Would anyone ever brew (BIAB) a small batch (1.5 gallons) of barley wine? Maybe an old foghorn clone?

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Elysium82

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What are the pros and cons of this idea?

Pro: the price of barley wine is kind of high.

Con: a mini batch BIAB might not be ideal since the high malt bill might make it complicated. Less wort since the space is needed for the malt bill and efficiency might suffer too (I dont sparge).

Any other thoughts or has anyone done it with success?
Thanks.
 
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If you ran the the volume of a full batch instead of 1.5 gallon and boiled it down to 1.5gallons you’d have a not so hard time sparring the grains.

Edit…sorry missed you said you didn’t sparge. But still applies. If you ran a larger volume of wort at a decent gravity and boiled it down to 1.5gallons you could get a high gravity wort with decent efficiencies. The trade off is the extra time/cost of boiling longer.
 

hotbeer

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Huh?

Why not if that is the amount desired? Or is barely wine somehow different enough in brewing technique than the .8 gallon to 1.25 gallon batches of IPA's and other ales I did for most of last year?

They were all BIAB. Though I probably don't BIAB like everyone else seems to.
 

AlexKay

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I’ve done a couple of barleywines, a wheatwine, and a ryewine, all ~1 gallon BIAB. No problems. Last batch of barleywine I was able to bottle in three 1L EZ-caps, which was about as simple as could be, and just what is needed for storing a beer for a year before consumption.
 

DBhomebrew

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Less wort since the space is needed for the malt bill

This can definitely be an issue. One's kettle can put a maximum on mash volume or pre-boil volume. Pre-boil volume, you've figured out with your lower gravity beers. Mash volume, which you're talking about directly, can be dealt with in a few ways.

Put a max on your brewery's gravity. For me, I know I can hit 1.090 while keeping my full batch size. It's not the massive 1.110s some brewers achieve, but I promise a 9+% beer drinks big enough.

With a moderate sugar addition, I can easily achieve 1.100. Invert sugar is a classic, historical ingredient in British beers, big and small. Don't shy away from it as a cheat. It is not. Nor is a bit of extract.

Add a simple dunk sparge. It'll drop your mash volume a ton, add up to 8% efficiency, and require less grain. It's really very easy to do and at a small scale, I imagine you already have a suitable vessel. I do mine with room temp water in a bucket.
 

IslandLizard

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[Rephrased]
Barleywine improves with aging. Aside from a sample at bottling, I probably wouldn't even touch it for at least 6 months.

Since most of the time is spent waiting for your Barleywine to mature, I suggest brewing that small batch 2 or 3 times while you're at it, with some changes perhaps. Or brew 2 or 3 of the same and maybe treat the 2nd batch with wood and the 3rd with something else, such as more bitterness or hoppiness.
 
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For me, I know I can hit 1.090 while keeping my full batch size.
Same for me.

With my OG 90 BIAB batches (producing 12 pack using a 3 gal kettle and 1 hour boil), I've done a double mash and a single mash. Both work. Single mash is easier for OG 90 beers .

A month ago, I brewed a 1.010-ish barleywine with the same equipment using a 2 hour boil.

Next time, maybe "brewers crystals" to shorten the brew day with a neutral flavored gravity boost 🤷‍♂️
 
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AZCoolerBrewer

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I love barleywines and don’t believe they are as inaccessible as many seem to think. I have brewed 2 , one 1 gallon and one two gallon, batches and both beers were excellent. I do not agree with aging the beers for long time periods. I saved one bottle out and aged for a year, each batch, and both were definitely less assertive on hops and alcohol, but also not as delicious in my opinion. Any barleywine batches I make in the future will be devoured young. Due to the large amount of hops and that I don’t use hop bags, my yield was about 1.5 gallons (on the two gallon batch). Also, the mash was difficult because as mentioned it was at the very edge of what my pot can handle. I mash on the stove with a jacket, in the pot (3 gallon). I got a 4 gallon pot just for this reason, but haven’t made a barleywine since I got the new pot.

Edited post after looking at my notes. Two gallon batch was 1.105 OG, 11 pounds of malt. I had to get creative with my mash if I remember correctly. When the water heated up, it took up more space and I had to draw some off and then add it back in after removing the spent grains. I sparged my brew in a bag in a different pot then added it together and boiled the heck out of it. Notes say it was a little hot. I do think I aged about a month.
 
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DBhomebrew

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Not a barleywine, not 1G, but similar concerns. Really, any size batch that pushes the capacity of any system.

A 1.099 imperial stout, 3.5G out of a 5G kettle. It can be done.

I've since decreased my losses while transferring to the fermenter. This batch would now hit a full 4G.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I have mixed feelings about small batches for high ABV beers...

First off, it is fine to reduce the batch size a bit to accommodate your system. If you normally target 5.5 gallons into the fermenter, but can only get 4 gallons with a large grain bill, then go for it. I have done that myself. I have found that with a sparge and a longer boil, I can keep my efficiency similar to a full volume no sparge batch.

A benefit of making a larger batch of a high ABV beer is that you are much more likely to have beers set aside to age for 2-3 years. If you start out with 40+ bottles, you can still open one every month or two. If you start out with 8 bottles...you have to have more self control than I seem to have.

A challenge of making high ABV beers is that it is often 6-12 months out before you can really judge what changes you want to make to future batches. If you made a small batch every month or two, then a year into the process you will have more data points to feed back into your perfect recipe.

I could see starting off with a few 1-2 gallon batches to dial in a recipe and then ramping that up to full sized batches.
 

InspectorJon

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I do not agree with aging the beers for long time periods. I saved one bottle out and aged for a year, each batch, and both were definitely less assertive on hops and alcohol, but also not as delicious in my opinion. Any barleywine batches I make in the future will be devoured young. Due to the large amount of hops and that I don’t use hop bags, my yield was about 1.5 gallons (on the two gallon batch).
Maybe it’s a distinction without a difference to some people. When does it stop being barley wine and become a triple IPA? I guess it’s the hop bill. Lagunitas makes a triple IPA, The Waldo’s Special, every spring that clocks in between 11% and 12%. They specifically say that the beer should be consumed fresh and is not made for aging. I guess a barely wine will have primary early bittering hops and not focus on hop flavor.

Regarding high gravity mashing, there seems to be kind of a limit at 1 lb of grain per quart. Any less water than that and efficiency really drops off. I have had good BIAB results maxing out my kettle with grain and water at the 1 lb/qt ratio and then batch sparging in a second container to get my desired finished wort volume.

I also split my mash between two containers once. The first container was my typical BIAB setup. I only have the one bag so I just put the extra grain and strike water in a small cooler and let it mash there. Later I just poured all that through my grain bag into the brew kettle.

There are lots of different ways to get sugar out of malted grain but I am pretty sure my way is always the best. 🤭
 

cmac62

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My immediate thought was why not use DME to boost the ABV at the end of the boil? Make a nice flavorful beer and just before FO dump in 3 lb of DME and get the OG into the 1.10 range. If you use fresh DME I don't think there will be significant flavor impact. The one BW I brewed had a lot of hops and it was an English BW. IMHO BWs require a high bittering charge to compensate for the high FG they usually end with. Good luck :mug:
 
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