As with so many recent recipes, this is another beer that I've had on my to-brew list for quite awhile now. While I've found that my preference has gravitated much more toward the low-alcohol session beer side of things over the last year, the foreshadowing of a quickly approaching winter has brought back cravings for both barleywine and old ale.
Arguably, they aren't even terribly separate "styles" unless you're really into the BJCP guideline thing. Historically, 'Barelywine' was the title given to a British brewery's strongest beer, even if it was not necessarily that strong. On the other hand, the strength of many of these sorts of brews have dropped considerably over the years as English tax law now works based on the strength of the beer brewed.
Before its distribution was stopped in our are, Old Peculiar was one of my favorite beers. The days of me drinking it regularly though, far preceded my discovery of Thomas Hardy ale after I began homebrewing. Now that both are tough to come by around here, I figured it was time to brew some sort of old ale.
Although I love Thomas Hardy ale, I didn't feel up to brewing a huge 1.124 OG beer this week. On the other hand, a beer in the mid 1.050s like Old Peculiar was weaker than I wanted to go. In the end, I looked at some of the Old Peculiar clone recipe already out there and used the specialty grains from some of those as a starting point, then bumped up the base grain to raise the OG to 1.095. In the end, this is very much like an English Barleywine, except a bit darker than most.
It is my intention, once I get in a couple brews with quick turnover, to brew a big American style Barleywine, and an old ale with Brett C. While I usually enjoy writing my own recipes, or at least adapting them from others, I'm also very intrigued by Northern Brewer's limited edition Northern No.1 ale kit.
Anyway, for the time being I've just got this one going. It'll get aged for quite awhile. Here's the recipe:
Old Hardy - Old Ale/Barleywine
brewed on: 11/19/10
IBUs: 63 IBUs
mash temp: 150F
16 lb 4oz Marris Otter
1 lb 3oz UK medium crystal malt
5 oz flaked wheat
4 oz chocolate malt
2 oz pale chocolate malt
2 oz cherrywood smoked malt
sugar (dissolved in 1/2 of boiling water & added to the kettle at beginning of boil):
6 oz brown sugar
6 oz mild molasses
Hops (all loose pellets):
2 oz German Northern Brewer @ 9.4% - 80 minutes
1 oz Fuggle @ 4.2% - 15 minutes
1 oz Golding @ 7.2% - 1 minute
3 packs - Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast
12/10/10 - Transferred to secondary. SG 1.021