It’s happened. I now have thirty long necks of Indian Pale Ale. Fifteen of these gleaming beauties are sitting on the top shelf of our bookshelf (to keep warm and hopefully become amazing).
Most of the bottles are standard shaped long necks. But some of them, the ones I will present to the judges, are a more tapered shaped bottle that used to contain pricey foreign beer. They’re very pretty but it would be a bit expensive to use these for all thirty unless you built up the number over a longer period of time. I’m thinking of doing this. Just for the pure pleasure of looking at them. I’m guessing I might have enough by summer if I’m dedicated.
Once again I headed bravely into the danger-zone of doing-as-husband-says-and-not-arguing. All of the bottles were scrubbed with hot water and then sterilised in the oven. The actual bottling process is not that hard, you just need to keep remembering to keep everything really really clean. Glenn could not
shut up about this emphasise this enough. He highly recommended keeping one hand clean, gloved and dry for reaching into the packets of bottle caps and carbonating tablets. And the other for pulling the lever of the bottle capper etc. If the gloved hand got even slightly dripped on, he made me change it. Moisture harbours germs. I absolutely get it now, Honey.
I think Glenn’s head was actually throbbing a bit when he was trying to explain some bits, without doing it himself. Like how to insert the small spring into the bottle filler tube that gets poked into the barrel tap. He said I got a bit snaky. That surprised me. Note to self: revise fake non-snaky voice.
Two sugary carbonation tablets get dropped in each bottle. Then you just fill it up to the top of the neck with beer (the level will drop down a bit when you remove the hose), pop the cap on and then seal it to the bottle with the lovely capper with a satisfying crunch. I loved that bit. Each bottle was given a little swivel to get things moving inside before being set down with it’s friends.
It can be a nifty little operation once you get the hang of it. There was a lot of talk about ‘getting into a rhythm’ otherwise it can ‘take forever’. Glenn seemed keen to get back to cooking dinner. After seeing me fill and cap a few more bottles and feeling reasonably reassured that I wasn’t going to put drippy wet fingers on his entire bottle cap supply, he left me to it. I was 23 bottles in when I realised I didn’t have enough carbonation tablets. So seven of my longnecks (not the special special ones) have raw sugar in them instead. Sigh. But other than that, I think it’s all in order. Just need to sit back and wait for beer to happen now.
Glenn: So now the barrel needs to be cleaned.
Me: Well it’s raining. Do you wanna just stick it out in the rain?
Glenn: That’s not really where I was going with that, no.
Hey, I was a grot when he married me.