Thirsty Thursday–Sampling Sanctuary

Sanctuary sampleOnce upon a time, on September 2, 2007, Wilson brewed his first Flanders Red. He’s very patient. He knew this would take some time.

Sanctuary spent a week in primary fermentation. It went from a gravity of 1.061 to 1.008 in that time. On September 11, 2007, Wilson racked the beer to secondary, and added Wyeast 5335, as well as one ounce of French oak chips, which had been soaked in 7 Deadly Zins.

Five months have passed. The fermenter just sits there, taunting. Wilson remains committed. It will be better later. He figured on bottling in May of 2008. Eight months seemed a good compromise. He didn’t want to wait a whole year (certainly not two or three), but knew that six months would not be enough.

Wilson’s the kind of guy that can wait. He always saves the cherry for last. But at some point it would be fine, dandy, appropriate and necessary to take a sample. That was this week.

The Sample

On one hand, I should point out that it had reached 1.006, but on the other hand, I want to know how it tasted.

It was a lovely, rosy caramel color, clear and tempting. The aroma was a fascinating burst of vanilla which eventually gave way to some acidity and fruity malt character. The flavors were really a melding of light cherry/red currant malt tones and a touch of acidity/sourness. A waft of alcohol drifted past. Nothing dominated. Swished in the mouth, the character of the oak became apparent beyond the amazing vanilla aroma. Oak and Zinfandel came forward and lent a tannic, dry coating to the mouth.

Of course, it was flatter than a pancake, so one has to pull out the old imagination to envision how this will taste in the end. It will taste good, he decides. But he’s looking forward to a stronger sour character. Will three more months suffice? He’s almost skeptical. Since he’s patient, he might just wait a little longer. Will it be a year? He doesn’t know.

Regardless, it will indeed be a Sanctuary. It will be, like today, brewvana.

4 Responses to Thirsty Thursday–Sampling Sanctuary

  1. Now that is some patience. I might be headed in that direction soon. I like to forget about stuff and come back to it. Maybe this style is for me.

  2. Bailey says:

    I really don’t know if I could exhibit that kind of patience. Still, sounds like you’re reassured it’s on track. You can see why styles like this are eschewed by the bigger brewers — it’s commercial madness to wait a year only to find that a whole batch stinks.

  3. Thanks Wilson, now I’m having a hard time being patient and I doubt I’ll ever taste the fruit of your labors! Mind if I live vicariously through you?

  4. Wilson says:

    This has been a test. A lack of patience is one reason I haven’t yet gotten a mead going.

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