Batch Update

I have six batches to update on today. I won’t waste any time, there is a lot to cover.

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batch070 – Wyld Cyser
I finally bottled this on August 19. I started this batch on November 5 of last year, so it has been a long time coming. It could have been bottled a long time ago except that I didn’t have the wine bottles I wanted ready to go. After soaking some of the very old wine bottles I got from someone for several days, I had a massive bottle washing session and bottled this batch on the same day. I back sweetened with the same wildflower honey that I used for the bulk of the fermentables. First, I added enough to take the gravity from 1.000 to 1.010, thinking that would be plenty, but it still seemed a bit drier than I had hoped. I bottled four bottles and then added some more honey to take it to about 1.015. It may not be exactly there as I added a little bit of honey at a time and sampled until I liked it. I mixed the honey with a bit of the cyser in a pitcher, then added it back to the rest in the carboy. I ended up repeating this about five times before I was happy with it. I envisioned this as a semi-sweet cyser, which I still think is how it tastes, but I didn’t expect it to take that much honey to get there. I haven’t opened any of the bottles yet, but I did get them labeled. I added a note in marker on the four drier bottles instead of making a whole different label. I plan to give them about a week and then open one up and try it.

batch088 – 2014 PROOF
This is another long running project that is getting close to bottling time. I made what I’m planning to be the last adjustment before bottling tonight. I made a half gallon starter for a vial of White Labs’ Super High Gravity yeast over the weekend. It tore through it quicker than I expected and the yeast had already settled out before I got a chance to add it to the beer tonight. Hopefully this will be able do the same trick on PROOF and dry it out a bit. I had added Champagne yeast last time I updated on this beer. That didn’t seem to do anything. There was no visible activity and the gravity didn’t budge. It would be great if this last dose of yeast could take the gravity down at all from the 1.030 its been stuck at for a long time now, but even if it doesn’t, hopefully it is robust enough to help bottle condition and bring some carbonation to this (currently) 17+% ABV behemoth. I will be monitoring this closely and if no activity is going on, I plan to bottle within the next two weeks. If there is activity, I will just have to wait and see what happens.

batch091 – Triple Valor
My Tripel is second in line for bottling. I haven’t done anything to it since the last update, but I’m planning to bottle it next week. Currently, I’m just debating if I need to give it a fresh dose of yeast or not. I have heard that S-04 is a good go to for bottle conditioning high gravity, and specifically abbey beers. I don’t want to risk and under carbonated Tripel, so I’m leaning towards trying it.

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batch093 – Sour Cherry Sour
I bottled this beer on August 17. It tastes great, but I’m nervous that it not going to carbonate, fueling my anxiety about the Tripel. I opened a bottle last night and found no carbonation at all. This beer is pretty acidic, which the yeast, I’m sure, is not happy about. I’m hoping that it is only slowing the process down, not halting it all together. As a result, I stuck my two milk crates of this beer each under two other crates of beer so I can hopefully forget about it for a while and give the yeast a chance fight the good fight.

batch094 – Fruit Spectrum IPA
I plan to bottle this beer tomorrow. It was originally scheduled to be bottled earlier, but things got hectic. I also originally planned to stagger the dry hop additions. It got an ounce each of Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy hops and I originally planned to add one of them every few days before bottling. Ultimately, I decided that it would probably be best to just add them all at once and limit the beer’s exposure to oxygen. I added all three ounces of hops on Saturday, which will mean they have four days to work before I bottle tomorrow. I’m excited about this beer and plan to bottle half the batch in big bomber bottles, as I’m guessing it is going to be something I want to drink in twenty-two ounce servings, anyway.

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batch095 – Old SMaSHy Barley Wine
This beer fermented extremely quickly. I haven’t used this yeast, White Labs’ Dry English Ale, before other than on Fruit Spectrum. That beer was hidden in a paper bag and I didn’t get as close a look at the fermentation as I’m used to. I’ve heard that this yeast is quick, but at 1.100, I still thought it would take more than a few days to ferment and settle in this barley wine. I haven’t checked the gravity, or done anything at all, but I’m planning to rack this in the next couple days and see where it’s at. The yeast is settled in a huge cake and has been since about four or five days after this was brewed on August 13. I almost racked it earlier, but decided to stick to my original plan of giving it two weeks in primary, even though the bulk of the work seemed to be done. At some point this week, though, it will leave the cake behind and move from a six gallon carboy into a five gallon one to reduce the head space and allow the beer to mature for another month or so before getting dry hopped an bottled.

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batch 096 – Jade Otter
I bottled this on the same day as the Wyld Cyser, August 19. As I mentioned, I was doing a massive bottle washing session and this low gravity beer fermented with the very quick White Labs’ Saison II looked ready to go after a week in the carboy. I have already tried one and it tasted good. Definitely an improvement over last year. It will take more time to be sure, but I don’t think this quite lives up to Table Cat, it will be a welcome addition to the lineup as a solid session beer surrounded by all the heavy hitters I’ve been writing about in this post up to this point.

Hopyard Update
The hops are just about ready to harvest and I’m planning my wet hop beer, so I’ll save most of the details for then, but suffice it to say that the bines are going crazy and the twine is no where near up to the task. I definitely need to install some heavy duty trellis for next year. Looks like I’m going to get a very nice haul of Cascade, Centennial and Nugget hops. I have a few Mount Hoods, but not a lot and the Willamette plant, while growing well, has not produced many cones at all.

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