We bottled our Irish Red Ale earlier this week. Even though the sterilizing is a pain in the ass, having the right equipment makes this process run so much smoother.
The first crucial piece is a Jet Carboy and Bottle Washer. It screws right into your kitchen faucet and delivers a powerful jet of water into bottles, while keeping your kitchen dry (for the most part). The Jet brand is actually manufactured in Traverse City, MI, my hometown. A Vinator Bottle Sterilizer is an easy way to sterilize the inside of bottles, and a bottle tree gives a stable place to drain before adding beer.
The Red Ale looked great when bottling - very little sediment and it has a vibrant red coloring. You could definitely smell the flowery hop smells coming from the dry hop bag of cascades we added during secondary fermentation. Looking forward to tasting it in less than two week.
My family was also brewing this weekend in Michigan. My Uncle Ron, who is the first person I knew to homebrew when I was a kid, and my sister Christina and her boyfriend Rory whipped up a batch of Holiday Cheer - a spiced Ale. It’s good to know I have competition in the family.