Batch Update

IMG_4944I have seven batches to update on today. Before that, though, how about a quick check in with some older beers? Moist is almost gone. It has gone over really well and I’ve decided that I love Red Wheat. No more White Wheat for me, maybe. Tart Cider has not carbonated has well as I hoped, but the flavor is great. We’ll see how that progresses. Triple Valor, on the other hand has finally carbonated and is quite good. The cherry flavor from the Chimay is very distinct, though and I’m not sure what I think about it. I’ll be trying a different yeast for my next Tripel, whenever that happens. This year’s batch of Sweet Cider is almost gone, though I’m saving a growler for Thanksgiving. The Sour Cherry Sour has recently been embraced by Amy. I am happy for this because I’m still not crazy about it. Now on to the real updates.

batch095 – Old SMaSHy Barley Wine
After putting it off for a while, I finally bottled this on October 26. It had been dry hopped five days prior with three ounces of East Kent Goldings hops. When I last wrote about it, I said that I was debating adding a conditioning yeast after the delayed carbonation of Triple Valor, but ultimately I decided not to. This WLP007 yeast is a champ. It fermented the beer down to 1.016, giving it an ABV of 11% and then got it carbonated in two weeks. This may be my new house ale yeast. The beer tastes great and I was pretty surprised by how quickly it got there. Look for tasting notes soon and a vertical tasting with last year’s batch somewhere down the road.
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batch099 – Yellow Cat Candy Apple Cider
This yeast did not work nearly as quickly. I mixed up this batch on October 23 with Lavlin D-47 and it took longer than expected to ferment, but it seems to have done a nice job. the fermentation dropped off just under 1.01, leaving a bit of body and sweetness. I checked that gravity when I added two cinnamon sticks and three vanilla beans last week. I’m hoping that no back sweetening will be necessary and I can bottle this later this week or early next week. In fact, I’m going to go take a small sample now to see how it’s going…

Okay, the gravity is at 1.008, right about where it was last time and now there is some serious cinnamon and vanilla aroma coming off of my sample. Time to give it a taste. This stuff is good, there is a little bit of heat, but it fades behind the vanilla and caramel. The cinnamon is very present but it is softened by the vanilla, it is more rounded as opposed to sharp and spicy. The cider isn’t quite as clear as I’d like, but I think it’s ready to bottle. Carbonation will hide the alcohol even more and this should be a great Winter treat at 9.4% ABV.

batch100 – Quadruple Grim
I bottled the Quad a little bit ahead of schedule on November 20. It was long done fermenting and there was more head space in the carboy than I liked, as I didn’t end up doing a full five gallon batch, so I decided it would be better off in bottles. I’m very excited to drink this beer soon. It finished at 1.025, a little higher than I expected but the sample tasted good and the fermentation had stopped for quite a while. That still puts it around 10.4% ABV.
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batch101 – Night Work
This stuff turned out great. The Chouffe yeast fermented extremely quickly and I’m very happy with the results. This is another strain I look forward to playing more with. I bottled on November 11 and it was carbonated very quickly. I’ve already drank several and I really like them. The ABV ended up around 4.8%.

batch102 – Elkland Amber Ale
I bottled this on November 16. The final gravity was a bit lower than expected, putting the ABV at 4.8%. I have already tried a couple and they tasted great, though they weren’t fully carbonated. They should be good to go by Thanksgiving on Thursday, though. I think they will go over well with my family.

batch104 – Brettland Amber Ale
The brettanomyces fermented version is still sitting in the carboy. I’m not sure if it is done fermenting or not. The bulk of activity has been done for a good while, but there are still some bubbles on top of the beer. I plan to start taking gravity readings, which I haven’t done since pitching the yeast, in the next few days when I get set a new set of equipment for it. I would probably be fine to use my regular stuff, but I plan to do more brett beers, so I figure I may as well spend a little bit of money to be safe. I’m going to take a gravity sample, wait about five days and take another. If it hasn’t changed, I’ll plan to brew my next brett beer as soon as possible, then bottle this one on brew day and put the new one right on top of this yeast cake. Hopefully this will all happen over the holidays at some point.
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batch105 – Swell Time
Yes, I just posted about this beer yesterday, but the fermentation has already halted. I just took a gravity sample after finishing the one for the cider above and it has reached terminal gravity. I’m not going to have time today, but I hope to rack this beer off of the huge pile of cranberries tomorrow. Hopefully it will clear a little bit, at least and then I will bottle it sometime next week. The gravity sample tastes great, though. The big ginger addition, which I was a little nervous about, was a good idea. I will be covering Hop Holiday later this week, but here is a preview: I didn’t put enough ginger in it. The cinnamon and nutmeg come through only slightly in this, but I’m fine with that. Behind the cranberry, spice and sour, the ginger isn’t immediately identifiable, not being as common as the other spices but it really mixes things up. I’m very excited for a carbonated version of this beer.

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