Heh. Too much of a good thing. Seems my very active yeast may have fermented the whole batch already. When yeast does its initial reproducing in a fresh batch of wort (new beer), there's a head of dirty-looking foam called a "kraeusen" (kroy'-zen) that forms, and a tall or "high" kraeusen indicates a good, lively yeast pitch. Well, in my seven-gallon fermenting bucket there's two gallons (around seven inches) of headroom above the wort that I poured into the bucket, and when I checked the bubbler the other night there was residue from the kraeusen clinging to the bubbler's bottom edge. That is one serious ferment!
I improved the seal around the bubbler's neck with some tightly-wound plastic wrap last night, so it should be pretty close to airtight (pressing on the lid made the airlock's water level rise and fall reliably). This morning there was no appreciable bubbling activity, so I'm going to take a specific gravity reading tonight. If it's below 1.020, then the ferment is probably finished already, or close to it! (For those interested, the original specific gravity was 1.054, and the recipe's finishing gravity is between 1.015 and 1.020, for an alcohol content of around 4% by volume - take the difference in original and finishing gravities and multiply by 105.)
I have no clue how Big Dawg Brown is going to taste - I know what I like in a nut-brown ale, but between the scorch and a possible quick ferment I have no idea what to expect...