Friday, February 12, 2010

Lager, etc.

This week I started my first foray into lagering. I brewed a bock-inspired recipe on Wednesday night and pitched some lager yeast. I also turned the heat down in my house to help out the cause. (I have a laundry/utility room in the back of my house that tends to be about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of my house... That room seems to be about 50 degrees right now...) Once primary fermentation appears to have settled, I plan to move the secondary out to a shed behind the house to take advantage of the seasonal cool weather for a few weeks of lagering.

This is a new thing for me. With ales, I know how to tell when the primary fermentation is finished based on the appearance and activity of the yeast (ale yeast is top-fermenting - so the yeast dropping to the bottom is a good indicator). Lager yeast, however, is bottom-fermenting (or so they say). So I am in the process of learning something new. Really hoping that 1) the weather cooperates and 2) the beer is good.

Also, as an update, I am currently serving/drinking the "small" extra stout from my Christmas day brewing, and quite enjoying it. I call it "extra" stout because it is super dark tasting with a very dark/toasty lingering aftertaste. It is certainly an interesting beer to drink. I call it "small" because it was brewed from the second runnings of my imperial stout mash. That imperial stout is still in the fermenter just chilling out. One of these days I will bottle that one, and I look forward to the opportunity to try it. Considering how dark and tasty the small beer is, I think the imperial will be pretty remarkable. That one had an initial gravity of 1.118, which means it could conceivably reach an alcohol content of around 12%. Crazy. It should only improve with time. I intend to bottle the imperial stout sometime around the end of this month.