When I’m checking on my brew — daily — my wife always asks: “How’s your girlfriend doing?” I might be a bit obsessed but I really haven’t been this passionate about anything (other than my wife) in quite some time.

48 empty bottles that will soon be filled with Irish Red Ale.
48 empty bottles to be filled with Irish Red Ale.

I’m really excited about the prospect of drinking something I made, and I’m looking forward to the creative outlet the hobby should afford me once I get a few batches under my belt.

I left the carboy in the kitchen for a week before transferring it to a secondary fermenter. It sat in there for another week before I couldn’t wait any longer (and the gravity had stabilized) and I scheduled a bottling day.

I took a Friday off work, not to bottle beer specifically, but it made for a good day to do it. I did my due diligence in sanitizing 48 standard 12-ounce brown glass bottles. It took a while but I didn’t want to come this far and start cutting corners now.

Again, the process of filling the bottles went off without a hitch. Very little beer was spilled and I ended up filling all the bottles I purchased with not much beer left in the bottling bucket. Success!

Now we’re back to the waiting game. This time I decided to store the beers in the first-floor utility closet. It averages about 72 degrees during the day and it’s dark.

I let the bottles condition for a week and on the seventh day I put one in the refrigerator. The familiar — albeit faint — “psst” sound emanated from the bottle. One of my greatest fears was that the 48 bottles wouldn’t carbonate.

It appears that they are carbonating, but they’re not quite there yet. I decided to let them sit in the closet for another week before testing a second bottle.

But I didn’t waste the initial bottle. It tasted decent, though a little flat. I think another week or two will result in a satisfactory first batch.

And that’s really all I was hoping for on the maiden voyage.

On bottling day I ordered my second extract kit from Northern Brewer. This time I chose the American Amber, which is probably my favorite style of beer. Brew Day No. 2 coming up!