I trust everyone had a great Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday season. I got busy again after the first of the year brewing more beer. I hope to brew a lot this spring so I have enough to last me during the summer when brewing becomes more difficult. Here is the update on Mac’s Brewing.
Mac’s Aeronautical Amber Ale: I bottled this beer on December 26th. I ended up with 58 x 12 oz bottles. The beer is a dark amber, which I expected when I substituted a darker Crystal malt for the lighter one that I planned on using (it’s what was available). This ale weighed in at 5.5% ABV (I was expecting around 5.6%) and is quite well balanced. The aroma is malty, no hops in the nose, with nice body. This flavor is extremely good – caramel/malty, but well balanced with hops. It has a very typical amber ale flavor profile, and I would match this with any commercial craft/micro brewed amber. When I first brewed this, I thought that I would back off from the dark Crystal malt next time I brewed it, but after tasting, I believe I’ll brew it this with a very similar grain bill again.
Little Levi’s Bourbon Barrel Stout: What, it’s not Mac’s Bourbon Barrel Stout? No, and there’s a reason for that – Levi Vanderpool messed up my brewing schedule.
This was supposed to be brewed on Monday January 16th. But, Krissy went into labor in the early morning hours that day, and Sheila would not let me brew. We spent the day at the hospital and Levi Vanderpool was born that afternoon. Ok, he threw off my brewing schedule, but I still love him and brewed this beer in his honor. I hope to save one bottle and drink it on his 10th birthday.
This beer was brewed on Saturday January 21, 2012 (Sheila’s concession to me and to little Levi– allowing me to brew on a Saturday when she was home). This beer is a HUGE stout, brewed with over 23 lbs of grain (including oatmeal), and cocoa. It was fermented with oak chips, and is currently in the secondary fermenter with 2 oz of oak chips soaked in Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and more cocoa. The original gravity was 1.100 (I never thought I could brew a beer with a starting gravity that high), and has a potential to end up around 10.5% ABV (if my yeast is up to the challenge; it was already at 8.4% when I racked to the secondary fermenter on Thursday January 26th). I hope to bottle on Saturday 02-18, or Sunday 02-19-2012. I plan to let this one condition in the bottles for about 6 months before I start drinking it, although I will probably sample one bottle per month to see how it is aging. I’m sure it will have a nice oak/bourbon flavor at bottling time, I just hope the flavor stays for the long term conditioning. We shall see.
Mac’s Black Forest Stout: Yes, it’s just exactly what the name implies – a cherry chocolate beer. It’s a big, chocolaty stout, but my recipe was quite different from Little Levi’s Stout. I brewed this on Monday February 6, 2012.
It was not brewed with cocoa (but does have a lot of chocolate malt), but there is much more cocoa in the secondary fermenter. There was 98 oz of pureed sweet cherry added to the fermenter as well (this of course caused an “out of control” fermentation, complete with airlock blow out; I lost over a quart of beer through the airlock during the first two days of fermentation). With an original gravity of 1.088, this beer has a 9%+ ABV potential. When I transferred it to the secondary fermenter on Sunday February 12th, I took a sample for testing and tasting. The beer is already at 8.5% ABV (with 2 – 3 weeks to go). The aroma and flavor are not good – they’re stunning! This is why I brew my own beer – I can make exactly what I want (assuming I can figure out how to make something that will turn out to be exactly what I want). I’ll bottle this in a couple of weeks and let it condition. This is another one that will need several months of conditioning, so I likely won’t be drinking this until next fall (can I really wait that long??? Probably not).
Pliny The Elder: I plan to brew another batch of Pliny The Elder in about two weeks. This will be the first time I have ever repeated the same recipe. I’m reasonably sure I will hit my targets this time with PTE (last time I significantly missed my ABV target, but the beer was quite good). I will add a little extra base malt to the mash just to make sure.
This beer is not one to condition long in the bottle, so I’ll be drinking it a month after bottling. Should have a good supply for April and May. Real hoppy beers don’t age well (the hop aromas and flavors start fading), so it will probably be all gone by summer time.
That’s the latest for now. Beyond PTE, I will brew a Bavarian style hefewiezen, probably a couple of batches in April, so I can have several cases on hand for the summer months (it’s probably the most refreshing beer on hot days), and I still plan to enter at least one brew in the Orange County Fair home brewing competition. Not sure what I will brew for that, possibly Mac’s Aeronautical Amber Ale, and maybe one or both of the above described stouts.
On another related note, the decorating of Mac’s Brew Pub is getting close to completion. It’s turning out quite nice, with lots of pub type décor. I still hope to build a 4 tap kegerator and start kegging my beer before the end of the year. We’ll see how that works out – all I need is a little extra time and money. Hmmm . . . .
That’s it for now, folks. Gotta turn my attention to brewing my next batch, and the next one, and the one after that, and . . . . .