The Sierra Endeavour
A flash of inspiration the week before bottling gave us a name for our first batch of all-grain home brew, a beer based on Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. We named it the ‘Sierra Endeva’, and it seemed very appropriate for our first foray into this brewing method.
Approaching bottling day, we figured it would pretty much be a non-event and we could head out later in the day and finish off some of those other errands that needed doing before Christmas. We should really have learnt by now.
We were aiming for an 11am start on bottling our beer, so Gary had got up earlier to mix up the brewing sugar and add it to the fermenters. This was lightly stirred to avoid upsetting the yeast and proteins on the bottom and left for half an hour to let the sugars drop through.
We tapped out some for an irrelevant gravity reading and tasting (I say “irrelevant”, because our O.G. reading was inaccurate so our abv is going to be a ballpark figure). The tasting, however, was brilliant. The boys all agreed we were on to a winner and heading in the right direction.
A round of coffees later, we were ready to get into it. The dry hopped version was going to be the first we attempted and we ceremoniously gathered around to turn the tap and fill our first bottle of all-grain brewed beer. The excitement was thick in the atmosphere as we filled, capped and labelled our first bottle then stood back to admire it.
Excitement soon turned to despair when the tap clogged up with hop matter and we realised the advantages of using a mesh bag or similar to contain the hop pellets. There was little we could do at this point and figured we would have to persevere with the slow flowing tap.
With the slow flow rate and us only having a single bottling valve it started to look like we were going to have a long day and the importance of a second bottling valve was very apparent.
Thankfully Bmoore called in a favour and we borrowed an extra valve from his colleague who also home brews. Thanks Stephen, you’re a lifesaver.
Carl set to work bottling our non-dry hopped version. Without all the hop matter floating in the beer, this batch went very smoothly and before long he had caught up and overtook me, gloating accordingly.
The dry hopped version got to a point where flow was close to non-existent and after some debate we decided to decant it into a clean fermenter through a sieve to catch any hop matter and bottle from there. Understanding this was going to introduce a lot of oxygen to the brew, (not ideal but we were a little short on options) we jotted this down as ‘things to do better next time’.
So our first batch was complete, now we just had to wait for it to condition and carbonate. We picked up a lot of points we could improve on, but the signs indicate we should be enjoying a pretty tasty drop this New Year’s Eve from our own home-built all-grain brew kit.Tweet