My homebrew bottling process involves several steps of decanting:
- Fermenting vessel into jerry can. The brewed beer is siphoned into a 10l plastic jerry can, trying to minimise the amount of trub (sediment) transferred.
- Jerry can back to fermenting vessel. By this point, I’ve given the fermenting vessel a good clean and added the sugar I’m going to use for carbonation, dissolved in the beer I used for the final gravity reading. For this point, I tend to pour although I could clean the large siphon and use that again.
- Fermenting vessel to bottles (with a smaller siphon and bottling stick).
My innovation on bottling the most recent batch was to raise the fermenting vessel by not only placing it on another upturned cooking pot but also using a large metal bowl. It was perfectly stable and had two advantages. Firstly, it gives a bit of extra height so that the bottom of the fermenting vessel is always higher than the top of the bottles. Secondly, it is easy to tip the fermenting vessel in the bowl to help get the last bit bottled – otherwise you really need a second person to assist with the process.
The risk is that all this decanting introduces oxygen and potential infections but, on my scale, it seems to work well enough (and the extra oxygen will give the sugar boosted yeast an extra kick for the final carbonation fermentation in bottle).