Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lessons of the Lager

It was late January when we brewed our Oktoberfest.  We finally got the beer into bottles in March.  I can truthfully call this beer a Marzen.  It took a full 5 weeks to fully ferment out.  Lagers ferment cold and take longer than ales, this much I know, but I would have been off by a full two weeks if you would have asked me how long it would take.  It just kept going and going.  We had to reschedule our bottling run twice.  Now we have to wait (up to 6 weeks or so) for this beer to be ready to drink.  Wait, wait, and more waiting still.

The beer going into bottles was impressively good (even warmish and flat).  The aroma though, rich and malty, was just crazy good, like fresh baked bread.  It makes me insane with anticipation.  

Now, I just need to find a cool place to store it.  I really need to invest in a beer fridge for all of this beer.  Lagers are supposed to be stored cold after a couple weeks at room temperature to carbonate.  I really don't know how long it is going to last, especially if it is half as good as I hope.  It may not make it to Oktoberfest.....maybe it will make it to Cinco de Mayo.....maybe Memorial Day.

The lager has tied up our brewery and equipment for 5 weeks.  We need to brew again.  After discussions amongst ourselves, we have decided to stay in the "malty middle" of the beer continuum where our favorite beers reside.  We keep threatening to make a brown ale (our favorite is an American Brown), but have decided instead to attempt a Scottish Ale (a Wee Heavy).  There are lots of great examples of Scottish Ales here in Colorado (Bristol's Laughing Lab, O'Dell's 90 Shilling, and Great Divide's Claymore), but I can not think of others from other parts of the country.  Can anyone steer me to another decent example from elsewhere?  I don't even know of any Scottish Ale that is imported from Scotland.  Shame on me.  I have some work to do.

Anyway, our thought process is that it is too early to start brewing the summer beers such as our wheat and another lawnmower ale (we are probably giving up on the recipe we brewed last year).  I wonder if there is a traditional springtime beer.  I am at a loss, but in its absence, or until I figure it out, Scotch Ale is it.  There is a lot to do, though.  I need to figure out if we can buy some new equipment, but I also need to buy some 2 row malt in bulk.  And then there is that pesky chore of taxes along with everything else a change of season brings.

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