Here are a few tips to make sure that your bottling process is smooth and incident free!
Always ensure fermentation is complete if it isn’t this can cause pressure to build up in the bottles as the CO2 has nowhere to go. At the end of fermentation take two hydrometer readings 24 or 48 hours apart if the readings are the same then fermentation is complete and you are free to bottle, if not leave a little longer until the two readings are the same. When transferring to your bottles avoid any splashing as you would not want to oxidise your brew.
Priming your beer: It is important to get the right level of carbonation in your brew as it adds to mouthfeel and appearance. Too much priming sugar will lead to a very frothy beer and although a good head is nice this will be too much. We recommend no more than one carbonation drop or you could use a heaped teaspoon of brewing sugar per 500ml bottle for lager and cider which would add a bit more fizz than one carbonation drop. For ale we recommend one carbonation drop, a level teaspoon of brewing sugar or for slight carbonation half a teaspoon. This priming sugar is a tasty treat for the remaining yeast in your brew which then produces CO2 and as seen as it has nowhere to escape to it instead carbonates your beer. Also leave a gap at the top to aid carbonation about 1″ to 1½”.
What else can I prime with other than brewing sugar/carbonation drops? A few suggestions are honey for honey beer, spraymalt; which one you use depends on the type of beer, for example you could use the light spraymalt with pale ale or an IPA. Whether using something other than white sugar actually alters the flavour of your beer is debated but if you’re feeling adventurous it’s something different to try.
Use a little bottler: These are simply a must when bottling they cut time and mess little bottler down to a minimum.
Store your bottles in a cool dark place: This allows your brew to clear and prevents any damage caused by sunlight.
Allow your brew to condition: You can drink your beer a few weeks after it has been bottled and carbonation is complete however it will not be at it’s best. Leave it for at least two months and you will be rewarded with a great tasting beer because the flavours will have had time to develop over a long period.