our holiday gift ale. I wanted to bottle the beer on Sunday, but at the last moment realized I was about 20 bottles short. What a rookie mistake!
This having been only our second batch of beer since I purchased the two-stage kit back in 2010, we might as well have been first-timers. Here, I thought I had saved and stockpiled enough bottles from that tasty "Patient Zero" porter.
Immediately upon learning of my gaffe, I sent out a desperate plea for empties to my Facebook friends. The first responders had nothing. The next day, Mrs. Viper started calling local bars to see if they had any bottles to spare. To our surprise, one bartender was quite willing to set aside that day's haul, but she said there was no way they'd have the amount we needed on a Monday. Finally, one of my banjo-playing brethren sent me a direct message saying he could help. Score!
I spent the night washing and sanitizing my cache of brown and green bottles. I had about a dozen that were recently debeered, so I had the extra enjoyment of scraping off labels. Let me tell you something: If you're a homebrewer on the hunt for bottles with easy labels to peel off, seek out the offerings from Bell's Brewery. On a recent beer-buying rampage, my lovely wife picked up three six-packs of seasonal brew, one of which being Bell's Java Stout. Compared to other brands, Bell's labels peel right off with just a bit of warm water. It's like they care about their homebrewing customers.
All told, we have seven six-packs and two magnum-sized bottles for our gift-giving list. The brew will be ready to drink just after Christmas. From what we tasted last night, it should be pretty good. By my calculations, the beer will be about 7 percent ABV, but it doesn't taste like it. Hopefully, there will be a few extras to keep Chez Viper stocked for at least a little while.