Time Lost – Barrel Aged Barleywine

This post begins with by me explaining the name of the beer – Time Lost. I’m not a super sentimental person, but every once in a while you gotta pay your respects. My neighbors who moved in during the middle of Covid lockdown ended up being the perfect neighbors. Kids nearly the same age as ours, they’re the same age as my wife and I, we all love craft beer, and we can joke about shit and no one gets offended. Our wives make fun of the bromance that’s developed over the past 6 months with the husband and myself.

Both families also love dogs. You know my dog, Mack – He’s the logo of my brewery. Sadly, our neighbor’s dog Henry, passed away just recently. This beer is dedicated to Henry.

It was also brewed on Daylight Savings Sunday this year, so it’s a double entendre.

My neighbor, who’s name I’ll keep private and will be known as TNS moving forward, and I have become good friends with lots of things to connect about – Especially during COVID. Like mentioned, our kids are the same age. It’s been fun being able to have our own little mini bubble with the neighbors. We felt normal having some socialization of the kids, sharing a beer, bitching about the past year, and getting to know each other.

He is huge into Barleywines, Big Stouts, anything Barrel Aged, but appreciates all styles of beer. He has shared some incredible stuff with me. Namely Revolution’s variations of Straight Jacket, some Private Press bottles, and much more.

I’ve shared with him everything about brewing that I know. He knew the basics before we met, but has dived down the rabbit hole with me and now we’re able to throw ideas back and forth about making recipes, what yeasts to use, what hops to use. It’s been great having a brewing buddy.

So we figured it was time to brew a barleywine in memory of the pup . That’s how we got to where we are.

Here’s the recipe:

BasicsTime Lost Barrel Aged Barleywine
Batch Size (fermentor):5.5 gallons
Boil Length:120 minutes
Mash Temp:152F / Mash out 168F60 min Single Infusion
OG:1.127 (estimated)1.131 (actual)
FG:1.038 (estimated)1.025 (actual)
ABU:11.69% (estimated) 13.9% (actual)
IBU:35
SRM:20
Fermentables
Marris Otter76.2%
Victory Malt3.2%
Caramel/Crystal 15L1.6%
Vienna15.9%
Extra Special Malt3.2%
Total100%
Hops
East Kent Golding1 oz60 min
Willamette 1 oz 60 min
East Kent Golding 0.5 oz30 min
Willamette 0.5 oz 30 min
East Kent Golding 0.5 oz 15 min
Willamette 0.5 oz 15 min
Total4 oz
Yeast
Wyeast London ESB Ale 19683 Packs, big boy starters – Use a cell count calculator!Pitch at 68, bring to 72 after a week
WaterBru n Water Brown Balanced
Mash pH5.4
Calcium50
Mg10
Sodium27
Sulfate70
Chloride55

Brew Day 3/14/21

Brew day was fun. This was the highest OG beer I’ve made. I actually had recirculation problems due to the amount of grain weight pushing on the bag over the pick up valve at the bottom of the kettle. This gave me a little bit of temp gradients at the bottom compared to the top, so I did my best to just stir every once in awhile. OG came out at exactly 1.131. I expect FG to be somewhere around 1.030.

Two reasons I believe we overshot our OG. We boiled off more than we anticipated, and I set my batch efficiency to 65% for this recipe which may have been a little too low for what we actually achieved. But, I’m not going to look too much into it, as we were only 4 points over… Pretty close to our intended OG!

Oh, and to mentally prepare ourselves for this brew day, TNS and I shared a few beers the night before. I am on team Strawberry… although the Honey was outstanding too.

Transfer Day 3/28/21

Final gravity came out to 1.024 which surprised me. That clocks us in at 13.9%, which is much more than I intended. I know I boiled off more than I intended, but damn if this isn’t a smooth a good tasting beer after only a few weeks. I planned on letting it sit for a while longer, but it’s so mellow right now that I decided to just transfer it. Plus, I needed the fermentation fridge for the Super Saison that’s going into the other barrel I own.

Fun fact, which will make this recipe tough to recreate… I was about 1/2 gallon short on filling the barrel. So we put some of the wort of the Super Saison mentioned to top it off.


I know this is going to bring the ABV down a little. Rough guess…12.5%? I won’t really know, nor do I care too much to be honest.

Here’s the recipe for that beer. It’s a killer beer straight up.

The marris otter base is fantastic. Caramel, toffee notes. It tastes like a Rolo right now, with a slight burn on the backend, but nothing terribly overpowering. Picture above shows me transfering out of the 60L Fermzilla All Arounder into the barrel through my newly assembled transfer tool.

Link to the build of the transfer tool here. I pieced it together on Brewhardware.com and it came out to around $75 to build.

I opened the PRV on the transfer tool and did a half assed CO2 purge on the barrel. This allowed for about as good I was willing to try for on an o2 free transfer.

Now we wait. I’ll take taste samples every so often. We’ll see.

Barrel Sample #1 – 4/3/21

Because we’re impatient, we sampled a little bit. HUGE honey aroma. Lingering toffee and caramel. Slight bourbon on the back side. No barrel flavor yet, but it’s only been a week. I’ll give it at least two weeks now… or so I hope.

Barrel Sample #2 – 4/19/21

Color is a beautiful light brown with lots of red-gold. Smell still hits you lots of honey, and now some bourbon is joining the party. Flavor is incredible. For being so young, it has NO harsh flavors at all. Minor heat at the back end, but it’s barely noticeable. It’s super complex and I’m loving it so far. You can tell it’s ABV is high, but it doesn’t bother you at all.

Low bitterness as we wanted. Moderate sweetness throughout. Starting to get a slight toastiness and moderately low bourbon flavors from the barrel. Lots of honey, toffee, caramel as was present before. Maybe molasses like flavors which contribute to the sweetness? Not sure – I’m not great at doing tasting note write ups, but I’m trying.

We aren’t sure how long we want to let this guy sit in the barrel, but we will give it another taste in a few weeks. Here are a few pics of the beaut.

Barrel Sample #3 – 5/2/21

Yea, yea… we’re sampling it a lot introducing a lot of potential o2. But We’re having fun tasting the differences as they’ve come on pretty quick.

This sample has really developed a complex bourbon flavor. It’s very present, but not overpowering at all. Super drinkable for such a young beer at this high ABV. We think we will give it some more time. I’ll check back in a month as we’re hoping it takes on some barrel flavors next!

Packaging – 7/10/21

Didn’t take any pictures on packaging day. But two weeks prior, we brewed an imperial stout to fill the barrel with as soon as we emptied it.

Final yield: 3 gallon keg filled, and 18 quantity 16 oz flip top bottles filled and primed individually with dextrose and CBC-1 yeast.

Shooting for 1.6 volumes of co2 for carbonation.

Taste sample as smooth as ever.

Keg Pour 9/15/21

Now, I won’t lie, I’ve been pouring 2-3 oz almost daily once this year carbed in the keg. We haven’t popped any bottles yet as we’re letting them just take their time.

As stated in the beginning, I was a bit of a rookie with this style in having not known much about it at all. In the time since we brewed it, my buddy has shared tons of different commercial barleywines with me. Lots have been great. Lots have been okay.

I’m not trying to pat ourselves on the back, but this beer is so good that i’d rather drink this beer over most of what we had from commercial breweries.

The color has darkened a bit.

Aromas include crazy honey smells and maybe a bit of red wine? Maybe that’s just the booziness smell that’s come back in to play after we carbonated it.

Flavors include caramel, toffee, graham crackers and honey. I think the honey comes from the bourbon. Lots of these flavors have been present since the beginning. As mentioned with the aroma… there’s a little heat that’s become present since we’ve carbonated it. Not unpleasant at all. Actually very fitting.

It was actually pretty incredible tasting the flat version before we conditioned it. It was straight nectar. Couldn’t tell it was a high ABV beer at all.

As the beer warms up, it gets better and better. I like to pour 4 ounces, take a sip and let the glass sit for 30 minutes before coming back to it.

The only thing I would want a little more of would be some oak flavors being a tad more present.

Conclusion

This has been such a fun beer from start to finish. It was worth the effort, 100%. We’re looking forward to the Imperial Stout that’s in barrel that replaced this beer.

I’ll make some future posts about bottle conditioned, maybe 6 months, 12 months, 24 months down the road? We’ll see if I remember it.

I’ll be honest, I don’t post every beer I make on this blog. I just post the good ones.

This one… is great.

It just took some time – not as long as commercial breweries since the 5 gallon barrel was able to give it’s good stuff to the beer at a much faster pace than the 55 gallon ones.

Lastly, apologies for the broken thoughts between samples and steps… since it was a long time coming, I just sit and type away whatever’s on my mind.

If you’re looking for a great long term project, this is a good place to start.

Cheers!

Nick

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