In the eagerly-awaited third part of ‘My First All-Grain Homebrew’ we touch upon the fascinating story of how I dry-hopped the beer and, yes, bottled it. Some would say, this is pretty close to living the dream. But first: the story about my kitchen ceiling.

It's really hard to make homebrew look good in pics..

I was abroad somewhere when a What’s App image popped up on phone from my wife. It showed, after some studying, a roughly two-metre square hole in our ceiling and, in true local newspaper style, an unhappy kid next to it, which was my daughter. A sizeable lump of plaster had crashed all over the floor, fortunately when they were out. My wife and I wondered why on earth this would have happened, and we presumed, given it was below the upstairs bathroom there was a leak… not that the plumber could find one. These things happen I thought, we booked a plasterer and got on with life.

Several months later when discussing whether I should tell my wife about something or other, a mate said “Oh like that time your kitchen ceiling after homebrewing and you told her it was a leak in the bathroom”. I looked at him jaw open as I, for the first time, started slowly putting the jigsaw pieces together. A week earlier I had done my first ever homebrew in a stock pot on the kitchen hob. It was winter, the door was closed, and I had noticed rather a lot of condensation on the ceiling that. I wiped it off, and never thought of it again until now. Three days later, the ceiling fell in.  Needless to say, I didn’t disseminate this information. Until now, and there’s no way on earth my wife will read a story about bottling beer.

A sneaky taster during bottling

So, my beer enjoyed a healthy fermentation period, but there was an awful of krausen on the top. I’d read that it could affect the flavour of the beer (as can the trub at the bottom) and the best thing to do was to put it in a cool place. I popped it outside for a couple of days and it mostly disappeared. I did however, decide to dry hop the beer in another bucket. Now, BrewDog being BrewDog, this recipe called for a whopping 250g of Simcoe to be used for dry hopping. That’s a lot.  I duly put it in and left it. A day later, barely any had fallen into the beer and wondered whether I should have used pellets (anyone?). A bit of a gentle stir and more of it did touch the beer, but not as much as I’d have liked. I left it for another week and then embarked on my least favourite part of homebrewing: bottling. It’s such a faff. I also realised it was one of the downfalls of going in with your mates. If it was just me I’d pop it in a pressure tight barrel or a corny keg that I’d picked up, but I needed to be more diplomatic and share the stuff out - bottling was my only option. I’d collected as many Grolsch style bottles as I could, sanitised each one and then started sucked the beer through the tube and started the process. It was actually quite relaxing – not the sort of thing to do in a hurry. (I once got my early rising daughter to help, and picking her up from nursery  got asked why she smelled of beer at 9 in the morning. Father of the Year.)

Another faff is putting a spoonful of sugar into each bottle that causes a bit of secondary fermentation to the beer that makes it fizz a bit.

It also gave me the chance to try the beer. It was flat of course, but pretty darn tasty. But for the full appraisal, you’ll have to wait for next week’s gripping episode. Oh, and please don’t tell my wife about the kitchen ceiling.