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1 Gal Bomber Barley Wine Fermentation Time

I have the 1 gallon bomber barley wine kit fermenting. It’s been about two weeks now so time to do something.

Looking at the recipe for the 5 gallon kit, it says put it in a secondary for 4 to 5 months before bottling, but the 1 gallon kit says bottle it after about 2 weeks in the primary. Shouldn’t the fermentation plan be about the same for the 1 gallon or 5 gallon kit? I know barley wine likes a lot of time to condition. Will it do just as well in bottles if I add a little extra sugar for yeast food?

Also, a related question. I was planning to add regular priming sugar, but I thought maybe some maple syrup would add a nice flavor. Has anyone tried maple syrup in a barley wine or imperial stout?

You can actually do it either way - you’re either bulk aging in one big bottle or conditioning in individual bottles. The advantages in using a secondary carboy is that the entire batch will mature in the same manner, where individual bottles may have slightly different conditions, such as sanitation, headspace, etc, that could cause some variation between bottles.

As long as fermentation is complete, it’s probably easier to bottle it and forget about it for awhile, as opposed to racking to another gallon jug and topping up to minimize headspace, and remembering to keep the airlock filled. But there’s no reason you can’t follow the 5-gallon batch schedule.

I’ve never primed with maple syrup, but it has such a delicate flavor once the sugar is fermented that I think it would disappear in a big barleywine or RIS.

Normally my advice would be to start checking the gravity after you think the primary is done but with a one gallon and not returning the hydrometer samples to the fermenter it would burn a lot of the batch. Barley wines with their high gravity usually take a long time to finish. Two weeks total sounds kind of short to me. It sure wouldn’t hurt to wait a while longer.

For priming, I would skip the maple syrup and stick with corn or table sugar. I think the kit comes with priming drops. The maple might not add any flavor and won’t be as easy to use. Besides if it is your first time brewing this recipe I find it is best to stick to the instructions to see how you like it. Then tweak it on future batches.

Guys, thanks for the responses. I think I’ll go ahead and bottle it in the next couple of days with some priming sugar instead of maple syrup or fizz tabs.

I had a taste today and measured the gravity. It has some of the classic barley wine flavor but not very full or deep yet, if that makes sense. I’m thinking four to six weeks in the bottle it should be pretty decent. Using the N.B refractometer calculator I get an ABV of 9.4%. I’m pretty happy with that but I’m hoping for another percent or so.

With any luck, this will be next winter’s feet by the fire beer.

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