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Brewing a Barley wine.

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mikeroni:
I have never attempted one and would really like to. Currently reading Barley Wine and probably going to use a recipe from the book.  Anyone have any suggestions or tips on brewing one of these.

svejk:
Personally, I like the idea of going with an English Barleywine with super high starting gravity (1.125 or even a bit bigger).  In order to pull that off, you'll need a very long boil of at least 2 hours or longer.  The reason for the long boil is because you'll find that as you make bigger beers, your efficiency will likely drop from what you're used to, so a longer boil will let you sparge longer to collect more sugars.  On the bright side, a long boil is beneficial to this style, so it will serve to improve the final beer.

I would also recommend including a fair amount of high quality base malt (I like Maris Otter and Golden Promise), but I also stretch this with some Gambrinus 2-row to keep the cost reasonable.

As far as fermentation goes, you'll need a whole lot of yeast.  I usually will make a small beer (OG 1.040 or less) and use the entire yeast cake for the barleywine.  Lately I like the Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast, and that yeast is especially convenient because a Scottish 60 makes a great starter beer.  With a beer that big, you'll need a lot of oxygen, so if you have an O2 system, it will pay off.  If you're shaking to aerate, you won't need to go to the gym for a few days.

Be careful not to let the fermentation get too hot.  It really should stay in the 60's, otherwise you run the risk of getting some hot alcohol flavors in the final beer.

My last bit of advice is to set some bottles aside.  A great barleywine can age for a really long time, so if you aren't wowed by it in the first year, give it some time and see what it does.  Your patience will be rewarded.

morticaixavier:
british or americal style?

I like british style.

My two favorite recipes right now,

%100 munich 10 L to hit 1.090~ Mash around 153 for 60 minutes
enough neutral bittering hops to get ~60IBU FWH
some classic british hops (goldings, fuggles, etc) at 30 minutes.

normal 60 minute boil, I used S-04 (two packets) last time to good effect. ferment around 64 (beer temp) but you can raise it to 68 to finish if need be. This is a big malty brew that finished around 1.020 and is tasty right away.

or...

100% pale ale malt of your choice to hit 1.100, mash at 148 for 2 hours
hops, all low alpha british types but tons! aim for 150IBU all at 120 minutes/FWH.
ferment with WLP007 for however long it takes to finish, keep the temp around 65. this one takes a bit to come into it's own but after a year or so in the bottle it really starts to develop some complexity.

erockrph:
Pitch plenty of yeast, probably easiest if you start with a small beer to prop up the yeast (something like a mild for an English BW or a small Amber/APA for an American BW). Use lots of high quality base malt. And control your fermentation temps well.

majorvices:
For English styles I enjoy around 1.090ish and keep grain bill simple - as simple as 100% Maris Otter. Careful w/crystal malts, you don't want to end up with a barley wine that finished too high.

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