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
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.