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Brewing Cranberry Maibock

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I just bought my first kit several months ago and brewed the india pale ale with good success. I followed all of the steps and the results were amazing. Feeling a bit confident, I decided to brew one of the advanced recipes - cranberry maibock.

I followed all of the directions and even took measures to prevent a blowout of the barrel cap by keeping it loose. I placed the barrel in a cooler in my garage to take advantage of the cooler temperature.

Unfortunately, upon returning from work the following evening, I found the cap had blown off the barrel and landed upside down on the garage floor. The lid of the cooler also flew open as a result and some of the wort leaked out. I quickly cleaned up the lid and the top of the barrel, making sure nothing fell back into the barrel and closed it again.

I'm not sure how long the barrel remained open (It must have blown sometime after a left for work at 7 am until 7 pm when I returned) so I'm concerned that the wort has already spoiled. Thoughts about continuing with the process? At worst, it's already spoiled and I'm going to waste the next several weeks preparing a spoiled brew.

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Guest System Admin

Welcome Aboard!

Cranberry Maibock is the #1 brew to blow up LBK's.

I have not heard one person say they did not have over-flow with it.

Sanitize the lid and put back on, if it was still active I hope nothing got in.

Let it go and see, why waste it on worry, in a week or two taste and you will know if infected, if not bottle and wait for one of Mr. beers best recipes

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I can actually see that I wrote the sentence and made it appear that the barrel flipped over. Actually the barrel remained upright in the cooler. It was the lid that blew off and flipped over. I've sinced checked on the barrel and wort is actually starting to smell fragrant and doesn't appear to have spoiled. Let's hope! I'm looking forward to bottling it in a couple of weeks.

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Bumping this thread to ask about my Cranberry Maibock.

I just kegged my Maibock on Saturday and I only did 1 can of Cranberry Sauce and the Orange Marmalade so I can add the other Cranberry Can after a week. The question is whether its save to 100% tighten the cap on my LBK? It has been 2 days and I have been lucky enough NOT to have ANY run over or overflow. I see the action happening and the keg ran a tad warm from all the work on Sunday, but I have it in a cooler so I just swapped out the ice packs to get it back down to snuff.

Do you guys think its safe to just tighten the cap and close it in my cooler, or should I give it a couple more days before I officially tighten the cap?

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Ossian666 wrote:

Bumping this thread to ask about my Cranberry Maibock.

I just kegged my Maibock on Saturday and I only did 1 can of Cranberry Sauce and the Orange Marmalade so I can add the other Cranberry Can after a week. The question is whether its save to 100% tighten the cap on my LBK? It has been 2 days and I have been lucky enough NOT to have ANY run over or overflow. I see the action happening and the keg ran a tad warm from all the work on Sunday, but I have it in a cooler so I just swapped out the ice packs to get it back down to snuff.

Do you guys think its safe to just tighten the cap and close it in my cooler, or should I give it a couple more days before I officially tighten the cap?

I never tighten the cap all the way down. I tighten it more or less snug, then back it off about 1/4 turn. The CO2 needs a way to escape.

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Well I did that for the first 2 nights...it seems to have died down. I will leave it the way it is for a few more nights just to be safe.

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I read up on this particular brew before I got it. When I put the lid on, I just set it on there. I was fearful that it would blow the whole thing apart! When I got up the next morning the lid was off of it! I cleaned it up and set it back on with a partial turn. I can also say that the first 24 hours was the most active.Since then it has slowed way down. Yesterday was a full week of being in the LBK and I havent heard a peep out of it! Just sitting there working its magik! If anyone has any further advise on this let me know!

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Well, after putting the lid back on the barrel, I left it alone for 2 weeks. I just bottled it about a week ago and it tasted fine (well, like good flat beer), so I'm excited about opening the first bottle this weekend.

However, should I expect a beer that is somewhat cloudy? The sediment hasn't completely settled to the bottom of the bottle.

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Hmmm.....might leave it a bit longer see what it looks like then! I screwed mine up. Instead of the 10 oz. of marmalade I put in 18 oz. Not sure how badly this is going to affect the overall taste or anything else for that matter! Might be a delightfully tasteful mistake! Who knows..... :laugh:

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Oooops, well...I couldn't find a 10 oz bottle of marmalade, so I incorporated a full 14 oz into the wort. I don't use marmalade any other time and didn't want to waste what remained in the bottle.

I'm too much of a newbie to understand the effect of the additional 4 oz, but I'm not too worried. Let's see how it tastes when it's ready.

My next batch is going to be a lot simpler - a nice little crisp red ale.

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Sounds like a good plan! I was thinking of doing a strawberry beer for spring/summer!
I know what you mean though,about the whole newb thing! I dont know how its really going to effect this brew! Trial and error! Its all an experiment anyway! And the whole note taking thing.....having a hard time....I'm working on it! I will get better with time! And so will you!

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Well i'm at 2 weeks in my primary! Yay! It's taking everything I have to keep from watching it like t.v.! lol!! :laugh: I just have to let it ride!!

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I am very curious to try this recipe, but also very hesitant given the reports of blow-ups and overflows. Should this recipe be avoided for the standard kit? Would purchasing the replacement Airlock Assembly help? Any helpful advice is greatly appreciated, as I would like to try out this recipe.

Thanks!!


Rick

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I would say go for it! I love the smell of this stuff! Quick tip....this is what I did, when I went to put the lid on, I just kinda set it on there with a slight twist if that! This baby will go absolutely nuts for 24 plus hours and after that it calms down! And yes there will be a mess...I just took a broiler pan and set it under my lbk! And, I imagine that there will be more input headed your way!

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Add a few cups of honey. NO! JUST KIDDING!

Maybe another part of a redesign one day would be a slightly taller top to the keg.....a few more inches. I know it would add more air too which is not very desirable. I'd like to try this recipe one day.

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ebskinner1 wrote:

I would say go for it! I love the smell of this stuff! Quick tip....this is what I did, when I went to put the lid on, I just kinda set it on there with a slight twist if that! This baby will go absolutely nuts for 24 plus hours and after that it calms down! And yes there will be a mess...I just took a broiler pan and set it under my lbk! And, I imagine that there will be more input headed your way!

+1. Pan underneath and loosen the lid. If you don't at least engage the thread you're risking having the top come off with the blowoff, so I would make sure it's not going to move straight up but it's still loose. Also, Fermcap-S (or baby gas drops) can really help with excessive krausen, if you're interested in going that direction.

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Well, I couldn't wait and popped open the first bottle of the batch after 2 weeks of lagering. It tasted like mulled wine, with a hint of carbonation but I could tell that all of the various flavors still need some more time really blend.

I was initially worried that the batch had gone bad when the cap blew off the barrel, but from what I could tell, it definitely did not spoil.

I'll let it lager for another 6 weeks before I try another bottle...cannot wait!

I've already ordered ingredients for the hop head ale and probably will make a nice dark stout thereafter. I can definitely see why homebrewing is so popular!

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Speaking of stouts.....I found a recipe from my very first and only byo magazine!! It has an old Guinness recipe in it! Sounds tasty! I really enjoy Guinness foreign stout anyway and I figured I could half it and do it in my lbk!!!

Anyway,sounds like im going to have more time to wait before I can enjoy mine! Going to bottle it this weekend! I figure 3 weeks is a good wait! It smells good!

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Well I believe I am going to go for it. Thanks for all the helpful input everyone. One more question...as far as the pureed cranberry goes...the recipe calls for two cans. Would that be two 8oz cans or two 14oz cans? Perhaps going with the two 8oz cans would reduce the possibility of overflow, but might also affect the final taste. Any thoughts?


Thanks again!


Rick

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Really you could go either way! I think I went with the 14 oz. cans and pureed the tar out of them! Might be a good idea to go with the original recipe just so you know what will be lacking the next go around if you like it! And really its not a super horrible mess! It's kinda cool to watch it when it takes the lid off.....it's like its breathing...and I think it smells awesome! But anywho, do what you feel is comfortable and go for it!! And lets us know how it went and is going!

Welcome to the Borg!!! Go Fourth and Brew!!

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Thanks for the reply!!

Unfortunately, the recipe doesn't specify the total volume amount of cranberry -- only the number of cans = 2 and from what I can tell, you can get 8oz cans or 14oz cans.


Rick

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Your right it doesn't! Whoops, maybe I put to much in mine! lol I know I over shot on my marmalade!

I knew there was a reason for taking notes on this stuff!

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I have this fermenting right now. Used the 14 oz cans of cranberries because that's the first/only size I saw when I bought them. I put one pureed can in before pitching yeast(3 packets of mr beer yeast), and waited a week before sanitizing the blender and adding the second can. Just poured in the pureed sauce. The first day or so it went crazy, foam was to the top but it never overflowed. So maybe if you add the second can after a week it will help prevent explosions. I also just had the cap sitting on top loose the first couple days. The second can was added a week ago, and I plan on bottling in 1 more week, so 3 weeks total fermenting.

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I've been looking and looking at this since I started looking at recipes. I can't wait to try it!

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I bottled mine like 2 weeks and 3 days ago. I had a little over flow even with the lid a quarter turn off. I tried mine at a week after conditioning and it was definitely beer. :P

I have been trying my bottles 1 at a time each week to see the difference. The first week you could tell was still really green and fighting itself internally with all that was going on. I will try another one this weekend before I give it the shelving it needs. I had 22 bottles so I planned on trying one bottle at weeks 1, 2, 4, 8, and finally put all in the fridge at 12. So that will leave me 18 bottles to enjoy.

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Alright so I just finished bottling my cranberry maibock. I figure I will let it chill out in the pantry for 2 weeks, put one bottle in the fridge,wait till wednesday of that week and crack it open! I might do that once a week from there!

It smelled pretty good,tasted flat, could smell the alcohol, fruity.....after taste seems clean maybe a little tart....Hell with it I cant wait for it to be finished!

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I just bottled mine too, last night! It tasted how you described yours eb, cant wait to see how it conditions. I added one of the cans if cranberry after a week fermenting, and I don't know how much of a difference that made in flavor yet, but I can definitely taste the cranberry!

I cold crashed for 2 days and my samples were pinkish and pretty cloudy still, even testing half way through bottling. How did yours look?

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I just tried a bottle that conditioned 2 weeks just this past weekend...REALLY fruity. Being that it is a higher ABV beer you would NEVER expect it from the taste. Gonna keep it conditioning for a while longer this time (going 4 weeks before my next taste), but from the 4 people that split that bottle with me they said the fruit was a tad strong for their taste. Its a good dessert beer. Next time I may just do all the fruit at the start and not wait til after primary.

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Thanks for the input!!! I'm going to start brewing this recipe this weekend. Given your notes about about fruitiness, I believe I'll add the fruit up front rather than splitting it up during the fermentation process. I'm also leaning towards using 8oz cans of cranberry rather than the 14oz cans.

Can't wait for my goodies to arrive tomorrow!! Go UPS.

Thanks again Ossian, Gluek and eb.

Rick

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It was pink with floaties! lol

There was a tad bit of a golden hue to it! I didnt cold crash it and I did all the fruit at one time! I wanted to get video of my cranberry maibock volcano and it was just to dark for me to get anything so I opted out of that awesome idea!!

And if it is said that this is a dessert beer, than I have to say that this is gonna be a fantastic brew! Just my pref next to the other end of the spectrum bready stouts!

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:)

My batch is now brewed and in the LBK. I didn't find any 8oz cans of cranberry, so I went ahead and used 2 of the 14oz cans. I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee, with the following exceptions:

1) I pureed the orange marmalade before adding it to my boil

2) Once the wort was in the keg, I added more cold water to just under the 8 qt mark, then added all of the cranberry. Afterwards, I brought the water level up to the 8.5 qt mark. Maybe this will help calm the overflow potential.

Everything seemed to go really smooth, so I'm excited. The smell was awesome. I went ahead and tried out my new hydrometer -- more so to get an idea of how to use it. Came out with a reading around 1.077, so I believe I'm good to go. Afterwards, I tasted the sample I used for the reading. This stuff is good!!!!

By the way....I used 100% pure spring water for this batch. I had used tap water for my first two batches of other recipes. I didn't have any complaints with my tap water, but I figure I can't go wrong with spring water either.

So it's in the LBK and currently registering at 70 degrees temp. 6 to 8 weeks can't come soon enough!

Did I mention I'm excited?

:lol:


Rick

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Reminds me of when I did mine seems like 4 weeks ago....wait it was! lol
Makes me excited reading what you wrote though! I can feel your excitement!Good job and keep us posted! I'm curious if your addition of water will make a difference in the overflow or not!!

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:ohmy:

"Houston, we have lift-off"

Well, attempting to keep the final level to under 8.5 qt didn't make a difference. The top blew off (I didn't have it tightened down all the way) with enough force to open the lid of the Coleman ice-chest the LBK was sitting inside.

Kind of cool actually.

But after the coolness subsides, the concern over contamination sets in, so I got busy cleaning around the lid area and getting it back on. I hope I did it well.

Then the irritability sets in when I realize, "hey...I probably lost a bottle of beer in that overflow!!!" Heh heh heh

Good news is...the yeast is still going crazy. Looks like I'll have another cleaning job or two.

Rick

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Sounds like you did the right things! As for contamination goes, as bubbly as that brew is fermenting your not going to have to worry to much about it! you did the right thing by cleaing the lid and around the lip of the lbk! It'll be fine! I had the same issue, did the same things! And I am at 1 full week bottle conditioning! :woohoo: Nice update Rick thanks!

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Well my projection was correct......just finished cleaning up the second eruption (makes note to crank up some VH later)

Anybody who thinks about trying this recipe, I definitely recommend using an ice-chest with a lid. The second eruption had enough force to completely open the lid of the ice-chest, which is not exactly light. I had a little bit of a mess to clean up around the ice chest.


Rick

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:ohmy:

Well my top just blew for the fourth time today. And this time, the lid broke into 3 pieces!!!

Time to do some quick searching of the forums and see if there is a quick solution.


[Edit]

First off, I apologize for the double post earlier. I was in a bit of a panic with a busted lid. Fortunately for me, forum member bpgreen had the excellent solution of using the lid from a half-gallon Rubbermaid container. And luckily enough again, my wife happened to have one on hand!! A quick impromptu wash and sanitize and cleaning around the rim yet again, and the lid fits perfectly!! The community comes through again!

I'm so hoping this batch hasn't spoiled!! It's going to be a long painful wait while I wonder and hope.

I've been contemplating throughout the day about ways to to minimize overflow and blow-ups with this recipe. I'm going to have to give this some more thought. Given how good the sample of the wort tasted, I'm pretty sure I'll be trying this recipe again. Plus, it has become a challenge now. And challenge accepted.

Excellent -- my step-son just walked in with another replacement lid. Perfect size. Perhaps the beer-gods are watching out for me. Maybe that's a good sign for my concern over spoilage.


Rick

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It appears that the heavy duty fermentation activity has died down quite significantly. I hope that's not a bad sign.

:unsure:


Rick

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Nope that shoulnt be a bad sign. It only goes crazy for a day or two. Then its very mellow.

By the way, to avoid the explosions, I only used one can of cranberries at first, settle lid on loose for a couple days, and the krausen was foaming right up against the top but it never blew off... maybe slight leakage not much. Then after a week it was nice and calm, I sanitized my blender and put in the second can of cranberries. Had some action again for a day nut no explosions. Doing this might lower the expected abv slightly, and also add a little more fruit flavor.

Other considerations to reduce blowoffs might be lower temps.. try 65 as opposed to 70. Also the quantity and type of yeast.

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Wow Rick quite the party in your LBK!! Nice!!! All I can tell you is what I did. My lid came off,I cleaned up around the lid and the lid itself and then just placed the lid back on. Didn't tighten till a day or 2 later! And even then I was optimistic,so,I just did a slight twist of the lid just to kind of seat it,but, no more than if it was going to blow it could without destroying the lid!

Other than that, that's pretty Rad! Sorry about the lid!

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Same here. I didn't tighten down the lid all the way either.

Perhaps in hindsight I should have removed the lid and did a re-clean/unclog job more often as the overflow occurred. I tried to keep my hands (and contamination) away from the area as much as possible. Each time the lid popped off, it wasn't tightened all the way -- just enough that you couldn't pull it straight off the top.


Rick

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Hang in there Rick! I'm pretty positive that we are not going to be disappointed about this brew! :laugh:

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Good news.....it appears I still have activity inside the LBK. No where near what I had all day yesterday, but my understanding is that is normal.

Another thing I noticed today when I removed the LBK from inside the cooler....the temp inside the keg had risen anywhere from 4 to 5 degrees from the time I set it inside the cooler at roughly 72 degrees. Perhaps next time I'll put some ice blocks inside the cooler and see if I can drop the fermentation temp a little. Maybe this would help with the significant overflow.

Another thing I was wondering about today....what if this recipe was split up between 2 LBKs? Split the wort down the middle for each, one can of pureed cranberry for each, one packet of yeast for each and 4.25 quarts of water. Would that leave too much air in the LBK? Would I end up with a less flavorful brew with a lower ABV, although a lower ABV is not a bad thing if the taste is right?

At the moment, I'm thinking that next time I'll try lowering the temp with ice blocks in the cooler and also wait a week before adding the 2nd can of cranberry.

Any thoughts?


Rick

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Ossian666 wrote:

I'm still a fan of just grabbing a 5 or 6 gallon ale pale. =b

And just use the standard 8.5 qt recipe for it?


Rick

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Yep. You will have MORE than enough head room to comfortably rest without any explosions. If you ask any of the experienced guys here they will all tell ya they moved to doing this after their first experience using an LBK.

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One thing to note is that, although you want to make sure you have enough headroom to handle the fermentation, too much headroom can be an issue. If there's too much headroom, you can get oxygenation and increased risk of infection.

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bpgreen wrote:

One thing to note is that, although you want to make sure you have enough headroom to handle the fermentation, too much headroom can be an issue. If there's too much headroom, you can get oxygenation and increased risk of infection.

That was something I wondered about....even with using two LBKs for the standard recipe, but essentially having 4.25 quarts per LBK.

Thanks for all the input everyone. I'm definitely learning much.


Rick

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Just my thoughts,thats it,I would think this would be an exception to the 5-6 gallon pail idea! It's so vigorous and so heady I think it would be alright! I was thinking of doing that next time I did this one! Not sure if you would need a blow off tube for it or not though!?

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Had my first bottle last night after 2 weeks conditioning. Awesome,knocked my socks off! I slept like a baby! It was cidery and a little sweet! This one has carbed well, it fizzled until it was gone! Rather impressed with that!
I could smell the orange in it, and some spice, and of course the alcohol,but it wasnt detering and it was rather light! I will try another in 2 weeks and see where this bugger is!

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Awesome skinner! I just popped my first one last night too after 18 days conditioning! I can tell its going to be a great fruit beer! Could easily taste the cranberry flavor, it was good, but I could tell it was a little early. There was almost a bubble gum flavor in there... Ill try waiting a couple weeks too before cracking another. I could tell it was a higher alcohol beer from how I felt after, but you would never notice the alcohol content by the taste. The beer was pretty cloudy which is fine but Im sure some of that had to do with needing more conditioning time and the fact that I put it in the fridge in the morning and could barely wait till that evening to drink it!

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Yeah,another 2 weeks maybe....I don't know that was pretty good! Sitting here thinking about it makes my mouth water and my head begin to float! I can definitely see a 5 Gallon batch in the future!


Edit: I wonder if you could sub the cranberries for strawberries? Would have to do a small batch as a test to see if it was worth it! Any thoughts are welcome!

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Just popped my keg into the frig to cold crash. Planning on bottling Monday night after work. I'm really anxious to try this one. The condition-wait is going to be tough.


Rick

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Sounds good Rick! I'm going to try my 2nd brew tuesday, that has been bottle conditioning for 4 weeks now! I'm excited!!!

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Mine has now been conditioning almost 2 months, and I must say that waiting is half the battle with this beer. It is definitely my favorite beer now that it is maturing.

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I started this batch 50 days ago and bottled last week. I am excited to see how this beer turns out. When I first started the fermentation for this beer, the lid never exploded off, but did overflow after the second day. I used hop sacks for the cinnamon, cranberries, and the orange marmalade. have five more weeks before I taste test this first bottle. Hope nothing spoiled with have to take the lid off due to cleaning from the overflow.

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First off, CJ I think that head will keep any and just about all the baddies out!

Second I just put in my 3rd bottle to try out this week! I have quite a pipeline going now since I did this brew! Ridiculous! I'm loving it!!

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Well I broke down last night and tried my first bottle after only about 5 weeks of conditioning. I was disappointed with the head and lacing. To me, it still tasted "young" and needs more conditioning time. My lady, however, thought it tasted very good and really liked it.

The lack of head and lacing has me a bit concerned, although carbonation seemed alright.


Rick

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I tried mine after 4 weeks and then waited...the longer I wait the better and better this beer gets. But rickbay66 if you followed the directions this beer does seem a bit thin to me.

(See sig for my condition time thus far!)

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Its good, has gotten better with time, but at two months the head was still almost non existent for mine. Cranberry flavor is very subtle, but there is a sweetness there.

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So it's been almost 2 months conditioning now and I tried another bottle tonight. I'm sure this will come as no surprise, but it is tasting really good now. Staying away a little longer is definitely going to be tough.


Rick

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