Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Barley wine!

Oh yes. I love Barley wine. Especially the American take on this wonderful style of beer. With its huge malt and explosively bitter, yet balanced, hop abundance. Ah.

I have become quite passionate about the style over the last couple of years. Of the limited number of examples I have had the pleasure to enjoy my current top 3 favorites are Old Ruffian by Great Divide Brewing, Bigfoot by Sierra Nevada (which I am sipping as I type) and yes, the excellent "new" kid, the Vermonster by Rock Art brewing. Anyone think there are better ones out there, please send me some!

I have dreamed of one day being worthy to brew this favorite of mine. I was intimidated to say the least. Yet, it had to be done. I can't really afford not too as much as I enjoy this style! I mean really, I can't afford it! So, I prepared myself as best I could. Read up as many tips and tricks as I could and I did it this past fall.

It went well. How the finshed product will be remains to be tasted. I am going to sit on it until next November. Here is a rundown:

OG was 1.094
Gravity at time of kegging was 1.017
So I got 80.2% attenuation

10.3% ABV
102 IBU's calculated. That may be higher than actual. I used a combination of store bought Magnum and Millenium pellet hops for the bittering charge at 60 minutes. The rest of the flavor and aroma additions were homegrown Cascade and Centennial. I will also be dry hoping with some Amarillo pellets at some point.

Grist was simple. Marris Otter, Crystal 60 and CaraRed. With 1 quart of Grade B maple Syrup added at flameout.

So far so good. It is sitting in my cool brew room at about 58F in a keg right now. As the basement warms up I may move it to the kegerator if it gets too warm. It can get to be 70-75 in the summer unfortunately.

Trying to keep my posts shorter. I realize they are rather long winded so far. Guess I need to chop them up a bit. I am new to this. It is tough to gauge without feedback. I realize I may not get much if any so... Have to figure out what works best for me I guess.

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