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Bloody Bourbon Wii Heavy

Our club owns three 55 gallon oak bourbon barrels, thanks to Rahr & Sons kindly selling us their lightly used ones.  One has already been dedicated to a solera, hopefully soon to provide us with an ongoing supply of delicious sourness.  Though we've discussed the possibility that all three barrels may someday serve this same purpose, we decided we needed to try at least one non-sour beer in a barrel before letting the bacteria and wild yeast take it over.  Thus began the legacy of what was to become the Bloody Bourbon Wii Heavy.

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No photos were taken during the epic event which began this journey.  I took my trusty low voltage boil kettle over to C4's for the first round of brewing, to be followed the next day by the rest of our brew club.  That night, I realized my 220V plug differed from the one C4 used, and wisely swapped plugs, while unwisely not covering all bare terminals, and unwisely trusting C4 to remember which breaker controlled the outlet.  Later that evening I exacted unconscious, and poorly planned revenge by shattering a carboy, knocked against another carboy, while bringing both to be filled.  In so doing, I drew first blood from C4.

Fermentation was to be uneventful.  We then gathered at the Hammerhold for barrel filling day. 

photo 4.JPG

Personally, this started as a great day for me.  I first bottled my Barley Wine, Belgian and American, and then joined the group to fill the barrel.  This was also the first time I enjoyed a mostly carbonated Russian Imperial stout, bottled nearly 2 months previous.  I was riding high, and on two strong brews before 11, feeling good. 

There was to be a swimming event during that day, which I was anxious to get to in good time.  I tried to be as efficient as possible.  Carelessly taking for granted the danger in glass carboys, despite previous events, and in too much a hurry to finish, I was rinsing one of the carboys when it slipped out of my hand, shattering on the concrete.  In trying to catch it, I cut my left hand.  Knowing I would at least need many stitches, and fearing much worse, I rushed to the emergency room under direction of Kevin, with Wes at the helm.

I had severed several tendons and nerves in two fingers.  The pictures turn some sensitive stomachs, so I'll refrain from posting.  When the day was through, high on Hydro-codone, I looked like this:

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Surgery was a couple days later, rehab beginning a week or so after that.  Typing came about three months later.  C4 lost blood again, later that day, cleaning up the pieces of carboy I'd left behind.

Luckily, none of this blood entered the beer, and aging in the oak barrel went for about a month and a half. 

Bottling day:

DSC_0058  DSC_0074

DSC_0068  DSC_0093

Yes, I managed to break glass at every step in the process, though no blood was spilt this day.  A wet 6-pack carrier was to blame as well for that bottle, but Matty's pier and beam saved the other 5 that all dropped as well. 

We all sampled the brew about 4 days too soon, and most of us were pleased.  By about 2 months, we're convinced it's one of the best we've ever made.
Time spent in the barrel should be increased, both for bourbon and oak characteristics.

Wii Heavy 11 Gallon

Batch size 11 gallons
Boil size 12.8 gallons
Boil time 60 minutes
Grain weight 33.27 pounds
Efficiency 75%
Original gravity 1.083
Final gravity 1.023
Alcohol (by volume) 7.9%
Bitterness (IBU) 20
Color (SRM) 21.1°L
6 liquid packs
White Labs
Endinburgh Scottish Ale

33.27 pounds
Maris Otter
    38ppg, 4°L
14.3 pounds
2 Row Base
    37ppg, 1.5°L
14.3 pounds
Crystal 60L
    34ppg, 60°L
1.93 pounds
    36ppg, 35°L
1.1 pounds
    35ppg, 25°L
0.55 pounds
Peat Smoked Malt
    12ppg, 2°L
0.55 pounds
Barley (Roasted)
    28ppg, 500°L
0.55 pounds

2.75 ounces
Sterling hops
    7%, Pellet
2.2 ounces
Goldings (Kent) hops
    5%, Pellet
0.55 ounces
90 minutes, 17.9 gallons
    Target 152°F
12.5 gallons
90 minutes (+0)
    Target 170°F
5.4 gallons

60 minutes, 12.8 gallons
Sterling hops
    7%, Pellet
2.2 ounces
60 minutes (+0)
Goldings (Kent) hops
    5%, Pellet
0.55 ounces
15 minutes (+45)
Wort chiller 15 minutes (+45)

14 days @ 65-70°F


1 comments on this page. Add your own comment below.

Oct 23, 2011 5:16pm [ 1 ]

That's an awesome picture of me riding the barrel!

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