This beast is still sitting on its mostly inactive yeast cake after receiving its last sugar addition one week ago today. After checking it twice a day since brew day on Tuesday, May 27 and adding six or twelve ounces of light brown sugar most of those times, I left for vacation last Wednesday and let it do it’s thing until I returned on Sunday and checked back in.
In total, I ended up adding four and a half pounds of sugar to what was already 1.110 OG beer. That should put the full original gravity at 1.159. That is an impressively stupid OG, but it is still shy of what I probably would have needed to hit my pie in the sky goal of a 20% ABV beer. As of when I checked on Sunday, it was at 16.6% ABV. I’m hoping that it will cross 17% by the time fermentation has completely wrapped up. For that to happen, it will need to get below 1.030 for the final gravity.
I would like it to go drier, but I don’t know if that is realistic at this point. 1.020 would be the ideal, I think, putting it at over 18% ABV, but these yeast are tired. My plan going forward is to give it another week on the current yeast, then rack it out of the bucket and into a carboy with some champagne yeast. I doubt this third yeast addition will do much, but it needs to age for quite a while anyway, so I’ll give it some wine yeast.
It will sit with that yeast for another month or so before I rack it back to a bucket to start dry hopping. I plan to do several rounds of dry hops and a bucket makes it much easier to get the hops in and out. I’m not exactly sure what hops I’m going to use for this, but at least three varieties will hopefully keep it from tasting like any one of them.
The dry hopping will go on for about another month and then I’ll bottle with some more fresh yeast. I’m planning to put it all in twelve ounce long neck bottles, labeling and wax coating them. I don’t usually label full batches, except maybe around the holidays, and I’ve never done wax coating before, but this is a special batch that will be around in the bottle for a long time.
Once in the bottle, I’ll give the beer another month before opening one. That should be towards the end of September. From that point, I’ll probably continue to drink one about once a month, probably a few extra around the holidays. I’m hoping to make this a bi-annual brew. The recipe will probably change drastically, but I’m hoping to make a 2016 PROOF that will be even bigger and build on what I’m learning in this brew and from any more brewing experience I have between now and then.
I have taken some small samples, usually literally a few drops left after dumping gravity samples back into the main batch, and this stuff is, as expected, very hot. There are some malt flavors coming through and a surprising bit of hop character as well. It is still very sweet and I’m hoping that will get better, but I’m pretty happy with where it is so early in the aging process.