It’s time for cold conditioning. Last night I racked the Oatmeal Stout and IPA into the secondary fermentors and dropped them into the basement beer fridge at about 42 degrees F. I love the smell of freshly fermented beer. It’s obviously warm and flat, but you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s hopefully going to taste like when you crack that lid.

Oatmeal Stout on left, oak-infused IPA on right

You may recall both of my brews underwent violent fermentations, with the stout exploding plumes of frothy krausen out of the air lock. When I opened up the stout primary, I was greeted with the comforting smell of sweet and cinnamon-spicy oatmeal, as well as a little bit of Starbucks Breakfast Blend (which I tossed into the mix after I cooled the wort, about 16 liquid ounces). The aroma was fantastic. I siphoned off the ale into the glass carboy, watching the toffee brown liquid gently spill into the container. It almost looked like Nestle Quik chocolate milk. And I’m not talking about the standard one-scoop version mom would give you. Oh no, this stuff is strong enough to make the rabbit blush. I think it’s going to be a very good beer.

By design, the IPA was a whole different story. Floral hops wafted from the primary (I used 3 ounces of Glacier, Columbus and Goldings), and the brew was a perfectly golden amber color. Exactly what I was hoping for. It has a final gravity of 1.018 (about 6.1% ABV based on my original gravity), and is supposed to come in at about 70 IBUs. This one should have some kick. The other interesting tidbit is that I charred about 4 ounces of oak wood chips on my outdoor grill and dropped them into the secondary. The hope is that they’ll impart a slightly smoky quality to the IPA, similar to the oak casks used by the British when shipping to colonial India. We’ll see how it turns out.

Both of these will marinate for at least a couple weeks. The stout will probably go longer. I’ll keep you posted on progress. Until we’re ready to keg, I’ll have to bide my time posting more reviews…

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