For beer and other bottle-primed beverages

To bottle your beer, you will need:

  • Beer bottles
  • Cleaning and sanitizing chemicals
  • Bottle brush
  • Bottle capper
  • Bottle caps
  • Bottling bucket
  • Racking cane/siphon/bottle filler
  • Corn sugar (dextrose)

1. Prepare your bottles. A typical 23-litre batch requires 60 to 70 standard 341 mL bottles. Thoroughly clean and sanitize the bottles before use. If you are using old bottles, check them inside for dirt or mold deposits. They may need to be scrubbed with a bottle brush to get them really clean. Always clean first, then sanitize.

2. Prepare your bottle caps. Bottle caps should be sanitized before use, and the best way is to soak them in sanitizing solution. Some brewers use flip-top (Grolsch style) bottles. The ceramic part of the flip tops can be sanitized along with the bottles. The rubber seals can be sanitized like the bottle caps.

3. Prepare your priming sugar. We add a priming solution just before bottling to provide carbonation to the beer in the bottle. Boil 1 cup (170 g) of corn sugar in two cups of water (for a more precise carbonation level, use a priming sugar calculator). Cover the pan and allow it to cool.

4. Combine beer and priming sugar. The best method for preparing the beer and priming sugar solution is to use a separate container the same size as your fermenter as a "bottling bucket". Clean and sanitize it and pour the priming solution into it. Next, siphon the beer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket. Don't simply pour the beer into the bucket, and don't let the beer splash as you siphon it in. Instead, put the end of the siphon under the surface of the beer as it fills. The swirling motion of the beer as it enters the bucket will be sufficient to evenly mix the priming solution into the beer without unnecessarily introducing oxygen.

5. Bottle. Carefully fill the bottles with the primed beer, place a sanitized bottle cap on each bottle, and crimp it using the bottle capper. At this stage, it is helpful to have a friend operate the capper while you fill the bottles.

6. Store the bottles. Place the capped bottles out of the light in a warm (room temperature) environment (65-75 °F [18-24 °C]). The bottles will take two to four weeks to carbonate. The bottles will have a thin layer of yeast on the bottom. Decant into a glass and leave the last half-inch of beer behind.