Batch #4 racked to keg. Gravity was down to 1.024, not what I was hoping for but better than nothing. Natural carbonation via 1/2 cup of cane sugar. The sample tasted good, different from a week ago and thinner, less sweet, so it's headed in the right direction. I have been following a thread on homebrewtalk.com discussing this recipe (Northern Brewer bourbon Barrel Porter) and many have had similar stuck fermentations. Certainly its a lesson in the necessity of yeast starters for big beers. 1.065-1.024 X 135 = 5.5% ABV.
Batch #6 also racked to a keg, added 1/2 cup cane sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup as well as a pound of lactose for back sweetening. Batch #6 at 1.000 gravity, very dry. I had enough in the fermenter to rack off almost a gallon into growlers that would not fit int he keg. The cider has nice apple flavors, a little bit of a hot alcohol bite, and a very dry finish with a little bit of sourness. I'm not sure I'd be happy to serve it at this point but I have heard the ciders benefit greatly from age. Hopefully keeping it in the keg and with a blanket of carbon dioxide there will not be any acetobacter activity, otherwise it'll be a lifetime supply of apple cider vinegar. 1.051-1.000 X 135 = 6.8% ABV.
Cleaned carboys that had soaked in oxy-clean solution since last weekend. Both were emptied and double-rinsed with clean tap water. They should get another rinse and then Star-San before their next use.