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BPotts
05/03/08 10:56 AM  
Blending advice
So, I checked the grav on my big bad wild brew yesterday, and it hasn't budged in months, stuck at 1.048. So i'm curious if someone here can help me with some math for blending, and I'm also curious as to what people think about this plan.

The original beer sarted at 1.13 and is down to 1.048. It's roughly 11% ABV, very tart, and obviously quite sweet. The beer I want to brew up to blend is a big strong stout. I have some interesting samples of oak that I grabbed from the brewery, which are designed to bring out specific flavors - high vanilla, pure high vanilla, and high mocha. I want to add these to the stout in a short secondary (they are designed for fast extraction of flavor) and then blend.

Now, for the numbers..... say I was to brew the stout to roughly 1.080 OG, and, say for example, it got down to 1.015. If I were to blend the two beers 50/50 what would the FG then be? I'm trying to wrap my head around the math but finding it tough to figure out....would I add .015 to .048, and divide by two? (which would be around .0315) Or would it just be .048 plus .015? Basically I'm trying to cut down on some of the extra sweetness, though i don't mind having some. Also, this beer would be secondaried after blending, letting the bugs do more work if they can....I am not blending to bottle.

So what do folks thing about a big sour funky oaky stout? I'm imaging something along the lines of cuvee de tomme...

Ryan
05/03/08 12:43 PM  
Re: Blending advice
Ben,

I don't know from blending, but one thing I'm pretty sure of is that the final sugar content wouldn't be the sum of the two final gravities. If each gravity represents the residual sugar in the beer, then certainly adding a lower gravity beer to a higher gravity beer will dilute the higher gravity. It makes perfect sense to me that if you add in equal proportions, you would simply average the gravities.

Again, I don't know anything about this so take my input with a salt lick.

On the opinion end of things though, your concept sounds delicious. I volunteer to be a taster.

:)

ErikH
05/03/08 08:24 PM  
Re: Blending advice
(dusts off math textbook)

If your volumes of each batch are the same, you can just average the 'gravity points' portion of the specific gravity. I.e. two five-gallon batches as you note will blend to about 1.032. If the volumes vary, just adjust their contribution proportionally to account for the percentage of the final blend they represent.

Another nice thing is you can taste test when you blend. Setting aside the effects of post-blending fermentation, if you mixed 2 oz of each batch and the resulting sample was far too sweet, you might make another tester with a 3:1 ratio, let's say, and see how that struck you.

While I don't have a huge amount of experience with this, last year I planned a blend of a dark spiced belgian ale and a light ale made with brett. I'm glad I tasted it, because the 50/50 version was far too bretty. I scaled back the proportions and it ended up being more to my taste. You will have beer left over in this method though - oddly enough I bottled the remainder of the brett beer 'straight' and over time it has become a tasty thing in its own right.

Hope that's helpful!

BPotts
05/04/08 11:28 AM  
Re: Blending advice
Thanks Ryan, Erik...

I will do a test....maybe try 30/70, 50/50, and 70/30 in a small glass before I blend. I was thinking if I had some extra to bottle it as a "special cuvee".

tankdeer
05/04/08 12:58 PM  
Re: Blending advice
I found these winemaking blending calculators a while back when I was trying to figure out the alcohol increase from adding some bourbon to an imperial porter. From what I can tell, they seem pretty accurate. Hope it helps with your calculations.

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/blending.asp

SAH
05/07/08 12:21 PM  
Re: Blending advice
Blending is where its at I think. I botled my first Flanders yesterday. I had two different batches/recipes and went with 4 1/2 gallons of one, a little over 1/4 gallon of the other(on the thin and more sour side), and 1/4 gallon of my(Mike T's recipe) Bourbon Brett Cherry Quad(for oakiness and complexity). There's a hint of acetic, but not as much as I would have liked(I should have had some strongly acetic red to blend in). My plan with the ~4 gallons left is to keep it warm with routine access to O2 to up the acetic acid so that it can be blended in as needed for future batches. Overall it should be a great beer. But it has really convinced me that having 10 sour beers going at once is not overkill, but necessary in order to create the right blend and beer.
petec
05/07/08 12:30 PM  
Re: Blending advice
Another key is to have local brewer friends that like to drink and brew sours themselves.

Between myself and another chap, we have 7 versions of various sours that we can blend, all brewed since about November last year.

Myself I have 5 gallons of sour brown with lambic blend, 5 gallons of sour amber from 100%brettC, and 10 gallons of lambic from lambic blend with half of it oaked and strengthened up a bit with a sugar charge.

He has 5 gallons of sour brown from a bug soup of commercial sours, 5 gallons of sour amber from the same bug soup, and then I think 5 gallons of something else sour.

we blending to yield 5 gallons in about 2 weeks and going with the sour cherry juice at 20$ levels. petec

petec
05/07/08 12:33 PM  
Re: Blending advice
Thats 20% cherry juice by volume so 1 gallons cherry juice and 4 gallons of sours. petec
BPotts
05/18/08 07:54 PM  
Re: Blending advice
Well, the blend is done, as well as two more! I ended up doing roughly 2/3 imperial stout to 1/3 mega red/bruin. The even blend was just too much sour and roast, but the 2/3 1/3 was very nice - VERY vinuous.

While I was in a blending state of mind I decided to blend the remaining ~4 gal with a fresh young red. half and half. ~9 gallons of tastey blended red.

Hoping to bottle these blending efforts in a few weeks if the gravity seems stable enough.

Thanks for everyone's input... I think i'm going to do some more blending in the future!

ErikH
05/19/08 11:44 AM  
Re: Blending advice
BP, that sounds like a fun tasting and blending effort! Now that's my idea of a day at work . . .

In the light of our discussions, did you keep track of the final pre- and post-blend gravities of the various batches? They would be interesting to know, as well as the FG after your "blended secondary" period is complete. . .

BPotts
05/19/08 12:14 PM  
Re: Blending advice
Yes, I did keep track of all them, in order to average oout the alcohol levels and like you said to see how far the blend goes down afterwards. I'll check in a few weeks to see where they're at.

I can already see acivity in the stout blend, but I'm chalking that up to all of the 1056 that was still in suspension. So, I thinking it will probably be about ~1.03 FG at about ~9.5 abv.... although i must admit even with the residuals, the beer tasted quite dry. And instead of aging the stout on oak prior to blending, I blended and added the oak to that.

ErikH
05/19/08 05:25 PM  
For a Funky Future
So, maybe no flavor left in the wood after this batch but . . . Hey - free bug-inoculated oak chips!

BPotts
05/19/08 09:17 PM  
Re: Blending advice
That's alright...they were samples I grabbed from work. Three mini stalves approximately 8"x0.25"x0.5" each, each with a different flavor profile - vanilla, high vanilla, and mocha. Should be just enough for some subtle extra oaky flavors (the red had oak in it prior to blending, but the flavor was pretty well faded). Should taste like merlot in a couple of weeks ;)
 
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