My friend Bob decided to start a yearly tradition of brewing a barleywine every New Years Day. I like it! Not only is it sort of a cool way to ring in the New Year, but it's also starting the year off enjoying the day with friends. Our group brew sessions are always a lot of fun.
However, having brewed a Strong Old Ale *and* an English Barleywine for our barrel project already, I didn't brew a barleywine. I had some Bugfarm4 from East Coast Yeast in the fridge and it was getting past time to put it to use. I grew it up a bit in a 1 liter starter for a week to get it healthy again, and then brewed a Flanders Red. I brewed my first Flanders almost exactly a year ago, at another group brew with other friends, at the end of December 2009. So, in lieu of a third huge abv beer in the fermentor, I figured I can either stick with brewing a Flanders once a year, or just start doing the yearly barleywine next year. Either way, we had a great time.
We were also joined by other friends, Tony C and Tony B. Tony C was brewing his barrel barleywine and Tony B brewed an ESB (yeast starter beer for his barrel brew.) Our friend Jim and his son, a Marine in town for the holidays, stopped by as well. Jim's son recently brewed his first extract-kit IPA and was getting in some quality all-grain observation time while on leave at home.
Both Tonys also grilled venison from their recent deer hunting trip. I've gotta say the venison was some of the best meat I've had in a long, long time. Thanks guys!!!
After a string of 2 unseasonably warm days/nights, Mother Nature decided to lower the thermostat on us for New Years Day and we got to brew outside in 19F weather! We at least took shelter in a detached garage and there were 4 burners running much of the time which provided some "heat" although heat may be an overstatement! Still, it was much better than brewing in 90F+ humid summer weather! (Next time, I vote we at least do this in my attached garage where we can run out to check things from time to time. . .)
Aside from the grilling & brewing, we also had many delicious beers. I broke out a bottle of de Struise's Black Albert, one of my last 3 bottles of award winning all-brett C beer, as well as all-brett L w/ wine & cherries, a bottle of one of The Bruery's Christmas beers (we all agreed this one was way too sweet,) and one of my Archaic beers using cultured up Pannepot 2007 dregs. Others brought many of their homebrews and some interesting commercial beers as well.
To end the day, another friend, Jesse, stopped by my place just after we finished brewing and the two of us tried several Baltic Porters we'd been waiting to sample side-by-side. And then I went to bed at 6pm for several hours. . .
This year's Flanders Red recipe is almost the same as last year's, the recipe from Wild Brews, but last year I decided to add some raw sugar for whatever (dumb) reason. In retrospect, I think I just didn't have much sour brewing experience a year ago. Maybe I did it to combat the terrible efficiency I was getting still, prior to fixing my mash tun. Regardless, I got rid of the sugar addition and brewed it this year. Last year's batch used Bugfarm3 and is getting really good as of the last sample I took. This year's is the newer Bugfarm4. I'm anxious to try Al's Flemish Ale blend whenever he releases that via East Coast Yeast as well. Here's the Flanders recipe:
Flanders Red - #2
brewed on: 1/1/11
IBUs: 12 IBUs
mash temp: 150F
expected color:13.1 SRM
5.5 lbs. Vienna malt
2.25 lbs. Flaked Corn
1 lb. German Carahell
1 lb. Belgian Caravienna
1 lb. Belgian Aromatic malt
6oz. Belgian Special B
Hops (all loose pellets):
0.6 oz Styrian Goldings @ 5.2% - 60 minutes
slurry from 1 liter starter of ECY Bugfarm4
2/21/11 - SG @ 1.006. Nice tartness. Acidity reminiscent of green apple, but more intense. (Not green apple flavor though.) Moved to basement.