Tart of Darkness - Barrel Project

>> Monday, September 30, 2013

Yesterday I brewed up what is intended to be a clone of The Bruery's Tart of Darkness. Tart of Darkness is a sour stout aged in oak barrels and from what I've heard it's delicious. I hoping I get a chance to try it this year at GABF.

A bunch of us from my brew club (ZZ Hops) had decided we wanted to do a club barrel project a little while back. A few weeks ago a friend of mine saw that Epic was retiring and selling off some of the barrels that were used to age their Imperial Stout.

These barrels have had a total of four fills; one with whiskey (I believe at High West), and three times at Epic. I don't expect to get any whiskey character, but we're hoping to pick up some oak character. We'll be doing a clean primary fermentation after which we'll combine all the beers in the barrel and pitch some brett and bugs, then let it age for anywhere from a few months to a year or so. Below is the recipe we settled on (adjusted for my system efficiency):

8# 6.9oz Rarh Pale Malt
14 oz Briess Crystal 60L
14 oz Flaked Oats (toasted for 45 min @ 350F)
6.7 oz Briess Roasted Barley
5.1 oz Briess Chocolate Malt
15.2g Saaz (60 min)
Wyeast 1028 London Ale in 1L starter
1/2t Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
1/2 Whirlfloc tablet

Mash at 158F for 60 min. 90 min boil. Ferment at 60F

Target O.G.: 1.065
IBU: 8

Brewing notes:
No real issues once I actually got to brewing. I recently changed my system startup process a bit. I used to heat my HLT and HEX separately but since upgrading from coolers to stainless kettles I've been recirculating water from HLT to HEX and back to HLT. The reason for this is due to the small volume, the HEX heats up very quickly by itself; I figured I might as well put it to use in heating the HLT. It's been working great except for today when I forgot to secure the return hose. At some point the hose slipped and the water from my HLT was pumped all over the floor of my garage. When the level got down to the element, it got hot enough to basically destroy itself. It served as a good reminder to pay attention and not leave equipment unattended. Anyway, I had to run to Home Depot and pick up a new element. All this set the start of my brew day back a few hours.

Here is a pic of the barrel as well as the cradle/cart that I made for the barrel. All in all we're into this a little over $100 for the barrel and the cradle. Not bad since we'll be splitting the costs between 11-ish people.

Update 11/10/2013
Last night was our barrel fill meeting. Other than taking a bit longer than expected to transfer, everything went well. It was interesting to taste the differences between the different batches. We ended up having two batches pitched with Roeselare in primary, and the rest had a clean primary. I can't wait until it's time to start pulling samples.