Blending Beer

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by AGbrewer, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    So I've got a couple beers that I'm going to blend due to the limits of my system. I can't brew a single batch with 30 lbs of grain so I've split it into 2 batches over a 7 day period. The beers will be exactly the same. I'm brewing the first one today and the second one next thursday. Questions are below.

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/1032425/gibcs-6-blending-1-
    1. Is there any reason I can't pour them both into a big fermenter next Thursday? I know that the 1st beer will not hit FG before it is blended with the 2nd beer when it goes into the primary. I would not bring much (only what is in suspension) of the yeast over from the 1st brew, just rack it over to the other primary vessel with the 2nd beer. Thoughts?
    2. Should I blend them before or after they are barrel aged? I should mention that I was thinking about doing half bourbon barrel aged and half rum barrel aged and blending at the end. However, I'm open to suggestions.
    3. Any advice on blending in general?
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If you're aging 2 separate batches, why blend them to start with? Just brew once for each "barrel" and go from there.
    I've keg-blended similar beers when I needed to consolidate to free up keg space. Best to blend fully fermented beers if you need to and transfer carefully .
    If you're filling a big fermenter with 2 small batches to work around brewhouse constraints, then just do a double brew day like every small craft brewery does. Seven days is too long to wait to combine batches in the fermenter. If you really need to brew on 2 different days for some reason, do it on consecutive days so you have 24 hours or so between batches.
     
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  3. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    I'm no expert but letting wort sit around for a week may cause some contamination issues. Why not just brew one for the bourbon barrel and the other for the rum barrel?
     
  4. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to blend the two together during fermentation without much issue. It will be almost like you are making a giant batch of yeast starter. I would try to add as much of the yeast from the first batch as practical.
     
  5. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    @J A not looking to do a double brew day. too much hassle in one go.

    @Frankenbrewer wasn't going to let it sit for a week, i planned on pitching the same day i brew for each beer. Just blending in the 1st beer after it was in the primary for a week to the 2nd beer on that brewday.

    @Bubba Wade wouldn't the yeast from the first beer be stressed out due to the high gravity?
     
  6. okoncentrerad

    okoncentrerad Active Member

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  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I was going to mention the above link he just put out a blending video. But I'd blend post fermentation once both beers are packaged carbed and conditioned. That way You can blend measured amounts of each to come to your best preferred taste solution.
    Then scale this up to the whole batch size.

    It seems that's how the big guys do it with their sours and what not.

    Blending at fermentation is going in blind.
    You don't know what each beer tastes like yet.

    Good luck
     
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  8. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Note that when you add the fresh wort to the fermenting wort, the alcohol concentration will decrease and a fresh supply of fermentables will be added. This should invigorate the yeast.

    I did neglect to look at your recipe when I first responded. It looks like you are going for a big beer with a 15% ABV. Are you planning to only use US-05 yeast? Or do you plan to add another yeast when fermentation starts to stall. US-05 is good to about 10-11% ABV.
     
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  9. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    I'm going to pitch WLP-099 after 3 days of primary fermentation so that it can finish up whatever US-05 doesn't. Done it that way a few times and it seems to work out good so far.
     
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  10. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    That sounds like a good idea. If I end up doing different types of barrel aging (e.g. bourbon and rum), then i will probably do something like that.
     
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  11. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I do this when I'm starting a new sour keg as my system isn't big enough to fill the 5 gallon keg. I've done the two batches 24 hours apart and 14 days apart. Once using the keg as the primary, other time using another fermentor as the primary and the keg as a secondary.

    If I could fill the keg with one batch I'd definitely ferment them out separately and blend for packaging. I'm hoping to kick up another blond sour keg this spring so I've got some ability to blend.

    For your beers I think it'd be really useful if you do go the route of different types of either barrels or barrel substitutes. Probably not that big a deal either way if you're treating them the same.
     
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  12. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    I think i've just about convinced myself to age one in Bourbon and one in Rum. Then bottle a 6 pack of each kind separately before I start to blend them together. That way I can stash them away and try them side by side every christmas for the next 6 years. At over 15% ABV, they should last that long no problem...except for maybe oxidation.
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I really don't understand why you want to blend them at any stage. You have two barrels or aging vessels and you have two batches of beer. You don't seem to be kegging which is the only thing that might benefit from combining the volume. If you're bottling anyway, just bottle the two separately aged batches.
    If for some reason you just really have to get them fermented at the same time and only have one fermenter, then you could brew on consecutive days, fill the fermenter and then split into barrels for aging. Otherwise, just brew, ferment, transfer and repeat.
     
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  14. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Perhaps it was the way I worded my post. It may have come across a bit cryptic or maybe a little confusing. If so, my apologies. The main reason I'm brewing the batches separately is because my system can't handle it. The secondary reason I'm brewing separately is that it allows me to get into the beer blending world.

    Just about every barrel-aged beer I've ever drank from a brewery was blended with other barrels (and sometimes even other styles of beer). Most of the time those barrels were mixed between bourbon, cognac, rum, tequila, wine, sherry, or some other spirit. Most anniversary beers are some sort of blend of multiple beer recipes and multiple barrel types (e.g. Firestone Walker, Deschutes, etc.). Then there is the whole beer style of Gueze being a blended beer. It's something that I find interesting.

    Why would I want to blend? That's easy, to create something new that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to create. That's kinda what we homebrewers do, we create. If I bottle separately, I'll never be able to see how they taste together. I will bottle some separately, but I will definitely end up blending some of them together (likely on bottling day) to see how they play together in the bottle after a year or so. The variations are almost endless. And at the end of the day, I get to drink beer!
     
  15. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Anyone got suggestions on the Rum? Brand, type, age, etc.?
     
  16. Chaos home brewing

    Chaos home brewing Active Member

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    I use either Coro Coro (chocolate rum) or Veil Chocolate vodka for soaking vanilla beans, cinnamon chips, and cocoa nibs for a few days before dumping into secondary. If I had to pick one I would go for the rum.
     

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  17. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If you're aging with oak chips, it won't matter too much what you soak them in. I'd use a dark rum to avoid that "raw" flavor you get from white rum. It's great in a mixed drink but won't do much for your beer. Flor de Cana 4 or 7 year would be nice.
     
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  18. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    So I finally racked these over to the secondary and found some interesting results from the FG readings and attenuation overall between the two beers. Keep in mind that these are two separate beers brewed a week apart from each other and had some minor substitutes in grains, so it really should be taken with a grain of salt (or maybe a pound of salt).

    Two things I noticed.

    1. It appears that the one that I dumped into the primary while at high krausen attenuated to 85%. The one that I chilled and decanted only attenuated to 77%.
    2. I pitched the wlp-099 into the 77% attenuated beer at the end of the second day in the primary while the 85% beer I pitched the wlp-099 in after 5 days.

    Just thought y'all might find this interesting (even though it's nowhere near scientific results).
     
  19. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean dumped into the primary while at high krasusen? What was krausening and what was being dumped?

    End of second day in primary? 5 days? Do you mean that you let wort sit in a fermenter for 5 days before you pitched yeast?

    Very confusing.
     
  20. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Meant that while the US-05 starter was at high krausen, pitched it the same day I brewed.

    End of second day (after having already pitched US-05 two days earlier), I pitched wlp-099.
     
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