Bonsai & Brew

legacy recipe
Rum, Smoke & Oak UK Dark Ale

23 posts in this topic

Again, I'll blame @HoppySmile! for bragging up the Innis & Gunn oak-aged beers, and all the homebrewers that have gone before while 'tinkering with the Winter Dark Ale.'  In any case, this recipe used up my last WDA so I thought that I may as well go big.🍻

 

Rum, Smoke & Oak UK Dark Ale

 

Winter Dark Ale Craft HME, best before Jan. 2017

Malting Co. of Ireland 2-row, 1.0 lb.

Simpsons Chocolate malt, 0.13 lb.

Chateau Special B, 0.13 lb.

Weyermann CaraRed, 0.25 lb.

Briess Smoked Cherrywood malt, 0.25 lb.

Styrian Goldings, 0.25 oz. 20 min.

Styrian Goldings, 0.5 oz. @ flame-out

Rum-soaked light oak chips, added following primary fermentation

Mangrove Jack's UK Dark Ale yeast

 

Mash grains @ 154 F for 60 min.  'Batch sparge' @ 170 for 5 or 6 min.  35 min. boil.  Add WDA @ f/o.

 

OG TBD

SRM 39

IBU 52

 

🍻

 

 

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6 hours ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

Again, I'll blame @HoppySmile! for bragging up the Innis & Gunn oak-aged beers, and all the homebrewers that have gone before while 'tinkering with the Winter Dark Ale.'  In any case, this recipe used up my last WDA so I thought that I may as well go big.🍻

 

Rum, Smoke & Oak UK Dark Ale

 

Winter Dark Ale Craft HME, best before Jan. 2017

Malting Co. of Ireland 2-row, 1.0 lb.

Simpsons Chocolate malt, 0.13 lb.

Chateau Special B, 0.13 lb.

Weyermann CaraRed, 0.25 lb.

Briess Smoked Cherrywood malt, 0.25 lb.

Styrian Goldings, 0.25 oz. 20 min.

Styrian Goldings, 0.5 oz. @ flame-out

Rum-soaked light oak chips, added following primary fermentation

Mangrove Jack's UK Dark Ale yeast

 

Mash grains @ 154 F for 60 min.  'Batch sparge' @ 170 for 5 or 6 min.  35 min. boil.  Add WDA @ f/o.

 

OG TBD

SRM 39

IBU 52

 

🍻

 

 

lemme know how it turns out, I have some WDA left and may want to brew this up!

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the current rum oak amber ale is in the whiskey barrel and to my disappointment, I tried a sample and all you can taste is booze. The amber ale kit was 2 years old, probably the grains lost their robustness. anyway, another month i'll take it out and put it back into a glass carboy, hit it with either some LME or DME and a dash of yeast to see if I can rejuninate some of that flavor. maybe dry hop. It was an experimental attempt anyway so I can't be too disappointed

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Qbrew estimated an OG of 1.080 -- I measured it @ 1.067.  I will be lucky to get 75% attenuation with the Mangrove Jack's, so ABV will be no more than 6.5% (plus a tad more from the rum;)).

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Bottled this morning @ FG 1.018, 6.4% ABV.  Sample flavor is dark and brooding, with complex bitterness and warming notes of rum.  I will probably cellar this one 6-9 months for a nice winter warmer. :)

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It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that I must report that this batch appears to be all gushers and/or bottle bombs.  What went wrong?  Poor sanitation?  Over-carbed?  Bad Simpson's chocolate malt? (I got that last one off the internet). Who knows, but I swear this day that I will acquire another can of WDA by any means possible (you getting this @HoppySmile!?) and Rum, Smoke & Oak will live once more.⚰

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30 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Infection.  I have a batch with the same problem.

 

Sorry to hear, Rick.  I have no doubt that this batch has the gusher bug.  Any ideas from what?  I'm still using the No-rinse sanitizer for LBKs and always wash my bottles after emptying.  The only other thing that I can think of is the spigot after collecting the OG sample, but I do try to sanitize that as well.  At least the beer is drinkable, but gushers suck! 

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19 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

 

Sorry to hear, Rick.  I have no doubt that this batch has the gusher bug.  Any ideas from what?  I'm still using the No-rinse sanitizer for LBKs and always wash my bottles after emptying.  The only other thing that I can think of is the spigot after collecting the OG sample, but I do try to sanitize that as well.  At least the beer is drinkable, but gushers suck! 

Looking at your ingredients, it may very well be likely that it was from that. You can rule out the bottles if it has happened to every one of them. It is just more likely that you had a bug in one of the ingredients (sketchy chocolate malt?) than didn't properly sanitize, unless you cut corners. It happened to my watermelon wheat, pretty much narrowed it down to getting overzealous with the watermelon. 

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20 minutes ago, Big Sarge said:

Looking at your ingredients, it may very well be likely that it was from that. You can rule out the bottles if it has happened to every one of them. It is just more likely that you had a bug in one of the ingredients (sketchy chocolate malt?) than didn't properly sanitize, unless you cut corners. It happened to my watermelon wheat, pretty much narrowed it down to getting overzealous with the watermelon. 

 

Thanks Sarge.  I've thought about the possibility that certain (possibly old or stale) grains may be the culprit, but this wort was boiled 35-40 minutes.  I could be wrong, but hard to imagine any microbe remaining viable after that.  The worst thing about gushers is how it rattles your confidence, but it would seem that every brewer will eventually have to go through this experience.

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Mine was brewed last summer.  Have no idea what I did wrong.  It developed over time, which is indicative of an infection, some of the first bottles were fine.  I brewed it in late July, 2 1/2 months after the last time that I brewed.  Brews made after did not have the issue.  First time I had made that recipe in two years.  Had a bottle bomb, but coincidentally had one on a batch made just prior (yet those are fine), and both bombs were 33.8 oz PETS, but gushers are all sizes.

 

It likely was poor sanitation.  I use two LBKs, filling a 2.5 gallon slimline, bottling, and then filling it again.  I now rinse the slimline and re-sanitize it between LBKs.  On the bad batch, I did not number the bottles to know which LBK they came from to see if it was only one of them.  Of course, if the first LBK had an infection, then it would have been passed to the second during bottling in the slimline.  One has been used multiple times since with no apparent issues. 

 

Stuff happens.

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8 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

 

Thanks Sarge.  I've thought about the possibility that certain (possibly old or stale) grains may be the culprit, but this wort was boiled 35-40 minutes.  I could be wrong, but hard to imagine any microbe remaining viable after that.  The worst thing about gushers is how it rattles your confidence, but it would seem that every brewer will eventually have to go through this experience.

If you boiled your ingredients for 35 to 40 minutes then your boil shouldn't be the issue.  You stated that you still sanitize your LBKs with "One Step".  My suspicion is that the issue lies there.  One Step is a good cleaner but in reality, not a great sanitizer.  If you have a beer that is not going to condition for long periods, you can get away with it.  Star San is what I use and that has helped my sanitization issues.

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But all these batches of beer, like almost 200 gallons -- same process, same sanitizer, etc. and then a rogue gusher batch?  I don't know.  Frustrating for sure.

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Let us take a moment to bow our heads and pay respect to a good beer taken from us too soon.

 

And at this time, let us also allow that we cannot always lay fault at our own feet. We are not the great brewing spirit. We are the humble brewers who must reckon, that for it's own reasons, there are times the great spirit takes a good beer from us.

 

Who knows what happened in this tragic moment. A rogue bacteria in the spigot, that 99.9% of the time would have been flushed out? But this was the moment that .01% reared it's head. Perhaps a smidge of gunk on the WDA can that just didn't get wiped clean. Or maybe it was none of these things.  Maybe it was the one thing we cannot sanitize out....fate....the will of the great brewing spirit....

 

Be that as it may, we are brewers. We will brew again.

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Thanks @MrWhy.  I appreciate your deep and empathetic reflection on this experience.  Hopefully, I will be able to put this behind me and move on with my life.

 

ps  have you been drinking?B)

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On ‎12‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 7:26 PM, Bonsai & Brew said:

Something a little different for me -- I actually brewed this one already and had my first bottle tonight after just 3 weeks in the bottle.  This is another mostly grain recipe and features a fun grain bill, Nugget bittering, lager yeast, and turned out really nice. :)

 

International Black Lager

 

Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner Malt, 2 lbs.

Malting Co. of Ireland Lager malt, 1 lb.

Carafa Special II, 0.2 lbs.

CaraRed, 0.2 lbs.

Chocolate malt, 0.25 lbs.

Munich Type II, 0.25 lbs.

Mr. Beer booster, half-pack

BrewMax Robust LME

Nugget hops, 0.3 oz, 45 min.

Crystal hops, 0.5 oz, 15 min.

Spalter Select hops, 0.5 oz @ flame-out

Saflager S-23 lager yeast

 

OG 1.055

FG 1.015

ABV 5.2%

SRM 32

IBU 30+

 

Was hoping for something in the style of Guinness Black Lager or New Belgium 1554.

 

 

 

 

8 hours ago, Big Sarge said:

Looking at your ingredients, it may very well be likely that it was from that. You can rule out the bottles if it has happened to every one of them. It is just more likely that you had a bug in one of the ingredients (sketchy chocolate malt?) than didn't properly sanitize, unless you cut corners. It happened to my watermelon wheat, pretty much narrowed it down to getting overzealous with the watermelon. 

 

Here is the other batch that developed into gushers over time.  The beer started out fine and I liked it, so I drank most of it within a month or so.  But just like @RickBeer described above, the longer-surviving bottles became fairly impressive gushers.  Looking at the grains, MG-IBL has a couple in common with RS&O Dark Ale.  As another interesting anecdote, my LHBS (where I bought these grains) had a clearance rack of malts, including the 'Malting Co. of Ireland' malts.  I should have asked them why they were being clearanced.  Anyway, am I grasping at straws here, or is it possible that an 'expired' grain might be the issue?  Even with the boil, I'm thinking of thermophilic bacteria that can withstand some fairly harsh/hot water.  Thoughts?    

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11 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

 

 

Here is the other batch that developed into gushers over time.  The beer started out fine and I liked it, so I drank most of it within a month or so.  But just like @RickBeer described above, the longer-surviving bottles became fairly impressive gushers.  Looking at the grains, MG-IBL has a couple in common with RS&O Dark Ale.  As another interesting anecdote, my LHBS (where I bought these grains) had a clearance rack of malts, including the 'Malting Co. of Ireland' malts.  I should have asked them why they were being clearanced.  Anyway, am I grasping at straws here, or is it possible that an 'expired' grain might be the issue?  Even with the boil, I'm thinking of thermophilic bacteria that can withstand some fairly harsh/hot water.  Thoughts?    

One of my first PM recipes was a hand-me-down, using old grains and malt extract. In hindsight, I never should've made it. I didn't know how old it was. It was an IPA recipe, but the final product was as pale as a porter lol. It tasted fine, but developed a slimy, luger-like blob in the bottle of the bottles over time.

Looking back at the posts in this thread, I agree that boiling should've killed any ingredient-borne bugs (I thought you might've had secondary additions; it was very early when I replied), but there's always the potential of stuff developing post-boil. 

Its obviously always best to use fresh ingredients. I can only lend my experience with the old stuff above. In the end, anything is possible. Try as we may to be scrupulously diligent in our sanitization measures, stuff happens and we will lose beer. It sharpens our edge, though, as we always seek improvement. 

Now I need a beer 🍺

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18 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

Have one for me @Big Sarge -- I'm supposed to be working.B)

I'm still working. I will have a few tonight, since I'll be dry for the next week or so thereafter :wacko:

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33 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

Hopes dashed and faded

Dextrin-consuming bastards

Spoiling the dark ale!

Haiku about beer?

Word craftsmen and home brewers

United as one.

:)

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14 hours ago, Shrike said:

Haiku about beer?

Word craftsmen and home brewers

United as one.

:)

 

And to @FedoraDave and all those that attempted to bridge the gap between bad poetry and beer, cheers!🍻

 

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