Creating a 2012 beer

I know that you’ve looked at "2012" in the headline and are assuming that I’m talking about creating a beer to drink at the end of the world, or some sort of similar nonsense. And in a way I guess you’re sort of right: 2012 is the year I’ll be celebrating one of those "grand" birthdays: 40. And I’ve been giving some thought lately to brewing up a super-big, super-special beer to crack open on my 40th birthday.

This might ordinarily be more of a post for my Brew Site blog, but I’m writing about it here because it’s still something of an unformed idea. I’ve got some general "goals" in mind for it:

  • It will be high alcohol, likely 12% by volume or higher;
  • It will age for almost 3 years (depending on when I get around to brewing it);
  • It will have lots of hops (probably) but won’t be a hop bomb—hops don’t age well as a rule, and even a hugely hoppy beer will mellow the hops quite a lot in that time;
  • I’ll use some smoked malts in the recipe;
  • It will (probably) age for a bit of time on wood—wood chips, that is (since I don’t have a five gallon barrel), which may or may not be soaked in bourbon or similar ahead of time.

I will also very likely bottle it all in 22-ounce bottles and wax-dip them. I haven’t fully decided if I want to make five gallons or perhaps 2.5 gallons (or even one?); some of the crazier experimental stuff that’s been bouncing around in my head would certainly be easier (and more cost-effective) to restrict to a smaller batch size, but we’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll document the process here. The beer will either be called "40" or "2012," I haven’t decided which yet. But it should be epic.