Monday, April 2, 2012

Carbonating Your Ancient Beer

Your beer has been sitting for a number of weeks and it probably feels like centuries at this point. By all means, the beer has become ancient to you, making this a perfect time to seal it and allow to carbonate. Though it's possible the ancients in King Midas' time didn't carbonate their beer, I figured I'd throw in a description of how I did it. After all, I'm sure you don't want to drink flat beer, do you? I thought not.

You'll need:

24 oz (3 cups) water
4 oz (1/2 cup) honey
Something to keep your beer in
Sanitizing solution

Put your water in a small sauce pot and get it up to a medium boil. Stir the water in one direction and pour your honey into the water, mixing it until fully diluted. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes before the next step. It's less essential this time to worry about the honey-water mix being fully at room temperature, as the beer will be cool enough and have a large enough volume to absorb the extra heat without killing the yeast. Sanitize a funnel and pour the honey water into your jug and lightly rock back and forth. This process is called "priming". Most folks use corn sugar, but in order to be more "authentic" I've opted for honey in this situation.

At this point you can do a number of things. If you want to save your beer for an ancient-inspired feast, throw the Carlo Rossi cap back on the glass bottle. Otherwise, if you've got some old 750ml or 1.5 L wine bottles laying around, sanitize them and pour your beer into them. Cork it closed. Flip-top bottles or plastic soda bottles work fine too, just clean and sanitize them.

Your third option is to get a bottle capper and do it like many homebrew guys do. Since this is an archaeology cooking blog and King Midas didn't have a bottle capper, I won't talk about that here, but you can read this How-To article if you want: This article requires a lot of equipment not covered here, but don't panic: you're not building a space ship, you're brewing beer! There's no rule that says you have to do it this way.

Once a seal is created, the yeast still living in the beer will get a sort of "boost" from the added sugar in the honey. Again, they'll eat it and vigorously expel acohol and CO2 as waste products, only this time there's nowhere for the CO2 to escape. As the pressure builds in the bottle, your beer becomes carbonated. Remember that once you open a bottle the CO2 starts escaping, so be prepared to drink whatever size bottle you choose to put your beer in during one sitting if you don't want it going flat.

Wait two weeks so some pressure can build up, and enjoy your beer. I sampled mine this week and it's not yet fully carbonated. It should be by the weekend, and I'll post a picture for you to enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment