Forging mighty beers one batch at a time.

Botting Time for the Belgian Noel Beer

Hard to believe that it has already been a week in the fermenter, and the AHS Belgian Noel is ready to be bottled.  I typically make a few notes on the progress of the beer during bottling, as it give me an early indicator at how things are going to turn out, and what I can do better next time. Also, this time around I decided to experiment a little bit with the amount of priming sugar that I added to each bottle for carbonation. The first time that I used corn sugar my bottles didn’t get as much carbonation as I would have liked, so I added a bit more sugar to some bottles this time around. Hopefully, I won’t get any exploding bottles, but only time will tell.  The recommended amount of sugar is one teaspoon for the half-liter bottles that I’m using for bottling. So I added 1.25 teaspoons and 1.5 teaspoons to several bottles to see what effect it will have.

I normally taste a little bit of the wort at this stage to make sure that it doesn’t taste sweet (an indication that fermentation is not complete) and just to get a feel for the character of the beer prior to carbonation. The Noel had a bit of a cidery hint to it when I tasted it, which is not generally a good thing, but I also detected some fruity esters as a good Belgian should have.  I could taste the alcohol in this one, which is a good sign since the target ABV is over 8%. I don’t have a hydrometer, so I can’t make accurate measurements of the final gravity, and thus the alcohol content.

One thing to note is that this high gravity wort had a lot more trub at the bottom of the fermenter. In my case this is a problem since the spigot is set at a certain height relative to the bottom of the fermenter. I had to tilt the fermenter back by placing the front up on a block of wood in order to avoid getting lots of yeast in the bottles. I emptied the first 50-100mL into a glass to clear the spout of trub before beginning the bottling process. Near the end, I leveled the fermenter for the last few bottles, and the last bottle ended up with more yeast and trub than I would have liked.

I’m a little concerned with the hop profile at this stage. I hope that it mellows out a little bit in the bottle. Getting the hops right seems to be the weak point in my brewing technique.

Botting time for the Belgian Noel beer