Monday, January 31, 2011

JDP4: No contest, fourth time is a charm (right?)

You win some, you lose some, and sometimes you bow out of the game.
JDP3 didn't pan out how I wanted, so I didn't bother entering it into The Bruery's homebrew competition. Not that I would've won. I hear that they were getting entries from around the world (including doc from the BN), so whatever homebrew wins, it will surely be an excellent beer. The JD Project may produce an excellent beer one day, but not yet, and certainly not JDP3.
Like JDP2, there's just too much rye. Although there is plenty of malt, that rye bite is too prominent. The missus described it as medicinal. At times it was, though that seems to be fading with age. Still, it's not a scotch ale, so on to JDP4.

For this batch, I've stepped up the crystal malt and dialed back on the rye. This should be a big, malty ale, with a slight bite of rye. Of course, the last beer should've been big and malty with a slight rye bite, but what are you going to do? Considering that the original gravity was 1.090 at 74 degrees, it's certainly starting off on the right path.
In lieu of cooling the wort in the laundry tub, as I typically do, the missus suggested setting it out in the snow. Everything about this idea seemed bad. The world is full of bacteria and most of it lives outdoors. But the fermentation bucket was closed and I had an airlock and alcohol seal on it. So as much as the idea worried me, I couldn't think of why I shouldn't do it. So I did. Here's hoping the beer survives.

I'm beginning to feel the pressure to finish this project. The Early Times has been in the barrel seven months, so I don't want to push it too far and damage the whiskey (which tastes fantastic). I think for this batch, I'll let it hang out in the fermentor for about a month. If it tastes right at the end of the month, I'll go ahead and transfer it into the barrel and then into bottles for conditioning. I was hoping to produce and approve a test batch of the scotch ale before going ahead with the barrel aging, but I need to get that bourbon out of the barrel.
These are weird problems to have. I know. But they're the problems facing me.