My first batch (brewed from Muntons Gold IPA kit) was bottled 14 days ago and as I described on my previous post, I wasn’t happy about the way I added sugar. It made me worry about carbonation – is there anything going on inside those bottles at all? I also wasn’t sure how long should I keep my bottled precious 1st batch at room temperature. Here is what I did:
Thanks to my lack of confidence I couldn’t decide whose advice to take and when to move my bottles to fridge. So I chose to separate my first batch to three parts – 2 bottles (that didn’t fit to boxes), 20 bottles and 20 bottles. I didn’t specially plan to make an experiment (like described in this blog), but just tried to find out for future, what is the best, since there are many different suggestions available. The bottles were moved to fridge and test bottle was opened as follows:
- 2 bottles – to fridge 2 days after bottling; test 5 days later (7 days after bottling)
- 20 bottles – to fridge 6 days after bottling; test 2 days later (8 days after bottling)
- last 20 – to fridge 13 days after bottling (8 days after bottling those were moved to slightly cooler room, but still ca 18-20 C); test 1 day later (14 days after bottling)
Carbonation test – not a big difference
It was a bit unexpected for me, but there was not a big difference in carbonation test of those 3 bottles. Yes, the first was a little bit weaker, but it had carbonated enough for my expectations. I also had to consider that the sugar was added with a teaspoon and only my eyes were acting as measuring equipment, so the amount probably varied. Second and third were almost the same and were exactly as I like.
As the result of my carbonation test showed – I should worry less about carbonation. If you do bottling as suggested and don’t mess up with other things, the beer will carbonate and shouldn’t therefore be taken too seriously. Not that I underestimate the value of correct carbonation – no, but there are things more important, that need more attention.
I was aware that the taste doesn’t have to be good yet (according to instructions, should have waited at least 3 weeks before tasting), but there was a difference I couldn’t ignore. The first and second bottle tasted equally bad, there was a strong yeast taste (I think) and they were clearly not ready. I would have left it this way (blaming it on tasting too early), but when I opened and tasted the third bottle, it was completely different – no yeast taste, almost good smell and tasted like real beer – a bit light, too little hops flavor, but still a beer.
So what happened? Did I bottle too early and it hadn’t finished fermentation and therefore I should have had to keep them in warm for longer, like those last 20 bottles? If so, then should I take the 2nd 20 bottles out of fridge, place them in warm place for few days or will the taste improve in fridge? I did’t have the answers and had to do it the “hard” way – postponed publishing this article for 1-2 days and performed one final test.
The final test result
Today, 15 days after bottling, I opened a bottle from second test group (to fridge 6 days after bottling), that had now been 9 days in fridge and tasted yeasty 7 days ago.
And the result – goooooooood 🙂 Same as was 3rd – no more yeast and drinkable.
So to sum everything up: carbonation completed almost equally, no matter if bottles were moved to fridge after 2, 6 or 13 days. Early taste depends more on the time between the bottling and tasting, than on moving to cold place. Of course I understand that probably one of these ways may be more correct and my carbonation test and “equipment” used wasn’t very scientific, but its good enough for me – carbonation is doable, now I should concentrate on taste!
After few weeks I will make final evaluation of my first ever homebrew, so far everything looks good.
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