Barley Trouble – a crazy Barley Wine recipe

A month ago I was invited by a friend to do a home brew together. He has a Grainfather and I have a Braumeister and it would be fun to make two home-brews together, meanwhile comparing our systems. So I decided to try an earlier Barley Wine recipe again. This recipe failed the first time, as I tried a double mash in my old system, which completely clogged up the pump. However, I was sure the Braumeister would be able to handle it.

My first recipe turned out well by the way, as I loaded whatever brew came out with loads of hops. I also refermented with a Brettanomyces yeast, which yielded 43 out of 50 points at the DM i Håndbryg competition in 2016. Not too bad at all after all.

So I decided to use the same grain bill with 6 different malts: pale malt, crystal malt, rye malt, Cara aroma, oat malt, melanoidin and biscuit malt. Quite complicated, but loaded with flavor.

As I wanted to perform a double mash, I started on Saturday afternoon with the first mash. Therefore, I used half of the malt.

The color was already quite dark but I sparged with 8 liter of water, to have enough to use this first wort as mashing water for the next brew.

The next day, on Sunday, the time was there to do some real home-brewing and some comparison between Grainfather and Braumeister.

My friend decided to brew an out meal stout. As I never tried that, I was quite curious to see how that would turn out.

After boiling, the color was definitely much darker than my barley wine. The glass to the left is my barley wine, the one to the right is the out meal stout.

It is quite more fun to brew with a friend than just on my own. Especially when some good beers are served. We tried a Petrus Aged Red, a sour ale with cherries aged on barrel. The beer was very smooth, slightly sour but well balanced. The cherry flavor was prominent, but not too much.

After mashing, it was time to get the malt out and start boiling. This time I didn’t sparge, to make sure a high alcohol level could be achieved.

The boil went really well and as I wanted to make an American Barley Wine, I added Nelson Sauvin hops as bitter and aroma hops.

After a wonderful dinner, it was time to head home to get the Barley Wine some yeast to ferment. I used WLP001, California Ale to ferment, as this yeast has a neutral flavor profile and ferments to quite high alcohol content.

As I wanted to experiment with dry hopping and adding some whiskey drained French oak chips, I divided the brew in two and fermented them separately.

In the top one I added medium roasted French oak chips that were soaked in whiskey for two weeks when the fermentation was almost completed (after 2,5 weeks).

In the lower one I added Mosaic hops as dry hopping at the end of fermentation. Both buckets fermented for at least 1-2 weeks further and now the one with dry hopping is down to a density of 1026. The taste is already amazing!

Yesterday I have put the 8 liter of Barley Wine that I dry hopped on a keg to be carbonated.

Now the CO2 needs to do the job and then I can hopefully bottle this first version of Barley Trouble next weekend! It takes time to make a Barley Wine, but if the result is great, I don’t mind to put the time in it as it is fun to experiment!

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