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Favorite Yeast for English Barleywines?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by BedetheVenerable, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Looking to brew up (in the next month or two) what will be an English-barleywine style ale, based on Black Sheep's Riggwelter (a 5.7-5.9% strong English brown ale) but scaled up to about 1.085 OG from ca. 1.058 or thereabouts. The idea was to take a beer I absolutely love, scale it up to barleywine strenth, age it on Hungarian medium-toast oak, and age it until next November/December. Hopping will be all-English (Progress and Fuggles) and be a bit light, in the low-40 IBUs, like Firestone Walker's English barleywines. I'm hoping for this to come in around 9% or so, or just a touch stronger. Any favorite yeasts for English barleywines?

    OG 1.085 Mash temp 155 IBUs 42 Boil 60 min Mash efficiency 71%

    83% Maris Otter
    9% Torrified Wheat
    5% Crystal 80
    2.5% Pale Chocolate

    Does this look good to people? I thought about tossing in just a touch of amber malt or special roast for complexity, but I thought that might be too much in the way of specialty grains, and didn't want things to get muddled? Any thoughts on yeast or the recipe?

    I was kinda thinking Wyeaest 1469 (?), as it's nice and malty/fruity, but pretty darn attenuative, getting up to around 80% for me, though it's listed as much less-attenuative. Deft. want to use some finings with this one though (which I've never done) as it will NOT clear...
  2. spointon

    spointon Advocate (550) Illinois Nov 25, 2007

    Couple things I will mention:

    1. Why the torrified wheat? It isn't essential to the style, and it will add haze that isn't really wanted, so was just wondering...

    2. If you want your ABV to be 9%-10% then I recommend Wyeast 1968 (Fuller's strain). I make a killer 8.5% Old Ale with that yeast and I think it can go at least to 10% even though Wyeast says 9% is the limit.

    3. If you want more attenuation and/or more alcohol tolerance, I have also used Wyeast 1728 (Scottish) on an English Barleywine and it turned out well.

    4. Nothing wrong with finings, but a strong English barleywine should sit and age for a loooong time. During that time, it should clear on it's own. Just saying.

    Cheers and happy brewing!
  3. Don't have much experience with different yeasts and English barleywines, but with regards to the comment on Wyeast 1968 above, it can definitely go up to and past 10%, as it took one of my beers from 1.112 to 1.030 (ABV 11%).
    NiceFly likes this.
  4. dfess1

    dfess1 Initiate (0) Pennsylvania May 20, 2003

    I use WLP007. Attenuates well.
  5. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    I like WY1028. It can't take them into the 13%+ range and is really reliable and puts some nice subtle yeast flavors into the beer without taking over too much.
  6. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    It looks fine. WY1469 would be a nice choice, as would WY1968/WLP002. You could also use WLP099 which is the Thomas Hardy's strain.

    From personal experience, stay away from S-04 for a barleywine (Did one with S-04 recently and it was an estery mess (isoamyl acetate & tangy bread dough), despite keeping initial fermentation temps low (66-68 F)).

    Re clearing the beer, if concerned about haze, cold crash beer and add suspension of PVPP and let sit for a week. PVPP is useful for clearing tannins, yeast and proteinaceous haze.
  7. WY1272 makes a nice Barleywine. (OMG, a US strain!)
  8. I should first state that I have never made a Barleywine. If I were to make a Barleywine, the yeast I would use would be Danstar Nottingham (two packets).

    The OP made mention of 1469. I made a Bitter using this yeast last spring. That yeast is indeed highly attenuating; I had an Apparent Attenuation of 88% for that batch. I enjoyed the fruity esters that yeast produced and I will use it again to make a Bitter Ale but that yeast is a beast!

    The only clarifier I use in the making of my beers is adding rehydrated Irish Moss to the kettle with 15 minutes remaining in the boil. I am personally satisfied with this ‘method’ in the making of my homebrewed beers.

    Good luck with your Barleywine!

    Cheers!
  9. wspscott

    wspscott Savant (490) Kentucky May 25, 2006

    Based on Wyeast's description, I think you might be pushing the alcohol limit, but might work if you watch your temps. I can't imagine you would need finings if you are going to age for a year, but I have never used this yeast.

    Are you thinking english C80 and pale chocolate malts? I have noticed a definite difference the couple of times I have used english caramel malts vs. american caramel malts in APA/IPAs.

    Last, are you planning on leaving it on the oak the whole time? Since you mention age 2 different times, I suspect not.
  10. dbc5

    dbc5 Savant (455) Ohio Jun 18, 2009

    I brewed a big English barleywine recently with WY1968. Despite WY claiming a maximum alcohol tolerance of 9%, this beer went to 11%. I think this yeast makes a great choice for the style.
    NiceFly likes this.
  11. Thanks all! As to the questions, the torrified wheat is in there mostly because it was in the original recipe (a big, ballsy English brown from North Yorkshire), and I'm basically taking that recipe times about 1.5x. Should I leave it out? To those of you who recommended Wyeast 1968, I LOVE that strain, but was a bit concerned about using it, since I was hoping for a final abv between 9-9.5 and Wyeast says it can only go up to 9%. It's good to see that some of you have pushed it a bit beyond that; how low do you think I should mash if I use that yeast? 151-152 ish? In terms of aging, I figured I'd probably pitch 3 (125ml) smack-packs into a 3 gallon batch (i.e. pretty big cell count), let it go in primary for 3-4 weeks, rack onto the oak for secondary fermentation (insert time here, as I've never oak-aged before) and then bottle, doing most of the aging in the bottles. Any advice here? And, as to the use of domestic vs. English crystal, I'm a FIRM believer in English crystal/roast/etc malts for most of my English styles...can't get enough of that stuff :)
  12. I've fermented with 1968 to 15+% and been fine, it is a VERY durable yeast. Just make a proper starter and it will be fine . I would even mash a little higher if I were you as with my experience ( 20+ times ) with this strain is it tends to dry the shit out of the beer at lower mash temps.
  13. luisfrancisco

    luisfrancisco Savant (275) Mexico Dec 1, 2009

    I used WLP099 for a similar strength Barleywine, left it aging for 18 months, and won a gold medal at a competition.
  14. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Leave it in. If you really enjoyed the smaller beer you're basing this on, give it a shot. If its really hazy after a couple weeks in primary (Since 1968 drops like a brick, any haze is most likely protein/chill/hop matter) fine it with PVPP to remove the protein haze.

    According Greg Doss from Wyeast (NHC Talk), mashing at 153 will give you the maximum attenuation, so might be a good place to start.

    Use cubes not chips, unless you want the beer to taste like a 2x4. Some people age the beer on cubes for months, as initially it will be a touch oaky before it mellows and integrates with the beer giving you more vanilla, chocolate, etc. Agreed on the English vs. American, if I'm doing English beers, I use English base and crystal malts, unless there is a particular flavor I'm looking for that is attributable to malts of other origin.
  15. Thanks for the info! I'll mash at 153 then! What's the PVPP you reference, and how's it used?
  16. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    PVPP = Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone. Its a polymer thats used to remove tannins, colloidal haze and proteins from beer. It works great for removing chill haze or anything else from your beer, and its been shown to stabilize beer flavors & shelf life. You hydrate in boiled, hot water, let cool and then add to chilled beer (You can use warm, but if you have chill haze, you need the haze to form before adding), let sit for a week and then rack off. I use it in conjunction with Biofine (SiO2, used to make yeast drop) to get clear beer without filtration.
  17. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (375) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    I also love WY1968 in malty beers. I have also taken it to just over 11% ABV in Barleywines and RIS.

    I mash at 148F usually for 60-90 minutes and I do not use crystal malts.
    inchrisin likes this.
  18. Any thoughts on putting a bit of sugar (demerara) in this receipe, especially if I use Wyeast 1968, to get the attenuation down just a touch more? Maybe 7-10%?
  19. “According Greg Doss from Wyeast (NHC Talk), mashing at 153 will give you the maximum attenuation, so might be a good place to start.”

    What you stated above is absolutely correct for a 60 minute mash.

    If you consider mashing longer:

    · Mash at 153°F for 60 minutes yields an attenuation of 84.91%
    · Mash at 150.5 - 151°F for 75 minutes yields an attenuation of 87.71%

    So, a longer mash at a lower temperature does indeed yield a more fermentable wort for Pilsner malt.

    I now wonder: what attenuation would you achieve if you mash at 149°F for 75 minutes (or 90 minutes)?

    Cheers!
  20. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Not sure, at some point you start getting denaturation of a good percentage of the enzyme ensemble (Don't remember half lives of mash enzymes and their temperature dependence off the top of my head). Also one thing to keep in mind that I just noticed, his data for mash length and temp are single point measurements, so without replicates and statistics, its hard to truly say what is significant, although the trends do appear logical.

    My quote was referring to just a 60 minute mash. For simple infusion mashes in any style other than a DIPA, I've just been doing 60 min or less mashes, as my beers tend to come out on the dry side.
  21. “My quote was referring to just a 60 minute mash.” Yup, and I ‘recognized’ that via my statement of: “What you stated above is absolutely correct for a 60 minute mash.”

    “Also one thing to keep in mind (for both of us), his data for mash length and temp are single point measurements, so without replicates and statistics, its hard to truly say what is significant, although the trends do appear logical.” I agree with that statement. Yet, you advised BedetheVenerable to mash at 153°F based upon a single point measurement result.

    Cheers!
  22. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    The 153 F was anecdotal in addition to his talk data. I've been trying various mash temps for a recent hoppy session beer (same grain bill, same yeast, BIAB) and have seen similar dryness peak at around 153. Not doing as fine a gradations though, around 2 degrees.
  23. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Aficionado (245) Florida Apr 30, 2010

    I'll throw in a rec for WLP 005. I've had good results with barleywine. Attenuated well and big English character.
  24. I like Wyeast 1728 for strong malty beers. Flocculant, alcohol tolerant, fast and clean. I recently reached 13.5% with this strain (in an Old Ale).
  25. For what it's worth, lets say I leave this in primary a month, and secondary the same. Will 6-7 months in the bottle be enough time to substantially smooth this out, or is that not gonna cut it? I want it ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2013, but should I just wait and do something not quite as strong?
  26. If you keep your fermentation temps in check I would see no reason why it wouldnt be fine in that time frame.
  27. Pitch the correct amount of yeast, plenty of O2, and control that fermentation temperature. It can be ready quicker than you think.
    yinzer likes this.
  28. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (290) Michigan Mar 21, 2009

    I like WLP007 for my Barley Wines. I would get this beer brewing as soon as possible and keep your alchol to 8.5 - 9% only because you want to serve it in this time frame. I am guilty of drinking my high gravity beers too early. (big mistake) I just cracked the last bottle of a batch that was 2 years old and was sad I did not have another case left!
  29. Anyone try WLP004 in a barleywine? I am having a hard time making my yeast choice here and have had good success with 004 in other malty beers and was curious if anyone has experience with it.

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