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The following is the 'log' list for the Late Winter Warmer.

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May 8, 2012 (9:44 PM)
I just had the last bottle of the LWW this week. It was still good, but I'm not 100% satisfied with it. It was too dry and didn't have enough warmth for my liking. Also, I'm pretty sure the wood would have improved it immensely, so I really regret leaving that out.
March 19, 2012 (9:41 PM)
Unfortunately, these bottles appear to be developing a pellicle on the surface of the beer. I don't think they were contaminated, it's just that this wild yeast tends to form a slight pellicle. In fact, there was a slight pellicle in the fermenter already (though I don't recall it happening in the bottles the last time I used the yeast).

I put a trial bottle in the fridge tonight, and I'll crack it open tomorrow. I'm expecting it'll need at least another week or so, especially since it sat so long before being bottled, so the yeast was more dormant than usual.
March 11, 2012 (5:50 PM)
Finally bottled this one today. Ended up with 26 bottles (12 oz each), so a little under 2.5 gallons. I could have probably filled 3-4 more bottles if I had my bottling wand, but it seems to have wandered off. Since I was just using a tube, there was lots of spillage and it was harder to get the last couple bottles out of the bucket.

Gave it a taste, and I definitely think this will be a winner. Very smooth and has nice hints of malt and vanilla. I do regret not adding the toasted wood chips as I had planned originally, but I think it'll do fine without them.
February 25, 2012 (8:58 PM)
Just realized I never updated the status of this batch after the brew day. Vigorous fermentation began within 24 hours, peaked after another day, then tapered off for a week or so. I moved the beer up from the basement a couple weeks ago, intending to bottle it at that time, but it has just been sitting in the dining room since then. I currently plan to bottle it tonight or tomorrow.

I nixed the toasted oak idea, though my only reason was laziness. I haven't found time to do the wood chips, so it's not happening. I'll have to experiment with wood chips another time instead.
January 30, 2012 (1:10 PM)
Need to bottle this one soon or it'll be a summer warmer! No update really, just trying to get on my own case.
December 6, 2011 (11:07 PM)
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 (Acer platanoides) and the other is a northern red oak (Quercus rubra). 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.


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