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Finishin my first barley wine!

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GabrielKnight

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I've completed primary fermentation of Youngs barley wine kit. It tastes great but has a lot of yeast and gunk mixed in. I want my end result to be considered a 'real ale' i.e. to Camra standards.

1. Clearing

a) I understand that filtering is not acceptable to Camra standards but that chemical clearing is. Do people normally clear barley wine or is it supposed to be served with yeast / gunk in situ?

b) If its supposed to be clear, but still be in a condition of secondary fermentation, how can I clear it easily without degassing?

2. CO2 levels

Lager style barley wine eg Special Brew / Gold Label is sparkling (added CO2), but with Youngs style of barley wine should I add some more sugar to get it a bit more fizzy again or serve it as it is?

Thanks in advance!
 

john from dc

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1. if you've just finished the primary fermentation, it's very common for the beer to still be cloudy. much of that cloudiness will clear up in time, and big styles like barleywine really benefit from at least a few months of aging, so you have a couple options.

you could bottle now and let the beer age in bottles. OR

you could transfer to a secondary fermenter and let it sit in there for awhile. i'd consider this the best option, since it will result in less sediment in the bottles and it'll reduce the temptation to drink the beer before it gets good. there will be enough yeast left in the beer to carbonate the bottles for several months and either method would be considered real ale.

chemical finings are also an option and are considered acceptable under CAMRA standards. i tend to opt to just wait it out until the beer is clear, especially for a big style like barleywine, but a search for gelatin on this site will yield some effective methods on how it's used.

after the bottles have had time to carbonate and condition (a month at least for barleywines) they will benefit from a week or more in the fridge and should pour pretty clear.

2. most commercial barleywines are carbonated LESS than a typical pale ale or similar, meaning i'd use a little less corn sugar than your average batch. it's your beer though, so carb it the way you like it. remember that with high alcohol content and stressed yeast they'll take longer to carb up. a month at 70 degrees should do the trick.
 
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GabrielKnight

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Thanks John, very useful info.

I'm afraid I can't wait much longer to start drinking it - it tastes too good already an I hate buying beer while I've got some on tap! I use polypins because they kept my 5% beer nice for 3 months last time and the beer improves as you get through it. This is a 48 pint batch so I can start another lot now and start that aging while I drink this lot.

I think I will do the following for now - let me know what you think:

1. Siphon the primary grog into polypins to get it off the trub

2. Use chitosan to clear. Will this work without degassing? I don't really want to degass because the beer currently has a nice, light effervence.

3. Stir in some sugar if the beer loses too much effervecence later. You can do this in a polypin so long as you remember to let out extra gas every few days. I obviously haven't put any stabalisers in at any point but will fermentation start again when most of the yeast has been left behind in the trub?
 

john from dc

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i'm afraid i don't have any experience with chitosan, so i'm not of much help on that front. hopefully someone else can help you out with your question on degassing.

fermentation should restart if you add sugar. it may also cause your beer to get cloudy again though.

the rest sounds ok to me. if you like your beer as it is then by all means enjoy it :mug:
 
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