Advice on my Barley Wine Recipe

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1bottlerocket

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Hello all,
I am attempting my first Barley Wine and have been reading and looking at others' recipes. I cobbled this together taking interesting bits and pieces from various recipes to come up with the following:

English Barley Wine
10.4% / 24.6 °P
All Grain
Speidel Braumeister 50L
74% efficiency
Batch Volume: 45 L
Boil Time: 90 min
Mash Water: 52 L
Sparge Water: 5 L
Total Water: 58 L
Boil Volume: 52 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.094
Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.104
Final Gravity: 1.025
IBU (Tinseth): 36
BU/GU: 0.35
Color: 26 EBC
Mash

Temperature — 55 °C5 min
Temperature — 67 °C90 min
Temperature — 75 °C10 min
Malts (19.96 kg)
19 kg (95.2%) — Maris Otter Pale Malt, Maris Otter — Grain — 5.9 EBC — Mash
480 g (2.4%) — BestMalz Caramel Munich III — Grain — 180 EBC
480 g (2.4%) — Bairds Caramel/Crystal Malt — Grain — 148 EBC
Hops (132.9 g)
75.1 g (33 IBU) — Horizon 12% — Boil — 60 min
28.9 g
(3 IBU) — East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 20 min
28.9 g
— East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 0 min
Miscs
3 pieces — Anise, Star — Secondary
90 g
— Dates — Secondary
90 g
— prunes — Secondary
250 g
— French Oak Cubes, Medium Toast — Secondary
Yeast
6.8 pkg — Wyeast Labs 1028 London Ale Yeast 77%
Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C14 days
Carbonation: 2.4 CO2-vol

I was wondering if someone more experienced than myself could give me some feedback. The goal is to create an English-style Barley Wine and we plan on pouring it in fall 2022 for a winter festival.
 

BigEd

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Very high OG beers don't necessarily behave the same way as normal strength beers. This is something to keep in mind regarding both the process and the recipe.

Your typical efficiency will be lower and the beer's FG will be higher than regular strength beer. These beers can also take longer than anticipated to age. Six months from now may seem like a long time but don't be surprised if the beer is still hot tasting and not fully matured by then. Here are a few modifications to consider:

Add some highly fermentable adjunct(s) to the grain bill. Your basic grain bill is fine and you haven't made the common mistake of using too much caramel/crystal malt but a 10% portion of flaked maize, light brewing syrup, or similar fementables will help with both the OG and FG. A longer boil is a good idea IMO. Try 120 minutes instead of just 60. Colors, flavors, and other byproducts produced from the extra boiling time will enhance the color and secondary flavors. This will also allow you to reduce the % of caramel/crystal malt if desired.

The Horizon hops will work although my preference would be for a larger portion of lower alpha hops. I would also increase the IBU number for the beer. Even with twice the IBUs this beer will still be very malty and sweet as there will be plenty of unfermented sugars left at the end. The dried fruit and spice additions are up to you although they would not be used in a traditional UK barleywine. Flavors of dried fruit are common in the beer style but they are produced by the process not by artificial additions.

London 1028 is a really nice strain and one of my favorites. I have used it for barleywine. As the beer ferments if you think it might need some help I would not be afraid to add some higher gravity yeast, even a wine yeast, to help finish. Also keep in mind that barleywines do not carbonate the same way as normal beers. A much lower rate is common and suits the style better for my taste anyway.
 

DBhomebrew

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If it were me...

Cut the Munich, crystal.
Add 10-15% flaked maize.
Add 10-15% invert sugar.
Add 1-2% black malt for desired color.
Cut the spice & fruit.
Carb to 2.0

I've got some 1+ year old barleywine that was brewed according to Josh Weikert's No Heart English Barleywine. Good amount of amber and light/med crystal. Really tasty beer, but not as drinkable as it should be. One half-bottle serving and I'm looking for something lighter to follow it up with.

Fruit and spice? Are those in there because descriptions of the style sometimes mention those flavors? Flavors reminiscent of dark stone fruit and licorice can be found in darker invert and age.
 

Steveruch

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The bitterness will fade with age; you might want to up the IBUs. Quite a few years ago I entered a British barleywine into a competition and got mid 30 scores and "too hoppy for style". I entered it into the same competition a year later and got the highest score I ever received; second in best of show.
 
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1bottlerocket

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Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

I hadn't thought of the flaked maize, so I am going to go ahead and make that adjustment, as well as adding invert sugar. Our system does not have that great of efficiency so it may help in the end to get the numbers more consistent.

I will also cut the secondary additions of the spice and fruit. I read it in a recipe somewhere and I thought that it may be an interesting avenue to explore. We don't do a lot of flavored beers so leaving it out is not a problem.

I was a little nervous about over hopping it, as I don't really care for highly hopped dark styles or barley wine. Originally, I thought that going with the higher alpha acid hops would allow us to use fewer hops and still get the desired effect. The thinking behind it was a way to avoid getting a vegetal flavor and reduce the amount of wort loss due to absorption. I was also nervous about boiling a large amount of low alpha acid hops for a long period of time.

Thanks for the advice on the boiling time. I will also make that adjustment to 120 minutes. I will repost an update based on your suggestions. Thanks for all the help.
 

DBhomebrew

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I was a little nervous about over hopping it, as I don't really care for highly hopped darks styles or barley wine.

Keep in mind the BU:GU ratio. 36IBU in a 1.040 bitter is not the same as 36IBU in a 1.100 barleywine.

And, yes, those IBUs will mellow over the 6-36 months I hope you'll let it rest.

I was also nervous about boiling a large amount of low alpha acid hops for a long period of time.

Pretty standard for British ales. If truly low AA isn't something you want to use, the high single digit varieties would be appropriate. Challenger as mentioned, Target, etc. Cluster has historic precedent for British bittering as well.


I thought that going with the higher alpha acid hops would allow us to use fewer hops and still get the desired effect.

If the desired effect is bittering as measured or calculated in IBUs, sure. But there are other compounds in the hop matter that bring flavors other than IBUs, even in a bittering charge. Using a low AA hop allows the other stuff to come through without throwing the bitterness off the chart.
 
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1bottlerocket

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I really appreciate the feedback and replies. I made some adjustments to the recipe. I changed to Challenger hops, added the maize and invert sugar, dropped the fruit, and increased the boil time. I also reduced the amount of crystal and caramel malts below 2%

here is the adjusted recipe:


English Barley Wine
11.0% / 30.3 °P
Recipe by
Tim
All Grain
Speidel Braumeister 50L
74% efficiency
Batch Volume: 45 L
Boil Time: 120 min
Mash Water: 55 L
Sparge Water: 18.93 L
Total Water: 73.93 L
Boil Volume: 58.96 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.093
Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.131
Final Gravity: 1.047
IBU (Tinseth): 65
BU/GU: 0.50
Color: 25.5 EBC
Mash

Temperature — 55 °C5 min
Temperature — 67 °C90 min
Temperature — 75 °C10 min
Malts (21.662 kg)
19 kg (77.2%) — Maris Otter Pale Malt, Maris Otter — Grain — 5.9 EBC — Mash
2.3 kg (9.6%) — Thomas Fawcett Maize, Flaked — Grain — 3.9 EBC
432 g (1.8%) — Bairds Caramel/Crystal Malt — Grain — 148 EBC
430 g (1.8%) — BestMalz Caramel Munich III — Grain — 180 EBC
Other (2.3 kg)
2.3 kg (9.6%) — Invert Sugar — Sugar — 0 EBC
Hops (283 g)
225 g (62 IBU) — Challenger 7.5% — Boil — 60 min
29 g
(3 IBU) — East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 20 min
29 g
— East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 0 min
Miscs
250 g — French Oak Cubes, Medium Toast — Secondary
Yeast
6.8 pkg — Wyeast Labs 1028 London Ale Yeast 77%
Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C14 days
Carbonation: 2 CO2-vol
 

DBhomebrew

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Looking good, but watch those gravities!

Note that your choice of Munich is a Cara- malt in the same color/flavor range as the Baird's. Include it in your total cara/crystal percentage. If you're going for breadiness, maybe consider swapping it with some UK amber (a lightly roasted biscuit-type)?
 
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1bottlerocket

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Looking good, but watch those gravities!

Note that your choice of Munich is a Cara- malt in the same color/flavor range as the Baird's. Include it in your total cara/crystal percentage. If you're going for breadiness, maybe consider swapping it with some UK amber (a lightly roasted biscuit-type)?
Yes, I agree with you on the gravities. I was just looking at it and the final, which is too high. I would like to get it down to around 1.030-1.025 FG

I'll swap out the Munich for some UK amber.
 
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1bottlerocket

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I changed out the grains to Thomas Fawcett and reduced the invert sugar and flaked maize. I got the FG down to estimated 1.026


English Barley Wine
11.0% / 25.9 °P
Recipe by
Tim
All Grain
Speidel Braumeister 50L
74% efficiency
Batch Volume: 45 L
Boil Time: 120 min
Mash Water: 55 L
Sparge Water: 16.35 L
Total Water: 71.35 L
Boil Volume: 58.96 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.079
Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.110
Final Gravity: 1.026
IBU (Tinseth): 65
BU/GU: 0.59
Color: 17.7 EBC
Mash

Temperature — 55 °C5 min
Temperature — 67 °C90 min
Temperature — 75 °C10 min
Malts (18.435 kg)
16 kg (79.1%) — Maris Otter Pale Malt, Maris Otter — Grain — 5.9 EBC — Mash
1.8 kg (8.9%) — Thomas Fawcett Maize, Flaked — Grain — 3.9 EBC
385 g (1.9%) — Thomas Fawcett Caramalt — Grain — 29.5 EBC
250 g (1.2%) — Thomas Fawcett Crystal Malt 60L — Grain — 159 EBC
Other (1.8 kg)
1.8 kg (8.9%) — Invert Sugar — Sugar — 0 EBC
Hops (256 g)
198 g (62 IBU) — Challenger 7.5% — Boil — 60 min
29 g
(4 IBU) — East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 20 min
29 g
— East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 0 min
Miscs
250 g — French Oak Cubes, Medium Toast — Secondary
Yeast
6.8 pkg — Wyeast Labs 1028 London Ale Yeast 77%
Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C14 days
Carbonation: 2 CO2-vol
 
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BigEd

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Re hops I'd suggest adding some to the full 120 length of the boil. Perhaps reduce the Challenger @ 60 minutes by 30g and add 45g of Goldings to the 120 minute time.
 

DBhomebrew

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1.110 down to 1.026 is a bit north of 76% AA. That's on the high end of the advertised AA range. I doubt you'll see it get that high, especially since if you hit that level of attenuation you'll be right at the listed alcohol tolerance of the yeast. I'd recommend keeping the OG at 1.095-1.100 and giving your yeast a little headroom.

At that OG, I target 50-60IBUs.

Too high an OG and IBU, too much cara/crystal, you start veering toward an American Barleywine. The Brits like their beers, even the strong ones, to be balanced and drinkable.
 
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1bottlerocket

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1.110 down to 1.026 is a bit north of 76% AA. That's on the high end of the advertised AA range. I doubt you'll see it get that high, especially since if you hit that level of attenuation you'll be right at the listed alcohol tolerance of the yeast. I'd recommend keeping the OG at 1.095-1.100 and giving your yeast a little headroom.

At that OG, I target 50-60IBUs.

Too high an OG and IBU, too much cara/crystal, you start veering toward an American Barleywine. The Brits like their beers, even the strong ones, to be balanced and drinkable.
I got a little too excited and forgot to do the math on the hop additions! I am making the changes now. What do you think is the best way to bring down the OG, reducing the invert sugar or the base grain?
 

DBhomebrew

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I'd reduce the base grain. You need the invert to counter the crystal. Invert decreases FG, crystal increases FG.

Note, your software likely does not predict FG accurately. Try it. Set your grist to be 100% base malt at X OG, take note of the predicted FG. Now replace 20% of the grist with crystal at the same OG. Now do it with 20% invert. You should see three different FGs all with the same OG. You probably won't.
 
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1bottlerocket

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Thanks. I am using Brewfather for the first time, I normally do the math by hand and paper. I'll check it.

Okay, I had to make dinner and get the kids ready for bed.

I made some adjustments to the recipe. I took the suggestions and incorporated them into the recipe. I think it's getting close.


English Barley Wine
10.5% / 22.7 °P
Recipe by
Tim
All Grain
Speidel Braumeister 50L
71% efficiency
Batch Volume: 45 L
Boil Time: 120 min
Mash Water: 55 L
Sparge Water: 14.51 L
Total Water: 69.51 L
Boil Volume: 58.96 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.066
Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.095
Final Gravity: 1.015
IBU (Tinseth): 51
BU/GU: 0.53
Color: 16.7 EBC
Mash

Temperature — 55 °C5 min
Temperature — 67 °C90 min
Temperature — 75 °C10 min
Malts (16.14 kg)
13.5 kg (74.8%) — Maris Otter Pale Malt, Maris Otter — Grain — 5.9 EBC — Mash
1.98 kg (11%) — Thomas Fawcett Maize, Flaked — Grain — 3.9 EBC
400 g (2.2%) — Thomas Fawcett Caramalt — Grain — 29.5 EBC
260 g (1.4%) — Thomas Fawcett Crystal Malt 60L — Grain — 159 EBC
Other (1.9 kg)
1.9 kg (10.5%) — Invert Sugar — Sugar — 0 EBC
Hops (203 g)
45 g (11 IBU) — East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 120 min
100 g
(35 IBU) — Challenger 7.5% — Boil — 60 min
29 g
(4 IBU) — East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 20 min
29 g
— East Kent Goldings (EKG) 5% — Boil — 0 min
Miscs
250 g — French Oak Cubes, Medium Toast — Secondary
Yeast
6.8 pkg — Wyeast Labs 1028 London Ale Yeast 77%
Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C14 days
Carbonation: 2 CO2-vol
 
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1bottlerocket

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I'd reduce the base grain. You need the invert to counter the crystal. Invert decreases FG, crystal increases FG.

Note, your software likely does not predict FG accurately. Try it. Set your grist to be 100% base malt at X OG, take note of the predicted FG. Now replace 20% of the grist with crystal at the same OG. Now do it with 20% invert. You should see three different FGs all with the same OG. You probably won't.
The OG changed with the invert sugar, increasing from 1.096 to 1.110, and a fg of 1.026. With the crystal, the OG stayed the same but the fg went to 1.023, which was interesting.

I reduced the base grain down to 13.5kg and that brought everything down. I suppose if I don't get the expected efficiency I can always add some DME to bring it up before the boil.

I would like to thank you all very much for the help. This is the first Barely Wine for me and it is a bit intimidating.
 

DBhomebrew

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Hmm. Interesting. With that test, I meant to leave OG constant.

100% base malt at 1.xxx
80% base 20% crystal at 1.xxx
80% base 20% sugar at 1.xxx

Yep, top up with DME or more invert if you need a few more points.

I think you're going to have a nice beer.

Don't neglect water profile. Go for an English approach as discussed here...

 

Miraculix

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There is no benefit from complicated hopping schedules in a beer like this. It will have to age at least 6 months anyway, any little late hop flavour that made it through will be gone by then, so you might as well only use bittering additions.

Otherwise it looks ok to me. I would also go with 50 IBUs, that is quite balanced in a bigger beer like this. Make sure that you mash long and low to increase fermentability, I have step mashed my last barley wine and I would do it again.
 
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1bottlerocket

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Hmm. Interesting. With that test, I meant to leave OG constant.

100% base malt at 1.xxx
80% base 20% crystal at 1.xxx
80% base 20% sugar at 1.xxx

Yep, top up with DME or more invert if you need a few more points.

I think you're going to have a nice beer.

Don't neglect water profile. Go for an English approach as discussed here...

Thanks for all your help. I appreciate the input.

I have also been reading up on the old Burton water profiles and I find it very interesting. We have a water profile that we are going to try. The plan is the produce some RO water and then treat it. I am off to bed now. I will post the planned water profile too.
 
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