Sunday, April 5, 2015

Keggging! Bottling! Which to do?!

Trick question.

Yes I realize it's a fucking disaster in my computer/brewing/workout room. Work, being sick, and laziness all took their toll in my cleaning routine. Gotta fix that.

My bottling assistant was much more helpful before picture time. For pictures she likes to cling and hide, and after that I was on my own. Oh well. Moving on.

I decided that I wanted to continue bottling, but I like the idea of bottling without a yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. The consistency of a batch carbonation, never having to worry about uneven mixing of priming sugar, etc really appealed to me.

Having a keezer appeals to me too. But I don't have the money or space for what I would want, namely an 8 tap keezer. Barring that, I'm perfectly happy bottling because storage is just so much simpler. Shelving is cheap and bottles are free (friends help with that).

This solution makes perfect sense to me. First, I've got the initial investment in a kegging setup down. Second, I can get the ease of carbonation and third I eliminate the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. Except for certain styles, it's just nicer to not have it there.

If/when I get to the point where I can further expand and do a keezer setup, I've got a 5lb tank and a 2 way manifold now. Great for the beer gun (to purge the bottles and head space) and if I want to add a second keg, no problemo. It was exceedingly easy to justify, and I think the result below has just convinced me I made an excellent choice all things considered.

First batch I'm bottling off my keg is my first attempt at a Maibock and my second lager using the brulosophy lager method.

5lbs Vienna
4lbs Pilsner
2lbs Munich
8oz Carapils
8oz Melanoidin

2oz Saaz @ 60

2 packs Wyeast 2206 (Bavarian Lager) and a 3L starter.

OG: 1.065
FG: 1.012
IBU: 25

I did gelatin in primary before racking to the keg. Cold crashed with the gelatin in primary for 72hrs before the transfer, let it chill under pressure a couple weeks because life happened and whatnot. I forgot whirlfloc at the end of the boil and just said fuckit, let's see what happens. Pretty damn happy with that.

Ultimately, using the Blichmann Beer Gun was a no brainer to me. Once obtained and all the parts sorted out, it was a breeze to get going. It was more of a pain to get my 2 way manifold going leak free. Once that was sorted, the beer gun was a breeze. Better than a breeze, because a breeze can be chilly. This was awesome. One hand operation to purge with CO2 and fill the bottle? Awesome. Get distracted by my assistant and have to walk away for a few minutes? No problem, it's all under pressure and ready to go when I get back. Just drop it back in the starsan bucket and no worries at all.

So even if you do keg full time, if you've ever found yourself thinking: Wish I had a few in bottles. Well, why don't you?

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