dsc01025Took care of a few homebrewing activities today. First up was bottling my barleywine which I brewed more than a month ago. I popped the air lock off the secondary, and my senses were immediately enveloped by a walloping aroma of booze (11.5% ABV to be exact) intertwined with malty sweetness. My eyes began to water profusely, and I had to grab a hold of the countertop to steady my wobbly legs. Well, slight exaggeration. But I’ve almost never been in the presence of such a strong beer before…let alone one I’d created myself.

As I bottled into bombers for long-term cellaring, I took a few sips of the flat ale to get a sense of the taste, and I was pleasantly surprised. While the aroma is nice and malty, the taste is something altogether different. Initial sense of sweetness, but followed by an irresponsible amount of hoppy bitterness. However, it’s smooth, not harsh, as I used a continuous hop infusion over the 75 minute boil to even out the 9 ounces of Cascade, Willamette and Mt. Hood. All in all, I’d say this is by far the biggest beer I’ve ever made. And I can’t wait for it to carbonate over the next couple months.

After the bottling, I brewed up the Raspberry Imperial Stout I talked about recently. Luckily for me, we had a small respite in the arctic chill that’s been holding most of us hostage inside our warm homes the past couple weeks, so I was able to get out in the garage. It’s amazing how 25 degrees can feel like it’s 60. Everything went well, and I got it racked to the primary with a healthy 600 ml yeast starter to get things moving in the right direction. It took less than an hour to see the first bubbles of CO2 escaping from the air lock.