Batch Management

Well, it’s February, and so far I’ve only made three batches of beer this holiday. However, I’m about to start brewing a lot more, and that means I need to empty out my fermenters and sort out my kegs.  I’m currently bulk aging stuff in four kegs, which really cuts into how much beer I can brew at a given time. However, I really must admit that some of that bulk aging isn’t really necessary anymore. I believe my cyser is ready to be bottled, for one thing, and that I ought to do the fining on my keg of bokbunja melomel as soon as possible too. (Not only because I feel like I should get the mead as clear as possible quickly and bottle it, but also because I feel like it ought to be about time to enjoy it now… plus, it’s cold out, which makes clearing a brew or mead easier. So I’m doing up a schedule in pixels, to help me wrap my head around what I need to get done the next few days; the fact I’m sharing it is just a way of throwing light onto the more mundane aspects of brewing, like managing one’s fermentation, aging, and serving vessels. Here are the brews and meads I have aging, and what needs to be done with them:

Bulk Aging or in Need of Blending, Needs To Be Dealt With Soon:

  • Miss Jiwaku’s Old Ale: aging in a keg for ~8 months. Have a Sour Pale Ale to rack onto the cherry-fruit dregs, if the dregs are indeed still good. (It has a somewhat acetic smell, but not an off-putting one.) The beer itself needs to be racked into bottles, possibly needing to be dosed with fresh yeast as well.
  • Wonmisan Sour Pale Ale: this brew was soured prior to boiling. It needs to be racked onto the cherry-fruit dregs in the keg. (The keg needs a new seal as well.) The current keg can be cleaned and used for serving fresh beer.
  • Miss Jiwaku’s Oatmeal Stout: Needs to be bottled, to clear out the keg. Probably ~ 1 gallon of beer left. But first need to check carbonation level.
  • Fruitcake Ale: the clove is too forward on this beer, so it needs to be blended prior to bottling. Another Xmas beer, but one that turned out well, except for the too-forward clove. Thinking of recarboying it with some fruit syrups, or blending with a liquor (such as cognac) to smooth it out a little. Needs experimentation.

Bulk Aging: Should Be Dealt With This Month:

  • Wonmisan Oldboy : this is sitting in my 3G carboy, and has been for about 7 months. (Which supposedly is okay with Brett.) Needs to be racked to bottles, to free up the carboy for a Biere de Garde, a Berliner Weisse, and so on. 
  • Womisan Bokbunja Melomel: this has been sitting in a keg for a long, long time. Needs to be cleared with gelatin and bentonite. An in-line filter would be nice, but would necessitate bottling from a keg. (And not from the keg it’s in now.) It should be bottled still. Therefore need a stabilizer, ie. something that prevents oxidation… maybe.)
  • Wonmisan Birthday Cyser: This has been in the keg since about April, and is likely read to be fined (if necessary — the little I put into bottles cleared up nicely just with refrigeration) and racked to bottles. Some will be still, some will be carbonated. The still mead may need a stabilizer to prevent oxidation.
  • Wonmisan Super Sekrit Ale: I’m not sure what to do with this: as a “wheat beer,” it’s very plain, but it’s not bad enough to dump. Thinking of using it in blending, as it seems to blend nicely (at a proportion of about 3:2 Lichtenhainer:Super Sekrit) with my Lichtenhainer — lending it an invigorating sweetness it seems to otherwise lack (and which brings out its sour and smoke qualities). But I can’t see mixing in more than a gallon at most, since the Lichtenhainer is getting pretty empty… so what about the remaining beer? Should I keep it on hand for blending? Spike it with fruit? I’m thinking it over…
  • Wonmisan Bokbunja Sour Ale: This is still upstairs, with a nice pellicle on top of it. I pitched some Brett C. and it’s also fermenting with wild yeasts. Only 1 gallon, so it can be bottled. If tasty, the dregs should be pitched into something. I should deal with this one soon.
  • Assorted 1G batches of mead. 
Bulk Aging But Doesn’t Need to Be Dealt With:
  • L’Agent Secret Saison: I have a gallon or two of this stuff upstairs, in the attic, into which I pitched the Wyeast Lambic Blend. No pellicle the last time I checked: it can be left alone.
  • Apple cider: This is fine in the keg. It should be ready to serve in a few months. I may have to dose it with campden tablets, and backsweeten with apple juice… we’ll see.
  • Wonmisan Sour Saison: This was supposed to be an Xmas beer, but I decided it needed to be funked up a bit with some Brett C.  I guess maybe next Xmas? It’s really not too early to get a head start on that, I suppose. It is in a keg, and was spiked with Brett C. in January. It will need to remain in the keg until sometime this fall, at which point it can be bottled.

Fresh Beers Needing Serving Kegs:

  • Wonmisan Brunner: a Northern Brown Ale in secondary that needs to be bottled. Need this keg clear in order to put the Wonmisan ESB into secondary.
  • Wonmisan ESB: this beer is ready to move to secondary. Only thing is, with a nice big yeast cake like this, I want to make a barley wine. Should wash the yeast once before doing so, though.
  • Wonmisan Belgian Pale Ale: This beer hasn’t yet finished fermenting. Once it has finished, needs to go to another carboy for secondary, as I’m trying to get it to go clear. May have some Brett in it — I pitched Wyeast Trappist Blend into it, and the primary Belgian yeast did nothing, but there is a funny look to the remnants of the yeast that remain on the surface late in primary fermentation; I’m tempted to leave it alone and see what happens, though of course that will use up a whole carboy!

I was trying to do up a schedule for everything I need to do, but it got really confusing just doing it as text. I’ve done up a table, instead, and it seems to work better… now, if only I can keep to the table and do all the things I need to do in February! (See below for the table!) Oh, and Miss Jiwaku and I did the blending experiment, and found that, for our palates, the following blends work well: Lichtenhainer / Sooper-Sekrit Ale:

  • 2:1 ratio of Lichtenhainer: Sooper Sekrit Ale works best. Less, and the Sooper Sekrit has no effect. More, and it loses the smokiness and sourness a touch too much.

Fruitcake Ale / Fenian Raid:

  • 1:1 ratio seems to work well. Less Fenian Raid and the spice in the Fruitcake Ale seems to dominate. More Fenian Raid and the particular spice character gets lost.

I will likely eyeball it, when it comes time to actually blend, but knowing the approximate ratios is a big help. And now, the crazy table!


Brewing Tasks
Date Brew Task Free Kegs (Running Count) Free Carboys (Running Count) Done?
Feb 3 – Step 1 Miss Jiwaku’s Old Ale Bottled. +1 = 1 0 Yes
Feb 3 – Step 2 Wonmisan Sour Pale Ale Racked onto Old Ale dregs in keg. -1 +1 =1 0 Yes
Feb 3 – Step 3 Wonmisan Lichtenhainer, Wonmisan Super Sekrit Ale, Wonmisan Fenian Raid, Wonmisan Fruitcake Ale Experiment with blending ratios of first two and last two together. 0 1x6G Yes
Feb 3 – Step 4 Wonmisan Brunner Racked into empty keg. -1 = 0 +1 =1x6G Yes
Feb 4 – Step 1 Wonmisan Gratzer Brew it! (using spare 3G fermenter) 0 1x6G Yes
Feb 4 – Step 2 Wonmisan ESB Rack to secondary. Save yeast cake (wash!) for Barley Wine. 1 1 +1 -1 = 1x6G Yes
Feb 4 – Step 3 Miss Jiwaku’s Holiday Stout Bottle remaining beer from keg. +1 = 1 1x6G Yes
Feb 4 – Step 4 Lichtenhainer / Super Sekrit Wheat Ale Blend & Bottle 2 +1 = 3 1x6G Yes
Feb 4 – Step 5 Fruitcake Ale / Fenian Raid Blend & Bottle 1 +1 = 2 1x6G Yes
Feb 6 – Step 1 Wonmisan Silvered Moon Barleywine / Mild Brown Dog Brew them! (Partigyle, fermenting one in a bucket.) 3 1x6G – 1x6G = 0 Yes
Feb 7 – Step 1 Wonmisan Oldboy Bottle. 3 +1x3G = 1x3G NO
Feb 8 – Step 1 Wonmisan Bokbunja Melomel, Wonmisan Birthday Cyser Add finings to keg. Add oak to Wonmisan Bokbunja Melomel. 3 1x3G NO
Feb 9 – Step 1 Wonmisan Gratzer Rack to secondary. (If ready.) 3 1x3G NO
Feb 10 – Step 1 Wonmisan ESB Rack to empty keg. Dry hop. 3-1 =2 +1x6G = 1x6G & 1x3G YES
Feb 10 – Step 2 Wonmisan BPA Rack to secondary. 2 1x6G, 1x3G YES
Feb 10 – Step 3 Wonmisan Bokbunja Melomel Add bentonite. 2 1x6G & 1x3G NO
Feb 11 – Step 1 Wonmisan Mittelfruh Metheglin, Pomegranate Melomel, Mint Metheglin Bottle from 0.75/1G fermenters. 2 1x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 11 – Step 2 Wonmisan Sour Agent Secret Saison Bottle from 2G fermenter. 2 1x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 11 – Step 3 Wonmisan Sour Bokbunja Wheat Ale Bottle from 1G fermenter. Save dregs, wash yeast cake. 2 1x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 13 – Step 1 Wonmisan Gratzer Cold Crash and rack to bottle or keg. ? 0x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 13 – Step 2 Wonmisan Mild Brown Dog Rack to Secondary 3 -1x6G = 0x6G, 1x3G YES
Feb 13 – Step 3 Wonmisan Birthday Cyser Bottle 1/s sparkling, 1/2 still 2+1 = 3 1x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 15 – Step 1 Wonmisan Berliner Weisse Brew it! 2 -1x6G = 0x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 15 – Step 2 Wonmisan BPA Rack to keg. 3-1 = 2 +1x6G = 1x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 17 – Step 1 Wonmisan Mild Brown Dog Rack to keg, force carb for meetup on the 18th. 3 -1 =2 +1x6G = 1x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 17 – Step 2 Wonmisan Bokbunja Melomel Bottle from keg, if sufficiently oaky. 2 +1 = 3 0x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 18 – Step 1 Brewers’ Meetup! n/a n/a 0x6G, 1x3G NO
Feb 21 – Step 1 Wonmisan Quadrupel/Dubbel partigyle Brew it! 2 – (1x6G & 1x3G) = 0 NO
Feb 23 – Step 1 Wonmisan Berliner Weisse Cold crash & Rack to keg. Inoculate with Brett B. 2-1 = 1 +1x6G = 1x6G NO
Feb 27 – Step 1 Mittelfruh Metheglin (5G batch) Brew it! 1 1X6G NO
March 2 – Step 1 Wonmisan On a Jag Abbey Dubbel Rack to secondary 1 -1x6G +1x6G = 1x6G NO
March 16 – Step 1 On a Jag Abbey Dubbel Bottle. 1 1x6G NO

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