When brewing beer at home, bottling your beer will more than likely be your best option for carbonating, and serving your beer. Bottling will be one of your less expensive options, and a couple of the kits that you may be starting off with come with items that will definitely help you with bottling.
There are a number of beer kits that I have personally reviewed that come with something that will help you in the bottling process; the Mr. Beer Home Brewing Kit, the Brewers Best Beer Kit, the Coopers DIY Beer Kit, and the Gold Complete Beer Equipment Kit all come with something to make bottling your beer simpler.
The Mr. Beer kit and the Coopers Beer kit both come with both bottles and caps that can be used for bottling. Their bottles are plastic, too, so you won’t have to worry about capping glass bottles. You’ll be able to re-use the caps and bottles over-and-over for serving and carbonating your beer. With the Brewers Best kit and the Gold Complete equipment kit, you’ll receive a bottle filler and a bottle capper for glass bottles.
If the container you’re using to ferment your beer doesn’t have a any sort of spigot on it, you’ll want a bottle filler. This device is made to allow you to easily get your beer from your fermenting bucket or carboy into your bottles without spilling. The bottle capper does exactly what its name is. It will allow you to get the pry-off caps easily onto your glass bottles.
The Process of Bottling
The process of bottling is a fairly simple one. As with all of the equipment you use during the brewing process, you have to be sure that all of the bottles are thoroughly sanitized before you begin to put your beer in them. The last thing you want to do is contaminate your mixture.
Once the bottles are completely sanitized, you add the priming sugar (or whatever other means of carbonation you’re using) to the bottles so that your beer will be properly carbonated. After that, you simply transfer the beer into the bottles. You can do this by either using the bottle filler, or, if your fermenter has a spigot, dispensing the beer directly into the bottles. Once your beer is in the bottles you simply have to cap them.
If you’re using plastic bottles and caps, just go ahead and screw them on; or if you opt for glass bottles, use your bottle capper to get the caps on securely. Once the caps are on, refrigerate your beers so they’ll be carbonated and cold for your enjoyment when they’re ready.
The Up-Side to Bottling
As with almost anything, there are pros and cons to bottling your homebrew. When you’re in the beginning stages of your brewing career I believe that the pros of bottling your beer far outweigh the cons. As you become a more experienced brewer, you may want to keg your beer, but in the beginning I’d say bottling is the way to go.
For one, as I mentioned earlier, this will be one of the most inexpensive, if not THE most inexpensive means to carbonate and serve your beer available. If you buy the Mr. Beer kit or the Coopers beer kit you’ll already have bottles so you won’t have to worry about any extra purchases; and if you decide you want to use glass bottles, you can get them easily on Amazon.
Another benefit to bottling your beer is the convenience of having your beer in bottles. It is a lot easier to store your beer in bottles rather than a keg, and it’s easier for anyone who wants to sample your beer to just grab one out of the refrigerator. Also, if you want to take your beer to a friends house for sampling, bottles are very easy to travel with.
Finally, bottling your beer is a fantastic choice if you’d like to brew more than one type of beer at a time. You’ll be able to have multiple beers on hand at one time so you can have different options whenever you want a beer. Also, if you wanted to keg more than one type of beer at a time, you’ll have to buy a second set of all of the kegging equipment that you’d need, which isn’t cheap in the first place.
The Down-Side to Bottling
This process can be a little tedious if you have a large amount of beer that you are bottling. You’ll have to go through the process of cleaning and sanitizing for every new batch, plus the actual bottling and capping; and in the case of glass bottles, you’ll have to buy more caps for every new batch. The caps tend to be too bent to re-use after they’ve been pried off.
Also, though it’s easier to store bottles than it is kegs, you still have to find a place for all of the bottles. If you already have a small refrigerator, or your refrigerator is usually very full, you’ll have to find a place to keep all of the bottles. This can vary though, depending on the amount of beer you’re making. Obviously, if you aren’t making that much beer, you won’t have to use many bottles and they won’t take up much room.
You should definitely make the choice for yourself, and your needs, but I think that bottling is the way to go. It’s less expensive and more convenient than kegging your beer, and, though the process can get a little tedious, it’s not very difficult.
Let us know in the comments whether you prefer bottling or kegging and why, or you can leave a comment just to say hey and tell us how your brewing is going.
As always, I wish you all the best of luck with your brewing!