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Recipe critique for barrel aged (cabernet) english barleywine

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by barfdiggs, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Hi All,

    I'm planning on brewing a large English Barleywine in a week or two to age in a 15 gallon French Oak Cabernet barrel. This being my first barrel aging project, I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on my recipe below.... My goal for this batch/recipe is a rather simple, clean barleywine that will allow the barrel character to come through fully (A la Thomas Hardy's Harvest). Also, before I hear multiple comments yeast health/starters, yes I plan to do multi-step, multi-liter starters using shakers at work.

    Cheers.

    Recipe: Cabernet BA English Barleywine
    Brewer: Ward G. Walkup IV
    Style: English Barleywine
    TYPE: All Grain
    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 gal
    Boil Size: 21.30 gal
    Bottling Volume: 20.00 gal
    Estimated OG: 1.113 SG
    Estimated Color: 8.6 SRM
    Estimated IBU: 35.6 IBUs
    Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
    Boil Time: 90 Minutes

    Ingredients:
    85 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 100.0 %
    8.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - First Wort 26.9 IBUs
    5.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 20.0 8.7 IBUs
    8.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 0.0 0.0 IBUs
    4.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)
    4.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
    8.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) + 2L Stepped Starter

    Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Mash Out
    Total Grain Weight: 85 lbs
    Mash In Add 70.00 qt of water at 174.5 to reach 150.0 F, Hold 90 min
    Mash Out @ 168 F
  2. mylar

    mylar Aficionado (180) Pennsylvania Dec 13, 2011

    A SMaSH Barley Wine? Ive never done one, however I cant say that I would either....I would take a tried and true barley wine recipe and scale it up to your 20 gallon system. Also my biggest concern is you system and process. It says you'll boil 21.3 gallon over 90 minutes to end up with 20 gallons? Even with a 10% boil off rate, which is bare minimum on most systems, you're still boiling off over 2 gallons! And back to the recipe. You still have a SMaSH beer, not really a barley wine. I understand you want a lot of character to come from the barrel, which I think you will still get, but you still need to have a solid base beer going in to the barrel.
  3. Gueuzedude

    Gueuzedude Advocate (640) Arizona Aug 21, 2003

    SMaSH Barley Wines are a great idea. with all that malt you will get lots of malt complexity from Maris Otter. I might lean towards doing some concentrated boiling of the first runnings, but i might not also. Simple will work well with the Wine Barrel.

    The thing to not only look out for, but to actively plan for (as it is at least somewhat, if not more, likely is that the beer will go funky in the barrel). Wine barrel aged beers are notorious for getting funky no matter what you do (as compared to spirits barrels), so plan for the possibility so that you don't have to dump the beer.
  4. Pahn

    Pahn Advocate (695) New York Dec 2, 2009

    i'd do a really long boil.

    i'd also think about adding a small amount of special b to compliment the cabernet flavors, but not sure about that one. long boil though, i would definitely do.
    barfdiggs likes this.
  5. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Doing a concentrated boiling of the first runnings to get some extra Mailiard reactions going might be a fun thing to try with this. Good idea.

    Contamination is definitely one of my main concerns regarding this beer, but... I did have a chance to try a couple bottles of Alesmith Decadence 2008, a BA barleywine gone sour/funky, and I actually quite enjoyed it. I've got two barrels and am brewing a flander's in one, and this in the other. If this beer ends up getting funky/sour, I'll just brew extensively sours with the barrel from here on out.
  6. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Thats a good point. I get a lot of raisin/prune like flavors from special B; they might complement the barrel flavor nicely.
  7. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Savant (425) New York Dec 20, 2006

    Uh, J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale is 100% Maris Otter and Goldings just like the OPs recipe, is J.W. Lees "not really a barley wine"?
  8. sarcastro

    sarcastro Savant (405) Michigan Sep 20, 2006

    Saw this one coming a mile away.
    azorie likes this.
  9. bogwart

    bogwart Zealot (95) Texas Jun 28, 2010

    Where did you find the barrels? Those sound awesome.
  10. mylar

    mylar Aficionado (180) Pennsylvania Dec 13, 2011

    Is it really? I did not know that...They probably boil it for 2 plus hours as well. Not sure you'd get the same effect/complexity with a 90 min boil....
  11. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    My friends dad was a very good home wine maker (I think he won the CA state fair several times), and when he passed away, my buddy gave me two of his 15 barrels.
  12. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    They also use a little sugar, I think. But you are correct, it is 1 type of malt and 1 type of hop and that stuff is the nectar of the gods.

    I think I'm going to be brewing a SMaSH barleywine soon, similar to OPs
  13. MontpelierArtie

    MontpelierArtie Zealot (85) Vermont Jun 23, 2010

    I followed your advice from a series of posts several years ago and brewed a SMaSH all MO/EKG barley wine. I boiled the 1st runnings down until syrupy while boiling the 2nd runnings. Upon combining these I began the hop additions and 60 minute boil. Tasting pre fermentation and upon bottling it was delightful. The OP can't go wrong with a SMaSH barley wine.
  14. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (425) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    Good call on making more beer than will fit into the barrel!
  15. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011


    This is will be the first beer I rebrew when I start brewing again in December. Planning on brewing ~15-18 gallons with 10 going into a Rum barrel, although the recipe has been tweaked to collect 25 gallons of wort and boil for 4 hours before cooling, and is hoppier than before (80 IBU) with a higher mash temp (158 F) and different yeast strain (1968).
    inchrisin likes this.

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