Author Topic: Advice on making a beer with staying power  (Read 1626 times)

Offline morticaixavier

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Advice on making a beer with staying power
« on: March 04, 2012, 01:09:16 AM »
Hey all,

I am planning (mostly planned, working out the last details let's say) the second annual celebratory brew for my son's birth which was back in november so I am late.

The idea behind the project is to brew something each year that will stand the test of time and be at least drinkable in 15 or so years when I decide it is okay for the boy to taste them.

Year 1 was a giant 12% barley wine.

Year 2 is a proper lambicesque beer that, while lower in alcohol will still be interesting (maybe even more interesting) after a long time in the bottle.

Now I want the beer to be actually good and I am keeping the recipe simple

5 lbs pils
4.5 lb flaked wheat
4 lb wheat malt

some tiny amount of ancient saaz at 60 minutes

Gonna mix it up a bit by adding some dehydrated lemons in secondary. Hoping the dehydration helps reduce some acidity in the lemons.

SO after all that, the question, for the three folks that stuck in there to the end.

How should I progress with the yeast/bugs in this plan?

I can see a couple routes

1) pitch neutral yeast to ferment mostly to completion then add bugs (either commercial yeast or dregs from some lambic, rayon vert, jolly pumpkin etc.)
2) pitch a pure culture of brett (commerical yeast or dregs from rayon vert etc.) right at the begining and let it be an 'all brett' beer.
3) pitch lambic blend (either commercial or dregs) right up front and let it go 'wild'
4) (and I'll tell you right at the start I am not doing this one) Set the wort out over night in my backyard.

**edited to mention that I will not be wearing pants regardless of the answer ;D)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 01:10:58 AM by morticaixavier »
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 09:17:34 AM »
5) Stein Beer style using Tom's 'potty rock'  ?
Joe

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2012, 12:11:19 AM »
5) Stein Beer style using Tom's 'potty rock'  ?
Lot's of FAN on that rock :)

I would go with #1, neutral yeast followed by the bugs.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline ryang

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2012, 08:26:09 AM »
I'd go #1 as well.  Pitching a lot of different dregs can add a lot of character too.  And you can drink the other contents... ever drink the clear liquid in the top of a white labs tube??

Offline zen_brew

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 05:58:08 PM »
 Not really one of your choices, but flash pasteurizing a beer should greatly increase it's shelf life. I have seen several reasonable methods for the home brewer to accomplish this. I haven't tried it yet, but think it would be an interesting experiment.  Asking most home brews to withstand that kind of aging is very optimistic. As to the ideas with the bugs, that would help, but what if the kid grows up to not like sour things (gasp)
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 04:41:03 AM »
Not on your list but for storage stability:

1) Bust your butt to exclude as much oxygen from the brewing process as possible. Not just on the cold side, but the hot side as well. The only place you want O2 in your beer is immediately after you've pitched your wort, and that's only because the yeast scavenges it up quickly.

2) Make sure you get good separation of the hot and cold break from the wort (although you want a bit of cold break for yeast health). There are a lot of haze formers and rancidity precursors in the break.

3) Store your beer as cold as possible. At refrigerator temperatures, it might be good for months or years. Room temperature, a couple of months at most.

4) Higher ABV, darker color. If you've got a well-made beer of at least 6% ABV and amber or darker color, when it inevitably oxidizes, the interaction between the alcohol, melanoidins and O2 will eventually produce sherry and dark fruit notes. If you've got a fair bit of residual sweetness and lots of malt complexity, the beer will hold up for years, perhaps even decades. Low ABV and light-colored beers just fall apart with age, with dull, inky, paper staleness, sometimes going towards soapy and rancid.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2012, 04:42:54 AM »
Not really one of your choices, but flash pasteurizing a beer should greatly increase it's shelf life.

Possible, but be careful. You're heating the beer, which means that you're leaving yourself open to all manner of off flavors from oxidation and/or yeast autolysis. There's a reason that pasteurized commercial brews are heavily filtered and why commercial brewers work hard to keep O2 out of their beer.

Offline The Professor

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Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2012, 10:48:34 AM »
Not really one of your choices, but flash pasteurizing a beer should greatly increase it's shelf life. I have seen several reasonable methods for the home brewer to accomplish this. I haven't tried it yet, but think it would be an interesting experiment.  Asking most home brews to withstand that kind of aging is very optimistic. As to the ideas with the bugs, that would help, but what if the kid grows up to not like sour things (gasp)

If you brew clean, if beer is reasonably strong, and if you're careful bottling (and use o2 scavenging caps),  it'll keep.  A cool cellar helps too. 
I recently sampled bottles of some Old Ales/Barleywines/Scotch Ales that I made in the early and mid 1990's  and they tasted great.  The Scotch Ale matured particularly well.
Keep it clean, make 'em strong, and you should be fine.  In my opinion, for long keeping, pasteurization would do more harm than good.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Re: Advice on making a beer with staying power
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2012, 05:03:15 PM »
In my opinion, for long keeping, pasteurization would do more harm than good.

I agree. The extended bottle-conditioning process is what makes aging these beers work so well in my opinion. You just can't bottle condition a pasteurized beer.

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