Author Topic: Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV  (Read 1159 times)

Offline imperialstout

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Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« on: February 25, 2013, 08:42:37 PM »
What is the difference between brewing a Barleywine at 10% ABV and brewing an Imperial IPA or Imperial Stout at 10%? The reason for the question is I am about to brew my first Barleywine and gather from Barleywine by Zainasheff and Palmer that much longer fermenting / aging time found in most Barleywine recipes is recommended. Most Imperial brews have a little less than half of the fermenting  / aging time.   

Typically brew Imperial beers with 18 to 20 pounds of grain. Most come out good. Shoot for 10% but generally get about 8.5 or 9%. Fermenting / aging schedule is generally 14 days primary, 7 to 14 days secondary, bottle condition 28 days and age 28 days. According to Barleywine, fermentation / aging typically is 14 days primary, 14 days secondary, 90 days tertiary and 90 days aging in bottles.

Do Barleywines really require that much fermentation / aging time or should I have I been brewing Imperial brews with a similar fermentation / aging schedule?

Offline lornemagill

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Re: Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 09:41:49 PM »
flavor is the main difference.  i am non expert but the gist is...an american barleywine is malty, hoppy and balanced.  an imperial stout is more complex and may have more alcohol presence.  an imperial ipa will be more hop forward.

Offline majorvices

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Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 05:30:53 AM »
The difference between an IIPA and a Barley Wine is that an IIPA is a beer that is higher attenuated (or should be) than a BW and is meant to be a showcase for hops where as a BW is a beer the heavily emphasizes the malt. There are too many IIPAs out there that are way too much like a hoppy BW, but the difference should be very noticeable. Personally I think a IIPA is best when it is up around 8-9.5% ABV and a BW upwards of 9%. The amount of hops you put in a IIPA (especially finishing hops and dry hops) should be ridiculous and you would want to use a small portion of sugar (5-10%) to dry the beer out where as on a BW the amount of hops put in, while still pretty high, are no where near the craziness factor of a IIPA and sugar is optional.

BW do require a bit of age for the flavors to meld together and is one of the few beer styles that actually improves w/significant age while a IIPA peaks early and should be consumed fresh.

I'm not sure how true this is but I have a hunch that IIPA evolved out of American Barley Wine with a heavy influence on Belgian Tripel brewing as far as attenuation goes. At least, that's my approach.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:33:12 AM by majorvices »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 06:41:41 AM »
Barleywines can be ready in around 3 months or a little less. Attention to the pitch rate, O2 and fermentation temperatures are very important if you want a quick turn around. If the yeast get stressed, you will get flavors that will take some time to age (fusels and esters).



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Offline a10t2

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Re: Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 09:16:47 AM »
I wouldn't agree that barley wines are aged longer than other high-gravity beers as a rule. They certainly can be, but it isn't a requirement any more than there's a required aging period for any other beer (well, except lambics). Time is certainly going to affect the flavor, though, so it has to be accounted for in recipe development. A BW that's going to be served after 6 weeks probably shouldn't start with the same recipe as one that will be served after 6 months.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 09:37:09 AM »
...There are too many IIPAs out there that are way too much like a hoppy BW....

*standing ovation*

One of the worst let downs in craft beer is when I'm craving a dry, aromatic, almost thirst-quencing IIPA, only to be served a sweet, viscous, caramelly, sometimes oxidized "hoppy barleywine".

Taste should be the only indicator of how long to age/condition any beer. When your palate says its ready, its ready.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 11:16:06 AM »
I wouldn't agree that barley wines are aged longer than other high-gravity beers as a rule. They certainly can be, but it isn't a requirement any more than there's a required aging period for any other beer (well, except lambics). Time is certainly going to affect the flavor, though, so it has to be accounted for in recipe development. A BW that's going to be served after 6 weeks probably shouldn't start with the same recipe as one that will be served after 6 months.

Well, I don't entirely disagree with you but a good BW does improve over a few months to years and can be laid down in the bottle. I wouldn't say the same thing about IIPA.
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