|The wine barrel from Hogshead Wine|
I know I promised an update on my SCHF Split Batch Porter which is well on its way to being BaseCamp Breakfast and BaseCamp Dessert. I promise I will do an update on them in a week or so when I keg the finished products. This post will cover a far more exciting project – barrel aging.
A few months ago my brewing mentor Shawn got his hands on a couple of used 65 gallon wine barrels from a local winery. The idea surfaced to fill one them with a red ale and then pitch a large culture of bugs to create a barrel aged sour ale. The problem became filling the barrel as 65 gallons is a lot of beer to produce. Shawn decided to launch a thread on the AHP Brew Club forum to recruit additional brewers. In total 7 brewers participated.
|That's a damn big fermenter|
The next question in the fill became how to conduct the primary, this was a question that I had an answer too. A little over a year ago I bought a 55 gallon food grade water drum from my friend and Mead Master Chad. My reason for buying it was that one day I wanted to do a group brew and use it as a massive primary. Over a year later that day had arrived and I offered it up to the group. The water drum was in great shape and only needed a light cleaning to get it into shape.
At the beginning of April we met at the shop to outline the project and determine the style guidelines we would brew to. I mentioned it was a red ale that we decided to lightly hop (under 20) with a targeted OG around 1.060-1.075. It’s a huge range I know, but will even out around the up 1.060 range when combined. We next settled on a brew date of April 15th for everyone to brew in the morning then meet at Shawn’s house for drop off and combining. In addition to the 50 gallons we planned a group fermenting we set aside about 15 gallons to ferment by itself for topping off the barrel. In total the range on production was between 26 and 5 gallons with Shawn brewing the bulk with 26 over a very long brewday that used every piece of equipment he had.
The day before the brew I went over to Shawn’s house with the water drum so that we could study it to see what we needed to do to convert it from a sealed water drum to a massive primary fermenter. There were two ports on the lid what upon closer examination turned out to contain 2 inch threaded end caps. After unscrewing one we headed off to Lowe's to build a blow off tub. The blow off adapter is made of three part which reduced it from 2 inches to 1. We then took about 5 feet of 1 inch ID vinyl tubing and hose clamped it to the adapter. We ran the tub up and over the fermenter pulling it back to its sides and into a bucket (which will be filled with sanitizer) using blue bungee cords.
|I opened this after the wort was combined|
After the conversion I headed over to the shop to grab my grain and ran into two of my fellow brewers also buying grain for the next day. After a quick comparison of recipes it was noted that my mash temperature was too low. I had been in a rush to finish it and clearly had forgotten to make the adjustments.
Brewday itself will probably go down as one of my smoothest. Not only did I set a brewhouse efficiency record of 80% but I was extremely productive as well. Between in process cleaning I was also able to plant my remaining hops and mow the lawn.
In about two weeks I plan on heading back to Shawn’s to help him transfer the beer from the fermenter drum to the barrel. After that it is a short 12 month wait to the final project. In the meantime Shawn and I will try to figure out a use for the other barrel. Maybe a big stout?
Adding it to the barrel
Adding it to the barrel
Sour Barrel Red
Flanders Red Ale
Type: All Grain
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.50 gal
Brewer: Scott Bennett
Asst Brewer: DG
Boil Size: 14.36 gal
Boil Time: 90 min
Equipment: SNB Brewhouse (Keggle and Cooler)
End of Boil Volume 12.48 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Est Original Gravity: 1.071
SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.071 SG
Bitterness: 16.8 IBUs
Est Color: 14.2 SRM
9.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 33.0 %
8.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 29.4 %
3.00 lb Carared (20.0 SRM) Grain 3 11.0 %
2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 4 7.3 %
1.00 lb Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.7 %
1.00 lb Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 6 3.7 %
0.25 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 7 0.9 %
3.00 lb Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 8 11.0 %
1.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 75.0 min Hop 9 12.9 IBUs
1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 18.0 min Hop 10 3.9 IBUs
2.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 18.0 mins) Other 11 -
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 27.25 lb
Sparge Water: 9.71 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 7.80 gal of water at 167.9 F 156.0 F 60 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 3 steps (Drain mash tun, 4.5gal, 4.5gal) of 168.0 F water
|The water drum|
|Cutting the blow-off tube|
|The blow-off adapter|
|Completed blow-off tube|
|My current set-up|
|Most wort I've boiled|
|SNB Brewing: HopFarms|
|My Temp has been spiking back up post cool down. |
I'm assuming residual heat from the keg.
|The foam being pushed out by the wort|
|16.2 Bx = 1.071 SG|
|Needed a good long Ice Bath|
|Filling the drum|
|26 gallons in a day!|