Author Topic: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed  (Read 2568 times)

Offline gmac

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Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« on: January 02, 2012, 03:09:44 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.

Offline tygo

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 06:34:08 PM »
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.
Clint
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On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline krustybb

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 07:05:25 PM »
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.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 08:26:04 PM »
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.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 09:55:31 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.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 10:51:10 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.

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.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 01:12:44 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.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 08:40:52 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.

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.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 11:23:59 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.

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.
Clint
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Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline gmac

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 11:57:39 AM »
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. 

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 01:28:00 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.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gmac

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 09:18:41 AM »
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.   

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2012, 09:37:35 AM »
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.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 10:30:56 AM »
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?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Strong Ale/Barley Wine Help Needed
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2012, 11:08:55 AM »
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.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce