Things have been pretty busy in our brewing world:
We brewed an Oud Bruin a number of months ago, which is in secondary and souring nicely. I had some issues with the ECY yeast getting stuck around the 1.040’s, but this was totally my fault, as I let the yeast sit in the fridge for far too long before using it. I decided to pitch a starter of Wyeast Abbey II that I had lying around, in hopes of finishing out the rest of fermentation. After a long, slow primary, it has finally dropped down to where it needs to be. Now to let the bugs do their work for another year or so, and maybe add a bit of oak for the last month, then bottle it up. Sour beers are a lot of commitment, but (I imagine) when they finally turn out, the work produces a truly special beer. And if they don’t, you can always give them another year or two!
We also did a Barleywine earlier in the summer, which sat on oak for about a month, has since been bottled, and is conditioning. Unfortunately, we had two bottle bombs a week ago and so I rushed to get the rest of the batch into the fridge to prevent any more. I am not sure what caused this to happen — inconsistent priming sugar distribution? an infection in those bottles? I opened another bottle after chilling it for a few days, and it tasted
fine amazing. It may be the best beer I have made so far. The oak is just where I want it, and I am anticipating those dark fruit notes from the malt developing as it ages. I am planning this to be an annual brew, and will hang on to a number of bottles of each “vintage” to compare in coming years (assuming they don’t blow up first!).
We have a batch of Northern Brewer’s Dead Ringer IPA that we ordered during their IPA day sale, which we are getting ready to dry hop. The real news, however, is that we have officially made the jump to AG! After slowly accumulating the extra gear, we brewed our first batch last night — a Special Bitter that we did Brew-in-a-Bag style. After some initial assembly frustrations, we had a great summer evening brew session, hitting our numbers, and getting about 73% efficiency — not bad! I did make the rookie mistake of walking away during the mash and letting the temp fall to around 145F (from 152F), but I am not overly concerned. It will take a few batches to dial in this new system, but it was a great first brew!
The recipe we brewed was based on Jamil Zainasheff’s from Brewing Classic Styles, with some deviation based on available ingredients and personal taste:
8 lbs Maris Otter
5 oz Crystal 120L
3 oz Crystal 90L
4 oz Special Roast
1 oz EKG (60)
0.5 oz Fuggles (60)
0.5 oz EKG (20)
0.5 oz EKG (1)
WLP023 – Burton Ale
Coming up, we will be brewing a Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale clone, doing some tasting notes on the Gluten-Free brew we did a while back, and other assorted shenanigans. Stay tuned!