Author Topic: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed  (Read 1055 times)

Offline imperialstout

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Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« on: February 16, 2013, 09:25:30 PM »
Looking for opinions of Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell. The reviews on Amazon include the following. I am looking for good book of recipes with in-depth tips on how to brew this particular style. Not much interested in the history. What has been your experience with this book?

discusses the unique problems, and solutions, in brewing high gravity beers, and includes 11 (mostly) all grain recipes. The approach is thorough, but practical, and does not dwell on scientific technical minutiae. Also included is a section with details of the ingredients and brewing processes used in 20 commercially produced Barley Wines. This book will allow you to approach your next batch of Barley Wine with confidence.

I found the discussion of fermentation of BW to be helpful addressing the longer duration and the issues concerning attenuation of such a high gravity beer.

The author give good information on various brewing techniques that can help people to master this style - split lautering (for making both barley wine and mild ale from the same mash), wort concentration/caramelization by long boils, using multiple yeast strains (a base strain for flavor, and other strains for higher attenuation/flocculation),

This book is a must read for any amateur homebrewer who wants to attempt this style with improved chances of success and satisfaction.

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 06:26:07 AM »
One of the style series books that helped me brew that style. Recommended.

The recipe section might be a little dated now, but the older commercial examples are worth a look.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 06:39:08 AM »
This and the Smoked Beer book are my two favorites in the series.  There is lots of good info, but as Jeff says, the recipes may be a little dated.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 06:50:18 AM »
While some of the recipes may be outdated I have found most of the "Classic Beer Style" Series to be very much worth the read, with a few exception.
Keith Y.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 11:41:15 PM »
I picked up the book in December and gave it a read. It's history heavy but it doesn't read like a long-winded historical expose. It's an easy read through and through. There's some good info about the historical brewing aspect and some decent recipes which at very least would make for a good starting point in building your own recipes. There's a lot of info about the efficiency issues with barleywines worth bearing in mind.

The info is dated (I wish they would update the series) and is not as extensive as the more recent books like Brewing with Wheat, Farmhouse Ales, BLAM and Wild Ales. Some of the information seems to be a product of the brewer's equivalent of old wives' tales rather than brewing science (maybe it was accepted practice in the 90s).

In particular, there is a lot of talk about using champagne yeast to finish out a barleywine which probably isn't necessary with healthy yeast. They talk about it like the champagne yeast will finish what the ale yeast leave behind but it's more likely that ale yeast will leave complex sugars unfermented which the champagne yeast can't digest. If you were using inferior ale strains in a barleywine it's possible the yeast were reaching their alcohol tolerance and/or attenuation limit very early in the fermentation and there was enough simple sugars left behind to need the champagne yeast to help out. However, I don't see that being a serious problem worth adding any wine yeast these days.

tl;dr - worth the read but keep in mind the information is dated
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 05:44:56 AM »
Info from these two brewers = GOLD.

Dick Cantwell, especially, knows his stuff. I loved his talk on unique brewing ingredients at the 2012 NHC.
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Offline beer_crafter

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2013, 06:00:57 AM »
It is my favorite book in the classic beer style series.  Get it.  I re-read it every time I brew a BW, just to get psyched up.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2013, 08:24:35 AM »
In particular, there is a lot of talk about using champagne yeast to finish out a barleywine which probably isn't necessary with healthy yeast. They talk about it like the champagne yeast will finish what the ale yeast leave behind but it's more likely that ale yeast will leave complex sugars unfermented which the champagne yeast can't digest. If you were using inferior ale strains in a barleywine it's possible the yeast were reaching their alcohol tolerance and/or attenuation limit very early in the fermentation and there was enough simple sugars left behind to need the champagne yeast to help out. However, I don't see that being a serious problem worth adding any wine yeast these days.

I have not read the book, but I do agree that you can disregard any advice to use Champagne or wine yeast to finish out a high gravity beer.  I did this several times (way back in the 90's) and while I do believe it helped the beers to attenuate I did not care for the flavor.  Despite the fact that people like to say Champagne yeast is neutral, IME it is not.

I have found that a healthy pitch and good aeration will get good attenuation from higher gravity beers.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

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Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2013, 08:40:32 AM »
Champagne yeast has genetically selected to consume fructose, not maltose. In my experience it is less attenuative in a beer than brewer's yeast.
Keith Y.

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