Author Options:

Fermenting HOME BREW in the bottle? Answered

Hey all,
i am a complete newbie to home brew and wanted to know if anyone knows if you can ferment in the bottle.
i only want to make a small batch to see what it's like before lashing out on a full kit



3 months ago

Damn this is old... Well, anyway here it goes, for if anyone else stumbles upon it.

I've done a bit of experimentation fermenting mead in soda bottles and I've found out that using sports drinks caps (the ones you bite and pull to open, then suck, and press to close) and apply some force to the end with a rubber band and a ring of wire, you can maintain a reasonable carbonation pressure on the inside while at the same time allowing it to vent when the pressure gets too high.

Still worried about oxygen permeating through the PET plastic tho...

I've seen plastic soda bottles (re)used for home brewing of mead, with the cap initially screwed on loosely (to let most of the CO2 escape) and then tightened down to get an actual seal. The good thing about this approach is that if the pressure gets too high it will probably just blow the cap off, or burst the plastic -- messy but not dangerous (at worst, it turns the bottle into a water rocket). Websearch will probably find notes from people who have taken that approach.

Easy answer - no. A secondary fermentation takes place within the bottles after you have completed the primary fermentation. You add priming sugar to the beer and fill/cap bottles. That is called bottle conditioning. During the primary fermentation, the yeast digests the sugars present in the wort and makes carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process is very active and the CO2 must be vented through an airlock. After brewing, if you pitch the yeast and put it directly in a bottle and cap it off, your bottles will explode. Another problem I see with fermenting the beer directly in a bottle is that you will need a separate airlock for each bottle. 5 gallons of beer in 12oz bottles is a lot of airlocks. Then, after the primary fermentation, you'd have to add the priming sugar to each bottle individually. That's a lot of work! Also, there is a leftover protein layer (called krausen) on top of the beer after the primary fermentation is complete. Normally, you would siphon this beer into a secondary container for bottling. If you ferment directly in the bottle, there is no way for you to filter the beer away from the krausen on top and the trub (leftover hops, yeast and pieces of grain) on the bottom. Fermenting a batch of beer in one vessel and transferring it to another vessel for bottling allows you to leave this undesirable stuff behind. I think a beer fermented directly in the bottle would be a little gross.

Thanks for the info. the reason i ask about small batches is i have just made about 4L (1.25 gal) of ginger cordial using this recipe (scaled up) 2oz/60g fresh ginger, peeled & thinly sliced (500g) 18fl oz/500ml water (4L) Juice of a lemon (i forgot to add it) 10 oz/280g granulated sugar (2KG raw sugar) and wanted to know if/how i could turn some of it into ginger beer. or should i consult my local home brew store

Forgot to add something - If you are curious about brewing small batches of beer before you invest in a larger kit, check out this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVGkTcYW0Yc This guy shows you how to make beer in 1 gallon batches. Probably a good way for you to get your feet wet.

Make sure your stuff is really clean and you can use a lot of things. In a bottle would probably work if you left the top open, but still lightly-covered. When it's done, decant into another bottle, add a half-teaspoon of sugar, cap it and leave for a week.


YEs - and No. 1. Fermentation creates a LOT of gas so don't seal the bottles for the initial fermentation - fit an air trap. 2. You will only be making a very small amount - is it worth it? 3. beer making kits are fairly fool proof 4. You need to find/buy a kit that comes with it's own brewing sack. They used to be popular once although I haven't seen them in the UK for a while. A brewing specialist may help you. 5. You only need a clean sterile container - ideally plastic. I have seen people line a bucket with a plastic bag - as long as you can fit the air lock. 6. secondary fermentation may be done in the bottles OK. 7. The biggest issue most people have with home made beer if it's cloudy and or it has a strong Yeasty taste - both can be avoided if you filter the beer into the bottles after fermentation. Brewing is fun and given a little experimentation can be as successful as commercial beer. or wine.