If you enjoy beer, home brewing is a hobby that you might want to consider. It is easy to learn but difficult to master. Home brewing can take you as far you let it. Many famous beers started out with home brewing. If you are looking to get started, you need several supplies. Most home brew kits come with supplies you need, but something a typical home brewing kit won’t include are bottles.
There are two ways to condition your beer. You can use a keg, or you can use bottles. Kegs may make the aging process go by faster, but bottles offer many great benefits. For one, bottles are easy to find and have minimal costs. You can purchase bottles at many stores, including liquor stores, supply store, or even grocery stores. You could even use bottles you already have. One thing you must be sure to remember is to sanitize the bottles before using them. Sanitizing goes beyond simply cleaning them. Failing to sanitize your bottles could cause bacteria to grow. If that happens, your batch of beer will be ruined. Most beer kits come with sanitizing equipment. If it doesn’t, you can find sanitizing materials at many stores.
The next thing you will need is a capper and bottle caps. A capper will most likely come with your home brewing kit. It is an easy to use tool and is highly durable. As far as bottle caps, you can find those at many of the same stores you find bottles. Bottle caps are not reusable, so you will need to buy more as you continue brewing at home. They don’t cost very much though, so it is a minimal expense.
Once you decide to go with bottle conditioning, consider what types of bottles you want to use. The best bottles are brownish in color. This is because they limit the amount of light. Excessive light can spoil the aging process. You can also use clear or green bottles. These are usually sufficient if you store your beer in a dark environment, however you do increase the chance of letting in light.
Using bottles have several advantages over kegs. For one, you can watch the aging process unfold. Aging takes several weeks or longer depending on the type of beer. Different ingredients need to mature in the bottles. If you are really in to your hobby, you might be interested to see how beer appears at different stages of its growth. Bottles will let you do that.
Another benefit of bottles is that you can try one bottle to test its readiness without compromising the rest of the batch. Take a look at a bottle and determine if the beer is ready to drink by looking at its opacity. The clearer the beer, the better it will be. If you open one bottle and decide the beer is not ready, you can let the rest of the batch continue to mature. As an added benefit, you can test varying aging times within the same batch using bottles. Some beers, especially darker ones, get better as they age. You can try bottles on different days and determine the best amount of time to let the type of beer age.
A last benefit of bottles is that you can save one for a collection. After all, this is something you made, so you might want to remember it. Print out a creative label and stick it on the bottle. You can place one bottle from each batch on a shelf and you will have a nice collection. It is a good way to remember different beers you have tried making.
Transferring beer from the fermentation container to bottles is very easy. Any brewing novice could pick it up right away. Just follow the sanitation and aging guidelines, and you will have a great experience with brewing your beer. Remember to keep an eye on the bottles as they age so you can learn about how beer progresses.