Sunday, December 5, 2010
I think this might just be the batch.
I bottled JDP3 this afternoon and judging by the final gravity (1.020), A.B.V. (10%), and taste, this might just be the recipe that I'll remake and stick in the bourbon barrel. The color is good, if a little lighter than I expected, and the wort tasted malty with the bite of rye clearly coming through. And there's just enough flavor from the smoked malt to let you know it's there. Once this gets a few days in the barrel, I think it'll be phenomenal.
However, now I'm working against the clock. I'll get a chance to taste the nearly finished beer on Dec. 21, the day before I fly to Florida for Christmas and New Years. I get back on Jan. 6. Realistically, I can get the next batch going on Jan. 7, and get it in the barrel by Jan. 12. The beer will then be in the barrel up to a week, which means it'll have about two weeks to bottle condition it before I ship a couple samples off to The Bruery. That's a tight time frame. Hopefully, Jan. 31 is the deadline to submit the beer, but the judges won't sample them for another week or so.
Even if I don't win -- and odds are that I won't -- I'll be happy to wrap up this project. I was hoping to have the American scotch ale recipe worked out by the time the barrel was ready and it looks like I meet that deadline. Because these batches are small, I'll probably do a second one before I stick something else in the barrel (stout?).
And a final hop update for the year: no hops. From the beginning, this year was a write off. I've heard and read that you should never expect much yield the first year you plant the hops. Well, sure enough, I didn't get a single damn hop cone this year. Not one. So, I'll take down the vines and look forward to a more robust season next spring (of course, one hop cone would constitute a more robust season). Fittingly, as my first year of hop farming comes to a close, I'm just about to finish off Digression³, my first wet hop IPA. The hop growth may have sucked, but at least the wet hop beer didn't.