Club Brew Barrel Run

Took the long road down to Brattleboro to pick up an oak barrel from Saxton’s River Distillery. They make Sapling, a maple liqueur that’s aged in Maker’s Mark barrels. This will be a great barrel to use for our club brew brown ale. And we tweaked the recipe in preparation for this – made it a little more bitter to balance out the sweetness of the liqueur, and gave it a nice big body to wrap around the alcohol.
The drive was actually not bad, right around 2 hours. And Brattleboro seems like a nice spot, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to hang. We did grab lunch at a new brewpub called Whetstone. They have a 1 bbl Psychobrew system set up and ready to use, they are just waiting on state permits to get going.
Made it back up to Bolton and set everything up to transfer from six 15 gallon fermenters. We took gravity readings and tasting notes for each one before transferring into the barrel. Seems like most were close to terminal, 1 or 2 had a little bit further to go. We’re guessing it’ll kick back into fermentation for the next few days. We also filled a keg and are carbing it up for our next meeting, which is only 2 days away.
Overall, it tastes great, and with the maple flavoring, this will be a great batch.

Weizen Bam & RIS update

4/3 updates…

RIS – took samples from kegs 1 & 2, both were at 1.038 still. Sealed me back up but am planning on adding some oak soaked in Sapling maple liqueur, or possibly splitting one of the two kegs up and trying some oak experiments: plain oak, bourbon, sapling, sherry, brandy, port, etc. Should be fun to try. I’m also wondering if I should start carving some and submit it for the May comp. maybe we’ll see.

Weizen Bam – prepped the new Better Bottle, transferred the Weizen bam out of 2nd and into it… purposely tried to suck up some of the snow-white yeast at the bottom, plus I added oak spirals that had been soaking in some Weizen Bam dregs (4 bottles), and when it was full I swirled up the rest if the yeast in that little jar with the oak land pitched that on too. My hope is that I can let this go for a while, maybe check it once a week for a bit, then see if I need to wait longer. Gravity was around 1.010, pH was 3.84, same as last time. Tastes more sour though, we’re getting there.

Starting to feel sick yet again, time for bed.

Batch 55 – Weizen Bam

Weizen Bam about to be proppedBatch 55 is for my friend Paul who is somewhat obsessed with Jolly Pumpkin’s Weizen Bam, a barrel-aged farmhouse wheat beer. I told him we could make it much cheaper than buying so much of it, and there was the possibility of propagating some of the yeast in the bottle. Sounded like a good challenge with the payoff of some great beer. Continue reading

Brewing at Fiddlehead

Today I have the privilege of brewing at Fiddlehead Brewery in Shelburne Vermont. This past April, my homebrew club, the Green Mountain Mashers, held a style competition. Matt Cohen, the owner and brewmaster at Fiddlehead, offered to have the winner come in and brew a ten barrel batch of the winning recipe. Out of more than twenty entries, I placed 2nd and 3rd with two different versions I brewed. The winner offered to let me tag along, so I gladly accepted.

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Batch 48 – Flaming Maple

Flaming Maple BrewdayIt’s been around four months since I brewed last. I’ve really been missing it, especially with fall being in full swing. This one kind of came on a whim. Of the few beers I actually brewed this year, two of my favorites were my Irish Red and my Smoked Brown. I thought of combining the two and creating a lightly smoked autumn red ale. Continue reading