Grunt Work

Last night I screwed up a yeast starter for my Munich Helles.  When I opened the vial of yeast to add it to the wort, it spewed out and over my unsanitized hands and into the wort.  No need risking a beer on a possibly contaminated starter, so I decided to redo it this evening.  Since my plan is to brew two lagers this weekend, I also started yeast for a Schwarzbier.
The grunt work was cleaning bottles.  I generally buy my bottles but a couple of weeks ago there was this big, juicy stack of bottles behind the Brew Hut for the taking, so I took.  This evening I cleaned them, a good soak in warm, soapy bleach water to kill off any bugs that might be in the bottle, a scrub to get any labels and adhesive off, then a very thorough rinse, both outside and inside, to remove any chlorine residue.  I believe in craftsmanship:  I refuse to put my beer into gunky, dirty bottles.  At competitions I’ve judged, I notice that gunky, messy bottles generally reflect the content.  I’ve asked other, much more experienced judges whether the condition of the bottle affects their scoring.  The answer was of course, no, but in my own case, I know a dirty, gunky bottle is a clue that what’s inside might not be up to snuff.  And I haven’t been wrong.
So now I’m enjoying a small glass of my Pre-Prohibition Pilsner and writing about the grunt work of brewing.  Cheers!

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