AG#13 – “South Dublin Brewers” English Barleywine


Time to re-fill our oak cask with some English barleywine. Post written by myself below:

After lots and lots of discussion last night in the DH, most of the signed-up barrel contributors (Bubbles, Shanna, Rossa, Brewtus, David, Cathal, Beerfly, Shiny) have agreed on a rather unique strategy for our second fill of the barrel. We’re going to brew an English barleywine, but instead of striving to achieve consistency across everyone’s batches, we’re going to do exactly the opposite…

Everyone who wants to contribute will brew an English barleywine to his own recipe. After fermentation and conditioning, the beers will be rack to our rinsed out barrel and aged for as long as it takes to extract the oak flavors. The recipes will be unique and our finished beer will certainly be unique. A real collaboration of brewers.

So, to summarize what was discussed and (mostly) agreed last night..

While the recipes will be individual and designed according to each brewers vision, there are certain things which can’t be changed. The original gravity, bitterness and yeast strain will be standard across all batches. We’re going to shoot for an OG of 1.100 (targeting an FG of 1.024 and an ABV of just over 10%), and an IBU of 63. Yeast will be Nottingham with a recommended pitch of 2-3 sachets, depending on batch size. Mash temp 66C to keep the wort reasonably fermentable.

The grain bill should be around 95% English pale ale malt and no more than 6% crystal malt. We can also sub a small percentage of the pale malt for toasted malts – pale chocolate, amber, brown, biscuit. If using roasted malts like chocolate malt or roasted barley, we should keep the additions very small.

Flavour hops should be strictly English varieties, though we can use a high-alpha American variety for bittering, as long as it’s a clean bittering hop, something like Magnum.

By the way, the target gravities, bitterness, grain bill percentages above are based on Jamil’s English Barleywine in Brewing Classic styles.

You don’t have to come up with your recipe independently, if you think you need guidance on your own brew, just shout on the forum. In any case, I think it’s a good idea to post the recipes on the forum before brewing so that we make sure we’re all on the right track.

There was a discussion last night around the use of extract. I know my own mash tun might not cope with the amount of grain for a recipe like this, so I’ll certainly be a using a portion of extract to bump the gravity up.

Below is a modified version of Jamil’s recipe which I punched into BeerSmith. It would be good to use this as a reference. My recipe is a lot hoppier, which I think is advisable in order to protect the beer against any nasties.

None of this is set in stone, by any means. I’m just trying to put a bit of shape on last night’s discussions. So please respond with any suggestions/corrections you have.


Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.96 l
Post Boil Volume: 24.96 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 21.00 l
Bottling Volume: 19.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.100 SG
Estimated Color: 37.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 73.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
6.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 71.0 %
0.400 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 4.4 %
0.150 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 1.6 %
1.600 kg Light Dry Extract (15.8 EBC), 17.5 %
0.500 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC), 5.5 %
40 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 90.0 min, 49.0 IBUs
40 g Challenger [8.10 %] – Boil 30.0 min, 18.9 IBUs
40 g Goldings, East Kent [6.50 %] – Boil 10.0, 5.4 IBUs
2.0 pkg Nottingham (Danstar #-) [23.66 ml]

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 9.150 kg
Mash In Add 19.74 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 14.78l) of 77.0 C water

13/04/2014 Brew Day – Was surprised at how dark the wort turned out for this. Really dark… the word ‘mahongany’ springs to mind. I got a higher mash temperature than I wanted, around 68C. But I was aware of how big the grain bill was compared to what I normally do, so I figured I should add the grain when the strike water was a bit hotter. I shouldn’t have bother really. I was worried that my mash tun wouldn’t be able to handle the large amount of grain, but it coped just fine. I think it could handle at least another kilo of grain next time. even though I was doing a slightly larger batch than usual, I got much more wort than expected, 23 litres, but at a reduced gravity of 1.096. Hopefully I’ll have a few bottles to put aside for myself and still have 19 litres to go into the communal barrel. Used hop bags for the Challenger and EKG additions, so I didn’t have any trouble running off into the fermenter. Might explain my higher than usual volume into FV. I’d forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to deal with malt extract, horrible, sticky stuff that it is. Rehydrated 2 sachets of Notty in some tap water. It will have its work cut out!

01/05/2014 – Racked to corny for transportation to the South Dublin clubhouse. Measured FG of 1.019, which equates to 10.3% ABV. I also got 4 33cl bottles as a little brewers bonus. So I put a Cooper’s carb in each and capped the bottles. Will stick them away for a year or so.

03/05/2014 – Roughly 217 litres of English barleywine rackedto the barrel. Everyone’s looking and tasting a little different, but all English barleywines nonetheless. Can’t wait to taste this in a years time, give or take a couple of months. Long-term aging like this will smoothen out the hot alcohols and the oak will impart some great flavours hopefully.

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