After five months and three yeast cakes, I’ve finally racked Batch 25 into a carboy for bulk conditioning and aging. The last yeast cake, WYeast 3864, did such a good job (knocking about 12 points off of what was already a 19% beer) that if/when I do this again, I may make it a Belgian from the beginning. Then again, the beer already has so much going on that those Belgian-y esters might be over the top. At any rate, the final final gravity is 1.044, which works out to about 22% ABV, probably ±1% – I just don’t know how accurate the calculations are this far outside of the presumptive “normal” range. (BTW, this is calculated using the real extract difference, not the more common but less accurate [(OG-FG)*131] correlation.)
So now it sits in a carboy with .75 oz of oak chips that I toasted to what I would call “medium-dark” and 250 mL of rye whiskey. I’m thinking it will stay in there for 3-4 months before kegging, then maybe one more month of cold conditioning. At bottling (I’m going to have to force carbonate, clearly) I’ll add more rye to taste, up to another 250 mL, which would put the final alcohol content at 24±1% ABV. With this schedule I should be able to crack open the first bottle on my 26th birthday as planned.