Thursday, May 19, 2011

Racking The 'Jack!

 Well, it's been about a week and a half in the primary and fermentation has slowed to a crawl so, we decided to rack the LUMBERJACK!!! to secondary. We also were very anxious to see how our little experiment was turning out, and if it had gone spectacularly awry. Putting pine needles in a beer is not exactly standard practice.

When we popped the top on the ferm bucket, a delicious smell wafted up from the beer and we knew, this beer was already a success. We checked the gravity - it was 1.004 - which meant that it currently has and ABV of 8.9% ! That surprised me because the target gravity was lower......and then I remember at the last minute we threw a bunch of maple syrup in the boil.

 One thing that I noticed that just might be in my mind, is that there seemed to be a lot less beer in the bucket than the wort we started off with. I have been thinking for almost 24 hours about this and the only thing i can think of was that there was a lot of evaporation because I like to keep my house around 80 degrees...... but that's never happened before so maybe I just was really REALLY tired when we pitched and didn't notice that we didn't have a full 5 gallons. In any case, this beer look beautiful, a nice brown- amber color. When we all sat down to taste it, we were shocked. I personally thought that the copious usage of pine needles and chopped pine parts would give the beer a huge pine flavor.......I was wrong. The pine flavor is very subtle, and it's most noticeable at the very tail end of the flavor in the finish. And it doesn't have a pine flavor like you would expect. It's more of a type of bitterness that you don't usually get in a beer - but it's not a bad taste. We debated whether to dry hop with the leftover magnum, and we decided against it because we didn't want to detract from that subtle flavor.
For a 9% beer, it was very drinkable un-carbonated. Jason remarked that it almost tasted like wine. It was exceedingly smooth. There also was a very subtle smokiness. I think that must be from the 100% organic maple syrup we used. We were all very pleased with how it turned out because it tastes like no other beer we have had, and on top of that, it tasted like a high quality craft beer. So we achieved all the goals of this beer, but in ways that were unforseen. I think that the next time we make this beer, we should probably stick with the same recipe. Can't wait to taste it carbonated! Thanks for reading.

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