The Neapolitan Milk Stout has had about two weeks in primary, and stopped fermenting about a week into it, and I gave it an additional week to just sit with the chocolate and milk sugar in there to condition for a bit. The next step to take was to move it over to secondary to add the strawberries. I had purchased five pounds of pre-frozen strawberries from Meijer, and a couple days before I thawed them in the refrigerator for a day, and then re-froze them. According to various sources on the internet, this was the best way to break down the cellular structure of the fruit so that the beer could absorb the flavors.
This task was a bit more difficult than I had originally envisioned. I thought I could just make a funnel out of our cutting board sheet, and use that to funnel all of the strawberries into the carboy. It suffices to say that it was hardly that easy. I didn’t realize how small the opening on a carboy actually is, so I had to shove them in there by hand. I didn’t thaw them out fully because I didn’t want to expose them to too many open air bacterium. I just ran them under hot water a little bit to thaw them out, so they were still fairly solid. This made it slightly difficult to get them in, but after about a half hour, I did it.
After that, I just racked the beer onto it as usual, and now it will sit there with the strawberries for another two weeks. There was a huge amount of yeast sludge on the bottom of this beer, and since I used chocolate and milk sugar, neither of which get processed by the yeast, I essentially had a thick chocolate pudding at the bottom of the fermenting bucket. Next, they’ll get bottled with pure vanilla extract and brown sugar, and will further condition for another month or so before drinking. They’re getting bottled in 22-24 oz. bottles, since I read that beer conditions better in larger volumes, so only a few 12oz bottles will be made to give to people. These probably won’t be opened until late December or early January for optimal flavor.
Since I’ve tried so many new things with this beer, I’m really excited to see how it turns out. More updates will come as I progress.