Brief update on barrel status. I pulled a 22-oz sample for the January meeting a couple of weeks ago. Gravity was around 1.012, and airlock activity has been nil in the last several weeks-- not surprising considering this gravity is the same as I noted in November.
Tasting notes were similar to before as well, with some barrel character slowly developing, to my palate mostly in the direction of floral, fruit, sweat, chocolate/cherry, but with minimal sourness. Several folks who tasted it at the meeting were surprised by the lack of tartness.
Ambient temp has been about 65F in the vicinity of the barrel, with RH in the 30-50% range. Beer level has dropped a bit since last check, maybe an additional inch or so, for a liquid level 2-3" below the bunghole. Based on experience with Tim Wheeler's addition, I'd say it would take another 1-2 gallons to top it up at this point.
I've submitted a couple of comments to the original post on the AABG main page with updates since filling. I will reproduce the info here in case it's useful.
Last weekend about 3 gallons of Tim Wheeler's beer was added to the barrel, bringing the level to within about 1" of the bung, which we deemed to be full. I did not pull any samples at that time. Tim kept the remainder of the beer for his own use. If the level appears to be dropping significantly, I'm prepared to brew more to top it up.
After being asked about it by a few folks at the meeting Friday, I pulled a sample tonight. Gravity read 1.012, down 6 points from fill. Flavor and aroma are dominated by malt sweetness and fruitiness (strawberries, raspberries), mingled with notes of barrel character (oak, barnyard) and some light phenolics. There were hints of acid in the nose but very little actual tartness in the flavor or finish-- actually seems less tart than some we tasted going in. Perhaps those bugs are still getting to know the neighborhood.
Airlock activity continues undaunted, slow but steady, bubbling once every minute or two. Current ambient temp is about 66F, with RH the past few weeks around 50%.
I just filled my five gallon barrel and have about a gallon left, which I said I would contribute to the club barrel, which wasn't finished. I put it into the same keg I brought to the filling. Interestingly, it had absolutely no diacetyl, which the corney I brought to the filling had in spades. It developed that diacetyl in the 24 hours between kegging and emptying.
Also, I think that Aron said he would post the tasting notes and other details from the contributors' various beers. They certainly differed a good bit, with two having distinctive lambic kind of aromas, and some seemed to lack any distinctive Belgian character. The beer I just racked to my barrel had gone down from 1.021 to 1.017 in just eight days since last week, and had developed more spice and lacto notes. Tasted really nice.
Those who wish to participate, please arrive at my house at 2pm or shortly after on Saturday, 8/21. I expect we'll spend the first hour or so emptying the barrel into kegs and then rinsing it. We'll then move on to the refill phase. Seems like we should be able to finish up by around 5pm.
IF YOU WERE A SAISON BREWER, PLEASE BE SURE WE HAVE YOUR EMPTY KEG(S) AT OR BEFORE 2PM SATURDAY 8/21!!! Kegs labeled with your name can be dropped off any time in my back porch. Please make sure they are clean and sanitized. (Mark, Mike, and Phil, you folks contributed 10 or more gallons, so please be prepared to get about this much back!)
IF YOU ARE A FLANDERS RED BREWER, PLEASE SHOW UP ON SATURDAY 8/21 AT 2PM, OR DROP YOUR KEG OFF BEFOREHAND!!! Kegs labeled with your name can be dropped off any time in my back porch.
Regarding hoses, like last time I will have CO2 and plumbing to run two ball-lock kegs into the bbl at once. If you feel this is too few (or are bringing pin-lock kegs), feel free to bring another set (each line should be a 4-5' piece of tubing with a gas or liquid fitting attached to one end, and open on the other). I have a valved tee fitting in one of my gas lines that's got a 5/16″ barb on it, so it should be easy enough to hook up another gas line there.
I will plan to have 4-5 gallons of boiled, cooled water prepared ahead of time for the rinsing Crispy described. I also have a large funnel and an auto-siphon for anyone bringing carboys. I will have a few gallons of iodophor sanitizer ready to go as well, for general use during the festivities.
Let me know if there are any other suggestions, questions, etc.
Could you provide specifics for what hoses would be good to bring? I was REALLY not sure what to bring until I happened across the photos from the initial barrel fill elsewhere on this website. So, with your tank and CO2 manifold, we can only push 2 cornies at a time, correct? If we want to do more, someone else would need to bring CO2, and unless one brings their own CO2, there's no sense bringing a CO2 hose, correct? The beer line should have a beer-out fitting on one end and open on the other, right?
Saturday, 8/21, works for me. I'd like to keep activities in the window from 2-6pm, if possible.
When thinking about the event, a few questions come to mind:
1. Can everyone make it to my place on 8/21, or should I plan to receive kegs before and/or after the event? We can do something like last time, where folks drop off kegs in my back porch.
2. What are our contingency plans for saison brewers who aren't able to make it over to pick up their share when we empty the barrel? Can someone bring some extra empty kegs to put it in? (I don't expect to have any spares at that point.)
As before, I will have CO2 and a couple sets of gas and beer lines with ball lock fittings. Any pin lock users out there? The transfers will go smoother if you can bring a set of gas and beer fittings. The other alternative is opening kegs and siphoning, which isn't ideal for speed or sanitation.
As for the beer currently in the barrel, I pulled a sample over the weekend to fill a bottle for the meeting this Friday. Gravity is reading about 1.009, so it's continued to dry out slowly, also evidenced by occasional activity in the airlock. I tasted a small sample, and found it to be reminiscent of JP's Bam-- light body, some malty and spicy saison character, along with some mild tartness, and some oaky and sweaty notes. A very nice beverage, in my opinion.
crispy275 said: Justin and Christi came over about three days before Owen was born
When did this happen? I have not seen any 'congrats' on the list.
As for the project, was the final list of participants listed out? The last time it was brought up in email, Mark listed number 12 as empty, and said he was waiting to hear back. Since I'm number 13, I want to know if I should be planning for this, or skipping it.
I did brew my batch of beer for the barrel last Monday before I left town (8/2).
I did a 10 gallon batch (17P) and the second half got a load of the yeast that Brad collected from the air at OG during the same wort different yeast event!
on the 21st - I think that I am brewing at the Heritage Fest again this year - but haven't heard back from the organizers?!
If I am - I will get my beer delivered before the filling - probably need an empty keg too
Mike O'Brien 734-637-2532
Alex asks about the August 21st date – that is my recollection as well. Hopefully, our host and barrel depository custodian will throw out some optional times for those of us involved to make it over to his house. Recall, this will take more than twice as long, as the barrel has to be emptied completly, then potentially "rinsed". And we will need all hands on deck, or they will need to arrange alternative arrangements with Aron prior to this date to drop off their Flanders and a vessel for filling up their Saison.
I recommend rinsing – this would invlove several 3-4 gallon buckets of boiled, then rested (10-30 minutes) water being funneled into the barrel, swished around and then dumped out. Takes two people to do this, and I know with my shoulder I am not one of them. The third rinse (in my experience) comes out relatively clear.
Then we have to fill from 11 people's keg's and carboys. If anyone is bringing their beer in a carboy, will they need to bring their own racking cane and tubing, or will Aron supply this? Also, I believe since we have 12 people, one person will need to leave their keg (or it could be Aron's) for topping off every few weeks.
Justin and Christi came over about three days before Owen was born and we got the racking cane that Mike O'Brien made for my barrel threaded through the silicon bung, along with a steel gas line connector, so we can gently push Saison from the barrel into waiting kegs.
Curious cutting and pasting from email - puts the info in reverse order?!
734-637-2532pico-Brewing SystemsMike O'Brien
We will assemble the kits Sat. am.
Each 5 gallon kit will cost $20.The kits will include all of the grain and pellet hops.
If you are interested in getting a Flanders Red Kit for delivery at the Beer BQ please follow this link and fill out the poll.
Mike O'Brien 734-637-2532
On 5/13 I thiefed out about a pint to bring to the AABG meeting the following day. I measured the gravity at that time to be about 1.012, suggesting the beer had dropped 6 points since filling about 3 weeks before. Since then, airlock activity has slowed considerably, suggesting the beer may be reaching its FG.
Beer level had not changed in any noticeable way before I removed the sample. There was a not-quite-solid skin of what looked like brown yeast globules over the visible surface below the bung. No leaks, wetness, or other changes in the barrel have been observed.
To my palate, the tasting impression was dryer and lighter in body than the beers as I recall them going in (consistent with the attenuation). It also seemed cleaner and smoother, with less of the solventy, yeasty, and spicy characters than previously.
Based on a few periodic checks, the temperature near the barrel remains at 63-65F and RH at 55-65%.
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