bottle waxing revisited, sour eisbier, solera update

last sunday I waxed another batch of bottles before tucking them away for long-term storage.  however, this time around I encountered a few issues with the results.

  • my original idea was to color-code bottle wax by year for easy reference, so I switched up from last year’s green wax to a different brand of gray polymer wax I had purchased in bulk.  the new wax provided a thicker coat on the bottle than previous attempts, which provided results similar to commercial examples I had seen from commerical breweries such as deschutes.
  • bottling went smoothly for the most part, but I found myself repeatedly refilling my dip can since the viscous wax allowed for a fewer number of bottles to be dipped per batch.  for my last batch I loaded up the can with twice the amount of wax I usually use (3″ diameter X 3″ height vs. my usual 1.5″ height) and subsequently waited about twice as long for the wax to melt.  this larger amount of stored heat energy appeared to compromise the integrity of some of my “large” 29mm bottle caps.
  • more specifically, three large mouth capped bottles of cabrillo displayed a small leak after waxing, one bottle mouth cracked from the heat, and another large cap failed completely, shooting off of the top of the bottle despite the wax reinforcement.
  • that being said, I also waxed all of my winter saison bottles (in standard bombers and caps) with a smaller batch of heated polymer wax, and as of this moment, none are symptomatic.  therefore, I would advise dipping a trial bottle before proceeding with any new polymer wax or cap configuration so as to avoid potentially compromising your brews.

as a result of my waxing incident, I was left with three bottles (two liters) of fresh cabrillo that were threatened with a drain pour.  inspired by armand’s reaction to the drie fonteinen disaster, I decided to ice concentrate the beer to create an “eis sour.”

  • after reviewing posts from the mad fermentationist and homebrewtalk, I poured the beer into plastic bottles and froze them overnight in the freezer.  the next day I ran the ice and leftover liquid into a strainer, with a bowl placed underneath.
  • however, instead of waiting for the beer/ice chips to run clear, I removed the ice mixture as soon as the flow of liquid stalled at around 30 seconds or so, such that none of the ice could melt and dilute the resulting liquid (this made for a much less efficient process with hopefully more concentrated results).  I repeated this process a second time, and ended up with a little over 12 oz. of viscous, aromatic runnings.  based on volume observations and rough guesstimates, the final product should be around 20% abv, with a tasting profile as follows:
    • jurassic beach (eis cuvee de cabrillo)
    • aroma: huge vanilla oak, clean sourness, dense cherry
    • appearance: dark hazy brown, opaque in bottle
    • taste: syrupy, intense tongue-coating sourness and oak; warm finish hits you in your chest
    • overall: sour works well in this format, but 2-3oz. is plenty here

in other news, the solera is going strong (maybe a bit too strong – see pic below), and I celebrated the completion of my latest side project with a pour of my newly-tapped kolsch-turned-saison, which turned out surprisingly well and made for a great lighter, more approachable version of the style.

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One Response to “bottle waxing revisited, sour eisbier, solera update”

  1. Recent BABB Blog Posts April 18, 2012 | Bay Area Beer Bloggers Says:

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