Last Saturday I home brewed what I consider to be the most important brew of the year, my annual Vintage ale. Last years vintage (Panda & Frog home brewery 2008 reserve) was designed as an English style barley wine, coming out at a whopping 1.112 original gravity and abv of 12%. It was matured for 4 months before bottling and I consider it one of my finest brews of all time. This year I have gone for a considerably lower 1.087 OG and aim for around 80% attenuation bringing it to around 9%abv using a yeast strain I have only read about but read good things. The strain in question is White labs own California ale strain, and this was chosen to suit the style being brewed, which is and American style barley wine, mid bronze in color from the use of Marris otter pale malt, Munich, Vienna, Cara and cara vienne malts with 75IBU’s coming from decent quantities of Chinook and Centennial hops.
Another interesting thing about these vintage ales, are that for them I only take the first runnings from the mash and thus only brew 10 liters at a time and bottle into tiny 330ml bottles. This time the run off from the copper was tediously slow with the large amount of hop and trub material in such a small volume. I shall let all know how this one goes.
On a different note, a big congratulations to my Local the John Bull in Alnwick for winning the CAMRA North Northumberland pub of the year last weekend. And this weekend I shall be assisting host a BBQ for a few of my mates and family try my new Autumn Leaves beer as from the previous post. It also appears that by a very close victory, you the readers have voted Hopback Summer Lightning as the beer for the summer, a solid choice.