259: Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Deals With The Devilish Details of Barrel-Aged Barleywine


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Anchorage Brewing’s Gabe Fletcher has been turning heads with barleywine since he brewed his first one 24 years ago, but that long-standing respect hasn’t dulled his sense of exploration. Today, he’s pushing limits with barrel aging by double- and triple-casking beers over long conditioning times. It takes a hardy beer to stand up to that much age, and Fletcher builds his barleywine to last.

In this episode, taken from an interview earlier this year for a story in Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine, Fletcher outlines the various problems in brewing high-ABV beers, and shares the creative solutions he’s developed. Along the way, he discusses:

  • Fermentation strategy via overpitching and aggressive step-up batching
  • Embracing simple but flavorful malt
  • Using decoction to build flavor in more basic malts
  • Building a high-gravity wort
  • Selecting hops for flavor and not just bitterness
  • Utilizing multi-stage barrel aging for more depth of character
  • Finishing and packaging barleywine for maximum effect

And more.

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