So my sister is planning her wedding for mid-July this year and I want to make a truly special beer to commemorate this (hopefully) once in a lifetime event. In the first homebrewing book I purchased there is a recipe for a real beast of a beer, beyond even a barleywine in it's final alcohol content. This will be a pretty expensive brew, not to mention the large time commitment that will go into it. I have had some complaints about the recipes in this book, mostly that they were obviously written by different people and little effort was put into keeping them inside a standard format. Before I order my ingredients, I'd like to run the recipe by folks on the forums for a quick proofread and possible revision. Here goes!
OG 1.100, prior to the (many) fermentation stage sugar additions.
FG with this many sugar additions your guess is a good as mine.
target ABV of 14-16%
4 Gallons cool water
1/2 lb crushed cara-munich barley
1/2 lb crushed special B barley
2 tsp gypsum
With grains in a mesh bag, add all ingredients and heat, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove grain when water reaches 170 degrees, drain excess water without squeezing the bag.
Boil (65 minutes)
13.2 lbs light LME or 11 lbs light DME (65 minutes)
2 oz tomahawk pellets (60 minutes) These do not appear to be available from the normal web sources or homebrew shops I use, will probably have to substitute something else. I will research that tomorrow.
2oz Chinook pellets (20 minutes)
1/2 lb pure cane sugar (20 minutes)
2 tsp irish moss (20 minutes)
stir for 1 minute
1/2 lb Demerara sugar (10 minutes)
stir for 1 minute
add wort chiller to sanitize
remove from heat and stir for 2 minutes, creating a whirlpool
cool to 70-75 degrees and transfer to carboy, topping off volume to 5 gallons.
add 5 tsp yeast nutrient
pitch Wyeast 1214 Abbey Ale or White Labs WLP570 Belgian Strong/Golden Ale. MrMalty says 2 vials or slap packs assuming new-ish yeast in a 1.5L starter, BUT there will be substantial sugar additions after the start of fermentation not accounted for, read on and give your yeast recommendation. No recommendation on fermentation temperature.
Hook up to Aquarium pump for 1 hour. (I have a pure O2 system I would be using, 2 micron aeration stone. I normally run it for 1 minute per Wyeast's recommendation)
After the most vigorous fermentation subsides, 8 to 10 days, begin alternating additions of 1oz pure can sugar and 1oz demerara sugar every day for 5 days straight.
Rack to secondary a few days later when primary fermentation slows down. Before racking, add 1oz Cascade hop pellets to the clean and sanitized carboy.
Pitch Distillers yeast, probably Wyeast 4347 Eau de Vie, the recipe recommends a yeast starter but does not say how large or with how many vials/slap packs. Also add 1oz pure cane sugar. Alternate with 1oz demarara sugar for a further 5 days straight. Secondary fermentation should last 1 to 3 weeks total. (yikes, big variable there)
2 weeks after all fermentation activity has subsided the beer will be ready to package.
Before bottling, dissolve Champagne yeast, probably Wyeast 4021 Pasteur Champagne in 1 cup of the beer. Add this mixture along with 5oz priming sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiled water, cooled. Stir well and bottle.
Minimum aging recommendation of 3 weeks, though I would imagine that this would keep very, very well.
So the real question is, if I were to start this next weekend would it be ready by mid-July? Is there a reliable way of determining the ABV of a beer like this in a home environment? The total bill looks to be around $110 in ingredients, not including the Demerara sugar which I'll have to order separately, I may use Turbinado instead as it is more readily available locally. Please post any tweaks or recommendations you may have, I want this to be a really memorable one!
Sorry for the monster post, hopefully I don't get too many TLDR responses. ;p