Wednesday, October 12, 2011

English Barleywine, v1.0 lessons

This past Saturday I tried brewing my 1st barleywine. I opted to go the English/British route and used marris otter, a bit of C40, flaked wheat and vienna. For hops I used only Kent Goldings (4.9% AA).

Besides being my first barleywine, this brew session was my 1st time using my refractometer & my 5000 mL starter beaker. The refractometer is a tool that i have been meaning to use for some time, and I was happy to break it out this time around. As for the 5000 mL beaker, it was recommended that i purchase one by my homebrew club so as to be able to make larger starters for larger beers.

The brew session went pretty smoothly, but there were some hiccups. Below I have grouped a few of the positives and a few negatives/learning experiences from the brew session.

Positives = Due to the thick mash, keeping the mash temp around 153 F was not difficult. I found that the mash acted as an insulator, keeping a relatively steady temp of 153F throughout the mash period.

Negatives = As I mentioned above, today was the first time I used a refractometer. As a result, I was able to determine my starting gravity (SG), and (sadly) it was not as high as i had hoped. I was shooting for an SG value of approximately 1.110. Instead, I hit 1.06 - 1.065. While it was shocking at first, I have a few ideas for getting closer to my goal next time (for example: adding corn sugar).

Finally, the other thing that concerns me is my efficiency. I thought i had the correct equation for it, but after discussing it w/ a member of the homebrew club I think my method of calculating efficiency is incorrect.

Plans for improving the brew session next time
  • Have corn sugar ready in case the SG is not hit
  • Have a correct means & method of calculating efficiency
  • Put the yeast starter into the fridge a 1/2 day earlier

I will provide tasting notes once the barleywine has been carbonated.


tblackstudio said...

what was your final gravity?

Ethan said...

Truth be told, I have not measured it yet. I am going to measure it this Wednesday when I transfer it.

Dank brewer said...

Instead of having corn sugar on hand, a better thing to do is have dry malt extract on hand. Corn sugar will ferment out completely and effectively bringing your final gravity way down (which will create a really dry beer).

Your mash efficiency will go down when making big beers. Mine goes from 70% to 60%. Think about it like this... you use TWICE as much grain, but the SAME amount of water used to rinse the sugars from that grain.

1. You can double sparge to thoroughly rinse, collect extra wort, and do a long boil.

2. You can buy more grain to compensate for lower effeciency.

3. Add malt extract to up your SG to where you want it.

How I calculate my effeciency is by using Hopville to create my recipes. You can also use brewing software. Trial and error...son!