Big Hairy Cherry Barley Wine
Yield: 5 gallons at 75% utilization
Alcohol by volume: 8.5 to 9.5%
Color: Deep ruby
Bitterness: 29 IBU
Yeast: Alcohol-tolerant ale strain
Maturation: 2 to 4 years
7 pounds/2.3 kilograms , 37%, pilsner malt
10 pounds/4.5 kilograms , 53%, Munich malt
1 pound/454 grams, 5%, aromatic/melanoidin (20 to 30 degrees Lovibond) malt
1 pound/454 grams, 5%, medium crystal malt
Mash 1 hour at 152 degrees F; sparge as usual. Boil 90 minutes.
Extract + Steeped Grain Recipe:
5 pounds/2.3 kilograms , 43.5%, pale dried malt extract
5 pounds/2.3 kilograms , 43.5%, amber dried malt extract
1.5 pounds/680 grams, 13%, medium crystal (40 to 60 degrees Lovibond)
Hops (calculated for whole hops: use 25% less if pellets):
1 ounce/28 grams, 90 min, Mt. Hood
1 ounce/28 grams, 30 min, Saaz
Ferment through secondary, then add:
6 pounds/2.7 kilograms sour (pie) cherries, previously frozen
6 pounds/2.7 kilograms black or bing cherries, previously frozen
A 10-gallon vessel is about right for this. Allow the fruit to thaw to fermenting temperature before adding to avoid shocking the yeast.
If you have access to carbon dioxide, put a blanket of the gas on top of the fruit after you add it, as this will help prevent mold (which requires oxygen) from growing. The fruit should sit in the beer for at least two weeks; a couple of months is better. If you do see mold growing, go ahead and rack off the fruit into a carboy and allow it to settle out, then rack to another carboy.