Bottling the Peach ABA

I bottled the Peach ABA tonight. I honestly wasn’t 100% sure it was ready to be bottled for there were still tiny bubbles every so often near the surface of the beer, but it had been thirty-eight days since it was brewed and the SG was 1.012, so I figured (hoped) I was safe.


I suppose my two biggest concerns with bottling this batch was trying to siphon the beer off the peaches without disturbing them and making sure I got my bottling sugar proportions right since I have been having carbonation issues. I didn’t have as much issue siphoning as I might which was good. The trick is to siphon from above the peaches (obviously) and then to bring the tip of the siphon as close as possible when things become visible. The most cumbersome part of this whole practice is holding the siphon in place while it does its thing. I used to use a “regular” racking cane and I had a clip I could us to actually adjust the height from which it would siphon from thus making the holding part unnecessary. But now I use an “auto-siphon” which is much thicker in diameter and has no accompanying clip to hold it at a level. The auto-siphon is great, it is actually the best instrument I have found to siphon beer; the others being a regular racking cane and a Carboy Tap (garbage). My biggest problem with the auto-siphon is the bend of the racking cane part seems weak. I have (as of tonight) broken three of these. Two in the exact same spot and one in a similar spot. From what I can tell in order to replace the racking cane you need to replace the whole auto-siphon because the cane has a special sealing tip. We’ll see, I think I may contact someone this time.

Typically for bottling I add four ounces of corn sugar per five gallons of beer. Typically this hasn’t been an issue and the beer is anywhere from better than lightly carbonated to almost heavily carbonated, but never a real issue. For some reason I have had a slew of poor carbonaters recently. Some make sense like the Gnarleywine, but others have me baffled like the Saison and the IPA. I threw a question up about this on one of my beer web sites I visit and some one mentioned residual carbonation in solution of the beer or lack there of and maybe this was affecting my carbonation. I had never heard of this and the more I looked into it the more it sort of made sense. Basically it states that during fermentation yeast is constantly releasing carbon dioxide thus the fermenting beer is constantly bombarded with CO2 thus absorbing some, but CO2 stays in solution better at colder temperatures, so the cooler the temperatures the more CO2 stayed in solution. The person suggested I check out a chart that showed how much CO2 should still be in solution depending on the fermentation temperature, and how much corn sugar I would need to add to compensate the loss of said CO2 to still achieve the desired amount of CO2 in the finished beer. I actually realized after I was shown these charts that Pro-Mash (the beer program I use) has a computerized/self-calculating version of this. So, this time I decided I would rack the beer to the bottling bucket, measure the total volume (with the peaches this could be a major variable), guesstimate the fermentation temperature (ridiculously high), and apply how much corn sugar I would need. Then I measured out said corn sugar, boiled it with two cups of H2O to form a simple syrup and to sanitize it, then added that to the awaiting beer and bottled like normal. So, I wound up with 4.25 gallons of beer in the bottling bucket, and estimated the height of fermentation to be 78F (I know, ridiculously high, I have the warmest basement in the world), thus drawing the conclusion I would need 3.99 ounces of corn sugar to achieve 2.5 volumes of CO2 (the halfway point for American beers). Go figure, all that thinking and worrying and calculating and it turns out to be basically the same number. But, if I wouldn’t have done that and just guessed that I would need enough corn sugar for 4.25 gallons versus 5 then I would have put in less, like 3.5 ounces or so. So I guess in the long run it was an experiment and we’ll have to see how the results work out.

Oh, by the way, the peach flavor and aroma really came through and complimented the chocolate malty flavor well. I can’t wait to try this and the regular ABA side-by-side.

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