Brewing An English Barley Wine
You might remember from a few weeks ago that I was planning to brew an English Barley Wine and that to build up a quantity of healthy yeast I was brewing an English Best Bitter. Well it’s now come to the time to finalise a recipe to brew so I am going to share that with you here.
You can find the post on brewing an English Bitter here. Although it might seem like more work to when you ultimately are brewing one beer to make another, who can argue that having more more is a bad thing.
English Barley Wine
Now the thing with brewing a Barley Wine is the amount of alcohol, this is why I ramped up some yeast by making a smaller beer in the first instance and then using the yeast cake from that fermentation for the barley wine. This will be more than enough to ensure a good fermentation of a higher ABV beer like this. I have talked about reusing yeast before so if you’re wondering what’s involved take a look at this post – Reusing Yeast.
What I want In a Barley Wine
Generally speaking a Barley wine is a very strong bitter in many aspects. The thing with barley wine though is because of the malt bill being beefed up so much you end up with richer, deeper and more complex malt flavours and this is what I want to really shine through in my barley wine.
Take a look at the BJCP guidelines regarding a an English Barley Wine:
Flavor: Very rich and strongly malty, often with a caramel-like aroma. May have moderate to strong fruitiness, often with a dried-fruit character. English hop aroma may range from mild to assertive. Alcohol aromatics may be low to moderate. The intensity of these aromatics often subsides with age. The aroma may have a rich character including bready, toasty, toffee, molasses, and/or treacle notes. Aged versions may have a sherry-like quality, possibly vinous or port-like aromatics, and generally more muted malt aromas. Low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture (although the body may decline with long conditioning). A smooth warmth from aged alcohol should be present. Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.
Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt should form the backbone of the grist, with judicious amounts of caramel malts. Dark malts should be used with great restraint, if at all, as most of the color arises from a lengthy boil. English hops such as Northdown, Target, East Kent Goldings and Fuggles. Characterful English yeast.
Now with the above in mind I have come up with my own take on a barley wine and like pretty much all my recipes I have gone pretty simple, when I look at recipes that contain a whole array of malts, sometimes in such small quantities I can’t really tell what they are going to add I tend to move on. I think allowing each ingredient to speak for itself is what makes a good beer.
Please take note that the efficency on this recipe is set to 70% because of the higher level of fermentables in the mash.
Batch Size: 19 Litres / 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.102
Final Gravity: 1.026
Bitterness (IBU): 60.2
Est. Colour (EBU): 35.9
|Amount||Item||Type||% or IBU|
|6.80 kg / 15 lb||Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC)||Grain||79.81%|
|0.82 kg / 1.81 lb||Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC)||Grain||9.62%|
|0.40 kg / 0.88 lb||Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC)||Grain||4.69%|
|27.00 gm / 2.08 oz||Target [11.00 %] (60 min)||Hops||25.2 IBU|
|59.00 gm / 0.95 oz||Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min)||Hops||25.0 IBU|
|39.00 gm / 1.38 oz||Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (20 min)||Hops||10.0 IBU|
|0.50 kg / 1.10 lb||Brown Sugar, Dark (98.5 EBC)||Sugar||5.87%|
Yeast: Reused Nottingham yeast cake
Now as you can see there is an addition of dark brown sugar. I am aiming to get those sherry and liquorice like flavours from this addition and also add a bit of colour. Add this in toward the end of the boil to aid hop utilisation.
The hops are simple and are there to balance, I want my barley wine to be rich and malty rather than bitter. The IBU is around 60 which may seem high but remember that because of the amount of malt (and thus higher alcohol) the bitterness will not be the same as 60 IBU is in a pale ale. Check out this post on balance for a bit more info on the topic.
I should be ready to brew this soon. As soon as my smaller beer is out of primary I will be able to reuse the yeast and get this going. Bear in mind this barley wine is going to need considerable time fermenting and then conditioning we are talking months in secondary and then at least 8-12 months conditioning.