Monday, March 3, 2008

Leap of Faith

In the weeks leading up to February 29th, I saw various posts on the brewing boards about folks planning to brew something special on the extra day of this intercalary year. Most folks were simpling planning to commemorate the day by brewing. I hadn't planned to do anything, but then had an idea: could I brew something big and let it age until the next leap year in 2012?

Aging for four years. That's a long time to not drink my beer. To date my longest aging was a single bottle of a Belgian-style dark strong ale that I lost track of in my basement. When I finally found it, it was 16-months old...and delicious. :)

After a couple beers I figured "what the hell" and started looking at the logistics of brewing an English-style Barley Wine.

20 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
9 oz Crystal Malt (120L)
9 oz Caramunich malt
Target hops - 57 IBUs (60 mins)
0.5 oz E. Kent Goldings (20 mins)
0.5 oz E. Kent Goldings (flameout)
London Ale yeast (WLP013)

Est. OG: 1.100

Brewing this presented some unique problems. The grain bill was easily twice the size of anything I had brewed before. There was no way I could brew this recipe without substituting in some extract in place of grain, which I really didn't want to do. I finally resolved to cut the batch size in half and be done with it.

When I went to pick up the ingredients, one of the shop guys suggested brewing half one day, pitch the yeast and let fermentation start, then brew the other half the next day and add it to fermenter. Brilliant.

By the time I finished up day two, the first day's work was just shy of high kraeusen. Adding more wort to it was the equivalent of adding a 3 gallon starter to a 3 gallon batch. Within 4 hours the foam was pushing in to the blow-off hose that I thankfully remembered to affix.

Check back in four years to see how this one turned out.

Maybe I'll check on it around know, to make sure everything is working out alright. ;)


Icon O. Classt said...

Well, you know, you have to bring a bottle to the next Bliss, just to make sure it was okay from the start.

I mean, 4 years is a helluva long time to wait and find out the taste was never there, ha.

TCM said...

I'll definitely pull a couple bottles for the Bliss.