Batch 14: Woodstock Old Ale

Woodstock – Old Ale aged on oak with brettanomyces

This was my first collaboration with a friend who homebrews under the moniker Playhouse Brewing. His homebrew is an inspiration to me and his experience far outweighs my own, so this was a great opportunity for me. We both intended to brew a similar beer this month so we decided to do so together, splitting the wort and pitching our own yeasts.

The malt bill was his doing, closely matching what I had in mind already:

88.5%  Maris Otter

6.5%   Crystal 40

3.5%   Crystal 120

1.5%   Chocolate malt

Bitterness was added by way of hop extract at FWH to acheive 45 IBU. My 2.5 gallons received WYeast’s 9097 old ale blend, a “Private Collection” strain that includes some brettanomyces and is only released every couple years from my knowledge.

Fermentation was quick to get going and vigorous. Bubbling started after only a few hours.  The next morning there was a nice 30mm krausen, and by that evening it was in full blow-off mode. It continued to blow off for about 10 hours. After a few weeks in primary this will spend an extended time in secondary on boiled oak cubes.


OG:  1.099     IBU: 45     FG: 1.010

Brewed:  Dec 6th, 2015     Bottled:  April 24, 2016

Fermentation took place in an “ice bath” which I tried to keep at an average 67 – 68F for the first four days, but in reality it would slowly oscillate between 64 and 73F due to my only being able to add ice every 8 hours or so. I pitched only the swelled smack pack, which is a pretty light pitch for 2.5 gallons of 1.100 wort I realize.

Tasting Notes:

Jan 3, 2016 – Sample from primary. SG down to 1.019, though it tastes sweeter. Intense fruitiness and solid caramel backbone. Surprisingly little ‘young’ flavour and not a lot of heat either, considering it’s clocking in at 10.7% right now. Added boiled oak cubes and will leave in primary until bottling.

May 30, 2016 – First bottle. Negligible carb, which was expected and welcomed at this point. Flavour is dominated by a leathery quality which is quite pleasant. Some subtle dark fruit flavour. Moderate and pleasant oak presence. So far, so good! Despite the 90% attenuation, the beer does not come across as particularly dry thanks to the brett flavours.

Feb 6, 2019 – This beer turned out great. Despite the lack of updates on this page, I’ve been slowly working my way through the batch for damn near three years now and still have a few left – and it’s still improving. Lots of leather and dark fruit, with a little bit of chocolate and caramel for good measure. Carbonation remained very low, and the mouthfeel is a little slick, but it’s a great sipper.