Barley Wine question

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Iceman
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Barley Wine question

Post #1 by Iceman » 9 months ago

I looking at brewing a Barley Wine and I'm wondering about the fermentation times. I don't normally use a secondary, but I've also never brewed a beer with as big an ABV (10.6%) as this. Can I skip the secondary and just bottle age the beer instead once fermentation is complete?

I have also read that some people use a second yeast before bottling, is this a necessary step? Thanks!
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Warthaug
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #2 by Warthaug » 9 months ago

You can, but the beer will likely be fairly harsh. Strong beers generally require long periods of aging to reduce off-flavours such as fusel alcohols and esters. This works best in a secondary fermented and tends to occur more slowly in bottles.
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Iceman
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #3 by Iceman » 9 months ago

Thanks. I think I'll move it to secondary after fermentation and leave it in there for 4-5 months, then bottle it.
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brhenrio
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #4 by brhenrio » 9 months ago

One thing that several sources agree on (books) is once you are in the 7-8% plus range if you are going to age the beer you need to get it off the yeast cake. Also you will need a second yeast at bottling because the yeast will al have died with the high alcohol content.
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Warthaug
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #5 by Warthaug » 9 months ago

I brew a lot of high-gravity ales, my advice/experience would be:

1) Pitch lots of healthy yeast.
2) Rouse the yeast (stir gently) every day for the first 4 to 5 days.
3) Leave the beer in primary at least 2 weeks to ensure proper attenuation.
4) Transfer to secondary no later than 4 weeks into fermentation.
5) Minimum time in secondary is a month, but the higher the gravity the more the beer will benifit from extended aging
6) When aging be sure you have a good seal on the carboy and that the airlock remains full. A lot of work/time can be lost to a dry/leaky airlock.

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Frank88
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #6 by Frank88 » 9 months ago

If your initial yeast has a tolerance of ~10%abv, I'm assuming it would be prudent to use something like a 12+%abv tolerant yeast for bottling?
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #7 by Warthaug » 9 months ago

Champagne yeast (e.g. LALVIN EC-1118) are one of the better choices for bottling big beers, as they have high alcohol tolerance but only ferment simple sugars (e.g. table sugar or corn sugar) and therefore won't alter the attenuation of your beer. You do not need to use the whole packet - you only need about 3g (e.g. 1/4 packet). Measure out the champaign yeast (by eye is fine) and rehydrate in 1/4 cup of warm, dechlorinated water for ~20 min (bottled water works fine). At the same time prepare your bottling sugar solution. Transfer you beer into your bottling container, then mix in the yeast and sugar, and bottle as per usual.

Store the bottled beer in a warm place (20C or slightly warmer) for 2-3 weeks to ensure full carbonation; then the beer can be moved to a cellar or more appropriate storage environment.

Bryan
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Iceman
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #8 by Iceman » 9 months ago

Thanks so much for the tips guys, much appreciated!
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twistandstout
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Re: Barley Wine question

Post #9 by twistandstout » 3 weeks ago

Brewing a quality barley wine has been on my to-learn/do list for a while. Do keep us updated on how this turns out!

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