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General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: gmac on January 02, 2012, 10:09:44 PM

Title: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 02, 2012, 10:09:44 PM
I'm not much on high alcohol beers, mostly because my experience with them has been Sam Adams Triple Bock in the past and it was awful.  But, I went to a friends this afternoon and she had bought some Unibroue 17 Grand Reserve that was really quite nice.  There's a bit of a storm going on here so with the cold weather and the snow, I can see how this could become something nice to sip on winters day.
From the Unibroue website:

Nose           Complex bouquet of roasted malt, hops and aromatic spice notes with vanilla undertones
Flavor   Intensely malty, slightly sweet and hoppy with mocha & cocoa accents and a subtle oaky finish
IBU           35
Body      Medium
SRM         32

It appears to be an oak aged beer, although I don't know if it's chips or barrel aged but I think I'm gonna give something like this a try. 
Any suggestions for a good starting point?  Also, I only want to do a 1 gal batch because I don't want to do 5 gals of something I don't care for. 
Thank you in advance.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: tygo on January 03, 2012, 01:34:08 AM
Well, it's a Belgian Dark Strong.  You could start with Jamil's recipe in Brewing Classic Styles and scale it down.  That recipe isn't wood aged but you could throw some french oak cubes or spirals in and let it age for a couple of weeks.  I'm sure it wouldn't be a clone but would probably be similar and then you could tweak it from there.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: krustybb on January 03, 2012, 02:05:25 AM
That is a nice beer. I have had that a few times. See if you can find the Silver City Fat Woody. If you like the Unibroue that is a beer you may really enjoy sipping on a cold winter night. I know I do.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: morticaixavier on January 03, 2012, 03:26:04 AM
general things to keep in mind with strong ales;

1) keep the grist simple, all the flavours are going to be intense because there is so much of them so it's easy to get muddled.
2) TONS of yeast. consider making a 'five gallon starter' i.e. a batch of much lighter beer with the same yeast and pitching on the whole cake.
3) yeast nutrient and aeration those yeasties have a heck of a job ahead of them and need all the coddling you can give them.

big beers can be really rewarding but they can also be frustrating. One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes a big beer doesn't taste right at first, sometimes age will improve it sometimes no. but there is no way to know until you try.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 03, 2012, 04:55:31 AM
Mort. I'm inspired by your 2012 partigyle brew. I may check out Jamil's recipe as Tygo suggests, pull off the first gallon and turn the rest into a pale ale.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: morticaixavier on January 03, 2012, 05:51:10 AM
Mort. I'm inspired by your 2012 partigyle brew. I may check out Jamil's recipe as Tygo suggests, pull off the first gallon and turn the rest into a pale ale.

glad to be inspirational. I love patigyle. It lets me brew ridiculously big beers and still have something nice and sessionable around to drink while the other one does it's thing.

Just pitched the yeast on the wheatwine/hefe brew.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: tschmidlin on January 03, 2012, 08:12:44 AM
Mort. I'm inspired by your 2012 partigyle brew. I may check out Jamil's recipe as Tygo suggests, pull off the first gallon and turn the rest into a pale ale.
I don't think it will be very pale if you're trying to match Unibroue 17 with the first runnings.  You could certainly hop it like a pale ale though, and see how it comes out.  Or do it as a Belgian brown ale, or even with a saison yeast.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: morticaixavier on January 03, 2012, 03:40:52 PM
Mort. I'm inspired by your 2012 partigyle brew. I may check out Jamil's recipe as Tygo suggests, pull off the first gallon and turn the rest into a pale ale.
I don't think it will be very pale if you're trying to match Unibroue 17 with the first runnings.  You could certainly hop it like a pale ale though, and see how it comes out.  Or do it as a Belgian brown ale, or even with a saison yeast.

very true. first runnings are darker than the projected color of the whole batch. if you google 'BT partigyle' some handy tables will appear that help estimate gravity/color of the two runnings.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: tygo on January 03, 2012, 06:23:59 PM
Mort. I'm inspired by your 2012 partigyle brew. I may check out Jamil's recipe as Tygo suggests, pull off the first gallon and turn the rest into a pale ale.
I don't think it will be very pale if you're trying to match Unibroue 17 with the first runnings.  You could certainly hop it like a pale ale though, and see how it comes out.  Or do it as a Belgian brown ale, or even with a saison yeast.

very true. first runnings are darker than the projected color of the whole batch. if you google 'BT partigyle' some handy tables will appear that help estimate gravity/color of the two runnings.

Right, and the Unibroue 17 is listed as 32 SRM to start.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 03, 2012, 06:57:39 PM
Sorry, I should have said "session" ale instead of pale.  Just something sessionable, I'm not worried about colour that much on this first attempt.  I like the idea of using a saison yeast on the lower grav beer.  As long as I like it, I'll drink it and not worry about style parameters etc. 

Any advice on the best yeast for the high grav?  I really didn't notice anything that I thought was particularly "Belgian" about the 17 but I only had a bit. 
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: tschmidlin on January 03, 2012, 08:28:00 PM
I would guess that WY3864 Canadian Belgian would be the way to go - it's the Unibroue strain.  You might be able to culture some from a bottle if you don't have any luck getting your hands on that strain.  Otherwise you could go with WY3522 Ardennes, I like a BDS made with that yeast.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 04, 2012, 04:18:41 PM
I checked with Wyeast and WY3864 Canadian/Belgian won't be available until October of this year so I will try the Ardennes yeast instead and maybe do a second run of the same recipe in the fall to compare the two.   
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: morticaixavier on January 04, 2012, 04:37:35 PM
I checked with Wyeast and WY3864 Canadian/Belgian won't be available until October of this year so I will try the Ardennes yeast instead and maybe do a second run of the same recipe in the fall to compare the two.   

one nice thing about doing one gallon batches of strong ale is you can often get away with pitching a single vial/smackpack of yeast. as long as the yeast is fresh.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 04, 2012, 05:30:56 PM
I was gonna use one of my 1 gal starter jugs, sanitize it and do a 2L starter a few days before and then cold crash it and pour off the beer and then put the cooled 1 gal of wort back in on top.  Is this overkill?
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: morticaixavier on January 04, 2012, 06:08:55 PM
I was gonna use one of my 1 gal starter jugs, sanitize it and do a 2L starter a few days before and then cold crash it and pour off the beer and then put the cooled 1 gal of wort back in on top.  Is this overkill?


short answer, no. longer answer you might be overpitching but probably not by so much. Check out mr malty when you get the yeast. I can't check it out right now as work doesn't allow flash but I checked a 1 gallon batch there a while back. I had fresh yeast, less than 2 weeks old, and a 1.105 gravity and it said 1 vial/smackpak would work.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 04, 2012, 07:04:20 PM
Mr. Malty says for 1 gal, at 1.100, no starter is needed until you get down to 65% viability.  Below that a starter was recommended so as you said, if it's fresh I won't bother with the starter.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: gmac on January 19, 2012, 02:22:31 AM
So I've got some Belgian Ardennes yeast for this now and before I do this, I'm starting to think I may as well make a whole 5 gal batch.  Mr. Malty says I need an 8L starter for a 1.100 beer.  I'm thinking that I may as well make a 5 gal batch of something first and then use the yeast cake for a big beer.

What other sort of beer would you suggest for this?  I don't know anything about Ardennes yeast.  I want to make a sour and I have Roseleare blend as well.  What about 5 gals of beer using the Ardennes, rack it off and then pitch the Roseleare?  Never used either so I have no idea if they will work together.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: morticaixavier on January 19, 2012, 04:12:43 AM
So I've got some Belgian Ardennes yeast for this now and before I do this, I'm starting to think I may as well make a whole 5 gal batch.  Mr. Malty says I need an 8L starter for a 1.100 beer.  I'm thinking that I may as well make a 5 gal batch of something first and then use the yeast cake for a big beer.

What other sort of beer would you suggest for this?  I don't know anything about Ardennes yeast.  I want to make a sour and I have Roseleare blend as well.  What about 5 gals of beer using the Ardennes, rack it off and then pitch the Roseleare?  Never used either so I have no idea if they will work together.  Thoughts?

I would think a saison/farmhouse ale would be ideal. mostly pils with some wheat maybe, or some munich or both. some noble hops three or four times.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: tschmidlin on January 19, 2012, 05:02:55 AM
I think the Ardennes wil work well as the base for a Flanders with Roeslare, as long as you ferment cool.  But you could certainly do a saison/farmhouse, or lots of other Belgian styles.  I would just be sure to keep it low alcohol for the first batch.
Title: Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
Post by: pyrite on January 19, 2012, 06:33:56 AM
So I've got some Belgian Ardennes yeast for this now and before I do this, I'm starting to think I may as well make a whole 5 gal batch.  Mr. Malty says I need an 8L starter for a 1.100 beer.  I'm thinking that I may as well make a 5 gal batch of something first and then use the yeast cake for a big beer.

What other sort of beer would you suggest for this?  I don't know anything about Ardennes yeast.  I want to make a sour and I have Roseleare blend as well.  What about 5 gals of beer using the Ardennes, rack it off and then pitch the Roseleare?  Never used either so I have no idea if they will work together.  Thoughts?

Just a heads up about this yeast.  I used WLP545, a yeast form the Ardennes region in my last three brews to make the base for what will later turn out to be a barrel aged sour Belgian brown.  The OG was 1.051 and was fermented in it's lower temp range never exceeding 70F and surprisingly the fermentation under these conditions produced smooth phenolic light rose pedal / dark berry aroma with a tasty plum finish.  My first batch was mashed at 66C, and as a result, I was expecting a FG of 1.014 but instead it fermented down to 1.010.  So it ferments the living sugar out of the wort. I fixed it in the last 2 batches by mashing higher.  

During transfer to the barrel I blended in the Roseleare from Wyeast.  Since adding the Roseleare blend It's been bubbling away and aging for less than a month, so no tasting notes to help you out.