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SiriusDG

Extreme Oatmeal Stout

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Grab a homebrew, this could be a long one.

So my loving wife adds to my recently growing library by giving me "Extreme Brewing" for Christmas. I loved it. Yep...loved...past tense. Read the whole thing already. and will read it again soon.

Now with that in mind...So, tonight, I finally brew up Rabbi Patrick McCowens Irish Oatmeal Stout. This has been on my list forever, but with St. Patty's day fast approaching, I could not put it off any longer. This is basically...

1 St. Patty's Irish Stout
1 Creamy Brown
1 lb Light DME
Some steeped oat flakes

Pretty straightforward, and NO intention too make it into any kind of extreme brew.

Now, in the same bag as the book...a cuisinart hand held blender with whisk attachment. So I know already, this will be the most aerated brew I ever made. Step one to extreme.

So I begin to steep the grains, and that is where the trouble starts. I don't know how I ended up here, but I do know...NOW...that it is wrong. But somehow, my recipe, for a MB sized batch, said steep 2 lb flaked oats in 2.5 qts of water. If I had just thought it through, I could have figured out that was a bad idea. But I did not...so, bring 2.5 qts of water up to temp, and throw in 2 lbs oats. In about 5 seconds, I had something between oatmeal and concrete. And lots of it.

After the wave of panic passed, I laid out a plan of action. First, I got the pot steeping...if you can call it that...at the right temp. Then I posted a cry for help here. Then I googled Oatmeal Stout recipes. Soon I had a general idea of the proper amounts and ratios of water and oats for a MB sized batch. Now, the oats should have been between 1/4 lb and 3/4 lb. Not my 2 lbs. So, I decided "This will now be an extreme oatmeal stout." I grabbed a big ziplock bag, and scooped half of the oats up, put them in it, and stuck it in the fridge. If things go well, this will be for the next batch. If not, this will be for breakfast soon.

Then, I quickly heated another 1/2 gallon of water to 160 and poured it into the steeping pot. Then, I grabbed my handy dandy bit fat handled whisk and went to town. When that had steeped another twenty minutes, I strained it (no easy task) into the brew pot. In the end, it made almost a pot full of wort. So I stirred in the DME and began heating it up. My goal was to boil through the break, then add the HME and UME and move on. Then, things got interesting. The entire mixture began to thicken, and I began to get this stuff like caramel sticking to the bottom and sides of the pot. I stirred constantly, and eventually got a decent boil. I never did get to hot break.

After 15 minutes, I pulled the plug; added the HME and UME, chilled in an ice bath, and then added the wort to 1/2 gallon ice cold water in the keg. Then, topped up to the "Quart" word on the back. Iced the entire keg down to 65, and pitched my Grape Nuts pre-hydrated yeast, which, at the last minute, was changed from S-04 to S-33.

Now, as if all of that was not strange enough...when I took the OG reading, it was only 1.060. But this stuff was like, thick and rich and creamy...REALLY. So I am confused about how it can only be 1.060.

So, the keg is now in the cooler, way aerated, way cool (down to 64 as I type) and way thick. So many questions...will this ferment at all? Will the thickness attenuate or settle out? Will the ice pack make the keg too cold tonight, stalling fermentation?

Okay, all opinions welcome...I really hope this turns out well.

Brew On!

David

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Wow - I have no clue but it was a very interesting read. A small thought is that maybe there's a lot of soluble fiber which does tend to goop up a bit - but if so, then why didn't the hydrometer register something higher than 1.060? Strange.

Will be watching this thread!

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When I added steeped grain to a QBrew bill in the past (it was about 1/4 lb) the gravity barely changed.

For your recipe QBrew only had 'malted oats' in the list but I added that anyway and made sure to select 'steeped'. It went from 1.061 to 1.064. Since the oats you actually used had far less sugars I'm betting your reading was spot on.

The caramelization you saw is interesting. And probably good if you were able to stir it back into solution. I'll bet this is going to be a raucous ferment. Power whisking and all that. You should do a time lapse segment
And the S-33 is advertised as a stout yeast, too.

St Patty's Day...Let us know how your sample bottles turns out 'cause I know there will be some 'QC' testing. Brew Strong! Or, er, maybe brew like you always do.

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Update: Temps this morning are 60, and min max confirm 64-60 as the total range so far. This, plus the aroma when I opened the lid on the cooler, confirm fermentation is underway; the ice pack would have put inert liquid into the 50's by now easily. There is foam, but there was already so much I hesitate to call that visible fermentation. I will be home today, so I can keep an eye on it, and will swap out ice packs as soon as the temp begins to climb. My goal here is my coolest ale fermentation yet, with a real focus on the initial ramp up, which I now believe I have accomplished successfully.

Stay Tuned.

David

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SiriusDG wrote:

Update: Temps this morning are 60, and min max confirm 64-60 as the total range so far... My goal here is my coolest ale fermentation yet, with a real focus on the initial ramp up, which I now believe I have accomplished successfully.

So, I'm wondering. Are you trying to tame the yeast by fermenting so low? To eliminate any chance of fruity esters, and the like?
Was the foam you described from the powered aeration? I'm guessing that you got a very thorough initial fermentation. If the yeast can boogie at those temps you should have decent attenuation.

Looking forward to hearing about the outcome...

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The low temps come out of a conversation Eric and I had after my last brew, I will find the thread and add it here. Basically, I was pitching at around 75-80, then cooling down to 70. Eric pointed out that if getting rid of esters and other off flavors was the goal, I was doing it backwards...that I should pitch colder, keep it colder during the initial burst of activity, then allow it to warm slightly for the secondary fermentation. I have, over my last few brews, been very surprised how well my yeast work at the low end of their ranges, and all of my research from sources beyond here, for homebrew in general, keeps telling me that as a community, we brew significantly warmer than many others. My own experience also indicates that 68 is MUCH better than 72, and if the beer wants to ferment at 65, I am gonna give it my best shot.

I am taking my temps from an external digital thermometer; I have a styrofoam cooler, inverted.

Cooler_1.JPG

The lid is my base; I fold up a small towel, and put the probe under the first fold. I set the keg on that, stand an ice pack next to it, then put the body of the cooler on as the lid. So I will assume a few degrees offset between my actual keg innards and the probe underneath, so when I see 60 on the digital readout, I don't panic.

Cooler_2.JPG

I will take and post some pics shortly. (DONE! ;) )

I had foam to the lid after aeration, so I am not sure if what is there now is leftovers or new or a combination. Time will tell.

David

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Definitely and interesting read so far David. I'll be following along to see what happens. I do love Oatmeal Stout and your posts are always enjoyable.

Do you have anything else in the pipeline at the moment? I've got a Waters of Maraw batch that should be ready to drink in the next couple of days.

Ron

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Afternoon update...temps began to climb, ice packs switched out at 62 degrees. A keg full of bubbling foam confirms very active fermentation is under way.

Thanx Ron, and please let me know how you like that Waters of Maraw...that was a favorite of mine.

Right now, I have Purim Ale, a modified Brew HaHa Bock with grain addition, cold crashing in the fridge and ready to bottle, probably tonight. I also have Salvation, an attempt to model Paulaner Salvatore, but it had some issues and so really is just a very nice dopplebock, also cold crashing and will be bottled this week. And on deck for brewing I have Twenty One, a modified Snow Drift Lager with grain additions and yeast swap that I am making for a friends twenty first birthday; and Dora's Delight, a Blue Moon clone I am making for another friends birthday. Gonna be a busy couple of weeks!! ;)

David

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Update -- Krausen fell yesterday. I just tried the first taste test...not at all sure this is gonna work. It has become the consistancy of chocolate pudding, and has a very acidic, tart bitter flavor. I am not as concerned about the flavor, as it is only 5 days into fermentation -- my concern is that the consistancy (and likely the PH of the entire wort) is such that the yeast are simply gonna die out and I am gonna end up with something that is just entirely not beer.

Okay, BeerBorg Poll -- toss it now and start over, or keep the faith?

David

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SiriusDG wrote:

Update -- Krausen fell yesterday. I just tried the first taste test...not at all sure this is gonna work. It has become the consistancy of chocolate pudding, and has a very acidic, tart bitter flavor. I am not as concerned about the flavor, as it is only 5 days into fermentation -- my concern is that the consistancy (and likely the PH of the entire wort) is such that the yeast are simply gonna die out and I am gonna end up with something that is just entirely not beer.

Okay, BeerBorg Poll -- toss it now and start over, or keep the faith?

David

Keep the faith Dave.

You said beer pudding like it was a bad thing.

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Update to the update...

Upon further inspection, what has happened is that along with krausen falling, I have had a ton...TON...of sedimentation, so much so that pulling a decent sample is all but impossible, the entire tap is buried. So, I have no way to test taste or gravity, or the consistency of whatever is floating above that layer of crap. If this is gonna come out as really good oatmeal stout, then I am okay with the concept of having fewer bottles at the end of the entire process, but if this is just gonna be crap, then I will be sad.

Initial fermentation seemed strong, krausen has fallen, and right on schedule my temps fell as well...I was keeping it right at 60, this morning it was 58...I am now slowly bringing it back up, and will likely try to hit 65 ish for the remaining time (presuming I keep the faith) to give the yeast a better shot at getting through the experience. If I cannot come up with a better idea for checking gravity, and I keep the faith, I will default to a 21 day fermentation, with slowly climbing temps to try and be at 70 ish for the last 48 hours or so, and then cold crash the whole thing to get all the settling I can prior to batch prime.

I am still mightily concerned about the overall balance of the wort and the survivability of the yeast therein...any comments on that aspect?

David

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SiriusDG wrote:

Update to the update...

Upon further inspection, what has happened is that along with krausen falling, I have had a ton...TON...of sedimentation, so much so that pulling a decent sample is all but impossible, the entire tap is buried. So, I have no way to test taste or gravity, or the consistency of whatever is floating above that layer of crap. If this is gonna come out as really good oatmeal stout, then I am okay with the concept of having fewer bottles at the end of the entire process, but if this is just gonna be crap, then I will be sad.

Initial fermentation seemed strong, krausen has fallen, and right on schedule my temps fell as well...I was keeping it right at 60, this morning it was 58...I am now slowly bringing it back up, and will likely try to hit 65 ish for the remaining time (presuming I keep the faith) to give the yeast a better shot at getting through the experience. If I cannot come up with a better idea for checking gravity, and I keep the faith, I will default to a 21 day fermentation, with slowly climbing temps to try and be at 70 ish for the last 48 hours or so, and then cold crash the whole thing to get all the settling I can prior to batch prime.

I am still mightily concerned about the overall balance of the wort and the survivability of the yeast therein...any comments on that aspect?

David


David,

The basic recipe is a good one. We both know that the St. P. + CB + DME is tastey. I can only guess that the astringincy came from the oats. If so it may mellow with time like my steeping grain efforts have. In all siriusness I believe you should keep the faith and press on.

I know you have an elaborate set up there for temp control, but what if at some point you use the old tilt back the keg trick to avoid the trub and get your samples. I think you would feel better with that data.

Good Luck and keep us updated

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Sham Addams wrote:

You said beer pudding like it was a bad thing.

Exactly...
I tilt the cooler in which my keg's boogie and there is still sediment that comes out first but once in a while I get pudding when I take a hydro sample for satellite. The taste, not so great.

Stay the course, David. This is going to be a tasty one.

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I brewed the same recipe not long ago and I also used 2 cups steeped oatmeal and 1 lb DME ( Dark) and this is what I got. Going to brew again in my next batch so I shall have plenty on hand for St. Patrick's Day .Good luck and keep us posted on your success.


Oatmeal1-20100104.jpg

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7 day taste test tonight. In a word...AWESOME. I have the keg tilted WAY BACK, to get all the sludge to the far end, and still have to blow the tap for about two shot glasses to get clear liquid, but for 7 days it is just fabulous. Thanx to all for encouraging me to stick with it, I now have high hopes for St. Patty's Day. Woo Hoo!!

David

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Okay, 17 day taste test and gravity check. Gravity was also checked on day 14, so this is the three day cross check. Gravity has certainly stopped falling; unfortunately, it is a little high. It is holding steady at 1.023. The target gravity was 1.019 or 1.015 depending on which math I use. So...ideas and options.

1. The keg has been steady around 67. Warm it up, shake it a little, and hope for some magic. Low Confidence.

2. Toss some more yeast (a MB Under the Lid sachet) and give it another week. Risky, but would definitely finish up anything left to finish -- if there is anything left to finish.

3. Cold crash it, and hopefully any suspended particulates (read Oatmeal) will settle out. Then bottle normally. (This is my normal procedure, and basically assumes it is done and is just a thick brew due to the entire oatmeal fiasco) High confidence, but slight risk...if it is NOT done, and I bottle with my normal added yeast, fermentation could commence in the bottle. If I do this, I will almost assuradly bottle completely to PET just for safety.

Flavor is really good, very mild and mellow, not really sweet, but malty, and full bodied. Mouthfeel is very thick, this is a definite motor oil stout. More than I really wanted, but once carbed, it should be okay.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

David

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I don't think I have ever had a stuck ferment. There were 2 times I have used S-33 and attenuation was low, though. The beer still turned out great. I batch primed as usual, using the full priming dose, and didn't have any bombs.

Hopefully the brewers who have been able to 'un-stick' a ferment will chime in. I remember reading where someone shook the keg and brought it back to life.

Not sure how to deduce the amount of remaining fermentables based on the difference between expected and measured gravities. If you knew that you could simply reduce the priming amount...

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SiriusDG wrote:

Okay, 17 day taste test and gravity check. Gravity was also checked on day 14, so this is the three day cross check. Gravity has certainly stopped falling; unfortunately, it is a little high. It is holding steady at 1.023. The target gravity was 1.019 or 1.015 depending on which math I use. So...ideas and options.

David

I have one in the keg right now that after 3 weeks seemed to have stalled at 1.030. I went the route of pitching a new pack of MB yeast into it, but it didn't seem to be doing any good. When I checked the temps it was hovering around the 67-69 ranges. As a last ditch effort I decided to leave the heater on at my house while I was at work. I usually turn it off because even when temps drop below freezing at night they're usually back up in the 60's during the day. Bingo! It was the temps apparently, because in the 24 - 36 hours following that, the gravity dropped to 1.021. I'm hoping that by the time I get home today I've hit the target of 1.017 so I can go ahead and bottle. Oh, BTW, it's Sticky Wicket w/ a can of Creamy Brown.

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You're at about 60% attenuation, which is probably reasonable for s-33, especially since there is no simple sugar involved. MB dry yeast probably won't do much more than that. If you were to repitch something, I'd suggest us-05, MB Ale yeast, WLP001, or Wyeast 1056. Those might help it drop a little further.

But you mention that you really like the flavor, so it probably won't be the end of the world if you just bottled it up, right? That's probably what I'd do. I've had hit-and-miss results with repitching new yeast to get the gravity to drop.

Just my .02

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Eric -- thanx, that was what I need confirmation on. This one is headed for the fridge to cold crash. Hope to bottle on Sunday. Awesome.

Thanx all!!

David

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Okay, the adventure continues. So last night I bottled this up. When I cold crashed the keg, I kept it highly tilted to keep the sludge against the back of the keg. So, get my yeast addition ready, measure out my sugar and boil it up, start siphoning out the beer into the bucket. So, when the level in the keg got down to the point where I was going to start siphoning air, I began to gently tilt the keg back in the other direction to get the beer to pool in the clean end of the keg. Normally, this works very well, since by then the trub has congealed into a really solid cake. Apparently, the oats addition prevented that...soluble fiber, and all...and the entire trub cake shifted, and then just sort of disintegrated, instantly making what was left in the keg mud. Not wanting this in my beer, I stopped siphoning.

Now, this presented a problem for me. With at least two full bottles still in the keg, I now have too much sugar in solution for the amount of beer; and I was on the high end of the scale already, cuz I was going for big foam. And, to make matters worse, most of this was going into glass bottles with steel caps, so little room for error.

And that is where we are...I bottled it all up. I have 6 glass bottles capped, I pet to monitor carb, and three flippies. It is 24 hours, the PET is firming up quite nicely, but not rock hard yet. I can see a ring of foam along the top of most of the bottles, so I know active carbing is well underway.

Okay, questions...at what point am I in "The Danger Zone"? If I can squeeze the PET at all, is that good? At how many days is the danger past? Will there be any warning, or just the sound of exploding bottles? Will the flippies begin to vent before the capped bottles explode?

I am thinking that if I get serious warning signs, I can put everything in the freezer, make it really really cold, but not frozen, pop the tops, instantly recap, and just take what I get. Better than loosing the entire batch; question is, when do I pull that ripcord?

David

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Eyeball that PET real good. The Flippies should be self venting compaired to the Capped bottles. You could also try dropping the temp to just "barely" fermenting temp. don't know if that would help tho.

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As yankeedag said, the flippies are self venting, so they're no problem.

I've never had a bottle bomb (had one spring a leak and make a mess, but no bomb), so what I know is from what I've read.

I kind of like yankeedag's idea of dropping the temp to just barely fermenting, but my problem with that idea is that it will slow the fermenting, but it won't stop it, so if there are bottle bombs in the making, it just delays them.

I've read that the PET bottles will start to bulge at the bottom before they become a problem. But I've also read that the PET bottles can take more overcarbonation before it becomes a problem.

I think I'd put the glass bottles in a plastic bag and then in a box (or a rubbermaid container). I'd monitor the PET bottle closely. If it gets rock hard before a week is up, I'd consider putting the glass bottles in the fridge.

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I have had a similar situation. You can pop the flippies open and then quickly reseal them. You can use a hand held bottle opener on the prycaps and barely lift the edge enough to vent them. This will release pressure extending you countdown to detonation. If you end up releasing too' much pressure you can recarb.

bpgreen is right, of course, about storing them in a trashbag to help with colateral damage.

yankeedag is right, of course, about the pet being your "canary in a coal mine"

Good luck.

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So here I am, about 48 hours into the carbing process. I am comparing the PET to a PET from a batch several months old...I cannot feel a difference at this point, so the pressure inside the bottles now (48 hours) is what a normal fully carbed batch would be. Should I be scared yet? I have the bottles in a styrofoam cooler to contain any damage. I have also dropped a frozen gel pack into the cooler to begin cooling the bottles down. I am trying to decide between venting them and letting things move on, or just shoving them into the fridge and stopping the process where it is.

Opinions?

David

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If your really "noided" about it, you can keep one out, and chill the others. that way, only one Private will be scarificed in the event of a land mine. If it doesn't "blow", you can recall the troops and then carry on.

Just a thought anyway. :huh:

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SiriusDG wrote:

So here I am, about 48 hours into the carbing process. I am comparing the PET to a PET from a batch several months old...I cannot feel a difference at this point, so the pressure inside the bottles now (48 hours) is what a normal fully carbed batch would be. Should I be scared yet? I have the bottles in a styrofoam cooler to contain any damage. I have also dropped a frozen gel pack into the cooler to begin cooling the bottles down. I am trying to decide between venting them and letting things move on, or just shoving them into the fridge and stopping the process where it is.

Opinions?

David

I think I'd be inclined to vent. If they seem fully carbed at 48 hrs, there's still plenty of food for the yeast to eat so they'll continue to carb after venting. If you vent, the worst case is that you'll end up with under carbed beer. Or they're still overcarbed and need to be vented again, but I think that's unlikely.

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Yes they are. Well, they were...I began chilling the entire batch last night, seemed like my safest bet. Open to any suggestions, including venting now and letting them come back to room temp again.

David

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Cold Crashing means to shove the entire keg into the fridge and let it sit for a few days before bottling. This strongly encourages sediment to fall out, and gives me really clean, clear beer at bottling.

General Update on the stout...Well, two weeks after bottling, and no bombs yet. Everyone is still sitting safely in the cooler, at room temp. The PET's are quite firm, but not bulging, and I cannot feel any real difference between one of them and any other room temp PET. I know I am not totally out of the woods yet, but I am not longer fretting either. Just waiting for St. Patty's day to roll along now. B)

David

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Well, here we are, St. Pattys Day...

Sadly, the stout came out pretty predictably. Very over carbed, due to the OD of dextrose at batch priming, due to the poor yield out of the keg, due to the effluent trub.

Also, the odd funky sourness never resolved either.

There is an odd synchronicity in the universe; this is just not my week for beer.

On a related note...I also tried a Bell's Special Double Cream Stout, as part of my "Let's try something new this week" 6 pack. Nastiest Damned stout I ever bought. Seriously. But this makes me think...if they can sell this and do well, maybe my oatmeal stout is not BAD...it is just not what I like. This was a tweaked St. Patty's Irish Stout and Creamy Brown...can anyone confirm how this should have tasted? If you are familiar with the Bell's, should they be similar? As a point of comparison, the worlds best stout as far as I know is St. Peter's Cream Stout, with Left Hand Cream Stout coming in second. Just to give you an idea of my boundaries.

I may take a few of these to the upcoming local brew club meeting and get some other opinions, but I am not happy with it.

David

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Big bump -- shoved all of these into a corner to just let them age. Took one to a friends house last night to share around. Much improved. The overcarbing was not so in evidence, well carbed but not explosive, and this was a tall glass flippie. The tart funkiness was pretty much completely resolved. Everyone thought it was good. Not great, but good. Gonna let it continue to age for a few more months, drink em up in early winter.

David

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SiriusDG wrote:


On a related note...I also tried a Bell's Special Double Cream Stout, as part of my "Let's try something new this week" 6 pack. Nastiest Damned stout I ever bought. Seriously. But this makes me think...if they can sell this and do well, maybe my oatmeal stout is not BAD...
David

i almost fell out of my chair, that was great.

thanks for digging this back up. i've been thinking about an oatmeal stout to get ready for the holidays.

also back to the first post, with a 1yr lager, does this fit with extreme brewing? :silly:

will be interesting to find out how 1yr changes it

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Yeah, but mostly in the extreme amount of frustration it has caused me.

David

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Just to catch up, had another one this weekend. Still very overcarbed, but flavor wise this continues to improve as time goes on. This has to be the worst beer that has really gotten much better over time in my experience. This is the essence of flavors mellowing and melding, as opposed to nasty off flavors magically getting better. Lesson learned for me, and now I have a much better idea of what may improve with age vs what may not. Gonna continue to go through this batch at about a bottle a month, just to see how it goes.

David

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