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Half case of smoked porter on left, port barrel-aged Belgian brown on right

All  kinds of homebrew fun this past weekend. But unfortunately, not much of the actual brewing variety. For one reason or another over the past few weeks, I’ve neglected to keep my various beers moving along through the process. So I spent most of Saturday morning handling the tedium that is racking, bottling and kegging.

First up, I bottled my port barrel-aged Belgian brown ale, which smelled and tasted phenomenal coming out of secondary. The lactobacillus I added after primary fermentation definitely gives it a nice sour and acidic characteristic, and the oak comes through very well in the nose. Carbonated, this should be a very unique and interesting beer.

Second was bottling and kegging my smoked porter. I was nervous about this one, considering I’d never used smoked malts before and wasn’t exactly sure how much would be TOO much. Must be a case of beginner’s luck, as the 3 pounds of cherrywood smoked malt I added to the recipe really did the trick. Perfect smoky nose, and nicely balanced with the chocolatey malt. Really looking forward to this one. For the 3 gallons that I kegged, I set the CO2 pressure to about 15 PSI for the first day, then backed it off to about 8 PSI so it’ll saturate at about 1.8 volumes at 45 degrees F.

Third and fourth were racking my raspberry imperial stout and “regular” imperial stout to secondary, as they’d both been in primary for nearly a month. I normally don’t like to let beers sit on the yeast bed that long, but these beers were both so big I knew it was going to take a while to ferment out properly. The raspberry imp stout smelled very nice, as expected. It was the other imperial stout I was concerned about, because as you’ll recall it was the one that literally exploded all over my dining room after I pitched a very healthy yeast population. I left it to ferment in the open for about a week so the krausen could settle down, then I capped the bucket. No visual signs of bacterial infection when I opened it up again, but it did smell just a tiny bit off in some way. Kind of hard to pinpoint, as the alcohol kind of dominates the aroma (the OG on this was 1.150, FG 1.030). So I’m hoping that whatever may be in there subsides over the next several months as I let it condition in secondary. We’ll see.

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