Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watermelon Wheat Bottling Day

I have to say that this was probably one of the quickest batches I have ever made. A turnaround of 14 days from brewing to bottling. I probably could have got it done quicker but I was out of town.

I cleaned the bottles by soaking them in oxyclean, using a bottle brush, and rinsing them out. After that they all got a soak in starsan to sterilize and put on the bottling tree (seen above) to dry. All of the other equipment including the caps were also soaked in starsan and air dried.

I transferred the newly fermented beer from the carboy to a bottling bucket using an autosiphon. A bottling bucket is basically a bucket with a spigot on it so you can shut the flow off between bottles. After transferring I stirred in 3.5 oz of corn sugar (boiled in 2 cups of water) to prime the bottles so there would be a the correct amount of carbonation that I wanted. I use this calculator to help me determine how much corn sugar I should add, it usually works pretty well however sometimes beers turn out a little more carbonated then I want so I usually go a little lower than what it tells me. In this case I wanted 2.2 volumes of CO2 and the beer was at 68 degrees so it calculated 3.59 oz of corn sugar. I rounded down to 3.5 as it won't make a noticeable difference.

After racking from the carboy to bottling bucket I added the full 4oz bottle of watermelon extract to the beer and gently stirred. It is important to not stir too hard, you are trying to introduce as little oxygen as possible during this process. Then all I had to do was fill and cap each bottle. They are now being stored so that they can carb up and I will test one in about 2 weeks.

The beer finished out at 1.012 gravity points. This gave me an alcohol by volume of 5.4% right in line with what I was going for. Before adding the extract I tasted the gravity sample and it was the perfect balance of wheat, malt, and the hop bitterness was slightly noticeable but balanced out the malt. The beer was golden and perfectly cloudy which is perfect for the style. I would say that the base recipe would be perfect for any fruit flavor.

After adding the extract the Watermelon aroma was stupendous. I tasted and it was right around what I wanted...since the beer was not too sweet and the magnum bittering hops did a great job to balance it this doesn't seem like it will be an overly fruity beer. The watermelon aroma is there and the taste is there but its not too much. The one thing I did notice is that the extract gave it a tiny bit of a medicinal character which I am hoping will go away after the beers carb up. It will definitely change in flavor profile as they meld and the beer carbonates. I cannot wait to try this one in a few weeks and it should be ready by the 4th.

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