Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update: Brandy Barrel Quad

A lot has happened in the past month - two weddings, a vacation, and some overtime at work - so now that life is beginning to get back to normal, it's time to address some of the things that have been going on since my last post.

Since brewing my 'super quad' (or a quintupel - call it what you will) two months ago, it's been a rather uncooperative beer. After an explosive fermentation over the first two weeks, as I gradually ramped the temperatures up into the high 80's, eventually it seemed to stall out.

Swirling and ramping the temp to the 90's had little effect, and after several reading over a 2-week period, I concluded the quad had, in fact, stuck at 1.044. What was I to do? Now don't get me wrong, I like malty beers, but I was aiming for a sweeter-than-style quad to stand up to the barrel aging, not syrup.

So, after consulting some friends I concocted a plan. Over the course of a weekend I built up a trillion cell starter of WLP-099 Super High Gravity Yeast, using progressively stronger wort each time - the final round using 1.050 wort mixed with a liter of the stuck quad. Once it reached high krausen I acclimated it to higher ABV with some vodka added gradually over the course of an hour, and then pitched the entire, massive starter into the quad. Two weeks later and the quad is now down to 1.033. If I can get it into the 1.020's I'll consider it a success.

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