Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Gallon Christmas Barleywine

Lager season is over, and it's time to start busting into some serious ale brewing. I'm excited about this, partly because the whole temperature control thing about lagers is a little stressful, and partly because I did some good stuff last year that I want to improve on, and some stuff I want to try out new. I'm going to try a few different incarnations of my rye beer that I did last year. I feel like that was a really good first effort, and could turn into a sort of always on tap haus beer type of thing. I'd like to redden the color a little, and see what sort of interesting things I can do with it, while still letting the rye drive the flavor.

But first on the docket was to do a barleywine. I used a White Labs ale yeast most of last year, and while it did some good beers, it also pooped out on the last few, which led to some tremendously over carbonated stouts, and some spectacular Brown Ale bottle bombs. I decided to use Wyeast 1056 American Ale to do a few right off the bat, and since I didn't have much carboy space, I decided to do a one gallon batch, and start repitching the yeast cake. I haven't done a barleywine before, partly due to the smallness of my MLT, so a one gallon was perfect. I would only need to mash a few pounds of grain, so I could make it as thin of a mash as I wanted. Here it is:

One Gallon Christmas Barleywine-

2 Row Pale Malt (organic)- 3 lbs
Crystal 60- 4 ounces

Cascade- .5 ounces- 90 minutes
Cascade- .5 ounces- Knockout

Wyeast 1056 American Ale- Pitched straight from the smack pack

152- infusion

Gravity Target/Actual

The general idea behind this was to do a pretty big, super hoppy American style Barleywine, ferment it in a one gallon jug, decant it to two separate growlers after the primary fermentation, and then bottle in a few months. I'm thinking I'll bottle it in some Duvel bottles, as they are such a heavy gauge, and will easily hold the pressure if the carbonation gets too much in the coming months. I'll let it sit til Christmas, and then hand it out to family and friends.

The gravity came out low because I had not really done a one gallon batch in the stockpot I used, so it was a little difficult to know how long I could boil to get the evaporation that I was looking for. I collecting two gallons, and boiling for almost two hours, and ended up with a little over one gallon. I probably could have gone a little longer, since my last hop addition was going to be at knockout, and then I could have topped up the fermenter if I needed any volume. Brew and learn, I guess. It should still be real interesting as I boiled it pretty hot for so long. There was little in the way of character malts, so most of the color will come from the caramelized sugars. The Cascades should explode in aroma when these get poured. I was literally able to take it from knockout to pitching temps in 8 minutes, so the aroma addition will be real fresh.

Note to self: anytime you do a really big beer in a one gallon jug, add a blow off tube. The initial fermentation was positively volcanic. Awesome, but messy. It was pumping out some fantastic Cascade aromas too.

No comments: