Bottling the Cliffred Lager
Bottling day! Ok, so I got a little anxious/bored and decided to bottle my red lager this past Sunday, six weeks after transferring to secondary to lager out in the garage at about 38 degrees. I had originally planned (in a prior post) to wait a eight weeks to bottle my first lager, but I might be busy on Saturday, 2/12 so I ended up going for it this past weekend.
While bottling, I tasted a bit to see how it had matured. Of course, I couldn’t really tell because I didn’t try it until after adding in the sugar and dry yeast for carbonating this lager. My bad. I would be amiss for judging the batch on this pre-bottle conditioned tasting. It will sit bottled in our office (hottest room in our not so hot house) for the next two or three weeks now as at carbonates. I don’t plan to drink too much of this crisp lager until it gets warmer out.
Speaking of warmer temperatures, it’s nice to think ahead during a long January in Minnesota. In doing so, I settled on my next batch and bought the materials this past weekend. I went with a Saison from Midwest Supplies and am seriously considering brewing it this coming weekend. Why a Saison? I had many different beers when we hosted a beer night at our house earlier this month. The brews that stuck out most for me were the Belgian varieties I tried (Het Anker’s Lucifer, Lift Bridge’s Farm Girl and Huyghe Brewery’s Delirium Tremens) and the Saison in particular (Lift Bridge’s Farm Girl). My current Belgian kick seems to have overridden my recent brown ale kick, especially since I have a Scottish Ale fermenting right now that I think will at least partially satisfy my urge to make a sweet brown ale.
I think I’m well positioned to begin brewing a season ahead of myself now. It’s fun to start thinking “summer,” or at least spring, in the dead of January. Soon, I’ll start researching hop varieties as I plan for my first foray into backyard hop agriculture. Even though 2011 is technically year two of my brewing obsession, it’s still going to be full of brewing and beer firsts (including an amazing trip to Munich and Italy with the wife). Stay tuned for more photos and updates, of course.