American Barleywine

Recipes:
2,923
BJCP 2021:
22C
Era:
Craft
Origin:
North America
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Amber
Strength:
Very High
Taste:
Bitter

Profile

American Barleywine is a style that boasts a rich history drawing inspiration from traditional English barleywines but has been adapted by American brewers with a more assertive hop presence. This strong ale showcases a wonderful complexity of malt flavors, balanced with a significant hop character. The style marked its emergence as craft beer began to take hold in the United States, where brewers sought to push the boundaries of beer strength and flavor.

Visually, an American Barleywine typically presents itself with deep copper to dark brown hues, often leaning towards ruby or garnet when held to light. It usually possesses good clarity, though older versions may appear slightly hazier. A full, dense head of off-white to cream-colored foam adorns the beer and offers good retention owing to the high alcohol content. The aromatic profile of an American Barleywine is characterized by bold malty elements consisting of caramel, toffee, and bready notes alongside fruity esters reminiscent of dark fruits like raisins or plums. Hop aromas are decidedly more pronounced than in its English counterpart – showcasing citrusy, resinous or piney qualities typical of American hops. The flavor mirrors this complexity – a rich malt base laying out sweet characters balanced against hop bitterness that anchors the taste experience firmly without overwhelming the palate. As it warms, layers unfold revealing nuttiness or molasses and possible alcohol warmth that should be soothing rather than harsh. The finish can vary from fairly dry to somewhat sweet, with lingering hop bitterness coupling with malt aftertastes.

American Barleywines often share some relations with Imperial IPAs due to their high hop content yet distinguish themselves through weightier malt foundations and generally higher alcohol levels. Over time they can mellow and integrate flavors more seamlessly which makes them excellent candidates for aging; this allows one to explore their potential transformation into mellower variants closer in spirit to their English barleywine relatives but still retaining that signature American twist.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
8.0 – 12.0 %

In Database
7.4 < 10.2 < 12.9 %

Bitterness

Specification
50 – 100 IBU

In Database
32 < 71 < 117 IBU

Color

Specification
18 – 35 EBC
9 – 18 SRM

In Database
13 < 29 < 40 EBC
7 < 15 < 20 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
19.2 – 27.8 °P
1.080 – 1.120 OG

In Database
17.9 < 23.8 < 30.1 °P
1.074 < 1.101 < 1.132 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
4.1 – 7.5 °P
1.016 – 1.030 FG

In Database
2.7 < 6.0 < 8.8 °P
1.011 < 1.024 < 1.035 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes