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How to Bottle Beer When Home Brewing

Learn about the bottling bucket and how to transfer to beer bottles from home brewer Chris Cuzme in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Chris Cuzme. I am a long-time member and current president of the New York City Home Brewer's Guild. I've been home brewing since about 2001, and I love it. I'm crazy addicted to it, and I'm happy to share it with you today. I'm also part of the New York City Degustation Advisory Team which I formed with my partner, Mary Izett, I'll be showing you how to home brew today. Cheers!

Bottling! So, at this point, your beer is done fermenting, and you're ready to get it in the bottles. How do we do that? Well, first we're going to need to excite the sugar, or excite the yeast that is left in suspension; the yeast that is not the yeast cake on the bottom, there's still enough of top to really get us the carbonation we want by final conditioning the bottles. To do this for a five gallon batch, we will take about three fourths of a cup of sugar—corn sugar. So, basically what we do here, is we want this to become into liquid form, we want this sugar in liquid form. We're going to take some water, about a cup and a half. We're going to boil it, to make sure that it's sterile and sanitized. Altough, now that there's alcohol in your beer, it's less volatile and less susceptible to bacteria.
Soon after the boil, it's cooled down a little bit from the boil and I've turned off the heat because the last thing we want is burned sugar. Like we talked about earlier, when we added the malt extract to the boil, we don't want to have burners on because it runs the risk of burning that sugar on the bottom.
Alright, so I'm taking our corn sugar, our diluted corn sugar, and I'm putting into our bottling bucket.
So, now we're going to rack the beer off of the yeast cake, and we're going to use a siphon. This is a racking cane. Basically, on the bottom of this, there is a little spring, and it keeps it off the yeast cake, so that it's poured from above the yeast cake.
Many people use an auto-siphon, I tend to use this racking cane, and I typically take a shot of vodka and do the old school method of siphoning.
Now that we've excited our yeast, we're ready to bottle, so we're going to take from the bottling bucket, we're going to go out of the bottling bucket to our bottling spicket. This has, basically, a little lever at the bottom, where when you push at the bottom of the beer bottle, it will let liquid out, and then, by the time it fills up to the top of the bottle, the fact that this tube is in there, leaves just the perfect amount of head space.
So, here at the bottling stage, we need a couple of things: bottles (sterilized and cleaned), bottle caps and a bottle capper, and of course, our bottling device. Pushing down the bottom lets the beer out, and I'll let it all the way to the top because the presence of this tube in the bottle will give us the perfect amount of head space. Voilà! This is sitting in start sand and water.
Now, we wait.

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