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Old 06-12-2011, 05:27 PM   #1
Veinman
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Default Big Brew-400 Bottles of BarleyWine Ready in 1 year

Hello All,

I'm about to embark on a very ambitious project. One of my friends has requested that I make the party favours for his wedding. Up Here in Alberta we're not allowed to serve homebrewed beer or wine for weddings so we settled on a bottle of homebrew for each guest to take home with them.

The Wedding will have approximately 300 guests so we figured we'd do 400 bottles of BarleyWine giving us enough extra in case we lose more than expected for trub, some for bachelor party, some for each of us to keep etc. etc.

My current plan is as follows. The recipe is:
5.5 gallon batches at 75% Efficiency:
16.25lbs 2-Row
1.5lbs Crystal 40L
3.00lbs Dextrose
2.75oz Columbus (14%) at 60 minutes
3.00 oz Cascade (5.1%) at 15 minutes
1 package s-04 yeast
Whirfloc tablet

OG: 1.108
FG: 1.024
IBUs: 93
Color: 10.4

While I'd love to have a 40 gallon setup sadly it's not in the budget. My plan is to use mine and a buddies regular homebrew setups and over the course of a weekend brew 8 individual 5.5 gallon batches with myself and the groom. After each batch is cooled it will be dumped into 1 giant fermenter for a 6 week long primary fermentation. Exactly what type of vessel I’ll use for this has yet to be determined. After that is complete it will be transferred into 7-8 carboys for a 3-5 month secondary fermentation. Then I’ll bottle up all 400 bottles, which will be completed with a label and an attached card explaining tasting notes, the bottles will then be waxed sealed and stamped with a large “M” for his last name to make quite a pretty looking package.

I've been researching large fermenter's and I'm thinking I'm going to get a large (50-55 gallon) rain barrel, cut a large hole in it and seal that with plexiglass, place it on the counter in my brew room and then dump each cooled batch of wort in once it's complete, to move to secondary I'm debating between a spigot placed near the bottom of the rain barrel or just siphoning the beer out to the 8 individual carboys. I'm concerned about the amount of heat that 40 gallons of beer is going to produce at peak fermentation, my fermentation room is a steady 62F during the summer but I can see the rain barrel easily hitting 75F at it's peak so I'm trying to figure out a cooling system, I'm also considering 2 slighly smaller fermenters. I should mention I do realize I could just do 8 separate primaries and secondaries but where's the fun in that right?

Anyways I'm in the process of ordering 3-55lb bags of 2-row, a full bag of crystal and several lbs of hops from hopsdirect right now so I can brew this on the 25th/26th weekend.

Anyone with input on larger fermenter's or operations of this magnitude that feels like adding their expertise I'd appreciated. I'll keep this thread updated with the progess I make throughout this process.

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Old 06-12-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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Woof. Godspeed, good brother.

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Old 06-12-2011, 05:51 PM   #3
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For fermenters, why not 4 15 gallon kegs? Unless you will be buying a new 50 gallon barrel, I'd be a bit skeeved about putting that much work into a used plastic container which may leech whatever it held before into your beer.

You might consider a fresh used wine, wiskey, or other spirit barrel for aging.

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Old 06-12-2011, 08:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXCurtis View Post
For fermenters, why not 4 15 gallon kegs? Unless you will be buying a new 50 gallon barrel, I'd be a bit skeeved about putting that much work into a used plastic container which may leech whatever it held before into your beer.

You might consider a fresh used wine, wiskey, or other spirit barrel for aging.
55 gallon food grade plastic barrels designed for storing potable water can be purchased new for as little as $50. Just add a bung, and an airlock and its good to go.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:32 PM   #5
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I hope you also have a weekend planned to bottle and wax dip 400 bottles.

are all 300 or so wedding guests over 21?

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Old 06-12-2011, 10:49 PM   #6
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Drinking age isn't 21 in Alberta, it's 19.

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Old 06-12-2011, 10:53 PM   #7
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the principle of the question still stands.

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Old 06-12-2011, 11:06 PM   #8
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Wow great idea.

I had no idea about that law. I have been to several weddings serving homemade wine.

I would build a keggle and up my batch size to 12 gallons.

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Old 06-12-2011, 11:23 PM   #9
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I would definitely find something large enough to primary all the batches together in order to have a homogenous product in the end. The food grade 55 gallon barrel for primary and wooden wine barrel for secondary sounds great.

I would avoid a spigot at the bottom of a 40+ gallon fermenter. That sounds like a recipe for leaks to me.

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Old 06-12-2011, 11:46 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the suggestions thus far I really want to do 1 or maybe 2 primaries although I'm trying to decide if the temperature will rise too high if all done at once. I'm looking for anyone who has done this before, I've been reading a few threads about primaries this large but no information about how much temperature raise they saw.
To answer the questions thus far: Yes all of the guests are over the age of 18 (not 19 but close BigRob).
I am leaning away from the spigot after reconsidering how much pressure would be on it.
And ShakerD the law has only changed in the last several years, you used to be ok serving homemade wine and beer but once that got too popular and the government saw a dip in revenue they changed the rules.

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