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Old 08-01-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
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Default Planning some "extended aging" beers

I finally picked up more carboys so I have 6 fermentation vessels and all 5 of my 5 gallon kegs are full so I have quite a bit of freedom for those empty fermenting vessels. I want to do a few ideal for aging beers. Here's what I was thinking:

1. 14%+ ABV Imperial Stout with coffee and coca flavors and soaked in some bourbon soaked oak (since I don't currently have access to barrels)
2. Brettanomyces w/ Fruit addition beer. Give the brett a while to do it's work
3. An English Barley wine...I have one I just brewed that's about 1.5 months old. still hot but it's an imperial IPA with too much malts so it was an accident. Clocked in at 12.5% so I want to do another one but properly.
4. Finally, an American Lambic. I have 10 ounces of lambic dregs from various bottles already showing some gorgeous Lactobacillus so I have a starter. Want to get that going the soonest as it needs at least a year to do it's thing.

So I'm looking for some 6-12 month projects. I have a buddy that wants to get some french oak barrels that we could use so that would be cool. Wondering what the thoughts are of people here. I know this is the Beginners forum but I don't seem to get that many quality responses on other boards since there's less overall threads posted / watchers.

If we can get barrels in, I'll probably do the lambic first followed by the big stout.

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Old 08-01-2012, 08:17 PM   #2
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So, you're planning on starting a brewery?

Just a couple things to think about:

Do you have a way to control the fermentation temps? Those really high gravity beers can get away from you pretty quickly if you aren't careful.
What is your plan for aeration and yeast? Obviously, that gets more critical as well.
Do you have a good storage spot picked out with moderate temps?

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Old 08-01-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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So, you're planning on starting a brewery?

Just a couple things to think about:

Do you have a way to control the fermentation temps? Those really high gravity beers can get away from you pretty quickly if you aren't careful.
What is your plan for aeration and yeast? Obviously, that gets more critical as well.
Do you have a good storage spot picked out with moderate temps?
I was spending entirely too much money on buying commercial beers so I've decided to shift the budget to actually brewing beers and learning more about them. I'm helping some local breweries interning so just trying to learn all I can about it which includes pushing myself a lot.


1. My Beer closet has a few hundred beers and an AC unit that keeps it at 62 Degrees F. I can do temp from 58-70 with the unit so I have temp control handled.

2. I was going to go the liquid yeast route and do 24-48 hour starters of each before pitching. I already have a "starter" that's that crazy Cantillon dregs wine glass that's been getting super insane looking over the last 6 weeks.

3. My closet can hold 4 carboys + blow-off buckets comfortably. I have a secondary room that keeps at 70 with no light at all that I can use to "finish off" beers. I have an actual cellar as well but it's hard to get a big oak barrel in and out of there easily but that would be nice.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:31 PM   #4
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This sounds like a great idea! I don't have as much room as you so I've been brewing big beers in small batches just for fun but if you can do it in 5 gallon increments why not. I figure if you're already purchasing these beers you might as well make them.

This might be just me and my system but I've decided after a few RISs and Barleywines that I'm going to cheat a bit and use some DME just to make things easier for me. I would definitely go that route for a 14.5% Stout but your equipment may be able to handle it better than mine.

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Old 08-01-2012, 08:37 PM   #5
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1. IME adding too much flavor to things, even a RIS, is a bad idea...go easy
2. Might be interesting, never tried
3. BW = good
4. Lambic = good

If you are thinking going lambic in a barrel you might think about starting a solera project???

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Old 08-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
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I'd spend a bit of time reading about stepping up starters etc. Do you have a stir plate? If you plug your numbers into one of the yeast calculators, I think you'll find that a single step starter from liquid yeast is going to be significantly underpitching. That is something I'd focus on up front.

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Old 08-01-2012, 10:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cmybeer View Post
This might be just me and my system but I've decided after a few RISs and Barleywines that I'm going to cheat a bit and use some DME just to make things easier for me. I would definitely go that route for a 14.5% Stout but your equipment may be able to handle it better than mine.

Yeah, when you are spending money trading beers to get really high ABV stouts, you kind of start wishing you could just make your own.

Partial mash on the RIS? Yeah, either that or I get a HUGE mash tun. That's a truck load full of grain. (slight exaggeration). I just want to make a beer I'm really proud of that takes time and patience and care. I drink a lot 12%+ Bourbon Barrel stouts. Trying to make one myself and maybe it's drinkable. We'll see!


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1. IME adding too much flavor to things, even a RIS, is a bad idea...go easy
2. Might be interesting, never tried
3. BW = good
4. Lambic = good

If you are thinking going lambic in a barrel you might think about starting a solera project???
Solera Project? I found some info on it but it looks like just barrel aging, right?


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I'd spend a bit of time reading about stepping up starters etc. Do you have a stir plate? If you plug your numbers into one of the yeast calculators, I think you'll find that a single step starter from liquid yeast is going to be significantly underpitching. That is something I'd focus on up front.
Stir Plate is on order. Just did another big order from midwest with additional carboys, some more grain and hops + yeast starter equipment. I do need to do more research though. The white labs vials I was looking at. Building up a healthy amount of starter with that yeast and then pitching to keep from off flavors or spent yeast given the high ABV setups.

It was my understanding the lambic, you can just pitch with wild yeast and then it's just time and patience. Some guys use a standard like Safale-05 yeast to start and then finish it off with wild for a slight tartness but I was hoping to go all of the way.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:14 PM   #8
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Also, the temp controlled room sounds great, but I'd probably go with a swamp cooler too for insurance - at least for the first few days. You are devoting a lot of time to these, so I'd personally be dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's.

A "normal" strength beer can easily rise several degrees above room temp. When you more than double the yeast and double the sugar, you've got the potential for a big temp rise. Controlling that will go a long way towards eliminating the harsh alcohols.

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Old 08-02-2012, 01:38 PM   #9
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Solera Project? I found some info on it but it looks like just barrel aging, right?
Kind of. solera method goes something like this (I think...)

start with 5 gallons of beer in a barrel. age for one year.

year 2, bottle 2.5 gallons, refill with 2.5 gallons new beer. now it contains 2.5 gallons new beer and 2.5 gallon 1yr old beer.

repeat. so, year 3, bottle 2.5 gallons, refill. now the barrel contains 2.5 gallons new beer, 1.25 gallons 1 year old beer and 1.25 gallons 2 year old beer.

quantities/amounts my vary but that is the process, i believe.
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:35 PM   #10
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Also, the temp controlled room sounds great, but I'd probably go with a swamp cooler too for insurance - at least for the first few days. You are devoting a lot of time to these, so I'd personally be dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's.
Swamp cooler is "in progress" just waiting for funds to align and searching for some good Craigslist Deals. Garage is fairly well insulated except in the winter when we get -20 temperatures so I'll have to account for this. Swamp cooler would also help me on some of those insane blow-offs I had (I now use a blow-off bucket)


Quote:
Originally Posted by motobrewer View Post
Kind of. solera method goes something like this (I think...)

start with 5 gallons of beer in a barrel. age for one year.

year 2, bottle 2.5 gallons, refill with 2.5 gallons new beer. now it contains 2.5 gallons new beer and 2.5 gallon 1yr old beer.

repeat. so, year 3, bottle 2.5 gallons, refill. now the barrel contains 2.5 gallons new beer, 1.25 gallons 1 year old beer and 1.25 gallons 2 year old beer.

quantities/amounts my vary but that is the process, i believe.
Great idea! So, my plan well...what I was hoping to do should I actually pull this off is that I was going to get three 8 gallon barrels, one per year and then have 1,2 and 3 year aged Lambic and do a blend of those. It would be fun and should I completely screw up one of the years or even 2, I could still do a fruit addition and just make a fruit lambic or blend half of each barrel and then add fruit to all 3 years with what's left over and bottle that.

Solera project sounds great..only one barrel and still achieving sort of a blend with less cost but perhaps you have "complete loss" should you mess up one of the years.

Either way. Thanks for the tip! I'll do more research.
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