Single White Friar

The Beers of Barley Island Brewing Company

Several years ago, 2004, as a result of winning 'Best of Show" at the Indiana State Fair Brewer's Cup, I got to brew Maris Brown Ale at the Broad Ripple Brewpub. This was my introduction to large scale brewing - a great time. I did not expect an opportunity like that to arise again. Last winter at the AleFest-Indy, Barley Island co-owner, Jeff Eaton talked with me about brewing a strong Belgian beer for Barley Island and the Pro-Am GABF competition. It was crowded and noisy at the AleFest and with a few beers in me, I wasn't sure that he really asked me about this. An email the next day confirmed his plans.

I originally brewed this beer as “Monky Dunk” four years ago.

A few years ago there was a Rate Beer event at Barley Island and I brought some homebrew. I gave out samples of "Monky Dunk" - my Belgian Dark Strong ale. This brew was a "hit" and disappeared quickly. A few months later, there was another event at Barley Island. The Good Beer Show was there and I again brought the Monky Dunk for all to share. Several guests were Belgian beer aficionados and were impressed. Jeff and Jon Lang, Barley Island's  brewer,  may have first tasted this brew then. 7 gallons of this brew were gone quickly - everyone wanted more,  it was time to brew again. I made a few recipe changes and brewed "Monky Dunk" again. This batch was entered at the Brewer's Cup but did not do well - it was un-carbonated and young. However 2 months later it was a very good brew. The following year, I brewed a Belgian Dark Strong ale again - a little earlier in the season with a few recipe changes. I changed the name to St. Indianus to represent it’s abbey style and it’s origination. That year it did manage to place at the Indiana State Fair Brewer's Cup - still a little under carbonated and a little young.

Beer at Barley Island Brewing Co.

Early this Spring, I met with Jeff Eaton and Jon Lang with ' 07-'08 samples that were a little young and off. However they demonstrated the dried fruit and plum esters of this style and its pepper like phenolic spice. These samples indicated what this beer could be. Jeff gave it the thumbs up and we planned on brewing in a few months. Do to some unexpected delays (busted boiler had to be replaced) we are late by a couple of months so Jon and I have worked hard  to catch up. This recipe is more complex than most – eleven separate  malts that each contribute something specific along with Belgian candi sugar.  It is also a stronger, more alcoholic brew, (ABV 10%), requiring a “double mash”. We had to brew twice to fill the tank for the boil. The beer has turned out to be the perfect color – a dark amber cherry copper color. I have brewed this type of beer for several years but recent brews have had carbonation problems. Jon has better control over carbonation than I have. He also has better control over yeast/fermentation temperatures so I’m hoping this will improve the beer from last year – as this was an excellent beer three years ago.

Single White Friar

A commercial brew named "Monky Dunk" may scare people from purchase and drinking! It was decided that "Single White Friar" would be acceptable to the GABF and the market while also hinting at its Abbey Style. If all goes well, we will brew again for bottling and distribution – “Single White Friar” as a “Reserve” Belgian Dark Strong.


Brew Day Pics


Barley Island - Mash Tun and Brew Kettle

Barley Island Fermenting  and Finishing Tanks


Brewing Controls - Single White Friar at Boil

Jon still smiling after a long day and our hops problem

Using whole hops we had to bag them like large bags of tea. One of the bags broke releasing the hops – this meant that we could not pump the beer through the chiller and to the fermentation tank. It was decided to slowly pump the wort to the mash tun and use it’s false bottom to filter out the hops as if they were grain. We then brought the wort back and gave it a short boil then chilled it and sent it to the tank for fermentation. The "double mash" and a "double boil" made for a long day! Stuff happens.

The three additions of hops ready to be added

Belgian Dark Candi Sugar to be added to the boil


Barley Island Head Brewer, Jon Lang - Nice Shirt!

Barley Island Assistant Brewer - Mike Hess


Barley Island co-owner, Jeff Eaton, with his "Dirty Helen" at the August Festiv-Ale

 Barley Island beer drinkers at the Festiv-Ale


Barley Island's Single White Friar 10/3/2008

Barley Island Brewer Jon Lang with the brew - 10/4/2008


Nuvo's Rita Kohn, Andy and Jon Lang at the release party

Empty Bourbon Barrels Await Barley Island's Next Project

Bottling was done on October 3rd and official release the following day. SWF should be distributed in about a week.

This was a very special opportunity for me and a lot of fun. Thanks to all - Mark S.

"The term Barley Island is the 17th century name for a room in the alehouse in which beer was consumed. True to its name, Barley Island Brewing Company produces fine ales and lagers, which are served in its Old World decor restaurant and pub. Barley Island has an emphasis on freshness -- the beer is made from scratch as well as many other of the food items. The on-premise produced ales and lagers are utilized in the menu sauces and marinades wherever possible. In fact, Barley Island is known as the home of the fifth basic food group!"

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