Finally…. White House Honey Ale, which we renamed to Cusick House Honey Ale was bottled! We actually bottled it last weekend (2.3.2012) but I had to hold off on the post as I was waiting for the bottle cap labels to complete my post. So here was the process to bottling….
Step 1) De-label, clean, and sanitize used beer bottles. We have been saving all of our non-twist beer bottles for the past few months. Thanks to a quick internet search this step was easier than I thought.
- De-label: Soak beer bottles in a deep sink or bathtub in a oxi-clean/water solution. Let them soak about 2 hours and the labels just fall off. I used a couple of scoops in my deep sink.
- Clean: We rise all of our bottles before we put them into our storage area for future use, this prevents any nasty smells as well as makes the cleaning process easier. After de-labeling them we risen them thoroughly to remove any soapy taste from the oxi-clean, then dip each bottle into a light bleach solution to kill anything and then rise again quickly. Bleach out-gases so once the bottle is dry the bleach leaves behind no flavor or residue. ( The joy of being married to a chemistry teacher)
- Sanitize: Sanitation is important because they last thing you want is a foreign body in your beer as it can impart a flavor or skunk it
up. Thus we follow John Palmers recommendation in How to Brew for Dry Heat Sterilization via the oven. We cook our beer bottles in the oven at 284 degrees for 180 minutes (3 hours). We leave the bottles open for the first hour to dry out any moisture on the inside the we cap them with some aluminum foil for the rest of time. Let them cool completely in oven, then leave them capped and they are ready for beer.
Step 2) Prime and Fill bottles. Priming adds the carbonation to your beer. This is achieved by adding essentially a simple syrup to your beer. For a further explanation of this step by John Palmer click here. Then we siphoned the beer to our bottling container and began bottling. See pictures of bottling and siphoning below.
Step 3) Once the beer is bottled we cap, and label it. Then it sits for two weeks to ferment a bit more and carbonate. For labels we ended up deciding on online labels, they have a very nice 1 inch round label that fits on top of the cap nicely. They also have a program called Maestro Label Designer that helps you to design the labels free of charge. Overall I would recommend, they are a nice money & time saver, we also use them for our lip balm labels. See pictures below!
On 2.17.2013 we will be able to try the fruits of our labor. Will let you know how it turns out! Any comments or questions on this process please let me know! Enjoy Megan