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Hi all,

Planning a big beer.

I want an American Barleywine to crack into and am using a rough version of Stone Sublimely Self Righteous I came across and boosting it to BW territory (not that it is too far off)

I am after any tips after reading so many conflicting reports on making one.

Pitch big seems to be a given. I was thinking 3 packs of 05. 

Some people were also talking about more yeast again before bottling but I want to draw on experiences of peeps on here who have made them

Cheers for any advice

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I had pretty good success by fermenting a smaller beer first and then re-using most of the yeast cake for the BW. I would try and keep it at 18c and under to start with to avoid the hot alcohol notes. What starting gravity are you looking at? I found a few bottles have been a little light on carbonation but over time most have come right.

1.090-1.100 sort of styles...


Looking at 10 kgs of Base (90%)

500g of Carafa 2 (as BS only have 2 not 3) and 500g Caramalt (5% each)


Hop to 100 IBUs with Chinook


50 g each Simcoe and Zythos at 30 minutes


50g each again at 0 minutes to sit for a bit before whirlpool.


23 odd litres at 65% I think I worked out on BS2

Yeah at 1.090 I'd be brewing a smaller beer first and using the yeast from that. Otherwise I reckon 4 packs is more likely required if going dry yeast. Lots of yeast and a temp controlled ferment and you'll be right.

Sweet as. I was also going to ferment at about 16 and rise up as I do have temp control. Did you secondary or just bottle condition? If you did secondary did you then add more yeast prior to bottling?

16 sounds good, mine was fermented at 18 but reckon a little cooler would be better still. I just bottle conditioned, don't usually bother with secondary. Remember to account for some extra losses with all the hops too.

No worries,


I am happy if I get 20 liters or over to be honest. I am keen to have a nice brew to age and drink on occasions so think a BW will be wicked.

Anyone else should feel free to offer suggestions/tips or even just their experiences/methods for the big Barleywine

My 2c come from an NZ-hopped Am style barleywine that Ive been less than happy with and a few other big beers that Ive been more happy with...

MASH LOW - you're asking a lot of your yeasties in terms of percent attenuation so make the job easy for them, Id say shoot for 64-65c max

As has been suggested above Id recommend overpitching, a yeast cake of S05 (or WLP001 - bit angrier still I think) should do the trick but Id be wary about starting at 16C, starting at 18C and letting it come up under its own steam to ~22C after a few days should give you a good trajectory to finish the job. Plenty of oxygen at the start will help too.

In terms of flavour Id be wary of using too many specialties, the recipe looks good but I think some people make the mistake of adding too much, the base malt adds a lot at that concentration so you could peg them back a bit if you wanted to increase the drinkability.

Hops look good, you could consider adding some in dry too but they will probably be gone by the time you get around to drinking it hehe. The trickiness of these monster beers is getting them to attenuate, 1.090 is not at the extreme end of the spectrum but cant say Ive really heard of people end up over attenuating so better to gear that way. A nice long bulk age in a secondary fermenter wouldnt hurt, these type of beers are the only instance where Id worry about leaving them on the yeast for much more than a month or so

Good tip. I had heard mash low but no one actually said how low that was sort of aiming at.


So at the end are you saying a month would be the limit on the yeast?


I hope to have a secondary but it is not currently there at this moment but if I can get one I do have an auto syphon I can put to good use.

I wouldnt say the limit, I left my 12% ABV barleywine on the cake for 6 weeks with seemingly no effect but I was anxious to get it off there by that stage. Its kinda just theoretical/good practice, I think most of the 'must secondary' mentality is BS however fact is if you have a massive population of yeast cells sitting in a 12% ethanol solution - things will turn bad eventually.

I wouldnt worry too much about bottling after 4-6 weeks in primary but I do think there would be some benefit to letting the beer condition for a few extra months in another vessel if you can manage it. Should allow the beer to mellow further and a bit more stuff to precipitate out that you can leave behind before eventually moving on. 


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