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rugercaptain

WDA and Robust LME

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I realize that the Winter Dark Ale (WDA) is no longer available for purchase, so this review is somewhat irrelevant.  However, I managed to scoop up a few at $5.00/each many months ago and have been brewing them throughout the late winter and early spring.  Just opened a bottle of WDA with Robust LME, bottled 2/2/16, so almost five months conditioning.  I believe this is the first all-extract Mr. Beer brew in which I can't detect that "extract twang" we discuss on these forums.  I didn't mash any grains, didn't add additional hops for flavor or aroma, just brewed it straight up with the extracts.  Wow.  Creamy, tan-colored head, excellent lacing, good mouth-feel, no twang.  I have one can of WDA left...guess I'd better get busy brewing so I have some to drink later this fall. :)

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I am a proponent of longer conditioning time. For most of my beers, my estimate is 3 months or more. I know there is the "Beer needs to be Fresh" school of brewing, but in my experience extended conditioning time results in better beer. Of course YMMV.

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I brewed the Cascadian Dark Ale with the winter dark and Robust LME with a pretty aggressive hop schedule. Let my brew sit for five months and it was delicious. 

 

It seems the Mr. Beer HME kits need at least three months for full beer flavor with no green apple or extract twang. That's just my anecdotal theory. I've brewed plenty of LME recipes, some with grains and some without and have always had tastey beer two to three weeks post bottling.  Doesn't seem to matter if I bottle primed or batch primed, all Mr. Beer kits took months for full effect. 

 

Like I've said in the past, I'm venturing into all grain brews now. Have everything I need for 3 to 3.5 gallon batches.  For my five gallon batches I plan on partial mash with grains and LME and a full 60 minute boil. I will still buy Mr. Beer kits on sale and try to bump them up with grains. 

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the bourbon barrel aged stout I made earlier this year were 3 cans od WDA for the base, one month in the primary, one month in a secondary and 3 months in a bourbon barrel. out of 5 gallons, I have only a 1/2 gal. growler hidden from me by me

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

This is the ONLY twang I want to experience!

 

download.jpg

what about Shania Twang?

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Just now, HoppySmile! said:

what about Shania Twang?

I'll take a slice of that too, please!

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I'm FINALLY making my bourbon barrel stout next Tuesday.  Plan to use St Patty Stout, 2 Robusts, 1 booster, 10 oz bourbon, and maybe steep some grains, thinking chocolate?? Thoughts on a grain to use?

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1 hour ago, Bach's Brews said:

I'm FINALLY making my bourbon barrel stout next Tuesday.  Plan to use Oktoberfest, 2 Robusts, 1 booster, 10 oz bourbon, and maybe steep some grains, thinking chocolate?? Thoughts on a grain to use?

Are you adding the bourbon at bottling?  Just curious.

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1 hour ago, Bach's Brews said:

I'm FINALLY making my bourbon barrel stout next Tuesday.  Plan to use Oktoberfest, 2 Robusts, 1 booster, 10 oz bourbon, and maybe steep some grains, thinking chocolate?? Thoughts on a grain to use?

 

I'm putting together an AG Bourbon Oak Stout and I'm using 8oz Crystal 120 and 4oz black patent malt in it. I'm thinking a couple oz of each, steeped should work in yours. I'm also planning on a three to four week secondary with the Bourbon soaked cubes. 

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8 minutes ago, sabres032 said:

 

I'm putting together an AG Bourbon Oak Stout and I'm using 8oz Crystal 120 and 4oz black patent malt in it. I'm thinking a couple oz of each, steeped should work in yours. I'm also planning on a three to four week secondary with the Bourbon soaked cubes. 

 

3-4 weeks? That's it? I'm doing mine for 6 months.

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6 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

3-4 weeks? That's it? I'm doing mine for 6 months.

 

How long are you presoaking your oak chips? I'm starting mine next week for an eight weeks soak. 

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Did I read correctly that some of these recipes take 18months??  Think I read that on the Goose Island site.

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

Are you adding the bourbon at bottling?  Just curious.

I'm going to add it at week 2. So it'll be in the LBK for a week with oak chips. Soaking oak chips in water for about 72 hours first, then soak them in the bourbon and pour the chips and bourbon in.

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You read that right. Some of the big, complicated batches take for ever to bottle or keg.

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25 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

3-4 weeks? That's it? I'm doing mine for 6 months.

So a standard 3 week fermentation process won't cut it? 2 weeks primary then add oak chips and bourbon last full week? Won't bottle conditioning for 6-8 months help or no?

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9 minutes ago, Bach's Brews said:

So a standard 3 week fermentation process won't cut it? 2 weeks primary then add oak chips and bourbon last full week? Won't bottle conditioning for 6-8 months help or no?

 

The beer would need some time in secondary for the flavors of the oak chips or cubes to infuse into.  It's supposed to mimic a barrel aging which, traditionally could be up to a year. I can't take up a carboy for more than six weeks with my planned brew schedule. Maybe I can push the secondary to two months bit that's it. 

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5 minutes ago, sabres032 said:

 

The beer would need some time in secondary for the flavors of the oak chips or cubes to infuse into.  It's supposed to mimic a barrel aging which, traditionally could be up to a year. I can't take up a carboy for more than six weeks with my planned brew schedule. Maybe I can push the secondary to two months bit that's it. 

 

So you'd recommend maybe 6 weeks total in the LBK? 2 weeks, then add chips and bourbon and let that sit another 4, then bottle?  I'm only adding maybe an ounce of oak chips, don't want to overpower the 2 gallon batch.

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9 minutes ago, Bach's Brews said:

 

So you'd recommend maybe 6 weeks total in the LBK? 2 weeks, then add chips and bourbon and let that sit another 4, then bottle?  I'm only adding maybe an ounce of oak chips, don't want to overpower the 2 gallon batch.

 

Absolutely not.  You do NOT want to sit on the yeast cake for 6 weeks.  

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1 hour ago, sabres032 said:

 

How long are you presoaking your oak chips? I'm starting mine next week for an eight weeks soak. 

 

I'm soaking them for 3 weeks until fermentation is done (shaking daily). Once they are completely soaked, you can't really soak them anymore. I'm using one of my favorite bourbons, Bulleit. It's made with corn, rye, and a touch of barley. After fermentation, the beer will go into a corny keg with the cubes in a muslin sack. Then it will sit in my "cellar fridge" for almost 6 months. It will be bottled around the holidays and given out as gifts to the employees here. The recipe will be up on the website this month. It's a big one, though, so it ain't gonna be cheap. 

 

This picture was from when I first started soaking them. There is only a tiny amount of whiskey on the bottom now. The cubes soaked it all up like a sponge.

13434774_10208679300956375_7137070785533

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By the way, if you want a good barrel-aged flavor via aging, DON'T USE OAK CHIPS! They can overwhelm your beer with oak flavor due to the larger amount of surface area. It's best to age your beer on cubes or staves. It will mimic an oak barrel much better than chips will.

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21 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

By the way, if you want a good barrel-aged flavor via aging, DON'T USE OAK CHIPS! They can overwhelm your beer with oak flavor due to the larger amount of surface area. It's best to age your beer on cubes or staves. It will mimic an oak barrel much better than chips will.

 

Ok. I'll pick up some cubes then.  It just seemed as if you were fermenting for longer than 3 weeks, that's why I was confused because all I've read and what I've only done has been 3 weeks MAX.  I'll stick to what my plan is with the cubes now and see how it turns out. Thanks for the help.

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4 hours ago, Bach's Brews said:

 

So you'd recommend maybe 6 weeks total in the LBK? 2 weeks, then add chips and bourbon and let that sit another 4, then bottle?  I'm only adding maybe an ounce of oak chips, don't want to overpower the 2 gallon batch.

 

Wait the full three weeks to ferment the beer then rack to a secondary  with the oak cubes and bourbon. A 2 gallon batch should only need a half ounce of oak cubes. If you are looking to a mild oak flavor go for a medium toast French oak. 

 

Searching the interwebz Americanoak  is stronger than Hungarian oak which is stronger than Frenc oak. My three gallon recipe calls for a half ounce medium toast French oak cubes soaked in Woodford Reserve bourbon. I talked my cousin into loaning me a five gallon carboy for this brew for a six of the finished beer. Plan on brewing second week of September and secondary to December 14 when I bottle. 

 

4 hours ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

I'm soaking them for 3 weeks until fermentation is done (shaking daily). Once they are completely soaked, you can't really soak them anymore. I'm using one of my favorite bourbons, Bulleit. It's made with corn, rye, and a touch of barley. After fermentation, the beer will go into a corny keg with the cubes in a muslin sack. Then it will sit in my "cellar fridge" for almost 6 months. It will be bottled around the holidays and given out as gifts to the employees here. The recipe will be up on the website this month. It's a big one, though, so it ain't gonna be cheap. 

 

This picture was from when I first started soaking them. There is only a tiny amount of whiskey on the bottom now. The cubes soaked it all up like a sponge.

13434774_10208679300956375_7137070785533

 

OMG!!!!! TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!

 

4 hours ago, MRB Josh R said:

By the way, if you want a good barrel-aged flavor via aging, DON'T USE OAK CHIPS! They can overwhelm your beer with oak flavor due to the larger amount of surface area. It's best to age your beer on cubes or staves. It will mimic an oak barrel much better than chips will.

 

+1

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In the FWIW department...I have used oak chips(light toast) just remember a little goes a long way. I used 4oz in an LBK. Also I sterilized the chips by putting them in a toaster oven pre heated to 250f for 20 min., then allowed to cool down to room temp without opening the oven. This had the effect of making the oak VERY aromatic. BTW use bags for the chips, they'll block the spigot in the LBK

Edited by Jim Johnson
spelling correction
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So, I made the Bourbon Barrel last night.  I steeped 2 oz of crystal 60 and 2 oz black malt. 1 can of St Patty Stout, 2 Robust LME's, 1 booster, and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar. Cooked oak chips for about 30 min at 250f, let cool and now sitting in water for next 3 days to mellow them out, then 4 days in 10 oz of Maker's Mark and will add to fermentor for 2 weeks. That's the plan anyway! Ha! We'll see how it all turns out!

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Bourbon Barrel came out at a decent 8.76%.  I wish it were a little higher, but I'll be alright with that.  There was a little sweetness to it, which I liked, but could taste the bourbon and boldness of the LME.  I think this will turn out great and be ready to drink come winter time! I couldn't taste too much of the oak chips, maybe that'll come through a little later, but all in all I'm happy so far. 

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