Allen and Cantwell – Barley Wine

Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Styles series no. 11) by Fal Allen and Dick Cantwell

Date read: 26 February – 04 March 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Image of cover of Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Styles series no. 11) by Fal Allen and Dick Cantwell

Paperback, 198 pages

Published 1998 by Brewers Publications

Source: Own

Fal Allen is currently the head brewer at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. (AVBC). You can see more of his brewing background at that link. Dick Cantwell was one of the co-founders of Elysian Brewing in 1996 and is still their head brewer.

Contents:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The History of Barley Wine
  • Chapter 2: The Flavor Profile of Barley Wine
  • Chapter 3: The Five Elements: Malt, Hops, Yeast, Water, and Time
  • Chapter 4: The Brewing Process
  • Chapter 5: Professional Barely Wine Breweries
  • Chapter 6: Recipes
  • Appendix A: Festivals
  • Appendix B; Troubleshooting
  • Appendix C: U.S. and Canadian Barely Wine Breweries
  • Appendix D: Unit Conversion Chart
  • Glossary
  • Further Reading
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Authors

NB: Publication date 1998. At the time perhaps it made sense, but 17 years later App. C is kind of useless. Chap. 5 is better in that we get some data and descriptions, so even if the beer or brewery are long gone it still provides some context, especially compared to the others in the rest of the chapter. [This book is no. 11 in the series and no. 10 Stout (see below) also has an appendix “Commercial Stout Breweries,” which seems of the same limited value and ends with “Note: This is only a partial listing of the numerous brewers of stout.” You think?]

Introduction

“These days barley wine brewing is alive and well, if somewhat besieged in its native Britain. Its history is not continuous or easy to trace. Studying barley wine is like following footprints which disappear and reappear, forking and veering, stamping for a time in a circle and then dispersing, leaving trails that seem to go cold and then suddenly present a host of destinations. It’s an enterprise requiring a few leaps of courage and fancy simply to consider the widely variant examples and information that is part of the same theoretically coherent style. We will challenge and define the parameters of barley wine, examining every stage of the brewing process to wring the utmost from ingredients, equipment, and procedures. We will explore the contributions of each of brewing’s basic raw materials, including one not ordinarily considered—time. We will also offer practical hints based on our own home and professional brewing experience” (Introduction, 6-7).

Chapter 1: The History of Barley Wine

Seems reasonable. Anyone aware of other histories of barley wine? I like that we’re off to an inclusive start.

Chapter 2: The Flavor Profile of Barley Wine

Covers a lot of ground fairly succinctly.

“There are, in fact, a number of proper versions of the style, each with a historical and geographical precedent, and each matching the original qualities” (31).

Includes: alcohol, color and clarity, hops, age, yeast and other influences, conditioning and carbonation; “families” of barley wines: The Trent, the Thames, and Others: English Barley Wine Brewing; The Northeastern United States—The Great Between; Northwestern Barley Wines; Other Beers Defying Classification.

The “Other Beers Defying Classification” section was interesting in that it told me that Michael Jackson considered Russian Imperial stout to be a dark barley wine. I just checked his The World Guide to Beer and sure enough, pages 170-171 are “Russian stout and barley wines” (1977, First american ed.). I did not remember that. Perhaps partly due to the fact that it was many years later before I had tasted either style. I am not saying I agree with Michael, though. His reasoning was a little loose.

This section also reminded me that “in Stout, Michael Lewis considers imperial stout such a break from traditional stout styles that he devotes to it only a brief discussion (Lewis 1995)” (50). That’s right. I can find almost nothing on Imperials in it. That’s my biggest gripe with Stout. But back to this book.

Chapter 3: The Five Elements: Malt, Hops, Yeast, Water, and Time

I like how they bring out in the section on “Pale Malt” that English pale malt is best (with Maris Otter at the top) because “it has a more complex flavor than American malts, which are generally malted to microbrewery specifications” (55). That is soon to change, although mostly likely remain sparsely dispersed and very small-scale for a long while. Micromalting. Heirloom and landrace barleys. Barleys not even suspected by the macros.

Photo of emblem for the High Desert Museum exhibit Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer

We went to the last panel discussion at the High Desert Museum as part of their exhibit, Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer. It was Feb. 19th and this was its remit:

“Join us for a dynamic conversation with Seth Klann of Mecca Grade Estate Malt to learn how barley is farmed and malted in the High Desert. Klann will be joined by Scott Fish a barley breeding researcher and resident malster at OSU and Dustin Herb, a graduate research assistant in OSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Science whose work is on barley and malting.”

The researchers actually went first with Seth finishing before questions for everyone. Mecca Grade Estate Malt. We have locally grown barley and a micromalting facility in Central Oregon. I know there are a few around the country. Michigan, for sure. Colorado somewhere? New York? Montana? Barley region states anyway.

For far more information on this panel discussion of malt see “The day I learned about barley.”

Hmm. Ambled away from the topic at hand again.

This chapter covers some ground but does it fairly efficiently: The Malt Bill: Pale Malt, Specialty Malts, Adjuncts; Hops: Boiling Hops, Finishing Hops; Yeast: Yeast Flavor, Alcohol Tolerance, Attenuation, Flocculation, Oxygen; Water; Aging; Packaged Beer; Wood.

Chapter 4: The Brewing Process

Let’s just say that if you want to brew your first barley wine you perhaps had best read this chapter. I’m not saying it is the last word, by any means. But it gives you a good idea of how much you’ll be taxing your knowledge, your system, your ingredients and your processes.

Chapter 5: Professional Barely Wine Breweries

Provides the specifications, and variably some notes or description, on twenty barley wines, beginning with Bass No. 1. The specs provided are slightly variable and/or not available for some pieces of data on each beer. Basically: Name, Brewer, Original Gravity, Terminal Gravity, ABV, IBU, Hop Variety, Malt, Mash, Boil, Fermentation Temperature, Yeast, Fermentation Time and Aging.

Some of the other beers are Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Fuller’s Golden Pride, Anchor Old Foghorn (1996), Thomas Hardy (1989), and Hair of the Dog Adambier.

Chapter 6: Recipes

Eleven recipes “from a wide-range of brewers and brewing backgrounds” (131) are presented and each is sized for both 5 gallons and 1 barrel. Some of the brewers are Ray Daniels, Charlie Papazian, George & Laurie Fix, Fred Eckhardt, and Randy Mosher.

Appendix A: Festivals

Clearly several more by now and The Brickskeller is closed.

Appendix B: Troubleshooting

From stuck fermentation to stuck mash and other issues in-between.

Appendix C: U.S. and Canadian Barely Wine Breweries

No doubt it was partial then; now not so much interesting even as an historical document since we have no idea of the scope of its limitations to begin with.

Appendix D: Unit Conversion Chart

Glossary

Not even sure half of those terms are in the book. And they’re mostly not indexed soit  makes it hard to verify.

For now I am recommending this book. The issues I have pointed out above are inherent in any text like this that becomes dated. My single caveat for otherwise not wholeheartedly recommending it is that I have yet to brew from it. Based on other things I have read their recommendations seem sound but I have not tested any of them in practice. Take that as you will.

This is the 15th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

Citations

Lewis, Michael. Stout. First American ed. Boulder, Colo.: Brewers Publications, 1995. Print. Classic Beer Style Series, 10.

Cross-posted at habitually probing generalist for purposes of the above reading challenge.

OHBA at Starshine Brewery

Wednesday evening we hosted our friend and colleague, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, in a little get-together at our place with friends and acquaintances. Tiah is the archivist for the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives at the Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center of Valley Library, Corvallis, Oregon. She had come on her first official visit to Bend.

[I have been sadly remiss in writing about OHBA here. Previous mentions on this blog: Tap Into History: Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Launch Party 4 Mar 2014 and In which I admit my slackardly tendencies once again run amok … 20 Dec 2013.]

We tried to bring some folks together that represent differing aspects of Bend’s hops and beer culture. We kept it “close to home” and brought in friends who are our most frequent beer drinking buddies and some folks we know but want to know better.

This was really a social event but one with a purpose, or perhaps purposes, for us. We were hoping it would give Tiah a chance to wind down some in between her two research days. And considering she walked all over Bend in 90°+ sunshine she deserved a relaxing evening of conversation and sipping local beers.

One of our purposes was to welcome Tiah to Bend. We helped what little we could with connections for her direct research. Another was to put Tiah in touch with some other aspects of Oregon beer culture. She has understandably been primarily focusing on hops growers and early craft brewing history in Oregon but is well aware that there is much more besides all of the new breweries.

We wanted to expose Tiah to a bit more of the consumption/consumer end of craft brewing and hops: folks who put on bottle shares, acquire certifications even if not directly in the industry, write local beer/brewing history books, blog, take and sell pictures of beer/breweries, cellar beer, visit breweries, …, drink the beer. There are also new hop growers, including some over here in the so-called High Desert of Central Oregon, and plenty of new breweries who need to begin considering their history and how best to conserve that. With all of that in mind, these are the friends we invited:

Miles Wilhem – Exploring Beer, Central Oregon Beer Week 2014; Smith Rock Hop Farm@whydrinkbeer

Miles and Jon & Sherri (see below) are some of the usual suspects that we’d be drinking with, although only infrequently together so that was nice. Miles is into putting on beer tastings as educational events, along with bottle shares. He was a major contributor to the small but hard-working team that put on Central Oregon Beer Week this year. He also is now the farm manager/foreman/handyman/do-it-all/? for Smith Rock Hop Farm. To us, Miles represents a lot about craft beer culture. He is also interested in being even more involved in areas he isn’t currently. Just recently he helped start Smith Rock Hop Farm in Terrebonne, Oregon and in my opinion the history of hops growing in Central Oregon needs to be captured from its birth/rebirth. [I’m going with rebirth as I suspected. One piece of evidence, see pg. 2 in the 1st of 2 massive PDFs of The Hop Press (2 parts here). And why you should follow @brewingarchives on Twitter.]

Jon & Sherri Abernathy – native Bendite, co-founder of Central Oregon Beer Week; author of forthcoming Bend Beer, The Brew Site, Hack Bend@chuggnutt @brewsite

Jon just is Bend beer. He grew up here. He knows most everyone and has for most of the lived craft beer history in Central Oregon. He just submitted the final manuscript for his forthcoming history of Central Oregon beer called Bend Beer. It is due out in Sep. Sara and I have had the privilege of doing some proofreading of the manuscript. We are looking forward to holding it in our hands and re-reading it. Jon was a co-founder of Central Oregon Beer Week three years ago and a big factor in its first two years. He is the primary author of both blogs, The Brew Site and the repeatedly award-winning, Hack Bend. Jon and Sherri hosted The Abyss vertical tasting back in January of this year. Months ago when Tiah and Sara and I were discussing potential Oregon beer blogger’s sites to scrape for the archive Sara & I suggested Jon’s The Brew Site blog. Really, without being directly involved in the industry, Jon just is Bend beer.

Bend Brew Daddy & Bend Brew Mama (Matthew & Lisa Ward) @bendbrewdaddy @bendbrewmama

I first met Bend Brew Daddy on Twitter a while back and we met in person at the Big Woody Barrel-Aged Festival in Portland back in Jan. We’ve seen each other here and there around town so it was nice to have them over. Matthew is tearing up the beer photography #beertography around Central Oregon and further afield, particularly via the Internet. Again, I think that the people in and around craft beer need to be documented. Matthew is producing fine works of art and having fun and making some money doing it, all the while supporting the breweries whose products inspire him. Also, we wanted to get to know Matthew and Lisa better.

Darin & Meghann Butschy – Oblivion Brewing

I first met Darin and Meghann exactly a year previous from this event. I was down at Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café in the middle of the day hanging out and we were about the only folks in the bar this time of mid-afternoon. I was trying to behave but I was bored and buzzed and they were telling Jason that they were a new brewery in town and they’d like to bring some beer by and …. Once they were done chatting and Jason had wandered off, I took my toasty self over to the bar and introduced myself and gave them one of my cards. We chatted for a while and Sara and I’ve been there with them from their public start. Back when we lived closer and I could walk, I was at BTBS a lot in the afternoon when Darin (and once in a while Meghann) would be there. I was almost always drinking an Oblivion beer when he came in. I love Darin’s beers.

Meghann’s mind was blown when I mentioned to her that with them rapidly coming up on their 1st anniversary now it is time to start thinking about the history of the brewery and how to preserve that archivally. I truly like Darin’s beers and, to me, they are one of the very few standouts in all of our new breweries. So I am happy to help promote them. We also wanted to get Miles and Jon a little more familiar with Darin and Meghann and vice versa.

We sampled lots of local brews: Oblivion Aurora Golden Ale, Crux Double Cross, Crux Belgian Gale, BBC Scarlet IRA, BBC Sexi Mexi (thanks, Jon!), BBC Ching Ching, GoodLife Hat Trick triple IPA (quite tasty!), and GoodLife Mountain Rescue. Introductions were made. Conversations were had. Again, this was mostly social and just a start. Tiah is hoping to come back to Bend a few times in the future. And now when she reaches out to any of these folks they’ll know who she is.

Note: Starshine Brewery is the name of our [admittedly, currently nonexistent] home brewery. Untappd needs a name of a brewery, which also requires a named beer [our future massive Russian Imperial Stout is named Information Loss Paradox. Look it up. Being an aficionado of the many concepts and definitions of “information” makes it all the more intriguing to me in an ironic sense, among others. Especially for a massive RIS.] I got tired of not having a location for beers I was drinking at home and checking in so I had to create it in FourSquare/Untappd.

Tap Into History: Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Launch Party

Oregon beer fans of all stripes will want to be at this event if they possibly can: The Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA) is having their formal launch party titled Tap Into History at McMenamin’s Mission Theater (Portland), 28 March starting at 7 pm. This event is free and educational in the best possible way!

Beer folks in Portland—and further afield—really ought to consider being there if they can. Check out the line-up. We will definitely be there if the weather gods are cooperative. We already have a room reserved for the night at McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom in a dash-up-and-back that Friday-Saturday. We are super-excited for this. As I mentioned back in December I have been entirely remiss from writing about OHBA here.  I hope to rectify that before (and after) this event but we are in the process of closing on a house in the next few weeks (and 1-2 weeks before this event) so no promises.

See below for links for more info but the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives is a unit of OSU Libraries & Press’ Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC). It is “the first archive in the United States dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hops and beer” and its mission is “to preserve the story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon” (from the OHBA page). Their 2-page pdf brochure (pdf) can be be found here.

Here is the event flyer [full-size pdf, 1 p.]: ohba-launch-event-022814-2

Flyer for the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Tap Into History Launch Party on 28 March 2014.

Flyer for the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Tap Into History Launch Party on 28 March 2014.

Event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/771930049501856/

Here is the press release:

TAP INTO HISTORY WITH THE OREGON HOPS & BREWING ARCHIVES!

  • MISSION THEATER 1624 NW GLISAN ST., PORTLAND
  • DOORS OPEN AT 6:30 PM, PROGRAM AT 7:00PM, FILM SCREENINGS AT 8:30PM.
  • ALL WELCOME – PROGRAM FREE MARCH 28TH 2014

Contact Tiah Edmunson-Morton at tiah.edmunson-morton@oregonstate.edu or 541.737.7387 for more information.

Find out more about OHBA at

On March 28th we’re hosting “Tap into History,” an event at the Mission Theater in Portland to introduce OHBA to our diverse audience. We’ll bring together a panel for a public talk about brewing history in Oregon. Tiah Edmunson-Morton, OHBA archivist, will talk about the project and its impact. Peter Kopp, agricultural historian, will talk about his use of archival materials and the relevance for researchers. John Foyston, an Oregonian writer since 1987, will talk about his work documenting the Oregon beer scene. Irene Firmat, CEO and Co-Founder of Full Sail Brewing Company, will talk about her work as a female brewing pioneer. Daniel Sharp, PhD student in the OSU College of Agriculture’s Fermentation Science program, will talk about his research and the OSU program. The event concludes with screenings from Hopstories, a collection of short videos showcasing breweries in Oregon, and OPB’s Beervana, a documentary about the history of beer and the rise of craft brewing in Oregon.

Production of hops and beer are part of Oregon’s identity, engaging both the general public and the scholarly community with our rich history of researching and producing world-class hops and beer. From scholars to people with an interest in local and creative products, students to alumni, hops farmers to brewers, the opportunities for the community engagement and scholarly use are vast. Recognizing the need to document the intertwined story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon, the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at Oregon State University Libraries & Press established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA) in 2013 to collect and provide access to records related to Oregon’s hops and craft brewing industries. As the first archive in the United States dedicated to hops and beer, OHBA will bring together a wealth of materials that will enable people to study and appreciate these movements.

“At its core, OHBA is a community archiving project” so come to this event to learn how you can help record and make use of the history of hops production and brewing in Oregon.

Seriously, beer/brewing/hops/history fans, be there! I hope to see you.

In which I admit my slackardly tendencies once again run amok …

I have been particularly remiss for a while now about a couple of posts that need doing. And, now, of course, what with the holidays and such, they are holding up even more more-recent posts that need writing.

OSU Fermentation Sciences Pilot Brewery visit

Back in July, I got a personal tour of the Oregon State University Fermentation Sciences Pilot Brewery by its faculty manager, Jeff Clawson. It was a great visit and I have been meaning to post about it since then. I hope to do so soon.

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive

We were in Corvallis again, on 23 August, for my lovely wife to attend a Valley Library in-service day, where she gave a small presentation on tasting beer. A couple of the Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC) archivists chatted with her during lunch and then attended her talk. Was she married to the Bend Beer Librarian and we’re starting up the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive (OHBA) at SCARC was the gist of some of the conversation.

An email introduction later and we were making potential plans for us to help OHBA in whatever way we could: point person in Bend, general consumer view, whatever. On October 24th we dashed over to Corvallis (and back) so that I could meet with the lead archivist for OHBA, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, and it just happened to be Taste of the Chives 2013 so we got to attend a little open house beer food event, too. After the lunch event in the library, Tiah, Sara and I went to a nearby coffee shop and talked for a couple hours. Since then we have been in contact via email.

This I have also failed to even mention here. I have tried to give OHBA a little love on Twitter but I am still overly remiss in not bringing this great new Oregon hops and brewing resource and its enthusiastic and dedicated archivist to your attention.

Events, of late

We have also attended several events of varying size and significance lately.

Last Saturday, the 14th, was the 1st Annual Winter Beer Fest, sponsored by Growler Guys, and hosted at GoodLife.

That evening, our friend Miles, held his first event as Exploring Beer, a barrel-aged beer tasting with 10 selections of barrel-aged beers across different styles. This was an excellent first event. It was well attended and I believe everyone had a good time. I helped a little with the education portion and with serving the beer.

Tonight we are hosting a Solstice Barley Wine Night at our place with about 10 folks, which will be crowded accommodations here. We will be sharing 13 or more barley wines, which range from all 3 of the Class of ’88s from Deschutes, Rogue and North Coast, a 2009 Deschutes Mirror Mirror to a McAuslan St. Ambroise Vintage 20th Anniversary (2009) and an AleSmith Old Numbskull, along with several others.

Reviews

There are a couple of great sites, like Good Beer Hunting, that I have been wanting to ensure you know about, also. And, of course, I am behind on book reviews.

Well, I guess I cannot complain about not having anything to write about going into the new year.