Late Winter Warmer
So I brewed the LWW this afternoon. I'm not sure the WSP001 yeast was as active as I first thought, so I may need to pitch a packet of dry yeast on it tomorrow morning if there's no sign of activity. Otherwise, the brew went essentially as planned.
I've also decided how much vanilla I will use, and have added a bay leaf to the mix to further accentuate the vanilla and woody/spicy notes of the red oak and maple. Today, I split two vanilla beans, slightly crushed them, then coarsely chopped them and added them to an eight ounce mason jar with a 40% grain alcohol (Everclear:water) solution. I also added one slightly crushed bay leaf to the solution, and placed it in a dark corner of my brewing supply cabinet. The contents will be added to the carboy after active fermentation appears to slow down a bit. The addition of the contents of the jars will also be adding just over 3 ounces of alcohol to just under 3 gallons of beer, or a boost of almost 1% to the ABV.
I cut off a couple limbs from two trees in our back yard. One is a Norway maple (
) and the other is a northern red oak (
). Next, I will be removing the bark and then chipping off a few small chunks from the end of each branch. I haven't decided exactly how much yet, but I will then toast each type of wood on the stove top (or perhaps in the oven) to reach the desired characteristics (still TBD). As a bonus, I'm also whittling the unused portion of the branches into walking sticks.
I'll update again when I know whether I need to add dry yeast.