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It's time we talk about barleywine


A Beer in History: Its time we talk about Barleywine


Recently, I've noticed more breweries have been pushing out some high-powered barleywines. This is fantastic news for those who love a heady beverage that is a bit off the beaten trail. To fully appreciate while imbibing, lets talk a bit of history and style surrounding this lovely liquid.



A long time ago in a far away place (England), barleywine was created. It isn’t known precisely when it began to be brewed, although it tended to be the strongest ale offered by brewhouses. The American barleywine became popular with the American craft beer boom of the 1990s and like many Americanized brews, tends to display a strong use of hops, especially in comparison to English barleywines.



Barleywines exhibit both an intense and rich malty flavor as well as strong fruity esters. The hop character ranges from moderate to extreme and it tends to posses a high alcohol content, with an ABV often in the double digits. It can be almost portlike in its leathery tones. It also tends to a pale through dark amber color. These brews tend to be seasonal with winter is the perfect time to test out barleywine’s strong flavor and warming qualities. One of our brands, Arcadia Ales, puts out a great barleywine to test out and warm up with. 


Arcadia Ales Cereal Killer Barleywine 10% ABV

The Gold Medal winner of the 2009 GABF Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beers category, this cellar-aged barleywine highlights the style perfectly. Flavor bursts forward with a slight sherry hint dark fruit and prune notes and finishes with citrus hops. It pours a dark mahogany with sweet aroma reminiscent of sherry. 


Samuel Adams’ Griffin’s Bow 10% ABV

As an oaked blonde barleywine, this brew brings a lot to the table. Warming sensations from the alcohol are apparent in this barleywine, full of toffee and burnt sugar flavor combined with darker oak notes.


Stone Brewing’s Old Guardian 12% ABV

Celebrating the first time Stone has uses Cascade hops in one of their beers, this barley wine is poised to be one of your favorite beers of 2013 (release date is February 13, 2013). Typically a barleywine that cellar ages nicely while, if consumed immediately, showcases caramel sweetness and warming sensation from the alcohol and a bit from the hops. 

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