Friday, July 12, 2013

KGB Stout Bottling

When we last left off at the end of May, I thought I might have killed most of the two packets of yeast I had pitched (which would have been literally billions of yeast cells).

Well I did.

At least I think so.

But all was saved by pitching another packet of yeast, and about a month later I hit my target gravity of 1.030.

For you non-brewers out there, the higher the number, the more sugar there is in the beer. The bigger the drop from start to finish, the more alcohol in the finished beer. This one went from 103 to 30, which means it's around 9.4% alcohol.
 

So since the beer was done fermenting it was time to bottle.

I wanted to do something a little different with this beer and make essentially 3 different beers from it. Some of it I would bottle straight just like I would any other beer, some I wanted to add coffee to, and the rest I wanted to age on some bourbon-soaked oak chips. Since it tasted really sweet when I took the gravity reading at the end of June, I decided to do more of the coffee and regular version (since I thought the bourbon would add an additional sweetness to it).

I decided to go with 1 gallon (about 10 beers) of bourbon, and split the rest between the other two (so roughly 2 gallons of each).

A few days prior to bottling I prepped the oak chips and got them soaking on some bourbon. The oak actually came from a bourbon barrel stave so it had some bourbon notes already in it, but I wanted to make sure the bourbon really came through.


And the day before bottling I cold-brewed some coffee to soak overnight. I wasn't really sure the best way to add the coffee, but it sounded like cold-brewing the coffee (as you would for an iced coffee) would yield the best coffee flavor, so that's what I tried using our regular morning coffee.

Who'm I kidding? I drink this stuff all day.

Side note: I thought about doing an espresso, but the espresso roasts that I tried didn't yield the kind of flavor I was looking for. Depending on the results, this is something I'd love to play around with next time.
First up on bottling day was transferring the first gallon onto the bourbon-soaked oak chips to age for an additional few days (or until the bourbon comes through).




Once that was done, I transferred the rest of the beer into the bottling bucket and added the priming sugar.


Then, it was bottling like normal for the first half. Since there was a lot of trub with this batch, I only managed to get about 4.5 gallons out of the 5 that were fermenting. That meant I put about 1.5 gallons into bottles before adding the coffee, which I rounded off to an even 18 bottles.

 So much trub!

Eww.



With the coffee added, I continued to bottle the remaining beer.

I ended up getting another 17 bottles after the coffee was added, so it was a pretty even split.

Once again I had my little assistant helping me throughout the process, so this is truly his first brew. If it would keep I would seriously consider tucking a bottle away until we could share it.


Maybe I can have him "help" me make a wine that we can do that with.

So that's it for a couple of months for this one. Once the gallon that's soaking on the bourbon oak chips gets enough of the bourbon flavor in it I'll bottle that as well, then I'm really going to try my best to not think about it again until sometime this fall.

Everything tucked away in the fermentation chamber

The samples that I've had have been really good, but this is the kind of beer that will definitely improve after aging for a couple of months. I can't even begin to describe how excited I am to crack open the first bottle with a nice fire going in the firepit.

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