At New Year’s Eve, Xhanika and I brewed a beer. But at the end of such a day, you are still far from having an actual drinkable beer. There were still two steps to come: Bottling and lagering. So two weeks later I had to take out all the cleaning equipment again.
Because we wanted to try out if ready-made kits are really as easy and complete as they say, we ordered the second part of the Brewferm series, the bottling kit. The bottling instructions are still a part of the first kit, although now we were supposed to use some online instructions as well, via a QR code link. Too be honest, I was not a big fan of the included syphon, so I bought an automatic one and some extra Oxi as well. And I might have bought some extra other things as well, like a stand for my bottles and cleaning stuff. And we secretly used an alcohol spray. Because, you can guess it; if you thought brewing was a lot of annoying cleaning, you are really in for it with the bottling part. I think the actual bottling took, what, 5 minutes?
Ok, so the bottling kit has the base stuff you need to bottle, which is bottles, bottle caps and a bottle cap thingy to put them on the bottles. You can use the syphoon from the first package, but then you still need some essential cleaning material. I mean, you could ignore the cleaning part and just start bottling (no you cannot, do not even think about it), but that would have been a waste of all the cleaning on the brewing day.
Anyway; bottling is mostly cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. and more cleaning. Furthermore we mixed some sugar with the beer before we put it in the bottles for further fermentation in the bottle. The bottling itself we did as quickly as possible, anything to lower chances of infection. The thing that surprised me most is the LOW efficiency of this way of brewing. I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of beer out of this, but in the end we had about 3 liters of useful liquid to put in the bottles. Afterwards I put the bottles away again in the library for further fermentation and cleaned out the rest of the brewing equipment.
Of course we checked the sugar again. It was 1050 before and 1008 now. A quick calculation tells us that it therefore probably has an alcohol percentage somewhere between 5,5% en 6% alc. vol. Of course we also tasted a bit, and I am not disappointed. It is fruity and bitter and fresh. A bit flat at the moment, but that might get better in the bottle. I also like how clear it seems to be. And then we had to wait for four weeks again.
Then, a lot later then planned, I finally got to taste our beer. No, I am not anxious, you are. Ok, here we go!… I am pleasantly surprised! It worked out surprisingly well. The beer is very dry and bitter, probably a bit too dry for an IPA, but I loved it, it is fresh, a bit grainy, some hints of lemon. It is almost clear with a sturdy foamhead, a lot of carbonation and a nice, bright yellow colour. I have the feeling the alcohol percentage is a bit higher than predicted, but that is good. Yes! I am happy with these results. Only downside is that there isn’t much.
So all in all, I am not disappointed in this ready-made kit, the results are nice, the brewing was fun, we learned a lot, even if we didn’t get that much beer out of it.
Did you ever try a ready-made kit? What did you think of it?