Photo: Jitter Buffer (flickr)
The second phase of beer brewing consists of bottling and carbonating your beer. During the initial fermentation process described in my last post, sugars in the wort were converted into alcohol by the yeast.
In this stage, more sugar will be added for a second round of fermentation, which will produce those carbon dioxide bubbles.
Sugar can be added in various forms for different flavor outcomes. Corn sugar, for example, is a fairly neutral option that is used for most light beers. Standard table sugar, beet sugar or even molasses and maple syrup are used in specialized styles.
The sugar can either be stirred into the beer in the fermentation vessel before bottling or added individually to each bottle before the beer.
Using a siphon, transfer the beer into clean, sanitized glass bottles, leaving a few inches of headspace to ensure the bottles won’t crack under the pressure of carbon dioxide buildup. Leftover beer bottles can be reused indefinitely, and champagne-style bottles or larger jugs known as “growlers” also make great beer vessels.
Once filled, the bottles are sealed using a capping device and stored in a cool, dark place.
After two weeks or so of bottle-conditioning — depending on the style — the beer should be carbonated and ready to drink.