About a year ago, I was getting more and more confident in my abilities to brew complex beer styles. Within the past two years, I have brewed styles like imperial stouts, imperial IPAs, and some specialty clones like Dogfish Head’s India Brown Ale (all of which I will post the recipes for later). Getting more cocky, I had the urge to brew a barleywine, however, I was never able to pull the trigger and come up with a recipe that I wanted to potentially waste money on (considering the difficulty related to the fermentation process of a bigger beer). However, around this time last year I was at a local craft beer store and stumbled upon a bottle of Lux Wheatwine put put by Adroit Theory Brewing Company out of Purcellville, VA. Its the only example of the style that I have every found so I had to give it a try. It was absolutely amazing. Lighter tasting than a barleywine, almost as if it had attenuated a little more but also with more of an alcohol bite. After researching the style, which had since been updated into the 2015 BJCP guidelines, I grew more interested in trying something as challenging as this.
With little available as far as research, I found that the wheatwine most likely is a spinoff style of the barleywine where a higher dose of wheat was added to the malt bill by mistake. The result was a velvety, smooth, and alcoholic barleywine with a more bready character due to the large fraction of wheat malt. With the simplest representation of the style containing more than 50% wheat malt and the remaining 50% consisting of barley malt. Concerning the barley fraction of the malt bill, there is no concrete combination of toasted/specialty malts, so it is up to the brewer to shape the backbone. As far as the hop additions go, the BJCP guidelines suggest and IBU range of 30-60 with a bitterness presence of mild to moderate with the same going for aroma.
I started with a rough sketch of the malts. I figured as this would be my first shot at the style, I would just go with the standard 50% wheat malt, 50% barley malt, and cater the barley malt towards the small nuances I would want in a wheatwine. A majority of the barley portion would consist of equal amounts of domestic pale malt (US 2-row) and munich malt to provide a maltier backbone. I assumed that a small amount of honey flavor would also be desired, therefore I added a small percentage of melanoiden malt (honey malt) with the remaining dose of barley as caramel/crystal 40L for a touch of color and sweetness. I wanted to keep the bitterness to a minimum, but at the same time give the beer the floral aroma and flavor of UK hops. I decided to add a charge of US Magnum for my bettering addition and two doses of Fuggle for delicate flavor and aroma. Finally, to tie into the notion that the beer should be malt focused and crystal clear, I wanted a medium-high attenuating yeast that flocculated well and Ferments S-04 seemed to be the ticket.
10 lb 14 oz – White wheat malt
4 lb 12 oz – Munich malt
4 lb 12 oz – Pale malt (US 2-row)
10 oz – Caramel/Crystal 40L
10 oz – Melanoiden malt (honey malt)
1 lb – Rice hulls
1 oz – US Magnum @ 60 min
2 oz – UK Fuggle @ 15 min
3 oz – UK Fuggle @ 5 min
Fermentis Safale-04 – 2L Starter
Mash in at 151F for 90 mins for complete conversion
Boil for 90 mins
Ferment at 65F for 10 days
Keg and condition at 35C for 3 months (minimum)