Over the last few weeks, I have completed two dual batch brew days… The first round of the two included Smokey Joe and Bourbon Nectar. Smokey Joe is a brown porter with a base of organic pale ale malt, caramel and dark malts. It is currently sitting on Bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and will be getting a concentrated addition of smoked coffee before bottling. Bourbon Nectar is one that I am really looking forward to, as it is a specialty Bourbon beer, with organic 2 row as the base and a hint of honey malt. The beer is currently at 8.3% and super smooth; the magic will happen soon, when it gets transferred over Bourbon soaked oak and will age for 6 weeks.
The brew day for this first batch went pretty well and was improved even more when we had Hot Bourbonies! For those of you that don’t know, Hot Scotchies is actually the term, and typically consists of the sweet liquor that is extracted from the grain, combined with Scotch; a very simple, but amazing elixir. Well, we found out that it is even better with Bourbon, when mixed with the sweet liquor from the Smokey Joe!
The second round was Old Cinnamon Ale and Winter Solstice Ale and occurred this past weekend, mainly due to the fact that it was a long holiday weekend. Old Cinnamon is… An Old Ale, you guessed it! It has an organic pale ale malt base with some other English and roasted malts. It gets cinnamon and brown sugar in the boil, along with additional cinnamon, vanilla, sweet orange peel and raisins in the secondary and typically clocks in around 8%. The Winter Solstice is a revision to a recipe that I have been brewing since I started 5 years ago. It is a hopless beer and relies mainly on traditional Celtic herbs and flowers for the bittering, which can be different than people are used to, so I decided to rework the quantities and base ingredients this year. The base is organic 2 row with some caramel, dark malts and a hint of peat smoked malt for character. Some of the herbs consist of mugwort, heather flowers, dandelion root, etc., while organic raw honey is added at flameout. The beer is usually in the 7% range and this time, I have decided to age it briefly on some Scotch-soaked oak cubes.
The brew day for this batch went fairly well, although the efficiency was low on Old Cinnamon, due to issues that I had with my grain mill the previous night. A few friends came over and helped me with transfer and cleanup, as well as quality control of my current beers on tap, of course! Winston (our dog), even came and helped, but it was only when my friend Mark was hanging out there, as he loves Mark (see picture at left).
Overall, these beers seem to be progressing well and as noted above, I will probably be processing the two Bourbon beers this weekend for their next stages. Whereas, the Old Ales brewed this past weekend will be allowed to continue their fermentation process, although a gravity reading and subsequent taste-test may be required at some point! 🙂 I will post more about these beers when they are complete and tapped.