Monday, August 6, 2012
Curiosity finally got the better of me and I had to crack one of these to see how it was progressing (about two months after brewing). The beer has cleared well in the bottle and the two ounce sample that I poured out was a beautiful dark amber hue with orange highlights. It was still pretty hot (no surprise there, at 10.25% abv and only two months old), but there were nice red fruit flavors, along with caramel and a strong sweetness. So far, so good. There's one significant problem, however. There's no carbonation. And I mean none. It's a well-known fact that strong ales take a lot longer to carbonate than their session- and regular-strength brethren, which can have good carbonation levels after a week or two. Nonetheless, after some research on the Beer Advocate forums today, there is some chance that this may never carbonate. I should have pitched a fresh packet of yeast at bottling time to aid carbonation, but (as several brewers pointed out) sometimes even that's not enough. I look forward to the day when I have a kegging system and can force carb. In the meantime, I rolled the bottles around to rouse the yeast, and we'll see what another couple of months and subsequent rousing does here. For what it's worth, a couple of brewers mentioned their barleywines took 4-6 months to carb. If this doesn't carb, I'll either a) drink it as is (hey, oftentimes aged barleywines have very little carbonation anyway, and this could easily be served in cordial glasses for a tasty winter treat) or I could b) attempt to force-carb in my Tap-A-Draft system. I guess time will tell.