Saturday, March 19, 2011

Screwy Double Novacaine Brewday

Last June was the first time I ever brewed Mr. Beer's Novacaine barley wine recipe and I'm glad I did. Novacaine was a huge hit with everyone who was lucky enough to get to drink it before it ran out. I bottle primed using pure cane sugar in 1 liter PET bottles and let them condition in my basement for 5 or 6 months before drinking them. This year I brewed 2 batches of the same recipe and plan on letting them condition until Thanksgiving, this time giving them 9-10 months before drinking them.

Double Order Of Novacaine Ingredients
Size 2.13 gallons: Estimated IBU=48, SRM=36, OG=1.102, FG=1.026, ABV=9.9%

1 Can West Coast Pale Ale HME
1 Can St. Patrick's Irish Stout HME
1 Can Golden Wheat UME
2 Cans Pale Export UME
2 Packets Sterling Pellet Hops
2 Packets Northern Brewer Pellet Hops
1 Pouch Wyeast 1056 - American Ale Liquid Yeast
2 Muslin Hop Sacks

Stand extract cans in hot water and pour OneStep cleanser mix on lids
Place Wyeast 1056 yeast in warm location and smack pouch 3-6 hours before pitching
Boil 11 quarts of filtered water
Add 1 ounce Northern Brewer hops with 5 minutes remaining to boil
Remove from heat and add all extracts
Add 1 ounce Sterling hops in muslin hop sack
Use wort chiller to cool wort to 70° F

Aerate, pitch at 70°F and ferment at 66°F for 18 days
Raise to 70°F over days 19 to 21 then remove hops sacks and rack to secondary fermenter
Cold condition secondary fermenter for 1 week at 34° F
Bottle prime with cane sugar and carbonate for 21 days at 70° F
Condition For 8 months between 60-74° F
To brew the Novacaine recipe I pretty much followed the instructions that shipped with the ingredients. The only 2 things I did differently was to boil the Northern Brewer hops for 5 minutes and do a full wort boil then used my wort chiller to cool the wort down to 70F for pitching. Mr. Beer said to bring the water to a boil then turn off the flame and toss in the Northern Brewer hops, last time I boiled them for 5 minutes as well and the Novacaine tasted great.

I Gave The Northern Brewer Hops A 5 Minute Full Wort Boil

I was able to do a boil enough water to completely fill the Mr. Beer fermenters without having to add any cold makeup water. Doing it this way makes having a wort chiller a necessity as it allows you to cool the wort down very quickly to the exact pitching temperature of the yeast. I want all conditions possible to be idea so the yeast can take off quickly and begin a healthy fermentation, especially with a high gravity recipe like Novacaine.

Cooling The Wort Down To 70F Took 15 Minutes
I had the Wyeast sitting in a bowl of 70 F One Step cleanser for 20 minutes to match it up to the temperature of the wort before pitching it. After pitching the yeast I left both fermenters in the basement to cool down a bit before moving them upstairs to the fermentation room.

Both Kegs Fermenting In 66F Room After 1 Hour
By mid morning of the next day both fermenters showed a healthy level of krausen and filled the room with the aromas of fermenting beer. They'll stay in this room for another 18 days before I raise the temperature a few degrees over days 19-21 and then rack them to a secondary removing the hops sacks and cold crash them for a week in the refrigerator before bottling.

12 Hours Later A Healthy Primary Fermentation Was Underway
Four and a half gallons of this really nice barley wine will be sure to lift the spirits of both friends and family for the late fall and early winter holidays coming up.

I bottled up both batches and added 1.5 teaspoons of pure can sugar to each 1 liter bottle for priming the natural carbonation.

These Will Be fully Conditioned By Thanksgiving Day
I'm a happy guy right now. We started drinking a few liters of this Novacaine recipe this weekend. Brewed back in March of this year and after 6 months of conditioning they taste as good, or better, than we remembered when I brewed them for last Thanksgiving Day. The only problem is now I wish I had brewed more than just 4 gallons.

Nothing Says Happy Thanksgiving Like Novacaine!
Im down to me last 3 plus gallons and it's the middle of September, I think I can manage my supply so it lasts until the holidays. The weather here in the Northeast has dipped into the low 50's the past few nights making for some really good Barley Wine drinking.

I plan to brew this same recipe again next March and this time bottle some of them up in 12 ounce longnecks so they're easier to give out to friends and family around the holidays.


  1. I have a batch of Novacaine also, I've been waiting for the 6-9 month time frame to sample. I did drink their black cat (stout) as it was time for corn beef and it was fantastic.

    I've been doing all grains lately, actually I've used allot of your methods and they have turned out pretty good.

    Mr. Beers kits are well thought out and usually come out good. They are so simple, takes an hr to do a 2.5 gallon brew. Yesterday it took me all day to do a 5 gallon bud clone (turned out good though).

    I used your mashers :)



  2. Sounds like you're having a good time brewing all those great beers. My brother in law loves Bud, he's been drinking it for 30 years now, someday I'd like to brew him a clone and get his feedback.