Here’s the follow up article on homebrewing. After brew day and the fourteen day fermentation period, the beer needs to be bottled.
Take your saved bottles and begin the cleaning process. I do all cleaning in the bathtub with a brush and bleach solution. All bottles have already been pre-cleaned at this point. Anytime I drink and then empty a bottle, I rinse immediately before anything has time to dry. Especially with homebrew, there is sedimentation at the bottom of the bottle that you don’t want to dry. It becomes very hard to remove if it does, and usually isn’t worth the time to try – I just throw them out.
The bleach solution goes in the bottom of my bottling bucket at a depth to cover the tops of any size bottle that I’m using that day. The bottles soak for a few minutes, and then I start brushing.
Insert the brush and push to the bottom of the bottle. Twist the brush once it touches the bottom to make sure there isn’t anything caked to the bottom of the bottle. I do five or so brush-strokes per bottle.
Then dump the bleach water back into the bucket and set the bottles outside. Put the next 12 bottles into the bucket and let them soak while you rinse the brushed bottles twice each. Any bleach left behind will kill the yeast once the beer is put in the bottle. You don’t want that, because the yeast must go through a final stage of fermentation after the bottle is capped. This is what carbonates the beer.
After rinsing, I towel off each bottle and put back in the case for easy transport to the kitchen.
Other Homebrewing How-to articles: