I think my 26 shilling brew has probably been ready to bottle since the weekend but I managed to get the job done today. The gravity had dropped from 1.043 to 1.006, so the ABV is about 4.9% and a bit higher than the 4.2% nominal target from the recipe.
I made two changes to my normal bottling practice today. Firstly, I decided to return to priming the bottles rather than adding a calculated sugar solution to the main volume of beer before bottling. My last couple of batches have had quite uneven carbonation. That could indicate issues with infection or bottle capping but it could also be that the sugar solution isn’t sufficiently well distributed by the time I come to bottle. This time, I added half a teaspoon (levelled) of brewing sugar to each bottle using a funnel and measuring spoon. That is about 2.5g, which is a touch higher than the online calculators tell me is appropriate for ‘British ale’ but it is an easy measure to repeat consistently and well below any risk of over carbonating.
Secondly, I tried to minimise the amount of trub making it into the bottles. Trub is the collection of things that collect at the bottom of the fermenting vessel, like particles of hop pellets, inactive yeast and coagulated proteins. I tend to throw everything from the mash and boil back into the fermenter, which I think helps promote fast fermentation but I often end up with sediment at the bottom of most of my bottles. This time I was cautious as I siphoned from my fermenting pot back into my plastic jerry can and so my final yield was a mere nine bottles (although I had another 2/3rds of a bottle that I decided to drink green and, with what I’m getting from filtering the leftover trub, I might have been able to make it to ten or eleven).
Hopefully the result will be beer with more reliable carbonation and less sediment at the bottom so, when it is finally time that we can share brews with friends, I’ll be able to make gifts that don’t have to come with such a long list of warnings about opening and pouring!