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Old 03-07-2013, 03:53 AM   #1
danmdevries's Avatar
Sep 2011
Schererville, Indiana
Posts: 62

TL;DR at the end

Wife and I had a kid last August. She was stuck in the hospital for a while due to C Section and the weekend (weekend covering physicians rarely discharge on the weekend fyi). I took the opportunity to catch up on a few things since I took FMLA and didn't have to cover my unit. I played a ton of videogames, cleaned the house top to bottom, ripped up carpet and redid hardwood floors, and brewed two batches a day for 10 days. I had every bucket and carboy filled, even using a tapped bottling bucket and an igloo cooler as a fermenter.

While I was burning up all that grain I thought I'd brew something special for baby's first birthday. I tend toward big beers anyways given my water chemistry, anything translucent tends to have a flavor similar to insect guts (motorcycle riders will know the taste, though I suppose it's "astringency").

So I brewed a 1.128 OG barleywine.

Sometime around newyears I tossed it in a keg and turned the pressure on. I have 2 co2 cylinders, one is set at 8psi on a 4 way manifold for dispensing, and the other at 30psi for carbonating. Well, I successfully "forgot" about this beer and it sat at 30psi for a solid 2 months. At kegging the FG was 1.022. I was hoping for 1.018-1.024 so pretty much perfect. This is my first attempt at a real barleywine so I'm pretty proud of myself. I've done some 1.1xx brews before but never with the intent of a malt-forward beer.

So today I was able to leave the unit early and decided to bottle the brew. For Christmas my inlaws gave us 50 bottlecaps printed with the first picture taken of our son. Initially I was going to do 12oz bottles but after filling one (carb'd at 30psi remember) I realized I was going to have a TON of waste. So I opted for 22oz bottles so I could let the foam settle before topping off and capping, hoping to minimize beer loss. I did put a connector on the gas port of the keg with a hose to a water jug hoping to bleed off some of the excessive carbonation about a week ago. Don't know how much it helped.

I ended up with 15 22oz bottles presentation-ready with labels and baby-picture bottlecaps. I've had a few sample pulls from the keg since putting it in there and had a ton of foamover. I just recycled old bottles with our labels, we've done different labels for Christmas every year. We have a small "farm" (according to zoning) about 2 acres tillable land, the rest forested. We've got about 40 hens, one of which decided she was a pet. She is the first out of the coop in the morning and always runs to the back door of the house, usually before I get there, and lets herself in when I open the door. She then hops up on the rim of the trash can and waits for some cheerios. I give her a handful and she jumps down, goes to the door and I let her back out for the day. She's been with us for 3 years and has survived multiple attacks on the flock from various predatory critters. So, she's earned a place in our hearts and on our beer labels.

The birds:

Now that the long story's out of the way (drank all the collected foam-over, which was a lot so I've got an excuse to be long winded), back on topic.

The part I hate the most when bottling from the keg is that the keg is now empty. I feel a little more attachment to the beers I've put in the bottle rather than going downstairs, pulling a handle and filling my glass. Given that I planned to bottle and save for a year, it's a little easier. But whenever I bottle a batch it's always a bit saddening hearing the splatter of the bottom of the keg. It means the end of a run. I no longer have a special brew in the keg, I can't give a "lil sample" to friends that stop by. Now it's locked in, the 15 bottles have to wait till baby's 1st birthday to be opened again. It's always sad to hear the empty keg spitting.

That's been the case with all my batches if I bottle. When I bottle, it's because I need the fridge space for another keg so whatever's bottled gets shelved for several months. Not to say it hurts the beer, it's definitely beneficial since I only bottle the brews that break 1.080. But no longer having it at the ready kinda bums me out.


At about 10%abv, not much sticking to the glass

Bottles over the years:

TL;DR - I hate hearing the spitting noise at the end of a keg. Also, I have chickens and a baby.

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Old 03-07-2013, 04:30 AM   #2
danmdevries's Avatar
Sep 2011
Schererville, Indiana
Posts: 62

I'll share the recipe too. I think this is what I used, it was meant to be a one time brew so I didn't write anything down either. So this is mostly from memory. I know the 1lb flaked barley and handful maltodextrin was sitting on the shelf when I was pouring in the mash and on impulse I threw it in. The caramel 80/120 was whatever amount was left in each bag, so estimated. I did buy 18lbs crushed Maris Otter from LHBS but had another bag on a shelf, so estimating 20-22lbs.

20lbs Maris Otter
1lb Caramel 80
1/2lb Caramel 120
1lb Flaked Barley
A "fistful" of maltodextrin (1/2cup maybe)

About 2oz Chinook at 90min (whole from hops "field" - about dozen lines each of chinook, centenniel, cascade, columbus, northern, willamette and goldings.)

About 2oz whole cascade (2 handfuls) 60 min

About 2oz Chinook at 45 min

About 2oz willamette at 15 min

Another good 2 handfuls willamette at 5min.

5L starter of Northern Brewer's Wyeast 1945. I split a smack pack, threw a splash in a 5L starter and tossed the rest on a smaller stout. Racked the stout to a 5g secondary and threw the barleywine and starter on the cake in a 7g bucket.

Sorry, I'm not very exact in my brewing, I tend to just brew whatever I feel like throwing together and rarely take notes unless I'm trying to replicate something I or someone else has made that I enjoyed.

This barleywine turned out fantastic. Another 5 months until I get to have it again...

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Old 03-08-2013, 02:43 AM   #3
Feb 2012
Midway, Utah
Posts: 69
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts

Very cool and a bit inspiring. I need to do a big boy brew to age for special occasion.

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Old 03-08-2013, 09:42 PM   #4
Apr 2012
Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,235
Liked 68 Times on 59 Posts

Nice chooks. Here's mine.

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