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Old 12-06-2012, 03:38 AM   #1
svenalope
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Hey guys, I just brewed my first beer last weekend. It was an all grain batch made with pale malt I made myself. here's the recipe (roughly):
http://hopville.com/recipe/1665289
It was supposed to be a barleywine and I think it came out that way, 1.090 gravity. That's a bit low for what I normally brew, which is fruit and vegetable wine, but I think it should make a pretty epic beer. A friend helped me formulate the recipe, cutting down the ingredients list from something that's supposed to be a clone of lagunitas old barleywine, and i made my own adjustments based on what I could get at the brew shop, and a few on the fly during the brewing process. This recipe doesn't reflect the hopping changes, which were 1.0 oz of bittering (chinook), 0.7 oz of willamette, and 0.5 oz of cascade. I did that because the wort was coming off the mash tun at about 1.060, and I was expecting to get 10 gallons at about that level. By the time the boil was finished, it was about five gallons at 1.090. I'm definitely going to leave the carboy closed until I rack it, but anyone have predictions about the hop quantity? I feel like it's not nearly enough, but the most complicated brew I've ever made involved turning 5 gallons of banana goo into 5 gallons of banana water (unsuccessfully). It smells killer, but I don't smell any hops. Although the vegetable smell is gone. If you ever malt your own grain, be careful about it, because overmodification is really easy to do. I malted this stuff for like 4 days on average, through 7 rounds of malting, and I may have gotten 2-3 batches close to well-modified. The result of that was an atrociously low efficiency (around 40%) if you call that a loss in efficiency, and a terrible vegetable smell in the unboiled wort, which came out eventually. It's real fun to malt your own grain, but it saved me 20 bucks on a grain bill around $80-100, and worried me quite a bit during the mashing. I'd suggest trying it once and if you're good at it, keep it up. Oh, and i was planning on a partigyle brew, but my mash gravity started falling off after about 6 gallons, (1.060 originally) so I called it off and dumped it all into one boil for five gallons of superbeer. Anyway, point of the story is that I'm super stoked about this beer and concerned about the hopping levels. I'm sure it'll be drink when it's done, but I feel like if I'd predicted the 1.090 gravity (don't worry, I did a gallon starter in honey that was looking very sad but was ****ting its pants in excitement for 3-4 days), I could have done more to make it good drink in the end. So, hops?
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:53 PM   #2
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Oh man, can we get some paragraphs in there? Wall of text alert.

Anyway, the hops you added are for bittering (your 60 minute addition) and flavor (20 minutes). To get more aroma you'd need to add hops closer to the end of the boil (5-0 minutes). Dry hopping is a great way to add more aroma, and that involves adding hops directly to the fermentor 5-14 days before you package (bottle or keg) the beer. Very simple to do. I'd go with at least 2-4 oz of your favorite aroma hops.

That said, barleywines have to age a long time to really get good, so they don't often have a ton of hop aroma. You could leave it the way it is, or you could let it age for a long time in a secondary vessel and then dry hop a week or so before packaging, rather than aging in the bottles.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:54 AM   #3
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Oh sorry daksin. Made that post the night of the brewing. I had had some hooch, as we must do on brewday, and was super excited. Just racked it today and it's coming along nicely. Not exactly what I was going for, but it's down to 1.010 for around 10% ABV, and the hops and malt are fairly well balanced, and it definitely resembles flat, highly drinkable beer, which is flying colors for diving right in to barleywine, as far as I'm concerned. The flavor hops didn't seem to do me a whole lot, but I'm waiting to see how it carbonates. This is definitely a beer I'm going to hang onto and age, see what happens, if I can leave it alone.
Here's another question for you (see I made a new paragraph just for you!): It tastes pretty great right now, and I'm tempted to give it just a couple weeks or maybe a month at the most in secondary, then bottle. What are the advantages of leaving it in the secondary for a long time? Right now the malt flavors are leaning mostly toward the dark stuff I put in, kind of that coffee/burnt flavor, and the hops I can taste are mostly just bitter. It doesn't even taste hot, I think that's because it's got a pretty good body (at least compared to what I normally brew). Don't think I'll try any dry hopping this time, but if it turns out to be a solid recipe, I may try it in the future.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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Most of the benefits you'll get from letting it sit could also probably be had in the bottle, it's really all about aging. At this point since you've already racked it, I'd say leave it where it is for a few months before bottling. This beer will continue to improve for months or years, much like your usual wines.
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