Gnarles Barleywine

For those who have been brewing for a while, or have read any history of beer making, parti-gyle has probably come across your plate. The basic idea is to get more than one batch of beer from the same mash. Naturally the bigger beer will be the first runoff, and the second (and sometimes even third) beer will be lower in gravity.

This American barleywine was not a truly authentic parti-gyle where the entire first runnings were taken before adding more water for the next runoff, rather I only took some of the first runnings and kept some wort in the grain, then added more water to the mash to get the desired gravity for the second beer. It counts. This took some planning. Thankfully there are calculators as well as articles that can help in planning this…if one is into that kind of thing.

I wanted to take this to another level alcohol wise by feeding it during fermentation to boost the gravity. I had heard about this before via various means, but one of the best instructions on how to do this is by Chris Colby. Even though I read that a few times, I failed to follow it perfectly and didn’t add the right sugar concentration for the feeding portions. Classic. He says (I’ve heard elsewhere too since) that the gravity needs to be a whopping 1.300 or so for the addition(s). Regardless, I assume I got some more gravity out of it, or a “worst case scenario” at least dried it out some. It has crossed my mind to try and get something in the 20% range, but that would be a lot of feeding and I’d probably have to ice it on top of all of it.

The plan was to put a sliver of Scotch and some oak into one, and keep the other one plain. Naturally that didn’t happen exactly as I had planned.


Batch Size: 1.5 Gallons
Target OG: 1.100
SRM: 16
Est ABV: 14%
IBU: 117
Boil Time: 60

83.8% – 2-Row
8.4% – Flaked Barley
3.4% – Crystal 80L
2.8% – Aromatic Malt 60L
1.7% – Roasted Barley
7.5 oz – Corn Sugar (boil/during fermentation)
5 oz – DME (during fermentation)

.25 oz Warrior (14.8% AA) @ 60 Min
.10 oz Fuggle (5% AA) @ 45 Min
.10 oz Nugget (14% AA) @ 45 Min
.10 oz Simcoe (12% AA) @ 45 Min
.15 oz Fuggle (5% AA) @ 30 Min
.10 oz Nugget (14% AA) @ 30 Min
.15 oz Simcoe (12% AA) @ 30 Min
.10 oz Fuggle (5% AA) @ 10 Min
.10 oz Nugget (14% AA) @ 10 Min
.10 oz Simcoe (12% AA) @ 10 Min
.10 oz Perle (6.6% AA) @ 10 Min

WLP009 Super High Gravity Ale

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 8/1/15

First runnings: Collected 2.25 gallons at 1.068. Diluted it down with distilled water to 1.060 at 2.5 gallons.

Second runnings: Collected 3.25 gallons at 1.040. Diluted it down with distilled water to 1.030 at 4 gallons. I don’t have the hop schedule or yeast for this as it was my friend Rob who added all that. It was a brown cream ale. It was ok.

For the Barleywine I got about 1.5 gallons at 1.094 after a hard boil.

Split into two 1 gallon jugs each about 3/4 way full to experiment with each one. Split half of one vial of yeast between the two jugs. Used blow off tubes on each, which was needed. Fermented at 68F.

8/5/15: First feeding was with corn sugar. I made a sugar solution with 2.5 oz to 2 cups of water, then boiled, which got the gravity to around 1.060. I then added 1 cup each to the jugs.

8/7/15: Second feeding was 2 cups of water with 5 oz of boiled DME. The gravity of that was 1.080. I then added 1 cup to each of the 1 gallon’s. I then raised the temp to 73F.

8/11/15: Gravity down to 1.010. 11% abv per an abv calculator, but has to be higher due to the feeding even though I didn’t quite do it right? Gonna say closer to 12%-13%. Raised the temp to 75F.

8/17/15: Transferred to each their own secondaries. Added four oak cubes soaked in Scotch (and poured a splash of the oak scotch soaked “tincture” before transferring) to one of the gallons.


10/3/15: Attempted to bottle the oaked one 3/4 gallon and poured more Scotch directly into the beer before bottling…maybe 3-4 oz (going to measure next time). I think I do this wacky rushed unmeasured shit because I secretly, and not so secretly, don’t really like beer outside of IPAs and funky/sour beers. It’s a shame really. So I rush it or don’t measure or get careless because my care for it is less…woof, who needs therapy?

10/30/15: The 3/4 gallon bottled on 10/3 hasn’t carbed yet.

11/12/15: Bottled the other 1 gallon without oak…nope, this one had oak. I got the 1 gallon’s mixed up and thought I had bottled it already like god damn tool. I didn’t taste it, but it smelled like an oak bomb. So the clean one now has Scotch in it, and this one just has oak.

1/28/16 Tasting notes:

Neither are carbonated, and still hadn’t as of April 2016, so it’s pretty hard to evaluate. That being said, they both are huge malty (sweet raisin and dates) beers. The Scotch one is a bit too much, yet the oaked one is about right. I imagine if these were carbonated and one likes Barleywine, then one might enjoy these.

In the future I will probably keg carb and bottle from there for 12% or higher beers. It’s worth noting that there is an episode from the Sour Hour on The Brewing Network that references maybe how to go about carbonating beers that might be hard to bottle condition such as low pH or high alcohol. They essentially go over that you need bottle condition with yeast (not uncommon), but first introduce that yeast with a blend of fresh wort and the beer you want to carbonate so it acclimates to the extreme environment it’s about to work on. Pretty good stuff. You can listen to it here.

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