After 10 days of fermentation I racked the Sappy K-Wee Heavy. (For non-brewing readers: racking involves siphoning the fermented beer from one vessel to another to get the beer off of the sediment, or lees, at the bottom of the vessel. It helps make to clarify the beer and in cases of longer fermentation it minimizes potential off flavors).
These photos show the racking of a previous batch of the KW SupPorter, which is now bottled and ready for drinking. The fermentation of that batch was so vigorous that it leaked out of the fermenting bucket, leaving that nice stain around the top rings. If you’d like a recipe kit for that beer, or any other please send me an email, and check out my recipe kits information sheet.
Surprisingly the gravity (a measurement of the amount of sugar dissolved) had dropped down to 1.016, lower than the 1.022 that was predicted by Brewtoad. What this potentially means for the beer is that while it will be higher in alcohol than anticipated it will also have less residual sweetness. In spite of this, it tasted great at racking, with a very classic Scotch Ale aroma – notes of toffee, caramel, and vanilla. There was a bit more bitterness than I would like in a Wee Heavy and I’m hoping that will fade as the beer ages.
After racking I added 1 pound of Number 2 Amber maple syrup that I had briefly boiled and then cooled. While I said in the first post that I don’t want this beer to taste like maple syrup, I do want it to have hints of maple, and I’m hoping that the added syrup will impart some maple flavor or aroma. I chose amber as opposed to light (in the states the distinction is grade A and B) because it is known for having stronger maple flavor. I’ve heard of people adding as much as 1 gallon of syrup to their beer, but that seems a bit much.
It took about a day before the yeast noticed the new maple syrup and it has been steadily fermenting since then, letting bubbles through the airlock about once every 30 seconds. Yesterday, after 5 days with the maple syrup I added oak chips that had soaked for a week in Canadian Whiskey (including the whiskey). I’m planning to let it age for three more weeks with the oak and then bottle it. It will then age in bottles for a month before we try it, if we can wait that long! So if you’ve entered the giveaway it will still be a little while before you get to try your prize!
In terms of aging beer, our last batch of a strong Scotch ale was drinkable after 3 weeks in bottle but didn’t really achieve its best character until after more than 2 months in the bottle! Some members of the Spee Keasy had already drank all of theirs long before that, but those that waited were rewarded with an amazing beer. This is the reason you brew the same styles more than once; you learn when each beer is best and can then act accordingly the next time you brew it.
Now during the waiting time we may brew again, or just work on reading more about brewing… which is what my young assistant is doing.
Oh yeah, if you haven’t entered the giveaway of a bottle of this, there’s still time!