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Wine + Spirits + Beer

2 Guys: Bottling Your Own Beer (Is Maybe Even Slightly Less Fun Than Brewing It)


TIME TO BOTTLE!” exclaim our instructions, excitedly. The instructions’ excitement, however, is probably due to the fact that they aren’t the ones that have to actually do the bottling. Our beer has been sitting in its fermentation bucket, under a sink in the magazine’s test kitchens, for a little over a week. By measuring the gravity of our sample wort (fun fact: Ian’s nickname in high school was “the sample wort”), and seeing that the gravity is not changing, and thus no more alcohol is being produced, we now know that the fermentation is done; it’s time to put that sweet nectar in some sort of container we’ll (eventually) be able to drink it from. So we assembled the requisite 48 bottles that our instructions called for and set to work.

The first thing you’ll learn when you begin the process of bottling your own beer is to avoid using Dos Equis bottles (both the Lager, and the “Ambar”), because they use some sort of super-strong glue for their labels that is almost impossible to scrub off. The strength of Mexican horses must shame that of the European and American equine populations.

Nevertheless, once you get the bottles scrubbed, the process of putting beer into them is actually relatively straightforward. First, take some priming sugar and make a syrup with it. This gets mixed with the siphoned wort in our bottling bucket. The idea being that all of the yeast left in the beer will then eat that sugar, become gaseous, and thus carbonate our beer with their flatulence. Ah, to live a yeast’s life…So once we’ve siphoned the wort (which smelled reassuringly like beer when we opened the fermenting bucket) into the syrup-filled bottling bucket, it’s time to do the actual bottling. This is not an exciting task at all, as it involves doing nothing more than putting the beer into the bottles via the spigot at the bottom of our bottling bucket and then capping said bottles. With two people, it goes quick. But now the beer needs to sit, unrefrigerated, for 10 days and we’re faced with a bigger dilemma: where do you put 48—well, we ended up with 43—bottles of beer? Looks like it’s back under the sink for our beer, until we can (finally) drink some.