Dreadnought English Barleywine – Secondary and Onward

Dreadnought English Barleywine

After 11 days of primary fermentation, my Dreadnought is ready for secondary. Racked it into a glass carboy, gathering a total of 4.5 gallons off a e layer of trub at the bottom of the bucket 91 gallons worth).

At the end of my brew day for this beer, I had a question about my post-boil gravity being way lower than I expected. Well, reaching out to a few homebrewers and professional brewers, I learned two very important things:

  1. Beersmith is not always right and take time to figure out your efficiencies so Brewsmith knows what to give you.
  2. I learned the importance of gravity points along with a cool little formula for figuring out pre/post boil gravities so you know where you should be, or can take steps to get where you want by the end of the boil.

Because my brewhouse efficiency for my setup was set very high, I had unrealistic expectations when Brewsmith gave me a 1.050 pre/1.116 post boil gravities. What I actually achieved were 1.058/1.084. Why was that? My efficiency was set to 75% (in reality it was closer to 56%). Thanks to Matt (from Lupulin Brewing) and Jerry (from Beaver Island Brewing), I learned the importance of gravity points and how to manipulate them.  This also includes why it’s important to measure pre/post gravities.

I won’t go into detail on gravity points and how to manipulate them as I’m still just learning to wrangle those numbers to work for me, though there is a much more thorough conversation on it here at BYO Magazine. Suffice to say, I have a much better understanding of the interconnectedness of gravity points in choose your sugar sources, mash temperatures, and pre/post boil measurements and what they mean for the final beer.

Although I set out to brew a 11% Barleywine, I’ll most likely end up with something closer to a British Old Ale instead as my F.G. ended up a little lower that expected, though I think that might have been to lower mash temps than overactive yeast. I guess I’ll just have to wait out the long maturation process to determine where I would enter this in competition once completed. This will rest for 3-4 weeks then go on to bottle conditioning for 6-9 months before sampling. Gonna be a long time!

Cheers!