready though and this might be a video.