Homebrewing an OBK Barleywine

A friend of mine really wanted to try and make a stronger beer – that could be enjoyed just in time for some new year’s celebrations – and so we went hunting for a (quick) Barleywine recipe. Thankfully the fine folks over at Ontario Beer Kegs didn’t disappoint!

Recipe Source: Ontario Beer Kegs

Beer Specifications

Beer Name: OBK English Barleywine
Beer Style: Barleywine
Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 3.25 gallons / 12.3 litres
Estimated SRM: 17°
Estimated IBU: 48
Estimated OG: 1.100
Estimated FG: 1.024
Estimated ABV: 10%

Grain Bill/Fermentables

LBS Fermentables
11 2-Row
1 Crystal 120L


Oz Time Hops
1 60 min Northern Brewer
2 10 min Fuggles


# Yeast
1 SafAle S-04

Fermentation Schedule

28 days Primary
7-14 days Bottle Conditioning
Optimal Fermentation Temperature: 64-72°F / 17.8-22.2°C
Place fermenter in stable temperature, out of the light.


Mash Temperature: 152°F / 66.7°C
Mash Time: 60 min
Strike Water Volume: 5 gallons / 18.9 litres
Sparge Water Volume: 5 gallons / 18.9 litres
Boil Duration: 60 min

Even though the recipe targets less than 5 gallons I knew I was going to use about that much water due to the thick mash, so I adjusted my RO water by adding 2 tsp of calcium chloride and 1 tsp of gypsum. I also threw in 2% acidulated malt to the grist.

My measured original gravity (OG) was 1.075 which meant I missed my target by 25 points! We decided to let it ride as is but in the future I might choose to try and bump it up using some light DME following the method outlined on the BeerSmith website here.

The beer fermented out fast with vigorous activity happening that same night and finishing up for the most part less than 48 hours later.

After letting it sit for about a month I cold crashed the carboy and transferred to my bottling bucket. My final gravity (FG) measurement at this point was 1.011 which gave an estimated ABV of 8.4%/ This of course means we didn’t quite hit our recipe target of 10% but hey it still qualifies as a strong beer. I then primed with enough sugar to target 2.1 volumes of CO2 and bottled.

Tasting Notes

Smell Initially a strong smell of alcohol which tapers off and is replaced by the sent of a roasty sweetness.
Appearance Nice amber colour but with extremely thin head and very little carbonation. I think the beer is actually borderline under-carbonated. Maybe I should have added some fresh yeast to help the already weak and cold crashed yeast out? You live and learn…
Taste Thankfully even with the carbonation problems the taste is still really nice. It’s surprisingly balanced between the alcohol, residual sugars and roasty malts. It does have a mouth feel that is a bit on the heavy side but in a way that would make this beer pair well with a nice dinner.

I wouldn’t mind giving this recipe another shot, if only to try and fix some of the “issues” I encountered my first time through it. Still as it is I think it turned out pretty well.

P.S. – we called this brew “Belligerino’s Finest” (because we’re guessing you’ll be pretty belligerent after drinking a few of these :))

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