Homebrew batch #30: Noble Nuggets American Barley Wine

by Ziggy on October 8, 2011



TodayHops is a milestone for my brewery: batch #30. To celebrate, we’re doing a 100% insane recipe for an American Barley Wine. Weighing in at 13% alcohol, 130+ IBU’s and 400 calories per 12 oz, this is one beer that doesn’t fuck around. A Bud Light has approximately 5-10 IBU’s, 4% alcohol and 110 calories.

Those numbers come from 23 lbs of grain, 2.5 lbs of sugar and over a pound and a half of hops. The large amount of fermentable grain and insane hop numbers aren’t the whole story though.

This recipe uses 5 lbs of Golden Naked Oats, a specialty grain that contributes a creamy, satin finish, and shaving cream like head and a sweet berry nut flavor. Combine that with 2 lbs of Flaked Oats, 2 lbs of Flaked Barley, 3 lbs of Cara-Pils and 11 lbs of our base malt, US 2-Row Barley from Great Western Malting. Don’t forget about the maltodextrin to make the beer even thicker and some brown sugar for more alcohol and a molasses taste. Mash will be conducted at 156 degrees F for a nice, full bodied wort. This unique grain bill should definitely lead to a beer that’s thick, smooth and supports great head retention. I chose to use the lightest color malts possible to create a deep golden color.

The hops figures are just plain insane, and many would say wasteful. Because of the huge size of the beer, I need to do a 90 minute boil to get the water volume down to where it’s needed. 3 oz of Nugget go in the mash along with 3 oz of Willamette. 3 more oz of Willamette are added the first wort. It’s said mashing hops and using them in the first wort creates a hop flavor that can’t be replicated elsewhere. During our 90 minute boil, I won’t add any more hops until there’s only 20 minutes left. From there we add massive amounts of flavor and aroma hops, and I do mean massive. This should taste and smell like no other beer I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying.

Fermentation will be done by siphoning this beer directly on top of a yeast cake from another Pale Ale. The yeast used is White Laps WLP001, my personal favorite strain. Since it’s such a high alcohol, I’ll be monitoring fermentation closely and have a packet of Wine Yeast ready to pitch if required. To finish the beer we’ll dry hop it for a month on 2 oz of Cascade and 2 oz Willamette. During that same month it’ll sit on 8 oz of oak chips as well, lending a great oak aftertaste and contributing to the complexity. This beer is not for everyone, and the only way you’ll even want to try it is if you’re used to buying grain and hops in bulk. I’ve got about $60 into this brew, which probably sounds cheap. That’s because I purchase my grain in 50 lb sacks and my hops by the pound.

If you’re crazy enough to try it and have a large enough all-grain set up, the recipe is as follows:

11 lbs US 2 Row Pale Malt
5 lbs Golden Naked Oats
3 lbs Cara-Pils/Dextrine
2 lbs Flaked Barley
2 lbs Flaked Oats
2 lbs Light Brown Sugar
1/2 lb Corn Sugar/Dextrose
1 lb Malto Dextrin
3 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA, added to Mash for 60 mins
3 oz Willamette Leaf Hops, 4.5% AA, added to Mash for 60 mins
3 oz Willamette Leaf Hops, 4.5% AA, added to First Wort, 90 mins
1.5 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA. Boil for 20 mins
1.0 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA. Boil for 17 mins
1.0 oz German Magnum Pellet Hops, 13.6% AA. Boil for 15 mins
1.25 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA. Boil for 12 mins
1.25 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA. Boil for 10 mins
1.0 oz Cascade Pellet Hops, 7.5% AA. Boil for 10 mins
1.25 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA. Boil for 7 mins
0.5 oz German Magnum Pellet Hops, 13.6% AA. Boil for 5 mins
2.0 oz Nugget Pellet Hops, 12.0% AA. Boil for 1 minute and let steep
2.0 oz Cascade Pellet Hops, 7.5% AA. Boil for 1 minute and let steep

Mash at 156 degrees F for 60 minutes, collect 8 gallons, boil for 90 minutes. 5.5 gallons into the fermenter. Ferment on a massive starter of WLP 001 California Ale Yeast.

Dry hop with 2 oz Cascade and 2 oz of Willamette. Age on 8 oz of oak chips, keg and enjoy.

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