I've managed to avoid any further disasters with my homemade pale ale, so it's time to bottle.
I have 18 litres at 15.9C. I want 2.2 volumes of CO2. Using the priming solution calculator at Brewer's Friend, that gives me 87.9g of sugar.
I dissolve this into one cup of boiling water and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
The priming solution will be allowed to cool, then added to the bottom of a second (sanitised) fermenting bin (FB), which I'll be using to bottle from.
With the priming solution in the bottom of the second bin, I'm going to rack the beer across using the spigot, making sure the other end of the hose is submersed in the priming solution. This reduces the chance of introducing bacteria or oxygen. Before I do this, though, I'm going to run a sample off for a final SG measurement.
Once all the beer is racked to the second FB, I attach the bottling valve and start pouring my pre-primed beer into the sanitised bottles. Having recently purchased a keg and CO2 setup, this could be the last time I have to do this.
This beer is pretty cold (16C), and I don't want the temperature to jump too quickly for conditioning, so I'm going to set my temperature controller on the conditioning fridge to bring the temp up to 20C over the next 5 days.
As I'm emptying all the beer out of the conditioning fridge, it's a great chance to give it a clean and re-sanitise.
With that done, this brew will stay here for the next two weeks before I chill and start to drinking. This is my first homemade wort (from malt extract) so I'm keen to see how it finally turns out.
...at least, that was the plan
Firstly, the plastic spigot on the original bin popped again whilst I was racking to the second FV. This time, I knew what to do, so I didn't lose much beer, but the only way I could re-seat the spigot was at a 40-degree angle, which I realised later meant the sediment filter was pointing downwards and probably sucking up the yeast cake. Catastrophe averted.
But then, when I got to the bottling part, I realised I didn't have enough bottle tops for the 20+ bottles I'd need.
By the time I realised, the beer was already in the second bin with the priming solution. Being a Sunday, I couldn't afford to wait two days until the homebrew shop opened and leave the beer in the non-pressurised FV in the meantime, with all that lovely carbonation disappearing into the ether again.
Fortunately, I'd recently invested in a keg and CO2 setup. It wasn't ideal - I had intended on brew 5's Amber Ale being my first kegged beer, but I had no choice - this was going into the keg or down the drain.
Racking (for real)
The keg had already been cleaned and sanitised, so I racked the beer (again) from the second FV to the keg through the open top using gravity.
Once all the beer was transferred to the keg, I sealed the top and purged the headspace using CO2. This involved pumping CO2 into the keg, then using the spunding valve to release. I repeated this three times.
I had an idea that leaving the beer under positive pressure would help with the carbonation, and help me establish if there were any gas leaks (I hadn't had time to test properly) so I left the pressure at ~6psi. I assuming some of this will be lost to the beer, but I'm also thinking the natural carbonation will push back. I'm interested to see how the pressure changes, anyway.
So, now the beer is in the keg (at room temperature ~16C), I'm going to leave it for a week to carbonate naturally and see how it goes. I'm guessing that the low temp might mean that's not long enough, but now the beer's under pressure I can test more easily and keep adding CO2 until it's good.
Not quite what I had planned, but so long as the end result is drinkable it's all good!
By the way, I did get the SG reading (1.010, down from 1.043), so we're looking at a alcohol content around 4.3%.