Author Topic: Barleywine fermentation question  (Read 2593 times)

Offline papapelon

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Barleywine fermentation question
« on: January 22, 2011, 10:08:44 AM »
So I brewed my first barleywine last Sunday using Jamil's Old Monster recipe from Brewing Classic Styles.  The target OG in the recipe is 1.115 for 5.5 gallons, but I miscalculated my sparge water needs and ended up with 9 gallons, pre-boil, boiled for 120 minutes and ended up with 7 gallons in the fermenter at 1.092.  Oops, but no big deal as that means more beer in the end and my IBU, SRM and ABV calcs weren't thrown off to unacceptable levels.  I am slightly concerned about my fermentation though.  I dumped the wort directly onto a sizeable WY1056 yeast cake from a 1.055OG brown ale.  I have a chest freezer with a digital thermostat that I set for 68F according to the recipe.  Fermentation started within a couple hours and went really strong for 3 more days but on the 4th day I noticed that the krausen had sunk with airlock activity down to almost nothing.  For a lower gravity beer that might be normal, but that seems way too fast for barleywine primary fermentation to finish.  I know the only way to tell would be to do a gravity reading but I generally don't touch my batches until at least two weeks.  Is there anything I could do to wake it back up?  Shake the fermenter?  Increase the temperature?  Leave it alone and check gravity in another week or so?  Any advice is appreciated!

Offline bluesman

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2011, 10:13:41 AM »
Check the gravity right now and report back. It may or may not be finished but you need to make an informed decision which will be made once we know your gravity at this point. No sense speculating until we have more info.  :)
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 10:23:35 AM »
That's a massive pitch of yeast, and if the freezer was set for 68°F the beer probably got into the upper 70s, so it's probably just finished. I'd go a full two weeks in primary anyway.
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Offline denny

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 10:23:58 AM »
Just because you don't see krausen doesn't mean it isn't still fermenting, IMO.
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Offline papapelon

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 10:30:17 AM »
Holy crap!  1.016!  I'd say it's done, although I will leave it alone for at least another week to let the yeast do it's cleanup work.  Pretty darn tasty already!  What are people's thoughts about a secondary for a barleywine?  I'm not planning to dry hop or otherwise add anything else to it, except at least a year of conditioning/aging in the bottle.

Offline papapelon

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 10:37:03 AM »
Thanks all for the advice!  Hey Denny, it's Chris from CBS transplanted to AZ.  Miss you guys out there.  Really miss the club when I see emails about Dunkelfest!

Offline denny

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 10:49:42 AM »
Hiya, Chris!  Good to hear from ya, man.  At least you can be a member of this "virtual" club!

Even though I don't usually secondary, I do for a BW.  Usually for a few months at least...partly because I think it benefits the beer, partly because I'm too lazy to get around to bottling sooner.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 10:51:15 AM by denny »
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Offline BrewingRover

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 11:08:50 AM »
I like a long-ish secondary for a BW, partly so I'm not tempted to start drinking it young and not having any to age  :)
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Offline papapelon

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 11:11:20 AM »
Couple final questions. Given that I'm at TG, how much longer should I keep this beer in primary and what temp should that be at for the yeast cleanup process?  Also, any recommendations for how long to keep this in secondary and at what temperature should that be?

Offline denny

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Re: Barleywine fermentation question
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2011, 11:21:21 AM »
Seeing that it's only been a week, I'd give it at least another week or 2 before moving it.  Temp wise, I'd say 65-70F both now and in secondary.
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