Beery, Beery Good: Part II – Angel’s Share

“Angels’ share” is a term for the portion (share) of a wine or distilled spirit’s volume that is lost to evaporation during aging in oak barrels. The barrels are typically French or American oak. In low humidity conditions, the loss to evaporation may be primarily water. However, in higher humidities, more alcohol than water will evaporate, therefore reducing the alcoholic strength of the product. In humid climates, this loss of ethanol is associated with the growth of a darkly colored fungus, the Angels’ Share fungus, Baudoinia compniacensis, on the exterior surfaces of buildings, trees and other vegetation, and anything else that happens to be nearby.”

 – Wikipedia, Barrel

So the beer has been fermenting for a week, and today’s finally the auspicious day to do our bottling.

But hey! The anal-retentive discerning alcoholics amongst you may exclaim. There isn’t any ‘angel’s share’ in beer!

I know.

a) Our beer is made in a plastic barrel, not oak. =(

b) It’s neither wine or distilled spirit.

BUT.

We have dedicated this production to our lovely friend, Angel. So ours is even more aptly and accurately so, Angel’s Share. =D

Scoff not.

Bottling can be quite time-consuming if you are doing it on your own. The bottles have to be cleaned and sanitised carefully, as do all the equipment. Each batch yields about 30 bottles, which means washing, rinsing, sanitising and loading 30 times.

Plastic bottles!? Yes. These special brown bottles keep the light away and are air-tight. Also, they don’t run the risk of exploding due to excessive pressure.

Plastic Fantastic. 

With all that done, we’re ready to put in the various sugars – which will colour the taste of the brew. It won’t change the type of brew you are making. That is, if you’d used a pale ale mix at the start of the brewing process, you’ll still have a pale ale. It just has a different… ‘character’. (I hesitate to say ‘flavour’ because it just kinda tints the beer. In short, just don’t expect to be drinking honey lemon if you add honey to the beer. Besides, if you want honey lemon, just have your darn honey lemon.)

We opted to use only unrefined brown sugar and honey this time round.

And just in case you wanna give brewing a go, don’t even bother using white refined sugar. It’s so processed that it does nothing to the beer. I don’t even know how to describe that. It just does… nothing.

I couldn’t take a picture of me skillfully filling the bottles with honey because…

I shouldn’t have to explain myself.

Here’s a pretty lump of sugar for you to admire anyway.

The fun bit.

All done! Worth noting as well: in my household – beer, water; no difference.

Now, we wait for another week for it to go through another round of fermenting. So after this two-week cycle, we’ll be able to pop them open and drink ’em. However, it’s best to give it a couple more weeks to age – friends have noted significant differences between young and aged beer. Maturity. *strokes beard sagely*

 So yes, Angel, in a couple of weeks, you may have your share. =)

xx.

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