Thursday, March 13, 2014

Brew 8 & 9 - Big Brews: Barley Wine & Wee Heavy

Having little kids around can make it difficult to get to the local hombrew shop so I devised a plan to have my wife pick up ingredients for me while she runs errands.  The first time  I kept it simple and asked for some yeast, hops and an airlock and she succeeded.  The second time I threw in a grain bill for my Export Stout and and a Witbier.  When she arrived home I asked why she only had one small bag (remember these are 1 gallon batches) of grain, she said the other was to big to carry.  This had me worried since it contained only slightly more than a pound of grain.

When I went to the car there was a huge (five gallon batch size) bag of milled grain.  I checked the receipt and found that she purchased 13 lbs of base malt instead of 13 oz for the Witbier.  Since the goal for this year is to experiment I figured this was chance to brew some really big beers.

The big sack of grain included:

13 lbs Two Row Malt
10 oz Flaked Wheat
7 oz   White Wheat
1 oz   Acidulated malt

For the two recipes that follow just take the amount of grain I used and guess assume the proportions stayed the same.  For oxygenation I just spun these two brews and created a vortex for a good long minute.

The 1st batch turned into a simple English Style Barley Wine with 5.1 lbs of grain.  The OG came out at 1.120 after a 160 minute boil.  It was really surprising how dark the wort became just from boiling for 3 hours.  I added 145 IBU's worth of EKG at 60 minutes since I was trying to make something similar to the J.W.'s Harvest Ale mentioned in the IPA book by Mitch Steele.

This batch maxed out my BIAB system with the water level reaching about a 1/4" below the top of the kettle.  Stirring the mash was slow and steady.  The long boil also resulted in my 1st boilover.  Since most of my batches have had so much headspace in the kettle I wasn't paying to close of attention during the boil until I heard the sizzle of the boilover meeting my stove.

The second batch of beer was a Wee Heavy that used 4.7 lbs of grain plus 4 oz of left over black roasted barley steep water.  I mashed at 154 and boiled down 4 cups of the wort to a thick syrup (really thick!) and added it back to the boil.  This brew had 27 IBU's of EKG at 60 minutes and 2 IBU's of EKG at 10 minutes.

I washed some Safale 04 yeast from a Southern English Brown (Brew #7) and split it three ways for the two batches.  The recipe for J.W.'s Harvest said to repitch some yeast after a couple of days so the third batch of yeast was used for that.  Fermentation for both took off and stayed in the low to mid 60's the entire 1st week.

If you did some calculating you'll see that I still have about 3 lbs of grain left over which I'm going to use to brew two Session IPA's for some hop experiments.  These would have been brewed already but I ran out of airlocks.  I'll admit that it's a problem that's good to have.