Friday, August 31, 2007

Barley Wine

I will confess, this was an impulsive batch of first barley wine. I blame it on two brewers who have sparked my interest...or I guess I would say thanks to Brian and Travis. With all your recent talk and brewing of wine-like barley beer, I've decided to follow along. It would be really great to have a tasting of these in 6 months or so. But, what an adventure it was.

On Friday, I was planning on racking the Simcoe 100 to its secondary/dry-hop tank, but instead found myself having lunch with my brother, Becki & Cadence over at Goose Island. I noticed they had a barley wine at over 10% ABV. So I tried my first sip of barley wine. Pretty good. So at that moment, I asked David if he would like to brew one. I told him I already had a huge yeast cake of Wyeast London Ale.

Next thing I know, we're over at the Brew & Grow picking up ingredients for a 3 gallon batch. I formulated the recipe right then and there. We tried to keep with as much British ingredients as possible. After getting home and plugging the ingredients into a calculator, I found out I had just bought enough malts and hops. A close call.

I told David to get here at 8am cause it was going to be a long day. We started the mash at about 8:30am and finished at around 4pm. The boil lasted 4 hours! After 2 hours of boiling, we poured one pot into the larger. At the point where we knew we only had about an hour left, in went the bittering hops.

I was surprised to see that the yeast was having difficulty getting going. Probably because I cooled the wort down in a cool water bath to about 65°F. So later in the day on Monday I took it out, and it started to show signs of digestion. But then the wort rose up to the high side...74-78°F. Bummer. But it will probably turn out just fine. Since fermentation slowed down fairly dramatically by mid day Wednesday, I started a tipping regiment. A couple times a day I angled the 6-gal carboy and turned it to get most of the yeast into solution. Bubbling picks up nicely after tipping.

Barley Wine

10.5 lb. Maris Otter Pale Malt
1.0 lb. Munich Malt 10L
1.0 lb. UK Crystal 60L
.75 lb. Flaked Barley
.25 lb. Belgian Biscuit
.125 lb. Crystal 80L
.125 lb. Special B

3.00 oz. Kent Goldings, 5%, pellets, 75min
0.25 oz. Chinook, 12%, pellets, 60min
1.00 oz. Kent Godlings, 6.5%, whole, 20min
1.00 oz. Kent Goldings, 6.5%, whole, 10min
1.00 oz. Kent Goldings, 5%, pellets, 5min

Wyeast 1028 London Ale, yeast cake from previous batch

Brewday Stats

Brewed: 8/26/07
Racked: around 9/20/07
Bottled: around 10/18/07

Strike Water: 4.83 gal/163.4°F
Mash Temp: 152°F
Mash Ph: Acidic
Mash Out: No
2nd Batch Water: 3gal/192°F
2nd Batch Temp: 168-169°F Perfect!

Pre-Boil Volume: 6 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.061
Total Boil Time: 4:17 hours
Post-Boil Volume: 3.5 gallons

OG: 1.107 (2 points below target)
IBU's: Approx. 123
SRM/Color: 13-18/Amber
FG: 1.027
ABW: 8.4%
ABV: 10.5%

Estimated Mash Efficiency: 73.5%
Cost: $31.50, $0.85/12oz. bottle, $5.10/6-pack


1. Lag time for fermentation was long because I cooled the wort and kept the carboy in a cool water bath at about 64*F
2. Took carboy out of bath, and yeast showed signs of digestion
3. Tuesday it is fermenting well, but on the high side of temperature range. Only about 1-1.5 inch of kraeusen foam
4. Kraeusen fell away by mid-day Wednesday. Since it didn't appear to be as active, and ended sooner than later, I'm a little weary of the gravity at this point. I've been "tipping" the carboy (3.5 gallons wort in a 6 gallon carboy) to break up the whole yeast cake into suspension, and it definitely gets the airlock bubbling again. Did this a couple times a day for a few days.
5. 9/10/07 - After 15 days in primary, and totally quiet, racked to a new 3 gallon secondary fermenter. Specific Gravity (SG) = 1.0267 & ABV = 10.54%. Overall it tastes quite good. Malt sweetness, sweet cherries among other medium-dark fruits. Solid hop bittering & flavor balance which will both age/mellow nicely and benefit from an addition of dry hops during the last month of bulk aging. It has a moderate-strong body and lends to a full mouth-feel. Though I like its texture, I wonder if this will lessen a little with age and after its chilled and carbonated. So good!
6. After hearing Basic Brewing's podcast about blending beers, I am making plans to blend portions of the Old Ale with other beers. I'll definitely blend it with a portion of this Barleywine.
7. At bottling, and after stirring in the priming solution to the carboy, I noticed a layer/pad that was resting on the bottom, broke up and was suspended in the beer. It look very much like a layer of mold. Not knowing what it was, I proceeded to bottle after it settled to the bottom.
8. Didn't add any yeast at bottling and it didn't carbonate. Will add yeast and see if that works. Otherwise, I'm impressed, it smells and tastes great, and is crystal clear.
9. After about 5 weeks, added yeast to all the bottles and they've been sitting in the furnace room above 70°F


Jonathan said...

We just brewed our first barleywine and are about 2 months into fermentation. Best of luck!

Ted Danyluk said...

That's great. We all gotta get together sometime to taste these. At the very least, it will be fun to read all our tasting notes.

Adam said...

Good luck. I brewed a batch almost 2 years ago. Gets better with age so far. Only 10 bottles to go. :-(

Patience is the name of the game.

Travis said...

Glad to hear we could be a positive influence!

How do those yeast cakes work? I was reading about them and it sounds like an interesting way to keep your yeasts. I have been planning in 2 week batches with matching yeasts (carry one over from another) and I have had great luck with it so far.

The only thing is that with the second batch to use the yeast, you want to make a little extra volume because you loose a good chunk to the traub.

All sounds good with yours though, I'll bet you won't notice that slow pick up with the yeast. When things age like this they tend to meld nicely.


Ted Danyluk said...

Thanks Travis. Now I just hope it turns out alright. It smells a little funky, but sometimes fermenting odors just do.

As far as reusing yeast cakes... You can simply rack the previous beer as the new wort is cooled, then pour the new wort right over the yeast cake. There is so much yeast that aeration doesn't seem to be as big of a deal. Since there is so much, the yeast colony doesn't need to "reproduce" before consuming all the sugars.

Usually I ferment a full batch, and then a smaller batch because then the crusted kraeusen doesn't dissolve into the new wort and cause any potential off flavors. But can't confirm that it would actually happen.

As far as the yeast cake holding in beer... I haven't found that to be a big issue. After fermentation, and when the beer clarifies a good amount, the yeast cake packs down pretty solidly. There isn't much room in the sludge for water/alcohol/beer. But maybe you'd want to brew a little extra anyways, cause you have enough yeast ready for it.

Adam said...

You say this is an impulse batch of beer. I know what you mean. I kinda had the same thing happen.

The problem with impulse barleywine though it that it takes months, almost years to reap the benefits of tasting the finished product.

Ted Danyluk said...


If there is a category of home brewers who like the "brewing of" beer more than the "drinking of" it...I just might fit into that one. Don't get me wrong, I love tasting the finished product and sharing it with others. There's probably a fine line between which I enjoy more...brewing or tasting.

I know this barleywine will take a while, but at least I got the urge to brew another batch out of my system. Luckily I've got a great ability to wait patiently for good things to come.

Adam said...

I think that barleywine I brewed was the best beer I've ever made. It has been fun aging it for almost 2 years now. It've talked about it and shared it so many times.

:-) Good luck and let us know how it works out.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ted,

It's Gabriel from Half Acre. I found your blog... I'm sure your barley wine will be great, it will just take a while. I'd be very interested in tasting your Simcoe 100. Shoot me an email so we can hook up and talk beer and what not.

Ted Danyluk said...

Hey Gabriel,

Thanks for visiting my site. I'm not going anywhere, so I don't mind waiting for a good beer.

The Simcoe 100 will be bottled soon. So far it's aroma is fantastic. There's a great fruitiness from the London Ale strain working on such a big malt base. I'll let yo know when it's ready.


Blaine said...

2.5 years later, how did it turn out? :)

Blaine said...

3.5, math fail.