Barleywine is a fascinating beer style that often confuses people due to its name. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘wine’ in its name, it isn’t a wine at all. readers can quickly get up to speed and impress your friends at the pub with your superior drinking knowledge by reading the primer below:

  1. Facts & Origin:
    Barleywine is a strong ale with an alcohol content ranging from 6% to 12% by volume. It is brewed from specific gravities as high as 1.120, which translates to a substantial amount of fermentable sugars.

    The first beer marketed as barleywine was Bass No. 1 Ale around 1870. The Anchor Brewing Company introduced the style to the United States in 1976 with its Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale.

  2. What’s With the Name?
    Despite being made from grains (primarily barley), the term “wine” is used because of its alcoholic strength, which is similar to that of wine. However, it’s essential to recognize that barleywine is indeed a beer. The name reflects the beer’s strength and complexity, both of which share similarities with wine.

  3. Characteristics
    Barleywines are full-bodied and exhibit a rich color, ranging from copper to dark red-brown. They feature flavors of bread, caramel, honey, molasses, and toffee. The malt contributes nutty, toasty, and caramel flavors, while hops and yeast add background complexity. Barleywine beers handle aging exceptionally well, akin to fine wines.

  4. Styles
    There are two primary styles of barleywine:
    American Barleywine: This version tends to be hoppier and more bitter, with colors ranging from amber to light brown.
    English Barleywine: It is less bitter, may have little hop flavor, and exhibits more variety in color, ranging from red-gold to
    opaque black .

  5. Noteworthy Barleywines
    Blithering Idiot by Weyerbacher Brewing Co.: A traditional English-style barleywine.

    Bigfoot Barleywine by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.: A classic American-style barleywine with a hopped-up take on the style.

    Remember, when you encounter a barleywine, think of it as a beer that combines the best of both worlds: the strength of wine and the complexity of a finely crafted ale. Cheers!