Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

The barrel is full

And thus commences the souring of the beer. 14 members of my brew club, the Nordeast Brewers Alliance, got together on 4/28 and filled the 59 gallon honey wine barrel with the sum of our collective brews (the recipe we all used is found in a prior post here and here is a post on the entire project). The collective FG on 4/28 was 1.013, so there is a decent number of fermentable sugars for the bugs to feast on as well as plenty of long-chain sugars left over from everyone employing a higher mash temperature. We pitched a huge slurry of beer-souring bacteria Nick has collected and propagated over time as well as fresh dregs from sour beers we were drinking that afternoon (New Belgium’s La Follie, Lindemans Cuvee Rene, Surly 5, a handful of Jolly Pumpkin brews and others I can’t recall).

Now… we wait. The plan is to take a sample 6 months from now (Halloween!) and every consecutive 3 months thereafter until we’re satisfied with how it has soured and matured to pull each of our five gallons back out to do with as we please. Along the way, we’ll likely need another five to ten gallons more to syphon into the barrel to account for evaporation, which may be a good opportunity to add beer that’ll pump up the body of the final product if needed. Nick has some ideas about adding beer made with a higher than normal percentage of oats to thicken it all up. Should be interesting when it’s completed!

Most of the pics featured in this post were taken by club member Daniel Snow, professional photographer. I think they look awesome. Check ’em out:

I've never transported beer via carboy before... I was a little protective.

Pump out that sanitizer!

Taking samples of everyone's contribution for approval.

Syphoning...

Here I am watching the level in the barrel as my contribution goes in.

Nick dumps in his bugs!

Don't mind if we do!

Good times.

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