In a previous post, I detailed the first steps in brewing five gallons of Hefeweizen, including missteps, like when the hydrometer and thermometer shattered on the floor and forced me to brew blind.
Eleven days later, I moved to the second step, and prepared the beer for final fermentation. I made two critical decisions in crafting this Hefeweizen:
1. Kegged. Instead of bottling, the beer would go into a five gallon keg. One liter of the beer would go into a glass growler as well.
2. Sugar Free. No priming sugars would be used. A friend of mine who is an experienced brewer informed me that real German Hefeweizens do not add any sugar after primary fermentation (I will provide a reference to this fact in the future, once I find it). Priming sugars are normally added to a beer prior to bottling to aid in carbonation. This ale will rely on the carbon dioxide injected into the keg.
I moved the six gallon primary fermenter to my kitchen work area, allowing some time for the contents of the bucket to settle prior to siphoning.
Then I sanitized my new five gallon keg, the growler, a siphon tube, and a plastic bottle (to capture the remaining yeast at the bottom of the primary fermenter).
After that, I removed the airtight cover from my primary fermenter; the beer smells and looks great:
Equipment sanitized and in place, my assistant and I then carefully siphoned the beer into the keg and growler.
I left the growler lid closed but unsealed for several hours after siphoning to let out some major carbon dioxide gas remnants. We will open the growler on Christmas Eve.
I ensured that none of the dregs at the bottom of the fermenter ended up in either the keg or growler; however, I did capture some of the yeast, siphoning it into the sanitized water bottle. The bottle of yeast is now dormant in the refrigerator, awaiting the call to action when another batch of Hefeweizen must be fermented.
Once the keg was filled, I sealed it and moved it to the basement to finish fermenting. I attached my CO2 tank to the keg and bled out all of the air, too. The beer, safely in keg and growler, will finish fermenting in the basement, and be ready on Christmas Eve.