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Old 09-18-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
zelltj
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Default First AND second big blunder

Got a break in the football action and hopped on here to post about my first attempt and a barley wine. I am by no means a seasoned home brewer, but I have been going at it for at 3 years (between deployments). I used some flaked oats and flaked barley in my first ever barley wine and used the ingredients incorrectly. I didn't know that I should cook them to get the best conversion possible. So after the boil I ended up about at 1.068 when I was expecting 1.100. I cooled and pitched planning to just treat the beer as a run of the mill ale.

Here's where it gets a little hairy. After a few too many home brews about 3 days into the primary, I got the wild idea to dump just over 3 pounds of LDME right into the fermented beer! It took off and bubbled for about 36 hours and finished right where I had originally expected 1.025.

How likely is it that I am going to end up having to dump this batch? I'm planning on racking it to the secondary in a few days and then kegging it in a few weeks. I'll be leaving it in the keezer for the entirety of my upcoming Afghanistan deployment.

Is there anything I should do before leaving this beer for so long? I plan on filling the keg with CO2 to help eliminate O2. I'm more than a little nervous about an infection to be honest. Sorry for the long read, but thank you for check it out!

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Old 09-19-2011, 02:38 AM   #2
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I'm gonna bet that you don't have much to worry about with an infection. Its possible that the LME was contaminated, but I would think the high sugar content would kill about anything that would want to ruin your beer if the high alcohol from the fermenter itself didn't. More than likely I'd say you are good to go from that point!

One thing I would do though is make sure you check your gravity a couple of times before moving it over to secondary. I'd be worried that the LME settled to the bottom of the fermenter where it isn't getting fermented well. You might also be able to see if there's a band of LME along with the trub at the bottom. When you transfer to secondary, I'd make sure you transfer a good amount of yeast (or consider pitching more) in case you need to do a secondary fermentation on any non-dissolved LME.

As far as the keg goes, you're right on target there. All I generally do if I'm gonna store a keg is to hit it with CO2 and pull the release valve a few times to get all of the O2 out of the keg, then hit it with CO2 again to seal it well and let it sit. Might want to consider leaving the keg at room temp to let it age a little longer (and potentially ferment out a little further if the FG is still a little high). So long as its kegged up tight no problem leaving it at a decent temp (65-70) for a while. Should age a little quicker at room temp, although you will have to wait a little longer to carb it up when you get back.

And oh yeah, thanks for your service!

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Old 09-19-2011, 02:41 AM   #3
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I just fired up a keg of wheat beer that we kegged almost exactly a year ago. And it was perfect.

Be safe in-country, and thank you.

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Old 09-19-2011, 04:25 AM   #4
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Thanks. I'll stay low. I'll get in there tomorrow with the spoon and really stir it up good again. You may be right about the DME settling to the bottom and not really fermenting all the way. I am hoping for this beer to break the 11% mark. I have kept pretty good measurements so even with the screw ups I think I should make my mark and may have exceded it to the tune of about 11.5%! I really wanted to make something I could share with the rest of the Devil Dogs I deploy with this time. It should be my last go 'round. Something about it is just a little sentimental I guess. I appreciate the help. I'll let you know tomorrow how things are really going.

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:53 AM   #5
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Hey all! Sorry I'm reviving a long dead post, but I just got back from Afghanistan and wanted to give an update on this barley wine. It has been in the freezer for 7 months at about 48F so I figure it is probably plenty well aged. After adding the late DME and all the rushing around I did trying to get this beer done before deployment, I was sure that it was going to be one for the drain. Turns out I was completely wrong. (This will go down in history as the moment when I realized how resilient beer actually is.) So here go the tasting notes from the first pint...

The beer is extremely clear. This is probably the most clear beer I have ever produced. It has a deep red hue with a creamy, rocky head. The smell is of caramel and bananas, maybe a hint of clove. (my nose is a little on the weak side) First swig has a surprising amount of hop bitterness that carries through the whole swallow. Dark, mildly sweet caramel in the middle and warm alcohol at the end. Second sip, carbonation dances nicely, very full mouth feel, smooth texture, dark roast flavor at the end. Deposits a warm bourbon flavor in the back of the throat. As I keep drinking, the alcohol taste lingers. (I did my best to calculate the additional DME and I'm guess that it finished somewhere between 11% and 12% so I'm not surprised that it tastes of alcohol.) Very clean finish. The end of the class leaves the mouth with the same sort of feeling as a whiskey or bourbon.

I'm very excited about how this one turned out. I filled a few swing tops when I put it in the keg and I will most definitely be saving them for a little longer to see how they develop as time goes on. If anyone has any questions let me know! Thanks!!!

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Old 05-08-2012, 03:30 AM   #6
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Glad you're no longer in-country and made it home safely. Your description leaves me a bit jealous! And though I know beer is real resilient, I've never been able to let one age as long as yours!

Cheers!

Edit: In re-reading my earlier post, I guess I *have* aged 1 a while. Oh well. All's well that tastes well...

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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Thanks! I'm pretty happy to be home. I can't wait to get a brew going. I've got all the ingredients I just haven't found time. I think maybe this weekend. I'm making a cream ale first. It'll be hot soon in SoCal and I'd like to have a nice "lawn mower" beer.

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Old 05-08-2012, 08:55 PM   #8
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Thank you, and glad that you're back safely. Enjoy your home brew

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Old 05-09-2012, 01:30 AM   #9
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Took a picture today to show off the color and clarity. The glass got a little foggy on me while I was taking the picture, but I still think you can tell how clear it is. Ignore the dirty windows! My wife would be upset if she knew I posted dirty window pictures for the world to see!!! Hahaha!!!

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Old 05-09-2012, 03:14 AM   #10
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Beautiful! Makes my mouth water. Well done.

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