It’s been exactly two weeks since brew day, so it’s time to bottle!
Before I go to work in the morning I stop by the local homebrew shop and pick up many cases of fresh bottles. Like the previous batch, once used these bottles will be gifted to my brewer friends for them to bottle their own projects.
Today I am joined by my buddy, Spencer, who is also a home brewer and is interested to see what it’s like to bottle on more advanced equipment. So am I. When I was brewing here last week I got a sneak peek at Bedford’s bottling system and have been looking forward to getting my hands on it.
I arrive at the brewery at my scheduled time and load up a cart to wheel the cases of bottles from my car into the brewery. Spencer shows up while I’m doing this. Together we load the washing/sanitizing machine and then get a lesson in how to use the bottle filling equipment.
Today we get to use a pressure filling machine. We put the bottles into the filling station and press the button to start the filler. The doors automatically close and the machine fills the bottles. The fill stops automatically and the doors open so we can take the bottles out and cap them by hand with the same capper I used at Gallagher’s. Each machine has two filling lines, a master and a slave, and the slave only fills while the master is filling. The machine has two knobs on the front, one for each line, that we can use to adjust the fill rate, which I assume (but don’t know for certain) also affects the carbonation level. Once the machine is calibrated we’re careful not to touch these knobs.
At first I am working the filling machine and Spencer is capping, then we switch roles. It’s super nice to have someone else to help me with bottling because this frees me up to focus on other tasks, such as cleaning and staging more bottles for later use (we need a lot today!) and writing the brewery’s name on the boxes. I then return every minute or so to cap the bottles that are queued at the capping station.
Bottling goes super smoothly and we’re done in no time. I could get used to this!