Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bourbon Barrel Brown

So, here's the recipe for the Bourbon Barrel Brown. I've still got a little more than a 6er left and it keeps changing and improving. The Maker's Mark soaked oak chips really added some interesting flavors. I would not add more bourbon and be very careful about how long you leave the chips in otherwise it could get overwhelming. Definitely pull a sample after a few days to see how you like it. An alternative would be to use cubes or something with less surface area, then you could leave the beer on wood longer. This beer has some really interesting vanilla notes to it, explained by a homebrew club member who tasted it as the bourbon coming out (in?) of suspension. Anyhoo, let me know if you try it. I will be brewing the same one soon but probably won't oak it.

  • 6 lbs light liquid ME
  • 2 lbs light dry ME
  • 8 oz caramel/crystal 60
  • 6 oz chocolate malt
  • 5 oz special roast malt
  • 2 oz caramel/crystal 90
  • 1 oz Galena hops at 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Ahtanum hops at 10 minutes
  • 1 oz American oak chips, steamed for 10 minutes and soaked in 5 oz Maker's Mark bourbon for about a month (added to secondary for 6 days)

OG 1.062, FG 1.014, 57 IBUs. As I brewed it, it seemed a little too light in color and not quite enough sweetness and chocolate, so I think if I brew this again I'll make a few changes to the grain bill but keep the hop schedule the same, though. Making a yeast starter to get the gravity to drop nice and low will help to dry it out nicely too. Something like this maybe:

  • 7 lbs light DME (easier to get at my lhbs)
  • 4 oz crystal 60
  • 4 oz crystal 90
  • 8 oz chocolate malt
  • 4 oz special roast malt

The OG would be about the same, but dropping the crystal 60 and bumping up the crystal 90 will keep the same sweetness but a little more color, and then bumping up the chocolate malt will give me a little more of that chocolatey goodness and color. I like the special roast too, it was the first time I used it and it's a pretty tasty grain, so I might bump that up some more too. Have any of you guys used it?

UPDATE (11:00 pm): Kristen and I planted the garden today, and aside from a tiny (1/4 inch) shoot on my Cascade mound, no shoots. Upon closer examination however, the ground was about as hard as concrete, so with a superhuman feat of strength I broke up each mound, carefully found the rhizome, then put loose soil back on top and gave them a good drink of water. All 3 rhizomes had some good underground budding going on, so I'm happy. I might not have much of yield since it's so late, but hey, they're not dead right?

Also, when I got home today I had a box filled with 4 oz of Centennial and a bunch of specialty grains, so I might be brewing on Monday if my lhbs is open tomorrow. I'm thinking Jamil's Amber (clone of Bear Republic's Red Rocket: BTW, I ordered from Williams Brewing, and although you have to buy an equal dollar value of other stuff when you buy hops, they do send you beer coasters, which I thought was pretty frickin cool.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Building the Stash

It's getting pretty close to the due date for #2, so I've been trying to get some batches bottled in case I can't get to them for awhile. Last Saturday the shared batch of double IPA (Hopslam clone attempt) was bottled. Kim and Cole and Kristen and I both walked away with a case of bottles each. This bad boy finally came in at 9% ABV and 100 IBUs. The sample we tasted was remarkably drinkable for such a big beer, so I'll be drinking this one fresh as soon as it's carbed up. It's probably not an exact clone, but it did taste damn good. I'll have a more detailed rating later when it's ready.

Last night I bottled the Cascarillo APA. The sample was good, but a little underwhelming. Hopefully carbonation and maybe a little bottle aging will do it some good.

My hops have still not popped out of the ground. Hopefully some warmer weather makes something happen. I'm trying to stay calm about it, but I'm tempted to get over to the garden and do some digging to see what' going on.