20 July 2010

Tripel 'Round the World Update

In May, a friend volunteered to build be a copper manifold for my mash tun. Since I have no mechanical skills at all (zippers elude me so I wear no pants), I said "Sure!" I took it to him, and he told me it would be a month before he could get to it. "Oh well, NHC is coming up," I thought, "and I can do a couple of extract brews." So I dug out Sam Caligione's book Extreme Brewing. I decided to brew Tripel 'Round the World. I followed the recipe exactly, even going so far as to only pitching a single vial of yeast. The OG was 1.090 and the FG was 1.042 instead of the expected 1.021. I sampled the kegged beer last night, and it's okay at first. But it's cloying. By the end of the second glass, it's like syrup.

Yes, I know. I am telling myself now that I should have made a starter. Or at least, when I added the brown sugar at the end of fermentation, I should have added another vial of yeast. I didn't and I have learned my lesson. But I am still left with a far too sweet beer.

As I see it, I can take the keg out of the fridge. Vent it and let it come to room temp. Vent it several times as CO2 comes out of solution. Then transfer it to a carboy and pitch more yeast.

In 2007, I went to NHC in Denver, and went to Vinnie Cilurzo's presentation about sour beers. After the session, he handed out baggies of oak chips infected with wild yeast.

Here's what I came up with as I was driving home from work: Do all of the above, but instead of pitching yeast, add Vinnie's dime bag of oak chips. Let it sit 6 or more months, bottle and store cool for however long it takes.

So I asked the vast collective intelligence of the BN Army: What would they do? Drink the sweet beer one glass at a time; repitch with yeast; or repitch with Vinnie's infected wood chips? Any other ideas?

After a few days of advice, I decided on the nifty idea of making a small starter, and adding it to the keg. It has a relief valve that can be locked open, making a effective airlock. So yesterday morning, I made a 500 ml starter, pitched two vials of Abbey Ale yeast and waited for high krausen. Then I vented the keg, and poured the starter into the keg. I resealed the keg and let it sit a couple of hours before locking the valve in the open position. I figure a week of fermentation should do the trick. Stay Tuned.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:40

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