Making a Dunkel pt 3


You can catch up from part 2, here.

After a week or so, I transfer the beer into another carboy; this part is called ‘secondary fermentation’. This is done mostly to increase clarity in a beer but it also removes a beer from any dead yeast or other detritus, usually hops, that precipitates out of a beer while it’s fermenting. For most homebrewers I’m told that secondary fermentation isn’t necessary but what I can tell you is that it works for me.

After a few days in secondary, I prepare to bottle everything. This starts with sanitizing bottles and bottlecaps, along with other equipment, like siphons and buckets, in a solution of iodophor and water for 20 minutes.  Then I have to let it dry for a little bit-again, 20 minutes but I’ve shortened or lengthened that time  a little and everything has worked out so far.


With that done, the beer is transferred into a bottling bucket. While this is being transferred, I also add in a simple syrup to provide food for what remains of the yeast, so the beer can become carbonated.

Making the syrup is easy enough; just boil water and add in sugar. I use plain white sugar but I’d imagine that if someone used brown sugar or honey or something else, that might have interesting effects on the way the beer tastes.I also take this opportunity to get a final gravity reading, in order to measure the beer’s alcohol by volume (ABV). It’s easier to do this now, rather then when I bottle because bottling involves the use of a bottling wand and that tool makes getting measurements difficult.


Finally, with everything sanitized and given time to dry, I can bottle. With the bottling wand attached to the end of my siphon, I simply insert the wand down to the bottom of the bottle, fill it and remove the wand. There’s a valve at the bottom that stops the flow of beer when I don’t press down on it, so for the most part, I don’t spill much beer.

I also put bottlecaps on the bottles as I go, and I do this for two reasons: First, I want to prevent anything else from falling into the bottle.  Second: I have been told that putting the cap on like this before sealing it, allows the beer to start pushing out oxygen right away. Oxygen is really good for yeast when fermenting, but really bad for beer flavors once the yeast is done, so any chance I can provide to make this beer better, I will take.


As the penultimate step, I cap the beer. This involves me taking the bottle capper and clamping down on each bottlecap, so a seal is formed. Once that’s all done, I put the beer aside so it can carbonate until I’m ready to drink it.

The final step is merely to clean it all up. Buckets, carboys and siphons all need to be cleaned for the next use and it’s a heck of a lot easier to clean them right away than it is to wait and clean it later.

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