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A Newbie Homebrews: Bottling

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bottle1A few weeks back, I reported on the simple joys of homebrewing Disaster IPA using the All-in-on-kit. Since then, my yeasts threw a wild party, ate like gluttons and had a ton of fun making baby-yeasts. The party ended, and the bottling began. The bottling process was not as intensive as the brewing process, but I did make a few minor mistakes. In spite of this, I still ended up with 48 great-looking bottles of homebrew that I can't wait to drink in two short weeks! Woot! Lucky for you, I'm willing to share my mishaps, so you don't have to learn the hard way: 1) Make sure you have bottles. I doubt you'll miss this (frankly, I'm a little embarrassed I did). The upshot is that I've never had a better excuse to empty 4 six packs worth of bottles in 3 days. Day 3 was the most difficult, leaving me to wish I had been invited to a Super Bowl party to gather the empties. On the same note, make sure your bottles are 12 oz, pop-offs. 2) Dog Fish Head bottles are the best; Harpoon not-so-much. Realizing that I would need to binge for 3 days, I chose to drink variety packs. So, on bottling day, I learned about handling various bottles from different breweries. Dog Fish Head labels peel right off (and the bottles are very easy to seal), but Harpoon labels made me wish I had a harpoon. 3) Keep track of the spring. This is the smallest part of the kit, and so the easiest to lose. I almost lost mine down the drain. Also, there can be no bottling without the spring, so don't lose it. 4) Gravity. I learned this in school, but I've never had a deeper appreciation for gravity until bottling. Home brew pours from the fermenter, down to the bottling bucket, and finally down into the bottles. I'm so thankful for gravity! 5) Lastly, a couple life lessons I took away from bottling: "sharing is caring" and "patience is a virtue." As John & Doug's instructions aptly remind you, sharing the workload with a friend is fun and efficient, especially when one person fills the bottles and the other caps them. Sharing the reward two weeks later will be even more fun, bringing me to my next lesson: bottling reminds you to be patient and enjoy the process of home brewing (just as much as the end result). You have to wait two more weeks for the final product, so you might as well make the process itself fun! That's all I've got. Happy bottling! Marissa

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