It's been awhile since an update, been going crazy brewing up supplies for summer and even managed to crank out a few new ones.
This was our first brew that went through the oak aging process so I was a little nervous with how it'd turn out. Nothing to worry about as it ended up being one of the best brews we've ever done. Besides adding a myriad of flavors, the oak does an amazing job of really smoothing or mellowing out a beer, especially helpful with brews that have higher ABV's. It turned out so well that we'll be adding a few more different types to try, with one in the fermenter now and another to start brewing in a few weeks. For the first two batches we're using oak spirals that have been soaked or marinated with Scotch Bourbon, it doesn't to ABV as so little is soaked into the wood, but enough to infuse some more interesting or complicated flavors. Going forward we'll be getting a small quantity of oak barrels for some brews that require a much longer aging process.
As the colder you can get an environment the stronger the brew will end up being, this would have been a fun project last winter when it was hitting 40 below. Basically you're freezing the brew and as it thaws, the initial liquid is a more concentrated ABV, leaving behind a large ice crystal. For this brew, it was done two times completely and on third it would only freeze a small amount, hitting the max ABV for the temperature. While the higher ABV can be nice, it's still very smooth even at 27%, the downside is it uses up a ton of beer in the freezing process, leaving you with about 15% of what you started with. Still, it was an interesting brew to make and now have a fun project to look forward to during the frozen, barren parts of winter.
Enjoy the new brews and have a great weekend!
The Brewing Loony