Priming and Bottling
Drinking Your First Homebrew
One final item that nobody ever remembers to tell new brewers until it's too late is: "Don't drink the yeast layer on the bottom of the bottle." People will say, "My first homebrew was pretty good, but that last swallow was terrible!" or "His homebrew really gave me gas" or "It must have been spoiled, I had to go to the bathroom right away after I drank it." Welcome to the laxative effects of live yeast!
When you pour your beer from the bottle, pour it slowly so you don't disturb the yeast layer. With a little practice, you will be able to pour out all but the last quarter inch of beer. The yeast layer can really harbor a lot of bitter flavors. It's where the word "Dregs" came from. I remember one time my homebrew club was at a popular watering hole for a Belgian beer tasting. The proprietor prided himself on being a connoisseur of all the different beers he sold there. But our entire club just cringed when he poured for us. The whole evening was a battle for the bottle so we could pour our own. Chimay Grande Reserve, Orval, Duvel; all were poured glugging from the bottle, the last glass-worth inevitably being swirled to get all the yeast from the bottom. It was a real crime. At least I know what their yeast strains taste like now...
Figure 68 - Keep the Yeast Layer in the Bottle! Pour it slowly to avoid disturbing the yeast layer on the bottom. With practice you will leave no more than a quarter inch of beer behind in the bottle.
Miller, D., The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing, Storey Publishing, Pownal, Vermont, 1988.
Noonen, G., New Brewing Lager Beer, Brewers Publications, Boulder Colorado, 1996.
Draper, D., personal communication, February, 1996.
Fix, G., Fix, L., An Analysis of Brewing Techniques, Brewers Publications, Boulder Colorado, 1997.