Monday, March 23, 2009

Birdseye Barley wine. Mud season.

wow. It sure took a while to write this up. Well, at least I posted the pictures promptly...

Let's see if I can remember what happened!

Okay, here we have some of the partially boiled maple sap. I was a bit negligent in keeping track of the total amount of sap I actually boiled as I was adding it rather haphazrdly as the boil progressed. It was at least 20 gallons. The finished amount was... um, 9.50 gallons (according to my notes.). It tasted wicked good (note the sample glass) maple yes, but more like light caramel/vanilla. Pleasantly light and sweet. I could drink this as is! Thinking about making some maple soda next year...
Here we have the gravity reading for my partially boiled strike/sparge water (sap). It came out to be 8 degrees brix or a specific gravity of 1.028. I had a real brain melt trying to figure out how to account for this initial sugar in my recipe calculations. I ended up plugging 1 lb. 8 oz. pure cane sugar into the recipe to stand in for the sap. Calcs in the program called for 10 gallons of actual water (1/2 gallon more than I had) so I boiled some extra spring water just in case I needed to adjust.
I am now adding to this many months later. I am a bit fuzzy on the details so... I know I have notes somewhere, just have to find my notebook. Perhaps I will update again. Anyway, with the facts I do have from my computer I will sketch out what happened. My preboil gravity target was 1.075. My sugar substitution in the recipe formulation was a bit off the mark in accounting for the sap as my actual preboil gravity was 1.088! I could have diluted at this point but I did not bother.
lots o' hops. Yum. I used both homegrown and some pellet hops I bought. With the higher gravity I probably should have added more. I may have... But I have no record at the moment
Now I ended up with less volume in the end as well. I had 5.88 gallons and was aiming for 6.25 gallons. So, of course my OG ended up also significantly higher at 1.112! Target was only 1.090. Now looking at this photo and seeing I had 5.5 in the fermenter I surely must have diluted? With all that hop matter it is doubtful I could have gotten 5.5 from 5.88. If so, I wonder what the OG was actually?!?! Oh where are my notes!

Anyway, the yeast cake from the altbier did the trick again. Carboy go BOOM! Not sure why I thought I could get away without a blow-off. Or then again, I think I did have a blow-off originally it was just so violent it actually blew off the blow-off tube and carboy cap? Whatever the case it was a MESS!

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