“Bottling or Barrelling – That is the Question!”
There are “fors and againsts” when it comes to storing your beer or cider. There are a number of factors that will affect your decision. If this is your first time brewing the answer would normally be to bottle your first batch as this will give you an insight and understanding into the full brewing process without the expense of purchasing a pressure barrel a CO2 gas cylinder. or the CO2 injection kit
The advantages of bottling are … your brew will carbonate better producing a larger head and longer lasting bubbling effect (doesn’t go flat so quickly) It’s also easier to chill your bottles in the fridge plus they’re more transportable when taking out to enjoy with friends. So if you want chilled lager or a bubbly cider then bottling is your best choice.
Pressure Barrel Beer
Using a pressure barrel to store your brew is great in that there is far less work involved in cleaning and sterilising all the bottles required and your brew is always on tap when you need a pint. A pressure barrel also takes up less room than 46x 500ml bottles, especially if you live on a boat! Your brew will however be less ‘fizzy’ than using bottles. It will though still have a head when poured, more like a real ale or flat cider.
Bottling Your Beer or Cider
- Syphon the beer into clean sterilised bottles, use bottles with “swing tops”, PET plastic beer bottles with screw caps or glass beer bottles with crown tops (requires a capper)
- Add 1 level teaspoon of sugar or 1 carbonation drop per 500ml bottle or 1 rounded teaspoon / 2 drops to a 750ml bottle. Be careful not to add too much or your bottles could explode.
- Seal the bottles and transfer to a warm place for at least one week for secondary fermentation to take place.
- After at least one week of secondary fermentation, move the bottles to a cool place until the beer is perfectly clear (about another week).
Barrelling Your Beer
- Syphon the beer into a clean and sterilised S30 equipped pressure barrel.
- Dissolve 150gm of sugar in a cup of hot water, add to the barrel and seal the lid.
- Leave in a warm place for at least a week for secondary fermentation to take place, then transfer to a cool place for clearing and conditioning before sampling.
- As you consume your brew you’ll need to replace it with CO2 from the gas cylinder or CO2 injection kit. This will keep a positive pressure on your brew and allow it to continue pouring ok, keeping the air out.