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Ole Mole – Day 35

Bottling Day!!

I took the carboy out of the fermentation chamber, and took a quick sample to taste. Smooth, medium viscosity, and just the right amount of bite from the cayenne. The vanilla nose and flavor had diminished a little more than I had hoped, but since this had happened to me the last time I used vanilla in my Dark Side Vanilla Bean Porter, I was ready for it. In goes another four ounces of Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract, and now it’s just right (for me at least, I love the taste of vanilla.)

I got together my bottles, Starsan sanitizer, priming sugar solution, and got to work.

First, I added the sugar priming solution. I make my priming solution well in advance, and pressure sterilize it in pint jars in my pressure cooker. That way come bottling day I just open a jar of priming solution, add it to the carboy, stir gently with a sanitized stirrer and let it sit for about an hour to allow any stirred up sediment to settle.

Next I sanitize my bottles using Starsan solution and a bottle sanitizer/rinser. This send a jet of sanitizer solution into the bottle, which will kill any nasties that may have crept into the bottle. The sanitizer works as long as it’s wet, so I normally do about 2 dozen bottles at a time.

Using a spring loaded bottle filler, I fill the bottles, automagically leaving just the proper amount of headspace in the bottle.

After I’ve filled the bottles, it’s time to cap them. I paid a little extra and got a Colonna Bottle Capper and Corker. This baby is great. It’s easy to use, can be adjusted for various bottle sizes, and can also cork wine bottles and Belgian Ale bottles. Definitely worth the money.

Now I move all of my bottles to my “Bottle Bomb Shelter”, a 100 quart cooler, to allow the bottles to naturally carbonate. This way, if I’ve miscalculated the amount of priming solution, or have a bottle failure (try “beer bottle bombs” in google for examples), the cooler will contain the mess. This saves endless hours of cleaning, and argument with SWMBO if a bottle bomb occurs.

Now just have to wait a couple of weeks to try the final product.

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