Gnarleywine, revisited

So today I worked on a small project that I have been putting off for quite some time, like over a year.

Gnarleywine keg

Back in October of 2006 Garrett and I brewed a 10 gallon batch of American Barleywine called the Gnarleywine. The brew day was long, the grain bill was large, and we used a ridiculous amount of hops. But between the high alcohol content and the extended time in secondary, this beer NEVER carbonated. I probably could have added some bottling yeast to achieve carbonation through bottle-conditioning, but I didn’t.

So, Garrett let me borrow a 3 gallon keg he has so that I could play with the Gnarleywine to see what I could do. Initially we had thought about reverse-counter-pressure filling in the sense of sending the beer from the bottles to the keg under pressure in a closed environment, carbonating it in the keg, and then filling the bottles with the counter-pressure filler. Seemed like a lot of work to me. So instead I basically cleaned and sanitized the keg then slowly poured the bottles down the side of the keg under a blanket of CO2. I’m sure I oxidized the piss out of the beer even though I was being very careful, but better to have a chance to drink it under better conditions than not at all. I also added a small amount of vodka infused with Madagascar vanilla bean and Wild Turkey bourbon that had been steeped on oak chips. Why not try and make a whole new beer out of it? I was contemplating putting some hop pellets in a bag in the keg, but with my luck with hops and kegs I decided to avoid it.

Plastic diptube smSo right now the keg is carbonating. I haven’t decided if I am going to leave it in the keg and put it on tap or if I am going to use the Beer Gun and bottle it. It’ll partially depend on if Garrett needs the keg back (sorry I’ve had it so long). A weird thing about this keg was it had this weird little plastic dip tube on the gas side. I had never seen anything like this before. I’m sure it works fine, I’ve just never seen anything like it. It’s funny, I really like these small “half batch” size kegs, but they are expensive and rare. Usually most places don’t have them, and the ones that do they sell for around $100 used, ouch!

3 Responses to “Gnarleywine, revisited”

  1. Garrett Says:

    yeah, those dip tubes are wacky. I think 2 out of the 4 I’ve got are like that.

    No worries about getting the keg back to me – I’ve got LOTS of empties at the moment. Make sure to save me a taste of the recarbonated batch!

  2. Brian Says:

    I’ve got too many empties right now too, I REALLY need to brew.

    I will definetly save you a sample.

    BTW, I’m working on acquiring a 15 gallon kettle now for 10 gallon batches, are you happy with the new MoreBeer super kettles?

  3. garrett Says:

    Absolutely! You can essentially get the same kettle from Northern Brewer (Megapots) but the MoreBeer version has welded fittings instead of weldless, and for essentially the same price. Don’t forget to factor in some extra scratch for the false bottom!!!!!

    You will not be disappointed if you get the MoreBeer kettle.

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