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Experimental Brew #1 (a.k.a., The 108)

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This is not really a beer at all, though it will have some of its sugars from 2-row barley malt. This will be somewhere between a date wine, a mead, a beer, and... something else? The recipe is not an all-at-once deal, like most beers, so I'm drafting it more as instructions than just a list of ingredients.

Batch size: 3gal (target for amount into secondary)

Ingredients (prepared in separate steps):

Meady concoction:
~1gal water
~12oz wildflower honey
6.5oz dark brown sugar
4.0oz unsulfured molasses
1.0oz Czech Saaz hops @ 15 min boil
Wyeast 1272 (third generation)

Date wine:
~7-8qt water
5lb pitted Sayer dates

Beer:
~2gal water
~4lb barley malt (standard 2-row)
2.0oz Czech Saaz @ 35 min boil

The recipe starts by making the meady concoction, which I boiled for about 20-25 minutes, 
with the hops only for the final 15 minutes.  The goal was to have almost precisely one 
gallon of "wort" at the end of the boil.  After the boil, I cooled it to 65°F before 
pitching the yeast.

Once it cooled, I transferred the wort to two sanitized 1/2-gallon glass milk jugs, with 
each one getting a healthy splash of the yeast from a starter that was at high krausen, 
and set aside to ferment for later.

In the meantime, I placed the dates and water into a sanitized brew bucket.  These were 
chopped some with a sanitized immersion blender, but its motor started struggling, so I 
finished the job with a good old fashioned potato masher.  I covered this (with an 
airlock) and allowed the wild yeast (and whatever else) on the dates to start fermenting 
them.  To aerate, I sloshed around the bucket a few times a day, always checking to see 
if any fermentation was apparent.  After a few days, a thick foamy krausen had formed, 
and it was emitting a distinct sour (yet somewhat yeasty) smell.

Since the wild bugs were clearly working away at a pretty good rate, I decided it was 
time for the first combination (to ensure that some tasty yeast was in there along with 
the wild ones).  I poured one of the two milk jugs of fermenting meadiness, along with 
most of its yeast cake, into the bucket, and strained out all the solid date material 
into a large grain bag, which I tied off and put back in the bucket.  Hopefully, the 
1272 and the wild strains are then competing for whatever sugars remain.

Then, I made the beer portion, which got as a starter the other half of the meady 
concoction.  Once that was fermenting solidly, it was combined with the date portion in
the primary fermenter (a 5-gal glass carboy), where it will sit for a month or two.

It will eventually be racked to a secondary (to attempt to remove any remaining chunks of 
dates), left for another few months, and then bottled.  The bottles will then be aged for 
a few months as well.

Brewer's log (view full log)
So I debuted the 108 at Sam's birthday party on Saturday. The reviews were mostly positive, though a few people didn't like the high alcohol or the "strong fla. . . . . [view full post]
It's been a long time since I've posted any updates, but that's not because I've been neglecting this site. I've been neglecting my homebrewing hobby! Today, . . . . . [view full post]
Took a gravity reading this evening, and drank the sample. SG is down to 1.002, but interestingly it still tastes slightly sweet. Definite alcohol bite, though.. . . . . [view full post]
In the name of being experimental, I just added the dregs (along with about 1/4 the bottle) of a bottle of Orval today. Since I was planning to age this for aw. . . . . [view full post]
So, after a few weeks of no fermentation activity, I noticed the other day that the CO2 bubbles were starting to get "trapped" by the surface of the beer more t. . . . . [view full post]
This afternoon, #108 was fermenting with fervor: . . . . . [view full post]
By this afternoon, the beer portion was fermenting pretty aggressively, so I decided it was time for the final combination. It took some doing to filter out th. . . . . [view full post]
Just brewed the beer portion today. Ended up going with 4lb, 2gal wort left after the boil. Did a high-temp mash (158°F), and the OG was 1.050. When I. . . . . [view full post]
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