Once again I've neglected my posting duties for longer than I'd prefer. We recently picked up our second barrel for the BOMB (Barrel of Monkeys Brewers) barrel group I helped start. The plan (hope) with this one is to do at least a couple clean beers before the barrel sours, intentionally or not. This barrel is a red wine barrel, Zin specifically. We bought it from Stone's Throw winery in Door County, WI and it is a thing of beauty. I will have to dig out some photos and post them after this as I don't have them immediately handy.
We decided on an English style barleywine for the first batch in this barrel using 1496 West Yorkshire yeast, a special limited release from Wyeast which is supposedly the Timothy Taylor strain. Several friends have used it for smaller beers with good results. I would have preferred something a bit more attenuative, but most of the guys wanted to try this strain so I don't mind.
As a starter beer to build up some yeast, I brewed an ESB. This is one of the first mid-gravity English style beers I've brewed since I was on a mostly belgian/wild ale kick for quite awhile. (I'm still mixing in plenty of sours and I have no doubt the saisons will flow again come Spring.) Since I've neglected posting for awhile, this beer is already on tap. I'm not super fond of it as an ESB, as it has a small amount of banana going on which really doesn't fit, but overall it is a fine everyday drinking beer for at home and I'm enjoying it well enough in that capacity. In the end, it was something I threw together with the malt & hops I had on hand, so I'd change a lot next time. For example, I didn't even use Marris Otter. I used Belgian Pale malt and some biscuit to add maltiness instead, since I have some of the Pale from a bulk order handy still. Anyway, here is the recipe:
Jay's sort-of ESB
brewed on: 12/20/10
IBUs: 40 IBUs
mash temp: 152F
9 lbs. Belgian Pale malt
1 lb. UK Carastan
1 lb. Biscuit malt
3 oz. Special B
Hops (all loose pellets):
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 9.4% - 60 minutes
1 oz UK Fuggle @ 4.2% - 10 minutes
1 oz US Willamette @ 3.7% - flameout
1 liter starter - Wyeast 1496 West Yorkshire strain
12/27/10 - kegged. FG - 1.012.
This yeast is a true top-cropping strain. After the main fermentation finished, it still had a huge mat of floating, krausen-like yeast on top of the beer. It may have knocked another point or 2 off the beer yet, but I needed the yeast for my barrel barleywine, so I kegged it since it was already on the low end of the ESB FG range.