I wanted to pose a question and get some opinions on bottling a batch aged, high alcohol beer.
I just recently racked an 11.5% ABV Barley Wine into its secondary. There it will stay for 6 months or so. I have a small kegorator, but not enough space to hold a big beer like this on tap. It would take me forever to finish a keg of BW, and besides, Id like to hold onto some of this for 2, 3 years, maybe longer. So, into bottles it will go.
The obvious concerns around bottle conditioning a beer like this have to do with yeast viability; 1) yeast viability due to the batch aging, and 2) yeast viability due to the high alcohol environment. If I were to bottle condition this beer, I would re-pitch dry yeast just prior to bottling; which I think is fairly common practice. This takes care of concern (1), but it doesnt relieve concern (2), it only mitigates that concern to an extent.
For these reasons, I would also consider force carbing in a keg and bottling with a beergun. This is an obvious way to ensure a carbed bottle of the BW, but this method may also have its concerns. Namely, do I lose the benefit of holding some bottles for a few years if they were not naturally bottle conditioned?
Please let me know your thoughts or experiences in either method, bottle conditioning or force carbing and bottling with a beergun. Either way, I have several months before I need to decide what Ill do with this beer.
Thanks and cheers HBT!