Saturday, November 24, 2012

Batch 006: Keep Calm and Barley On

This brew was a few days late due to some shifting work schedules and the holiday, but its done.  Have been wanting to brew a barleywine for a while now, but wanted to have the quirks in my system figured out first so I finally got to brew it last night.  I went for an English barleywine this time. A heavy base of Golden Promise and a bit of dark Munich for color and a bit of flavor to round it out will make this a fairly simple barleywine, but I'm keeping things simple to show my flaws so that I can fix them.  Once I know for sure, that I can control my beer I will start playing with recipes more.

The beer.  When doing an English beer you really want to use English malts.  So I have a base of Golden Promise(comparable to Maris Otter).  The dark Munich will give me just a bit of color and flavor, but not much.  As for the hops I went English again with Kent Goldings and threw them at the beer like crazy.  1 oz of hops at 60 mins, doesn't sound like much, but this is 1 gallon.  I threw half an once in with 5 minutes left for a bit of flavor.  I mashed at 147 for 90 minutes.  Since the temperature was so low I wanted to make sure there was enough time for the enzymes to work.  Then I boiled for 90 minutes to concentrate the wort down.

The process.  I decided to stick with the full volume mash with this beer as it would be similar to only taking the first runnings in a normal mash vessel.  I had a strike volume of 9 qts and 4.75# of grain.  This led to a very full kettle for me.

I hit my mash temp dead on and placed in it my oven for safe keeping for the next 90 minutes.  The mash held the temp the whole time so I am quite happy with my mashing.  Now I had calculated a 60% efficiency due to the high gravity of this beer and and bought a pound of DME to make up for missed numbers.  I had an estimated pre boil gravity of 15 Plato.  When I lautered and took my reading I was at 16.8 Plato.  I was really, really happy to see that so I put the DME away and began my boil.

I boiled for 90 minutes with the appropriate hop additions.   This went off without a hitch.  I think I could have had the heat up higher because I don't think I boiled off as much as I was calculating.  I checked the gravity at the end of the boil and had 26.2 Plato.  After cooling this number dropped a little bit and I'm not sure why exactly since it is such a small volume measured it cools to room temp very quickly.  My only thought was that it was still evaporating and condensing slightly between pulling the sample and reading, but I'm not worried about it.  After all was said and done I had a little more than 1.1 gallons in my fermenter and a gravity reading of 25 Plato.

Can't wait to try this, but it will be a while before I can.  I am looking into getting a case of 187ml bottles and waxing them so that I am less likely to burn through all of it quickly.  20 bottles will last me a while longer than 10 will.

Now just to decide next weeks brew.  Leave any suggestions in the comments below.



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