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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Attempting 40%+ ABV beer... "Barley Brandy"
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:46 PM   #1
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Default Attempting 40%+ ABV beer... "Barley Brandy"

A vast majority of folks on HBT are smaht. They stay out of the dark little crevasses that a few of us "Massholes" tend to frequent among the threads. They're really quite shadey areas and leaving well enough alone is typically good advice. No need in getting sucked down to our level.

That said... We've been known to make a decent beer and a few fairly unusual ones at that (Utopias clone, Russian River Consecration clone, a turbid mash lambic in a oak barrel, etc). Recently, during our usual wasting of electrons with silly drivel, I half-jokingly said that I was going to one-up the rotund nurse that posts from time to time here on HBT by not only brewing his Utopias clone (after he failed MISERABLY at trying to brew that beer again this year), but also going one better and doubling up the ABV on it just to piss him off.

Given his brewing knowledge is roughly equivilent to that of a mildly training gorilla, he scoffed.. "BAH!!! You're whacked in the head if you think you can make a 40% ABV beer!!! Now bring me So-lo and the woo-kie!!!"

To which a couple of us simply asked gorilla-boy to google an eisbock. We then gave him two days to try to figure out a keyboard.

Over those two days... I thought more and more about it... and now, I am actually going to try it.

High level game plan:

1) brew the Utopias clone
2) ferment it CORRECTLY
3) "eisbock it"
4) age it for a reeeeeeeeally long time.
5) drink some
6) fall down

While all of the above sounds awfully silly... I'm actually very serious about doing it and have thought through a fairly detailed schedule of how I intend to it through each step.

I keep coming out to one point though and this is the main reason why I started the thread...

I'm very mildly nervous about how syrupy the end product is going to be. The first Utopias clone that was made by my esteemed gorilla friend... was actually amazing (as painful as that is to admit). My issue is basically taking that beer and pulling 50% of the water out of it. I'm undecided on what I think that's going to leave.... and will be it like maple syrup in terms of consistancy.

I don't think it will be too syrupy but... we're going to find out.

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Old 05-20-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
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Sounds fun. Good luck!

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Old 05-20-2011, 06:52 PM   #3
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It's gunna take some serious yeast. In steps,I'd think. Get on HBT,drink,snooze.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:57 PM   #4
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Wow. That's an Eisbock. Might wanna save the Eis to melt back in if things go badly.

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Old 05-20-2011, 06:59 PM   #5
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Absolutely... i've got a pretty solid read on how I want to do the yeast.

OG on the U clone will come in just over 1200 and I'm basically only going to brew 3 gallons of it.

Before I do that, i'm going to brew 10 gallons of a 1080 IIIPA that I make and ferment that out with 099 (Super High gravity yeast).

I'm going to pitch an asston (a scientific brewing term) of US-05 onto the 1200 U wort and see if I can get that wort to come down at all.

Once the IIIPA is fermented out... I'll rack that off the cake, probably wash the yeast, and then rack the U onto it... hoping that will have dropped at least a little.

I'll then let that large 099 cake chew away at the U wort for a bit while I brew another 3 gallons of the U. Once that second 3 gallons is brewed, I'll do the same thing... pitch a ton of US-05 to try to bring it down AT ALL.

Once the US-05 conks out (probably pretty quickly), I'll rack the second 3 gallons onto the first three gallons which, should be cranking away nicely.

I'll also do 099 yeast starters on the side and feed the entire six gallons with those and air periodically.

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:04 PM   #6
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Sounds like hard work and big bucks. Good luck. Make sure to send a bottle to Jim Koch. Something like this is resumé material for a R&D brewlab.

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:08 PM   #7
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hard work but not really big bucks... I get my two-row by the sack as it is for $35 per 55 lbs... and that makes up the bulk of the grain bill. Yeast, isn't that bad since I'm making massive starters and I was going to make the IIIPA anyway.

I am seriously considering a 5 gallon oak barrel for about $125 since I am assuming this stuff will have to sit at least two years before someone could even sip it... so..

I don't think it'll be that bad.

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:12 PM   #8
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Cape, does it make sense to brew a little more of a not-quite-as-extreme brew and pull out a higher amount of water? Instead of removing 50% of the water from a 20% beer, remove two-thirds of the water from a 14% beer?

I know you're trying to one-up our nursemaid friend and all, but doing it that way seems like it would leave fewer spots for ****ing up the fermentation (and you wouldn't have to spend a fortnight doing the original boil).

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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Yeah, that makes way too much sense. I'm not up for that.

And I don't see me boiling for the 12 hours Captain Chuckles and Flounder usually do. I'm only shooting for a three gallon batch and I boil off at almost 2 gallons an hour on my rig so... even if I have to boil 10 gallons down to 3... I don't think I'll be out there until 2:00 am like they do.

... and I'm not super concerned about fermentation. I think the bumbling duo would have fermented out if they had stuck to what they did the last two years and not effed with it... so... again, not super worried about fermenting.


AM worried about the "syrup effect" though and I don't know how you get around that unless you dry the beer out BIG TIME... I guess that's an argument for your approach but... where's the fun in THAT?

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:20 PM   #10
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My two cents, why do a batch size that small? If you have 5 gallons of your 1200 post-boil wort, that's still only going to be about 2-2.5 gallons of final product when all is said and done.

You really want to do all this work to end up with a gallon and a half of "freeze-whiskey"?

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