I like to bottle my beers. Some people use plastic 5 gallon dispensers – often fitted with a pressure valve into which you can introduce carbon dioxide gas from a small cylinder. Homebrew stockists will sell these. Look on the “Links”
page. Whatever you choose, the vessel needs to be primed with a small amount of sugar. For bottles, this is around ¾ teaspoon. For the plastic keg it is two ounces.
The purpose of the sugar is simply to provide the carbon dioxide gas that gives
the beer its sparkle. Residual yeast, carried over when filling, works on the sugar to produce carbon dioxide gas which dissolves in the beer. This gas is released when the beer is served. If you don’t draw too much from the keg, it will recover. However,
if you’re having a party and want to drain the thing, then you’ll definitely need the assistance of extra CO2 from a cylinder. Do NOT simply let air in – beer can be ruined by this!
When you rack (siphon) the beer into the
bottles, it is a good idea to put some sort of filter over the end of the siphon tube. This prevents hop petals getting into your bottles or keg. I use steel wool (either wired on or tied on with string). Just use it once – you don’t want to have
rusty filters near your beer!