Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bad Weather Gnarleywine

Bad Weather, yep, its that time of year again. When you prepare to hunker down and see the winter winds blow on shore from Nantucket Sound.  I LOVE IT!
There is nothing that slows me down more effectively than a Cape Cod winter, and Im not gonna lie its fantastic.  A time to drink coffee for an hour while looking out the window at a quiet street.  Go for a walk all bundled up or sit in your car by the ocean and take in the scene with the wife (and soon to be, kiddo in tow!).

And!  Make big, Gnarleywines!  Granted, she wont be ready until at least the Spring but this monster is going to be my welcomed guest come Winter 2015.  I smell a tradition brewing!  Ok, enough BS, lets begin our quest for the First Annual Bad Weather Gnarelywine.

In planning ahead for this brew, I decided to make a simple Brown Ale (Southern England if I had to put a style to it), in an effort to build up the monster pitch of yeast this beast is going to need.  That said, 007, Dry English Ale yeast is my choice due to its EnglishNess, its ability to work in high alcohol environments and propensity to attenuate well in these conditions.  I want a big beer, but I want this thing to have high drinkability, not chewy or too cloying so that attenuation factor is critical.  

Overall, the goals here are as follows.  Process and ageabililty!  This baby is going to become what it wants to be, not overly complex from the ingredients, but rather from a proper fermentation, appropriate oaking and time. 

10lbs - (US 2-row and UK Pale)
10lbs - Maris Otter
1lb - C120

Hops - UKGoldings to BUGU target .5

Yeast - WLP 007


OG - 1.1
FG - 1026
ABV - 10%
BUGU - .5
SRM - 17
Mash 148 (going back and forth on this, but I definitely dont want this thing to end high, and there are plenty of unferementables from the long boil. All things being equal, a lower mash temp will help in getting this baby fermented out).  

Boil - boil until you have 1.1 OG, no matter what it takes!  More boiling equals for melanoidin creation anyway, so just boil on!

Ferment low 60s with an increase to mid 70s over 10 days.  Aquarium heater for this sucker, no doubt!  

6-8 weeks in primary.  

Oak goes in at 2 weeks with a string and comes out when the taste is right. 

Condition - half to bombers half to 12oz. All corked.

If a brew buddy is present consider running additional water through and do a shotgun brew per the preboil gravity you get.

Here we go!

Starter:  007 from Falling lead brown harvested, cleaned, and 2/3 of original jar put to 2L starter. 7oz, 2L, mucho nutrient.  

Brew Day:

Water adjustment: 10g Gypsum, 5G Baking Powder

Mash - 148-150

Pre-Boil OG - 1055 (F my life.  I'm still at a loss. Has to be the crush (it was the crush).  1.25qt/lb. Recirc twice (no mash out) - likely a total of 90 minute mash.  Clear wort.  50% efficiency.  Added 3lbs extra light dme.  Preboil 1076.

Boil Notes - a few minor boil overs. Started at 0900.  Have 34 points to go.  OG - 1.1. (didnt record length of boil, but future beers dictate it had to have been about 120 minutes).
Pitch temp - 64 

Pitch time - evening after a few hours in fridge.  Poured carboy to bucket after pitching due to lack of was space for fermentation.

10/19/14 - Day 1 - temp in room is 64 but brew is at 72.  Didn't lift the lid, she's cooking!

Day 10/22 - gravity at 1030!  Sheesh!  Krausen dropped - back down to 66. 

11/3/14 - temp at 64.  

12/11/14 - sent to oak barrel donated by Mike of Devil's Purse.  Thanks mike!  5G whiskey barrel that recently had a stout in it.  Rehydrate with 180 degree water and topped up .5G with sani-water after initial leak"age."  Left overnight, no leaking.  Purged with CO2 and filled.  Beautiful
Initial tasting is mellow on the pallet.  Slightly warming, very well attenuated and greatly in need of age.  A very smooth malt character, not overly complex here.  An excellent start and doesn't she look pretty 

12/27/14 -  1026 - wood starting to come through as a mellowing character, low woody/whiskey notes
1/1/15 - racked to keg - bottled a few with Brett C (20 drops per bomber) and put sanitized balloons on them. 

Kegged version - 2 min light shake at 30 psi and left at 12

1/6/15 - came home to find keg at 18psi.  Let off to 10 (2.3L...leaving slightly high to account for loss in bottling and warming up to serve). Aroma is big, alcohol is forward but not overwhelming, whiskey is there and oak but I think there is balance.  With age this will go far.  Taste is bold but perhaps a little sweeter than id like.  Residual sweetness on lips isn't overdone.  It seems to be a perception, perhaps from the wood.  I stand by putting dryer beer into wood during break in period.  Bottle-cork-wait-you'll thank me later.

6/2/15 - Yahtzee on the first ytasting!
A - A brilliant light red brown hue sparkles through the glass.  A head forms, but dissipates mostly before too long leaving just a little lacing on the side of the glass.
S - A lovely fruity bouquet from the yeast and a smooth alcohol perfume to compliment.
T - The oak doent come through too much, but is there, with a slight drying character.  The bourbon may be a bit more in the background than I'd hope for ideally, but the flavor is super smooth, a lovely maltiness accompanied by a medium dark/stone fruit character.  I'd say we are in the medium sector for residual sweetness.  Its a gorgeous beer!
M - medium
O - stokage.  I love how this beer turned out.  Slightly lacking on the oak character, could have left it in the barrel longer anticipating its drop with aging, but hindsight is 20/20 and this beer is nonetheless gorgeous.  The alcohol is masked well, and hits the pallet where it should.  Yeast character compliments the alcohol, and the malt is super smooth.  Just a nice, warming brew to enjoy on a rainy day in any season.  I am very very happy with this beer.

Next time: Leave it on the oak to a slightly over-oaked point.  Besides that, it was a simple grist and the yeast character came through beautifully on that 007, nice work Mr. White!

3/22/16 - second tasting.  Beer is still gorgeous with that smooth draw.  It's highly aromatic reaking of estery goodness, alcohol and I want to say cherry, but Kerry gets pineapple (but only fleeting).  The residual sweetness is on the upper edge of acceptable to me, which makes me think more of this needs to go tot the 2020 box.  Head retention is lingering now, and mouthfeel is still medium to medium plus.

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