“Brewed On August 6, 2018, this English barleywine represents a five year friendship of passionate homebrewers. All of whom take pride in teaching others how to brew great beer at home and enjoy related experiences.”
Ever since I fully transitioned to all grain brewing in November 2013, Bitter and Esters (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) has been my homebrewing “home away from home.” As a full service home-brew shop one can either buy your ingredients and equipment for brewing at home or brew there on their impressive 20 gallon electric HERMs system. To me owners John LaPolla and Doug Amport and their staff have made it their mission to instill a sense of community and camaraderie with their fellow NYC homebrewers; and I continue to be blown away by how they’ve enhanced and grown along with the NYC craft beer and homebrewing communities.
While at the shop’s August beer swap (8/1) John, Jack Misner ( B&E staff), and I finalized the details for brewing a 10 gallon batch of my most recent barleywine recipe with the goal of developing an approachable English barleywine recipe for the shop’s recipe binder. Though their brew-on-premise batches are usually 15 gallons, we felt it would easier to have the shop and I end up with 5 gallon gallons of barleywine each.
On August 6th I headed to Bitter & Esters for brew day with Jack. Whilst weighing out and milling the grist I learned that due to its density, milling Maris Otter barley twice can improve mash extract yield. Moving along, brew day went quite smoothly until we took an original gravity reading and realized that we’d collected too much preboil wort. In order to compensate for the missed gravity points Jack and I decided that we’d add dextrose to the fermenting beer once primary fermentation had calmed down a bit. So while the realization of the missed gravity points was anxiety provoking, adding the dextrose thankfully proved to be a good decision.
When the beer was done fermenting and subsequently carbonating (keg) I once again teamed up with Jack to taste and bottle my half of the finished product. Once we got a rhythm going I found my first experience using a Blichman Beer Gun quite fun…Upon tasting the beer Jack, John, and I were all pleased to find it bursting with dark fruit esters and notes of caramel and toffee all while being quite drinkable for an almost 11% abv beer. In turn, we were all optimistic about how well the beer will potentially age.
It was then time to finalize the scaled down recipe (click picture below to purchase the ingredients kit) that would end up in the shop’s recipe binder, design the bottle label, and put away as much of the finished beer as possible for aging.
Thanks to John, Doug, and Jack for this amazing opportunity. I hope we can find time to collaborate on more brews soon. Cheers!