Looking for a Good English Barleywine/Old Ale Recipe

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by OddNotion, May 14, 2012.

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  1. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    So I tend to try to make a big winter beer every year that I can let age for a few months before consumption. This year I want to try my hand at an English Barleywine or Old Ale (I know there is a good amount of overlap so a hybrid of the two might be what I am looking for) but can not seem to put together a recipe I am confident in since I have never brewed a Barleywine before.

    Some specs I am looking for in this beer:
    OG: around 1.100
    Thicker Mouthfeel
    English Ingredients - though I would not mind some High AA non english hops for the bittering addition
    All Grain
    I will be doing a 2.5 or 3 hour boil to really carmelize the sugars
    More than one malt as I plan on using MO or GP as my base but am not a fan of just using them on their own.
    Some of the nice dark fruit/tobacco flavors that come out in English Barleywines/Old Ales
    Not cloyingly sweet so I was thinking of using WLP007 as the yeast here
    I know that Brett can be in old ales but I am looking to avoid it in this case

    Hopefully some of you with some good recipes can help me out here. Also looking for ideal mash temp, I am thinking its probably in the 149 to 151 range as there will be a ton of sugars that need fermenting.
  2. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Disciple (306) Jan 28, 2011 Ohio

    Well, J.W. Lees is a Maris Otter and East Kent Goldings. You could start there. Maybe add some sugar to it as well.
  3. ventura78

    ventura78 Aspirant (260) Nov 22, 2003 Massachusetts

  4. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Yeah I actually wrote then deleted the part where I was going to say not like JW Lees because I found that to be cloyingly sweet. Am definitely going to be going for similar flavor just a little drier, hopefully the WLP007 can take care of that. I like the idea of using EKG for the hops. Still up in the air between MO and GP for the base.
  5. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Disciple (306) Jan 28, 2011 Ohio

    Ah, right on. J.W. Lees is the first thing I think of when I see "English Barleywine", haha.

    You could still use a similar malt bill and mash at a lower temperature and/or boil for a shorter time period. Adding some simple sugar will also help to dry the beer out a bit. I would almost definitely keep MO in the malt bill, I think it has that characteristic "English" flavor that you are looking for.
  6. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Just an FYI, the longer boils aren't actually carmelizing the sugars, instead your getting melanoiden formation giving you a richer color and some of the toasted, bready, carmel esque notes. If you do really want some carmelization, take some of your first runnings and heat until they form almost a syrup (e.g. carmelize them).

    I agree that J.W. Lees is pretty sweet (I like it because I have a major sweet tooth)... I did a similar english barleywine with just MO and EKG that clocked in right at about 12% (Mashed at around 148 for 90 minutes, 3 hour boil, bittered to 55 IBU) and I thought it came out pretty close, but not quite as sweet (Water Chemistry may play a pretty big role here). As MaxSpang said above, you may want to consider replacing some of you base grain with some dark sugar (Turbinado or Muscovado come to mind) to dry the beer out, in addition to hopping it a little more aggressively.
    farmhousebound and GoldenChild like this.
  7. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Good point on the melanoiden/carmelization difference... I may boil down some first runnings if that will really provide me any benefit, if not then I will skip that.

    I am thinking that some turbinado will be a good idea, I will likely bitter a little higher (80 ibu range for the sake of a little more balance, not strictly following any guidelines for this one). I will mash low for a long time as well.
  8. jtingue

    jtingue Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2010 New York

    Having a simple grain bill, as in mostly MO and some caramel malt or something like that, will not necessarily result in a simpler beer. The longer boil and a carefully run fermentation will bring these classic english barleywine flavors out. From what I have read, many commercial english barleywines contain only one or two malts... Something to think about
  9. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,202) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    If you boil down to a syrup you'll get formation of other substances you otherwise would not get in a traditional boil. You will also get better efficiency as you will have to sparge with way more liquid which should leave you with more fermentables from the mash.

    I was going to suggest something like:
    20# Maris Otter

    60 IBUs of high alpha hop


    That is all.
    I made this last April:
    Canadian 2-Row Malt 12.00 lb 43.2 %
    UK Crisp Maris Otter 11.45 lb 41.2 %
    Canadian 2-Row (Toasted) 2.00 lb 7.2 % (Had on hand from a previous brew)
    Belgian Aromatic Malt 1.00 lb 3.6 % (on hand pre-crushed and was going stale)
    UK Crystal 77 1.00 lb 3.6 %
    UK Crystal 90 0.35 lb 1.3 %

    OG: 1.106 (I targetted 60% max as it was a partigyle - I got a 13% Triple IPA out of the second runnings (lots of sugar added ~2# and finished at 1.010)
    FG: 1.030
    ABV ~10.3%

    US Galena 11.0 %AA 2.35 oz 61.9 IBUs Loose Pellet Hops All Of Boil
    US Magnum 10.0 % 0.50 oz 12.0 Loose Pellet Hops All Of Boil
    UK Golding 4.5 % 1.00 oz 5.0 Loose Pellet Hops 15 Min From End
    US Cascade 5.4 % 0.25 oz 1.5 Loose Pellet Hops 15 Min From End

    Wyeast 1272-American Ale II

    Bulk aged for 6 months. A year old and it has a nice raisin background with some sweetness, though not cloying by any means. If I were to do it again, I would ditch the late addition hops, I can't tell they were there.
  10. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    So what kind of flavors will boiling down some runnings into a syrup bring out? Also, when can i start to consider it a syrup? Does it change to be a really thick viscous fluid?
  11. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Disciple (300) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Olde No. 99

    Estimated OG: 1.113 SG
    Estimated Color: 25 SRM
    Estimated IBU: 46 IBU
    Brewhouse Efficiency: 65 %
    Boil Time: 180 Minutes

    Rice Hulls 4%
    Maris Otter (Crisp) (4 SRM) 79%
    Caramalt (35 SRM) 8%
    Caramel Malt - 40L 6%
    Crystal Dark (77 SRM) 2%
    Special B Malt (148 SRM) 1%

    Fuggles (120 min) 39 IBU
    Fuggles (25 min) 7 IBU
    Goldings, East Kent (0 min)

    Racked to 2ndary after 3 weeks (1.033 and steady)
    Harvested yeast cake for 1-L starter
    Re-pitched slurry.
    FG: 1.023

    Bourbon soaked oak chips 1 week before bottling.
    Nottingham at bottling.

    Turned out surprisingly well.
  12. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Thanks so far everyone for the great feedback
  13. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,202) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    Why in that grainbill?
  14. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Usually to help prevent a stuck sparge.
  15. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,202) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    I am intrigued as to what your system is where that could cause a stuck sparge. Do you have an excessively fine grind or a very deep grainbed? I can run 60% wheat in my batch sparging tun without concern. This isn't criticism because you know your system, I'm just intrigued...
  16. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    No idea on his system, but mine is just a 10 gallon converted igloo mash lauter tun and when I have up around 18 pounds or more in mine it sometimes decides to be a real pain in the ass. I've had 22 lbs of grain in it that drained and sparged with no problems, then I've had 15 lbs that just refused to budge. If I had a LHBS near me, I'd add rice hulls more often.
  17. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Devotee (481) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    It really does become a thick syrup. Be careful though because onces it starts to syrupize (like that?), it goes fast. It will steam like a muffugga, so much so that you may not be able to quite see the syrup. Constantly be stirring so it doesn't cake to the bottom of your pot. When I did it, I took about a gallon of first runnings and boiled it down to about a pint of syrup. Honestly I didn't get much out of it, but that batch was a drain pour due to other factors so your mileage may vary.
  18. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    After doing some more research on this I think I will be looking to boil down some runnings. Since this will be a big beer I may do the first two-ish gallons and boil it down to about half a gallon (maybe less?) and see what that leaves me with. Thanks a lot for the advice here, very helpful so far!
  19. marquis

    marquis Crusader (790) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    I have a recipe from ca 1970 for Thomas Hardy Ale;
    7lb Pale malt
    1 lb lager malt
    1 lb invert sugar
    4 ounces EKG, full boil. This to make 2 UK gallons at 1.1120
    and one for Gale's Prize Old Ale;
    6 1/2 lb Pale malt
    1 lb crystal malt
    1 ounce crushed black malt
    4 ounces molasses
    3 3/4 ounce EKG , full boil.
    Supposed to give 2 UK gallons at 1.100 but this isn't compatible with the first recipe.

    Both recipes were written in collaboration with the brewers in an attempt to replicate the beers in a home brew situation.No details of yeast except thet it was harvested from Guinness bottles which was bottle conditioned in those days and was the best yeasr available.
    OddNotion likes this.
  20. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Thank you very much for the info... I love Thomas Hardys, though I only have experience with the newer version ('04-'08?). Do you have any experience with brewing either of these recipes?
  21. marquis

    marquis Crusader (790) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    No, haven't tried those two.They are from "Brewing beers like those you buy" by Dave Line ISBN 0 900841 51 6 As Dave died in 1979 the beers will of course be much earlier versions than what you've had!
    I've tried other brews from the book and they turned out fine.
  22. messyhair42

    messyhair42 Initiate (98) Dec 30, 2010 Colorado

    Here's a recipe I made myself, been two weeks since I bottled at the taste I had then was great, rich, boozy, with a good sugar/hop balance. It'll be three months before I even open one

    15# MO
    1# C40
    5 oz carapils
    1/3# amber malt
    4 oz special B

    60M 1 oz galena
    60M .4 oz chinook
    10M 1 oz Fuggles
    2M 1 oz fuggles

    pitched WLP 013 from a two stage starter
    method is a no sparge 70M mash. collect 4.5 G 1.077 wort. ended with 3.56 G of 1.098.
  23. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Disciple (300) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Just to see if you were paying attention. ;/
  24. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Do you crush your own grain? With no sparge, getting 3 1/2 gallons worth of 100 gravity point wort out of less than 17 lbs of grain sounds really good.
  25. messyhair42

    messyhair42 Initiate (98) Dec 30, 2010 Colorado

    Yes, I set my rollers at .027". I know thats small but my MLT has a copper pipe manifold with slots. and I never have had a stuck sparge. recirculation takes a little more time but I like the improved efficiency. I may do more no sparge beers in the future. I probably should add that I mashed at 154F for 70M now that I see I omitted it.
  26. OddNotion

    OddNotion Zealot (573) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    So this talk made me grab a bottle of '08 Hardy's from my "cellar" and I will be drinking it tonight. From what I remember this is an amazing beer and if I find myself liking it again enough to try to brew something similar this would be my source.

    Just trying to put these ingredients into names that I recognize better, would it be fair to say that the Pale Malt = Maris Otter? Lager Malt = Pilsen Malt? Is there another name/substitute for the invert sugar, I know I can buy it by that name elsewhere but I would like to try to keep everything to a single order, if not, I would just buy it from the separate source. If I am going to push it to a 5 gallon batch should I basically be doubling (2.5x I guess is the correct amount) the EKG addition? What are your thoughts on the length of the boil, and would it be a good idea to boil down a portion of the wort to the point of carmelization?

    Also, for clarification, is a UK gallon different in any way from a US gallon?
  27. marquis

    marquis Crusader (790) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Pale Malt in Dave Line's day was whatever you could get from the LHBS ! Later I used to get mine from the back door of the Beeston Maltings and it was all MO. Lager malt would probably have been Pilsner malt.
    Invert sugar is more difficult as there were different grades but perhaps Golden Syrup would be what Dave had in mind.
    The UK gallon is bigger; 5 UK gal = 6 US gal
    Just double up the quantities and boil for say 60 to 90 minutes-for some reason weaker beers need longer boils than stronger ones.
  28. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,846) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Can you say more on this? How do you find lower strength beers with short boils?
  29. JayS2629

    JayS2629 Initiate (0) Oct 23, 2010 Alabama

    Wow! You already have a lot of advice to digest. First, I have found that Special B malt gives a nice dark fruit/tobacco thing you are looking for. I don't know your batch size, but I'd say 1/2 lb to 1 lb in a five gallon batch. I also, for what its worth, would not put high alpha too deep into the boil. Last suggestion, and I may be out of line, but to get the melanoidin flavor I had a lot of success with a reduction. You basically take about 2 quarts of your first runnings and boil them down in a seperate boil until they are a thick syrup much like LME. Add this back to the rest. Here is my suggestion for a 5 gallon batch.

    22 lbs of Marris Otter
    10 oz caramunich
    1 lb of Crystal 15
    1 lb of Crystal 80
    .25 pale chocolate malt
    .50 lb of Special B
    1.5 oz horizon (60)
    .5 oz Kent goldings (20)
    .5 oz kent goldings (0)

    If you want an Americanized hoppier version replace hops with somthing like this: Mostly aroma.

    2.5 oz magnum (60)
    1 oz chinook (0)
    1 oz chinook (0)
    1.5 oz centennial (0)
    1.5 oz Amarillo (0) even consider dry hopping

    Your yeast choice will work ad so will WLP013, wyeast 1028, or WLP001. Make a big starter for sure!!!

    This beer will take a lot of aging before it should be drank.
  30. JayS2629

    JayS2629 Initiate (0) Oct 23, 2010 Alabama

    Another consideration to bump ABV without too much boozy taste is to use Wyeast 3021 champagne yeast and 1/2 lb of light brown sugar in a secondary fermentation.
  31. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (512) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    How about 70% MO. 20% Munich. 10% Spec B or even something like Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal. Perhaps you could substitute around 10% of the base malt with something like Jaggery or Turbinado sugar for a dryer finish. Mash at around 150 to 153 F. Bitter to your desired level with whatever hop you like. Northern Brewer might be nice. Add around 4oz of English type hops at flame out and let it sit for 30min or so. EKGs would fit the bill. I might consider First Gold or even Styrian Goldings personally. 007 would be my yeast choice. Dry hop with an oz or 2 of whatever finish hop you chose. Age for some time. I've had high gravity beers taste great right out of the gate and some that took almost a year before they came together. This is what I would do.
  32. marquis

    marquis Crusader (790) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Never did less than a two hour boil with low gravity beers so I don't know.
  33. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,846) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    OK. Sort of makes sense to me now. I suppose it relates to melanoidin formation / kettle "caramelization" from the prolonged boil adding flavor to a beer that might otherwise risk come across as weak on flavor due to low concentration of wort.
  34. SeanGC

    SeanGC Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2011 New York

    Glad I found this thread when building my Old Ale Recipe.

    Here's what I have so far.

    Size: 11.0*gal

    21.0*lb Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt (69.0%)
    4.0*lb Munich TYPE I (13.8%)
    2.0*lb Caramel Malt 60L (6.9%)
    1.0*lb Special B - Caramel malt (3.4%)
    1.0*lb Barley Flaked
    1.0*lb Molasses (3.4%)

    4.0*oz East Kent Goldings (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60*m
    2.0*oz East Kent Goldings (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 1*m
    1.0*ea White Labs WLP004 Irish Stout

    Mash @ 152 for 60 mins
    Boil for 3 Hours


    I planned on doing a 2-3 hour boil. However, my keggle can only hold 13 gals. Is it ok for me to add the water loss into the fermenter or post boil in the keggle? I've done it before with 5 gal batches, but never with a 10 gal batch that boils for 2+ hours. I'm not sure if adding the water post boil would effect the melanoidin formation.

  35. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (165) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    I've boiled 3 gallons of first runnings down to less than a quart of thick dark syrup and it yielded a rich mahogany color and a subtle but distinct buttery toffee flavor to the beer. Interestingly I've been told that this kind of character can be mistaken for diacetyl by beer judges, but I've never entered my barlywine into a comp so I can't speak from personal experience on that.
  36. SeanGC

    SeanGC Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2011 New York

    Here's my question about boiling off first runnings. If you're target pre-boil volume is 13 gals (I run a 15 gal system and shoot for 11 gals post-boil), and you boil off 3 gals of your first runnings down to a quart (boiling 2.75 gals), do you sparge with an additional 3 gals to meet your initial pre-boil volume of 13 gals?
  37. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I did that with a Scottish 1.037 beer. When very young I thought that it had diacetyl but my go-to samplers told me that it wasn't. This flavor did go away and the beer turned out very well. This was very close to a SMaSH beer with only 2.5% roasted barley. I think that with it being a small beer the flavor was more pronounced at the beginning and with the simple grain beer it was effective. I'm not sure if with a complicated grain bill that it would help that much.
  38. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (165) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    Yes, or if you're afraid of over sparging you can top up with water at the end of the boil.
  39. SeanGC

    SeanGC Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2011 New York

    So for 11 gals post boil, should I boil 6 gals first runnings? I'm thinking 3 gallons should be enough since I already have munich malt, c 60 and molasses. This way, it contributes more to that sweet/carmelized flavor without over doing it.
  40. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (165) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    The flavor that I got was not sweet and caramelized, it was more toasty buttery toffee, it was also rather subtle, and would likely be clobbered by any significant amount of molassess IMO.
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