Archives for December 2013

Briggs-Haldane Barleywine

512px-Michaelis-Menten_saturation_curve_of_an_enzyme_reaction_LARGE.svgHere’s the all-grain formulation of Briggs-Haldane Barleywine. The wort for this barleywine is made by fully sparging the grain bed, and employing an extended boil to evaporate the excess water. You’ll need at least a 10-gallon (~40-L) kettle, but a 15-gallon (~60-L) kettle would be better. You only need about 7 gallons (26 L) of mash tun space, though. The long boil should darken the wort somewhat, and you can monitor how much color the boil develops, if you wish (see the options in the recipe). Remember that the long boil concentrates everything in the wort, not just the sugars. For that reason, don’t go overboard on mineral additions to your brewing liquor (water used to brew the beer with). Options for both continuous sparging and batch sparging are given.

Don’t even think about not making the appropriately-sized yeast starter. This yeast strain will flocculate out early if underpitched, leaving a sticky-sweet mess of a beer. Pitched at the proper rate, it will ferment like a trooper.

Briggs-Haldane is an English-style barleywine with a complex malt character. It’s made with a blend of English pale ale malt and Munich malt, which gives it a rich, malty character. A little bit of wheat malt and a tiny amount of biscuit malt add some bready and cracker-like notes. The beer is not sweet, and it isn’t loaded with the strong caramel flavors found in some English barleywines. The beer is full-bodied, though, and this and the complex malt character is balanced by the hop bitterness (46 IBUs). The hop aroma is of “earthy” Fuggles hops. At 7.5% ABV, this is not the strongest English-style barleywine ever — but it really is flavorful and nicely balanced.

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Briggs-Haldane Barleywine (Stovetop Extract Version)


The Michaelis-Menten curve? What’s that doing here?

Here is an English-style barleywine with a complex malt character. The blend of English 2-row pale ale malt with Munich malt gives this ale a rich, malty character. A little bit of wheat malt and a very small amount of biscuit malt add some bready and cracker-like notes. The beer is full-bodied, but not overly sweet — and with less caramel flavor than is found in some English barleywines. The complex malt character and body is balanced by the hop bitterness (46 IBUs) and the “earthy” character of Fuggles hops. This is not the strongest English-style barleywine ever, but it really is flavorful and nicely balanced. (It’s also delicious, in my opinion.)

The procedures were designed to work well for stovetop extract brewers. In order to do a full-strength, full-wort boil, the wort is made in two shifts. In each shift, the brewer uses roughly half the ingredients and yields 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of wort. This helps with the hop utilization, but also allows for the small amount of wort darkening that a barleywine should undergo in the kettle. (If you can can boil a full wort, just brew this normally. Double the size of the yeast starter, though.)

Why I named this beer Briggs-Haldane Barleywine is not hard to derive, but I won’t bore you with the details.

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Barleywine (IV: Attenuation and Malts)

Belgian goblet

Barleywines are big, full-bodied beers. (This beer was a pale ale, but the color looks about right for a barleywine.)

Barleywines are full-bodied beers. Unlike double IPAs, which are also big, hoppy ales, the final gravity of a barleywine is usually in the 20s, when going by “gravity points” (SG 1.020–1.029). Sometimes it creeps up into the low 30s and others it drops into the high 10s. (The BJCP gives FG 1.018–1.030 for English barleywines and 1.016–1.030 for 1.016–1.030 for American barleywines.) For double IPAs, the brewer must make an effort to get the beer to finish under 1.020, or the hop character may be obscured.

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Barleywine (III: Color)

BWJcolorRecipes for barleywines can be very simple. Before exploring how to formulate a barleywine recipe, however, it pays to look at two things — color and attenuation. In this article, we’ll examine color.



Barleywines are, of course, strong ales. Their color varies from amber to copper, with a few English examples being in the brown range. The color of barleywine wort comes from three possible sources, caramelization during the boil, Maillard reactions during the boil and the concentration of colored molecules derived from the malt. (These molecules would be formed by Maillard reactions or caramelization during the malting process.)

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Hero Barleywine (Extract Version)

HeroXHere’s the extract version of Hero Barleywine, an American-style barleywine that is similar to Bigfoot. In order to brew the extract version successfully, you will need to do a few things. Firstly, and most importantly, you will need to make the yeast starter described in the recipe. Either that or use two 11-g sachets of dried yeast or three packs or tubes of liquid yeast. (You can get away with making a starter half this size, if necessary, but your fermentation will take longer to start.) Secondly, you need to be able to boil 3.5 gallons (13 L) of wort. So, you’ll need a 5-gallon (~20-L) brewpot and a good stove. If your stove’s output isn’t quite up to the task, you can use an immersion travel heater (the kind that lets you boil water to make tea in your hotel room) to help out. Plug it into a GFCI outlet. (If necessary, you can get away with boiling only 3 gallons (11 L), but your wort may end up a shade darker than it should be and the beer may not be as bitter.) Thirdly, for best results, you need to follow the directions here as closely as you can, given your equipment. Don’t just look at the ingredients and use your regular extract brewing techniques. There are a couple “odd” steps here, but they serve a purpose. And finally, use fresh liquid malt extract. This recipe was formulated based on the specs for Briess CBW Golden Light liquid malt extract (79% solids, 75% fermentability), but any light, reasonably fermentable made from US pale malts should work. Pilsner malt extract would also work. The most important thing that it be fresh. You can also use 8.25 lbs. (3.7 kg) of light dried malt extract, if fresh liquid malt extract is not available.

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Hero Barleywine and Sidekick Pale Ale


Every good hero needs a sidekick. This heroic barleywine gets a pale (ale) sidekick made from the leftover mash sugars.

Here is an all-grain, American-style barleywine, with an option to brew a second beer (a pale ale) from the leftover mash sugars. The barleywine wort is made by cutting wort collection short to collect only relatively high-gravity wort, and boiling it for 2.5–3 hours. The barleywine is strong, full-bodied and very hoppy. The leftover sugars in the grain bed can be used — along with some fresh grain — to make a pale ale. The pale ale uses the same hop varieties as the barleywine. If you get enough 1 oz. packets to brew the barleywine, the pale ale uses up most of the “leftovers.” You will also need to make a 1.25 qt. (1.25 L) yeast starter to ferment the pale ale.

You’ll need a 10-gallon (38-L) kettle to boil this wort, which is cutting things close. The directions for the pale ale differ depending on if you have a 10-gallon (38 L) or 15-gallon (57-L) mash tun. Having a second kettle and heat source to brew the pale ale is nice, but not required. Instructions for both batch sparging and continuous sparging are given. There is also an extract version of the barleywine.


Hero Barleywine and Sidekick Pale Ale

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units



Hero Barleywine is a big, American-style barleywine. It is similar to Bigfoot in strength and bitterness (88 IBUs), but not a clone. It is fermented with American ale yeast to yield an amber ale with a final gravity (FG) of 1.021, a full body and nearly 10% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Sidekick Pale Ale is made from the uncollected wort of the barleywine, with some supplemental grains added. It is a straight-up American pale ale with the flavor and aroma of several American hop varieties.

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Barleywine (II: Extract Wort Production-II)

This is the second of two articles on extract wort production in the series of articles on barleywine. The previous article was published yesterday.


An old can of malt extract.

Making a barleywine wort using malt extract as the primary source of fermentables is straightforward — for the most part, you just dissolve the malt extract in water. However — as I discussed in the previous article on influencing the amount of trub and altering the fermentability of the wort — there are ways to tweak your wort production to make brewday easier and your beer better.

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Pineapple Saison

Frozen pineapple juice may not look pretty, but it's pretty tasty.

Frozen pineapple juice may not look pretty, but it’s pretty tasty.

This is yet another one of my beers that may drive style sticklers a bit crazy. I know saisons aren’t traditionally fruity, other than the flavors that the saison yeast may add to the beer. However, I took inspiration from two recent episodes of Basic Brewing Radio (BBR) and combined them into something new, at least for me.

On the October 17, 2013, episode of BBR, homebrewers Brook Baber and David Bauter shared their version of graf, which is a fictitious apple-based beer from the brain of author Stephen King, introduced in the Dark Tower series. In addition to apple juice, Brook and David used pineapple juice in their “graf” and added it in frozen form at the end of the boil.

On the December 5, 2013, episode of the podcast, homebrewer Bryan Gold shared tips on brewing saisons with fruit, including prickly pear, raspberry, and blackberry.

All of the above were delicious and showed how fruit can be introduced into beer in a way that achieves tasty synergy – greater than the sum of their parts. In each case, the fruit played well with the beer elements. [Read more…]

Barleywine (II: Extract Wort Production-I)

This is the first of two articles on extract wort production in the series of articles on barleywine.


Fresh malt extract can be the base of a great barleywine.

When making a barleywine wort from malt extract, there are several things the brewer should consider. All the usual advice still applies — use fresh malt extract, boil as much volume as you can (and still maintain a vigorous boil) and add some of the malt extract late in the boil (if you are boiling less than the full wort).

In addition, some aspects of wort production are only going to apply to barleywine or other big, hoppy beers. One thing that always improves an extract beer is supplementing the extract wort with wort a partial mash. Adding some base malt to your extract recipe adds back some of the malt aroma that was lost when the malt extract was concentrated or dried. This is true for a barleywine as well, but I would recommend making a small partial mash — around 2.0–4.0 lbs. (0.91–1.8 kg) — rather than a larger one. For one thing, although some malt aroma is lost in the manufacture of malt extract, some of it is retained. In a barleywine wort, the large amount of malt extract required means that some malt aroma will be present. More importantly, in an extract barleywine, reducing the amount of trub and hop debris should be a priority. This is especially true when the brewer is boiling less than a full wort.

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Barleywine (I:Introduction and Overview)


Do you like crushing malt? That’s good.

Among pale or amber British ales, there is a “ladder” of sorts with regards to strength. Starting at the bottom with ordinary bitters and proceeding through best bitters, ESBs, IPAs, old ales (the amber versions, at least), the list leads all the way up to barleywines. All these beers share similar recipes — the core of which is a pale malt base, with a dose of crystal malt, and ample hopping. Among American ales, a similar ladder exists among the light-colored, hoppy ales — American pale ale gives way to American IPA. And, although there are American  barleywines, there’s another beer in the mix — double IPAs (or imperial IPAs). Although both barleywines and imperial IPAs are big, hoppy beers, they do have differences that separate them. These differences can help us to better define barleywine.

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