A Dark One from the Cellar

SweetWater Happy Ending

SweetWater Happy Ending – A big black hopped up stout

This is possibly(in my opinion) the best beer that SweetWater makes regularly. While I enjoy most of their beers very few leave me satisfied in such a manor as this beast. I pulled this beer out of the cellar the other day cause I needed a beer that would tell my taste buds to wake the fuck up. This beer kicks ass from every direction. It’s got a wonderful aromatic blend of roast, chocolate, pine, citrus, and spicy hops. This thing has gotten nice and smooth over the past 8 months and it still has some hops intact in the flavor and aroma. This brew has lots of toast, roast, toffee, and coffee all complimented by a west coast style hop profile. You won’t see this on the shelves again till January so you’ll just have to drool over the thought of drinking one till then.

Re-Constitution Time! Yay! Fun!

wine barrel sealed in plastic getting filled with water

An attempt to recondition a wine barrel so that it holds water again.

We(beer geeks hanging out at BHB) took a wine barrel swimming yesterday in hopes that it would once again hold a liquid. It was exciting! You know, the kind of excitement that you get from watching water boil! I could hardly contain myself! So we had this Chateau St. Michelle barrel that just looked perfect for barrel aging a beer. There was only one problem with said barrel; it leaked like a sieve. The barrel over time had lost all the moisture from the wooden staves that it is constructed with so we had to figure out how to re-hydrate the wood so that it would expand again and be water tight. We first tried to put the barrel in a pool while filling the barrel with water. The idea was that the barrel would have a chance to hydrate from both inside and out. This kinda worked, the barrel would fill about half way up and maintain that volume but it was proving to be a bit slow going. We used clean waste water from cooling down freshly brewed beer to aid in our barrel filling as to not be wasteful. The situation was re-assessed and we decided to wrap the whole barrel with shipping grade plastic wrap prior to filling it up. This new plan worked pretty well but we still couldn’t get the barrel to fill up all the way. The barrel was emptied again and wrapped extra tight with more plastic, laid down, and starting to get filled with more water. Before we new it water was coming out the bung hole! The plastic forced the water to stay inside the barrel and barely leak so that the barrel actually held its full volume of water. It is going to have to soak like this for an unknown amount of time before it will actually hold a liquid sans plastic wrap. When the barrel finally holds water on its own it will be cleaned and conditioned and eventually filled up with some tasty brew! And it was actually kinda fun and exciting being a bit of an experiment and all. If you know a better method to bring old barrels back to life please let me know!