big 10/20 barley wine

State of the Beer

I finally got around to racking the Grove Street Honey Wheat lager this past weekend (and I’m glad it’s a lager, so I don’t feel too bad about having ended up leaving it in primary for eight weeks…).  It started out at 1.050 and hit 1.009, which is excellent; honey is great for efficient fermentation.  Nice light, clean taste.  It’ll be time to bottle in late July and time to drink it in early August, which should be perfect weather for this kind of beer.

I also finally made myself dump out the defunct barleywine.  I’ll try one again someday, but maybe not real soon; quite aside from the psychological blow of having all the expense I put into it go literally down the drain, it kept one of my carboys out of service for much too long.

As to what’s next, well, I still haven’t found the time to finish my mash tun, even though the remaining steps are relatively minor (cleaning up the burrs from making the slots will be a pain, though).  I’m going to try to get it done soon, but who knows.  If hop prices were lower, I’d be leaning toward an IPA, since I haven’t made one in a while, but as things stand that may not be practical.  When I come up with a recipe I’ll post it here.


Brown Ale, "Pilsener" and Future Brew Plans

The Grove Street Pilsener has turned out much darker than it ought to be (I incline to attribute this to the mistake with the malt extracts), so I think I’ll have to put the word “Pilsener” in scare quotes when referring to it, from now on.  It’s pretty tasty, though, and the Grove Street Brown Ale is coming along very well at a week from bottling.

Next weekend I plan to brew Grove Street Honey Wheat Lager:

  • 1 3.3lb can light malt extract
  • 3lb honey
  • 1lb wheat malt
  • 1oz Crystal or Mt. Hood, or 2oz Liberty, @60 minutes
  • 1oz Crystal, Mt. Hood or Liberty @10 minutes
  • White Labs San Francisco Lager or Wyeast California Lager yeast

and a couple of weeks after that, if I have my mash tun finished (it’s been on hold in the “nearly-done” state for quite a while now), I’ll be trying my first all-grain batch, with the use of a friend’s burner and brewpot.

Sadly, I think it’s past time to give up on the Big 10/20 Barley Wine.  It started acquiring that awful, cidery-sour taste some time ago, and the fermentation’s been excruciatingly slow for months.  I just haven’t had the heart to pour it out, but I think I don’t have a choice.  Barleywines, like pilseners, are probably something I’m going to wait a while, and read up on some different techniques, before trying again.

I will endeavor to ensure my next post is about something other than beer.

Current Brews Status

I checked on my two current brews last night. The barleywine — slightly modified from the “Big 10/20 Barley Wine” recipe at — has been proceeding very slowly since racking off the ale yeast and pitching champagne yeast, but from its original gravity of 1.132 it was down to 1.092 when I racked it, and it’s now at 1.077. It’s got a ways to go yet, so I think I’ll need to make up a small starter of the champagne yeast to try to get it going.

When I racked the barleywine, I decided it would be a shame to waste its yeast bed, so I brewed a coffee porter (which for lack of a better name I’m calling “Dark Roast”) and put it in the same carboy on top of the old yeast. It was down from 1.060 to 1.022, or about 5% ABV, when I checked it last night, which I’m willing to consider good enough, so I racked it, and I’ll probably bottle next weekend. It tastes very good — nicely roasty, with a coffee flavor that’s distinct but somewhat subtle — so I’m quite pleased with how it came out. I’ll post the recipe I used for it a bit later; I’m thinking I may start putting up recipes as pages under the main Matters Zymurgical tab up top, rather than as regular posts.