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Old 11-28-2012, 01:06 AM   #1
eaferreira
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Default Aging methods

Hi all,
I'm looking to brew a hearty batch of American Barley Wine (haven't decided on recipe yet) that I can age while on a six-month deployment to Afghanistan early next year. My plan is to brew around the new year, which would give it about five weeks before I need to get on a plane.
I'd like to crack it open as soon as I return home, which would mean fermenting in some combination of a primary and secondary in the five week window, and then bottling right before I leave. That would mean bottle-aging it for six months.
I know that as an alternative, I could leave it in a secondary vessel and bulk-age it that way for the six months, but I don't want to bother my wife with checking the airlock. I'd rather "set it and forget it."
Is this reasonable? I have never done a batch of barley wine, nor have I attempted extensive aging. If I weren't going anywhere, I'd probably opt for bulk-aging. However, I'd really prefer to just bottle it up and let it age that way.
I'd appreciate some thoughtful opinions on this, as well as any best-practice suggestions that would help me along. But please remember that I'm not asking for the ideal method; rather, I'm looking for a way to make the best barley wine possible within the context of my situation.
Thanks in advance.



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Old 11-28-2012, 01:40 AM   #2
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I cannot answer your question because I am a beginner with only one batch under my belt, but wanted to thank you for your service to your country. We appreciate it.



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Old 11-28-2012, 01:46 AM   #3
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Bulk aging is the best way with the least trouble. Realistically if you keep it in a dark cool place (coat closet) that is relatively clean you only need to check the airlock once a month, and its no big deal if it dries up a little... as long as primary is done and you are aging. And if you come back and it got infected, age it out and see what happens!!

Stay safe over there brother!!

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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You want to crack one open when you get home,brew it now if you can and bottle shortly before you leave.That would give it that much more time to come into it's own.

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:09 AM   #5
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bulk age it while deployed, buy yourself a kegging system because you will deserve it after your deployment ! Keg and enjoy. Be safe over there! What branch of service? I served in the Marine Corps Infantry not so many years ago!

You can also bulk age in a keg.

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:20 AM   #6
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i've heard of guys on this forum aging beers a lot longer than that in bottles without a problem. Look for any of the "age it or chuck it" threads for an odea of how long these guys store it. I can appreciate not wanting to bother your wife with keeping up with your hobby. If you're not looking at or able to get a keg cause they're salty all-up look at using a blow off tube and stopper unto a gallon jug. I did that with mead and never lost enough water/sanitizer mix to worry about over the course of a year.

That said, thanks for serving. I served during Desert Storm and I salute you guys still carrying the torch. Be well.

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:23 AM   #7
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if you are just worried about the airlock you can always use a blow off tube into a gallon jug full of star san solution. That will not dry up in 6 months.

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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1. Age in the carboy...doable and easy and pretty much thoughtless. You don't have to do anything..just leave it there.

2. Bottle, oxidation can happen but the affects take about 2-3 years for oxidation to really have an issue

3. Keg aging is best. You're bulk aging which is always better. More room for the beer to come into its own and you can be sure all O2 is purged, no light is hitting the beer and that there's no oxidation.

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Old 11-30-2012, 02:11 AM   #9
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I fully understand not wanting to bother the Mrs. with a bottling project while your gone. The last thing she needs is another thing to worry about. Especially contaminating the long awaited, well deserved, coming home present.

If you decide to age in the carboy, and your located anywhere near San Jose Ca, Id be happy to bottle the batch for ya. Heck, I'll leave a 6'r of my own HB as thanks.

I'm in Law enforcement and would be happy to help out a brother.

If your not local, Best of luck.

Keep your head down, watch your 6, do your job, and come home whole.

Cheers

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Old 12-09-2012, 08:20 PM   #10
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I'm guessing that your gonna bottle the batch before ya leave. If it were my brew I would put the bottles in a cardboard box on top of the fridge where its nice n warm. This will ensure that the yeasts will continue to work. Then make sure the MRS transfers to the inside of the fridge a few days before the homecoming.

just a thought



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