Cirrhosis 19% Barleywine (Multiple Award Winner!)

Cirrhosis Trophy1Cirrhosis Red Ribbon


Brewed with an absurd amount of malt, aged over oak, dates, prunes and star anise, this beast of a Specialty American Barleywine grabbed me a second place ribbon in the BJCP sanctioned Southern New England Regional Homebrew Competition in October 2014 and a first place trophy in 2015.  I haven’t gotten to know many of the judges in the area personally, but I was told that my score of 42 came from the Yoda of BJCP judging in New England.  He holds one of the highest (maybe actually the highest?) ranks awarded to judges.  Apparently this guy is the one who administered the BJCP test to most of the other judges!


Batch Size:  3.25 Gallons
Measured Original Gravity: 1.164 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.022 SG
IBUs:  100+
ABV:  about 19%



Mash at 146F for 90 minutes then fly sparge until desired volume of wort is collected:

24 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US
1 lbs 8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L
8.0 oz Melanoiden Malt
8.0 oz Special B Malt
6.0 oz Honey Malt
2.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 120.0 min
2.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 20.0 min

1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet – Boil 15.0 mins

2.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min

1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 20.0 min
1.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 20.0 min

2.0 pkg American West Coast (Lallemand #BRY-97) – Allow to ferment for 5 days then pitch WLP099 starter
1.0 pkg Super High Gravity Ale (White Labs #WLP099) – 1.5 liter, 1.050 OG starter on stir plate

Once fermentation has completed, rack to secondary vessel for bulk aging.

In secondary:

0.50 tsp Pectic Enzymes (Secondary 1.0 days)

3.0 oz Prunes (chopped)
3.0 oz Dates (chopped)
1.00 Items Anise, Star (I started with 3 pods and decided to increase to 6 after 2 weeks.  Your results may vary, use caution as Star Anise can be potent)
0.50 American Medium Toast Oak Spiral (soaked for 2 weeks in white rum)

Allow to bulk age for 8 weeks before bottling.

I was happy that my WLP099 survived the harsh environment and my beer didn’t exceed the 20% mark where yeast health starts coming into question.  I was able to bottle condition.  I’d suggest either planning to keg and force carbonate or at least proof your yeast before attempting to bottle.  It would suck to go through all those ingredients and time to have a flat barleywine!


Tasting Notes:

After 4 months bottle conditioning:  The aroma screams of dark fruit with a subtle hint of licorice from the star anise and a hot, ethanol burn.  There are flavors of plums and raisins, licorice and a very subdued touch of oak.  Despite the huge amount of malt used, the hops keep this beer well-balanced, even leaning on the bitter side.  Plenty of warmth from the alcohol, though it’s not unpleasant.  I’m going to continue to age this monster for several more months or even years and hope that will a little more age behind it, Cirrhosis can grab me a blue ribbon next!


Score Sheets:






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