The plan for next year is to brew a few cellar beers. I have an idea of giving away some bottles as gifts and big beers that can change over time would be ideal. Secretly I am hoping the gifts will be shared with me years later so I can tell them how much different it tastes, but that’s me being selfish. I think a couple of bottles with nice labels on them – one to drink now and one to drink later would be a fine present to find under the tree.
One of those big beer is an American Barleywine. I had to refer to my own style guideline to remember how to brew this strong ale.
There are some pointers to keep in mind when brewing American Barleywine. Most of the intense malty flavor comes from the pale base malt wort boiled for a longer time period. Of course with any beer -fermentation temperature and yeast pitch rate are important. With this style, you really need to dial in both factors for the beer to turn out right. It shouldn’t be too hot with alcohol flavors or too sweet from an unfinished fermentation.
Boil Volume: 7 gallons
Batch Volume: 5 gallons
17 lbs 2 Row Malt
3 lbs Munich Malt; International Malting
1 lbs American Caramel 40°L
1.5 oz Chinook Pellets – 13% AA boiled 60 mins.
0.50 oz Centennial Pellets – 10% AA boiled 15 mins.
0.50 oz Citra Pellets – 12% AA boiled 1 mins.
Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale
So that a pretty big grain bill, right? If your equipment can’t mash that amount of malt, you can reduce the amount of 2 row malt to 4.5 pounds and add 7 pounds of Extra Light dry malt extract instead. Your numbers will be close to the all grain version.
Mash grains at 150 degrees F for 90 minutes. Boil wort for 90 minutes. Add extract at the beginning of the boil if you are using it. Add hops when specified. At the end of the boil, cool wort to 68 degrees F and aerate well. Pitch a mighty yeast starter.
Ferment at 68 degrees F until final gravity is reached. Don’t rush it as it could take a while. Bottle and keg as usual. Store bottles somewhere dark and cool for 6 months before enjoying. Hide some bottles to be enjoyed years from now.