Hey guys! I made some barleywine today. I also made some poor decisions regarding the barleywine. Here's how it went:
The mash went very well, the first run was around 1.090 and it didn't drop off very fast. I think I got 4-5 runs (maybe 2-3 gallon each) before I decided to stop watering down my wort. That made me go for a partigyle brew, which I've been wanting to try, but the mash just has never worked out for it. So I took about 5 gallons at around 1.080 or so, and 5 more around 1.040 or so. That was my first mistake, taking five gallons for each brew to fill a 6.5 gallon carboy after the boil. Next, I forgot to turn down the heat after I got all my hot break, so most of my 90 minute boil was just rolling. That dropped me down to about three gallons of wort at 1.140 OG. I could have watered it down, but I decided to just go with it. Pitched Wyeast Irish ale yeast in a very happy day old starter, prepared on my homemade stir plate, with honey and molasses. I didn't measure the gravity but I'd guess it to be around 1.060 or 1.070.
Finally, I forgot to sanitize anything. I guess I put this lowest on my list of problems, because 1.040 OG, as far as I'm concerned, is well past any sort of environment any undesirables may want to live in, so if it turns out I think the yeasts will keep it under control.
Finally, I got a little freaked out about the bigger beer, and pitched some Lalvin 1118. It's more of a backup plan, or maybe a two-stage ferment plan; I'm hoping the irish ale will take off and do a lot of good work in the next week, and ideally finish the job. I don't think they can make it to 18% though. The 1118, I've noticed, is a really slow yeast, but it just keeps on trucking for ever and ever, so maybe it will get me kind of close to where I want to be.
The second run beer came out ok, at 4-4.5 gallons, may be overhopped but I'll just call it an IPA or something. OG at about 1.038, but still mega dark and it just seemed a lot thicked than 1.038. I remembered, this time, to sanitize everything except the carboy, which at least was washed with soap today.
So, what do you guys think? I'm feeling alright about the small beer, except for the hops, but that's recipe, and also for the sanitation. I also am kind of wondering why I'm bothering with such a lot gravity, but I have a bias towards fruit and vegetable wine. Are beers around that OG like, pretty groovy?
And the big beer, when I took my gravity reading, I had this sinking feeling a lot like the last breakup I went through. But I fancy myself an optimist, so I went with it in hopes of having one of those crazy mistakes that produces something phenomenal. So. Anyone know anything about ale yeasts and this sort of megagravity? Any thoughts on using a wine yeast in beer? And, I've read, a long time ago, about beers around 25% made with massive starters real special conditions that basically encouraged the yeasts to go balls out for two days or so and then completely crash, if I remember right it was using one of those ancient babylonian recipes or something that they find written on pots from time to time. Anybody ever do anything crazy like that, just forcing the yeasts to blow their load in the first two days of ferment?
Sorry if I ramble; I've been drinking salvator for inspiration, because all beer should be nutritious.