Posts Tagged ‘bottle waxing’

white II, new tap handle

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

after kegging and bottling the first run of white, I saved a few pints of slurry from the fermenter and put together the second version of this sour brown.

  • I only changed up a couple of recipe elements, subbing in my super-low alpha saaz hops for last year’s spalter (for 4 IBUs instead of 16) and mashing higher at 156F (12 gallon all-grain recipe):
    • 22 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 78.6 %
      3 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 10.7 %
      2 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.1 %
      1 lbs Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
      3.00 oz Saaz [1.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 3.7 IBUs
  •  I ended up taking a long phone call during the mash, which extended my mash time to close to 2 hours.  I’m thinking this helped boost my efficiency, since I ended up with an OG of 17.3 brix (1.072), which was a little higher than I would have liked.  I pitched the saved slurry with a single vial of WLP530, and in less than a day I had a raging fermentation with krausen blasting the cover off of my half barrel fermenter and pouring out the top.  a bout of hot weather forced me to start fermentation at close to 75F, but I have read online that the abbey yeast strain is very temperature tolerant and even thrives at warmer temps, so I have high hopes here.

after waxing and storing my vizcaino bottles for the long haul, I also got around to fabricating my second custom tap handle for my kegerator.

  • after the resounding success of my first tap handle experiment, I made a point to keep an eye out for potential tap handle material during my travels.  while playing some incredible disc golf over at solitude a few weeks ago, I came across a pile of aspen branches and scored a perfectly cylindrical chunk from the bunch.  after a little sawing and drilling, a wood insert nut was tapped into the branch and a new tap handle was born.  now I have reminders of two great trips on display every time I go to grab a pour in the basement.





bottle waxing revisited, sour eisbier, solera update

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

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.