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