Smoked & Oaked Barleywine

August 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

As a homebrewer it is important to have a constant flow of beers, in their prime to enjoy.  Sometimes scheduling and managing this pipeline around equipment availability and optimum age can be difficult. One thing that I have been trying to do over the past few years is brew one big beer a year and get a secondary “big beer pipeline” established.

For this set of beers I concentrate on high alcohol beers usually with wild yeast and extended oak aging.  I started two years ago with a sour beer aged on NJ Sour Cherries, and last year I brewed Lets Grow Old Together Ale.  Ideally, I would like these beers to be able to withstand some significant aging (1-10 years)  and hopefully develop deep, complex flavor profiles that evolve over time.

This year I decided to do a smoked barleywine, which will eventually find its way onto the Wyeast Old Ale yeast cake.  I am also thinking of adding some Scotch soaked oak cubes throughout the duration of the bulk aging.  This beer has multiple moving parts, namely the Smoked malt, Brett, Scotch oak, and most significantly time.

While time will tell if the smoked malt hold up over time, my intent is to layer some malt smokiness and  scotch oak flavor on top of a big, slightly English leaning barleywine grain bill.  The Old Ale yeast, has started to show some cherry pie flavors in my Old Ale at around 9 months, I’m hopeful to achieve similar flavors in this batch to complement its biscuity, bready, malt backbone.

For me this batch is about experimenting with the  smoked malt and the interplay of the oak and brett.  I’ve used smoked malt one other time, but it was a homemade smoked rye malt, not one of the two readily availabe commerical smoked malts. (Briess Cherrywood & Wyereman Rauch Malt) I went with a roughly 2:1 ratio of Rauch Smoked (somewhat milder, less pungent smoke smell),  to Cherrywood (deep smoke, bacon).  I hope that the mix will be able to provide enough up front smoke flavor to last for the first 6 months to a year of this one.

To round out the recipe I added a bit of Demerera Sugar for some extra fermentables as well as some Chinook and Tettnang hops.  I used the S-04 English Ale to for the primary fermentation, rounded out by the Old Ale yeast for the secondary, bulk aging.  I don’t always try to cram this many ideas into a beer but I think this recipe is strong enough, and the flavor profiles complementary enough to handle it.   I’m really looking forward to forgetting about this one for a while, a really long while.

Smoked and Oaked Barleywine

Batch Size: 7 Gallons

Original Gravity: 1.100
Est. Final Gravity: 1.018
ABV: 10.9%
IBU: 93.1
Color: 22.2 SRM
Boil Time: 75 Min

59.9% Maris Otter
13.8% Smoked Malt (Rauch)
8.9% Munich 20L Malt
6.9% Smoked Malt (Cherrywood)
4.4% Amber Malt
3.4% Demeremera Sugar
2.6% Crystal 120

3 Oz Chinook (13.1% AA) at 60 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
6.2 Oz Tettnang (4.0% AA) at 10 min

2 Pk. SafAle English Ale S-04

60 minutes at 150F (Saccharification Rest)
10 minutes at 165F (Mash Out)


After 3 weeks primary, rack onto Old Ale yeast cake. Add 2 oz French Oak soaked in Scotch for 3 weeks and age for 12 months.


S&O Grains

Let’s Grow Old Together Ale

November 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I recently got engaged to my beautiful girlfriend of four years Megan, and as we begin down the road of planning a wedding for 200+ people, one thing I know for certain is that I want to brew the beer for the wedding. My plan is to brew three batches of my favorite moderate alcohol beers and one batch of “big” beer, something over the top for all our sophisticated beer drinking friends.

I have always been interested in brewing the obscure often forgotten styles of beer of yesteryear and with Wyeast offering its Old Ale blend in its Private Yeast Collection for this quarter, I thought this would be the perfect “big” beer for the wedding. I want something that will be complex, flavorful, and different and I think the combination of a unique beer style, Brettanomyces, and extended oak aging should fit that bill. I plan on serving one 5 gallon keg of the finished beer and bottling the remaining Old Ale in 750 ml Belgian Ale bottles for long term aging. Looking forward to the future I think it will be really cool to crack open one of these beers on our 1st, 5th, 10th, etc. wedding anniversaries.

With all that being said I knew the recipe formulation would need to be big enough to support extended aging, and have a long enough time in the secondary for the Brett to work its magic. I also want the recipe to be as close to a traditional Old Ale as I could come up with. After looking into doing some research into the history of Old Ale’s and their traditional recipe formulations I came up with the following recipe.

Let’s Grow Old Together Ale

Batch Size: 9 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.090
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.022
ABV: 9%
IBU: 47.5
Color: 19.5 SRM
Boil Time: 90 Min

87.5% Golden Promise Malt
4.9% British Crystal 77L (Crisp)
3.2% Flaked Corn
3.2% Dememera Sugar
1.2% Black Patent

1.5 Oz Magnum (14.1% AA) at 60 min
3.5 Oz Eastern Kent Goldings (4.06% AA) at 20 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min

3.6 L Starter of Wyeast PC 9097 Old Ale

Mash at 158 for 60 minutes raise to 168 for a 10 minute mashout.

2.5 oz Heavy Toast Hungarian Oak Rod split in half for each secondary. I plan to soak one of the 1.25 oz oak rods in bourbon and the other in a liquor of Megan’s choice prior to adding it to the secondary for extended aging.

6 Months in Secondary

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