The brew day was fairly uneventful. The only real issue I had was that I used a steeping bag for the grain that was too small; I don’t think I got as much of the color out of it as I could have, and it ended a little lighter than I thought it would. I made a starter for it to make sure I had enough yeast for a strong fermentation, and I made the full 5 gallons in one go, splitting it between my two fermentors. I would later regret this a bit...4 gallons of 12-13% beer takes a long, long time to drink.
After 3 months I hooked the keg up to gas, force carbed it, and had a taste. It was...a little rough around the edges. Very flavorful, and no hints of rubbing alcohol or other nastiness. Almost syrupy, as there was a fair bit of residual sweetness in it. For the rest of the year I would slowly drink it, and it gradually got better and better. My tasting notes throughout that time are at the bottom. In August I was able to taste the genuine article at the Flying Saucer in Nashville. The clone I brewed was pretty close, but the real thing was a lot better. The flavors just meshed better and were a lot richer.
Towards the end of the keg I bottled about a half gallon of it to age for longer. I popped the first of these one year after it was brewed (Feb 2015). Let's just say I look forward to the last two bottles.
|An early shot of it. The head lasted quite a long time.|
|A pour from the aged bottle. I think its pretty.|
1/28/2015: made a starter. 2L of water, 8oz of LME. Two packets of US05. Should yield approximately 2x as many yeast cells as are needed for beer of this gravity. Gravity of the starter is about 11brix.