Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Update 2: Brandy Barrel Quad

Available in 4 convenient sizes (actually 5, if you count the 12oz bottles).
It's been a little over a month since I restarted the stuck quad with a gigantic starter of WLP099. That seemed to have worked better than expected, as the quad dropped down to 1.018 before stopping for good. That put the quad at a hair over 15%, which makes this, by far, the biggest beer I've ever brewed.

After reaching terminal gravity it was time to transfer the quad into the brandy barrel I've been holding onto since January. It started life as a 20 liter Balcones distillery bourbon barrel that was used for a RIS and then refilled with a gallon of brandy. The beer spent 6 days in the barrel, coming out quite with a noticeable alcohol heat and some heavy oak tannins. (Fun fact: the residual CO2 will push beer through the spaces between the staves, and come out the other side of the barrel as sweet, oaky 'sap'.)

I then cold-conditioned the beer at 60 degrees for another 10 days. In just that short amount of time the oak and brandy flavors are already integrating into the beer nicely - I can't wait to try it five months from now.

I bottled the 4.5 gallons that remained on Sunday night (having lost some to evaporation and trub) into a mixture of bottles. Personally, I'm not fond of super-dry beers with a heavy oak presence, so in addition to the priming sugar I added 4 ounces of maltodextrin to add back some of the body that the super yeast ate. Eight bottles got the VIP treatment - corks, cages, foil, and labels - while the remainder went into a myriad of sizes of capped bottles for competitions, personal consumption, homebrew meetings, and etcetera.

More pictures after the break.