Due to my wild ale experiment taking up my gallon fermenter, I haven’t started in on this project yet. I have also been gearing up for a move out of my apartments and trying to focus on studying for finals, so brewing has had to take a back seat. I haven’t forgotten about brewing, I just haven’t had time to do it all. I have done some additional research into my methods, so I have tweaked some ideas and recipes. Here are some updates from part 1.
1. I will use three oak chips soaked in a little vodka. Additional research suggests that oak chips are extremely potent their first go in a beer. I do want some hints of oak but it should take a back seat to the brett flavors. The cool thing about the oak chips is that I can keep them in the fridge and repitch them to add brett to future beers.
2. I modified the brown ale recipe to add some tradition into the recipe. Recipes in Wild Brews go heavy on pilsner, but I figured I already have lots of pilsner in the aged pale and I wanted to add some complexity in the malts since the faster process won’t contribute the complexity from long fermentation normally associated with the aged pale. I’m still out on the corn, well, because I don’t want to use corn.
3. The aged pale ale will ferment from 2-6 months, depending on when the FG readings stabilize near what beersmith suggests is FG. Using brett as the only strain usually does not superattenuate so I shouldn’t have too much problem getting down to where I need within a reasonable period of time. I may continue to age solely to allow brett to break down the last of the unfermentable sugars and let the flavors blend. However, if the oak starts to get overpowering I’ll have to fish out the oak and I may stop the aging at that time.
Here’s the revised recipe components for the brown ale:
Pale malt 3.5lb
Vienna malt 1lb
Munich malt 1.25lb
Special B .25lb
.75oz at 60 min
.25oz at 10 min
I developed this recipe by blending the concepts in Wild Brews with some of the information I found online for recipes. The Special B will help add complexity by adding hints of its usual flavors without making any of them too prominent. I may make further changes since I won’t brew the brown ale until at least the early part of next year and maybe as far out as early summer.
I am still somewhat undecided about how sour to make the aged pale. I’m thinking ¼ sour mash (so 32oz.) but part of me wants to go higher and do half. I feel like that is rather aggressive for souring but that half gallon in 4 gallons of final product will amount to 12.5% sour mash for the whole beer, which isn’t too much. Part of me even wants to do more than that, like sour mash half the grain for a few days and then either do a long acid mash or dump the sour mash in at the beginning of the regular mash. Maybe I will just let the sour mash get really, really sour. Decisions, decisions…
Anyway, those are some updated thoughts I wanted to catalog. I hope to brew the aged pale within a few weeks, maybe as a study break over Thanksgiving, so I will update the process then.