English Barley Wine

Recipes:
2,115
BJCP 2021:
17D
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇬🇧 Great Britain
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Amber
Strength:
Very High
Taste:
Malty

Profile

English Barley Wine is a robust, complex beer style that originated in England and remains an example of the heights of traditional British brewing. Historically, this ale was dubbed "barley wine" because its high alcohol content is similar to that of wine; however, being made from grain rather than fruit, it firmly remains in the beer category. It was developed as a domestic replacement for imported wines and at times, would be reserved for special occasions and could even be aged much like vintage wine.

The appearance of English Barley Wine ranges from rich gold to dark amber or even russet brown, often with good clarity when properly aged. A moderate to large cream-colored head may adorn the beer but could dissipate to a persistent ring given the high alcohol content which sometimes impedes head retention. An intricate tapestry of flavors and aromas define the English Barley Wine experience. Its aroma is typically marked by rich malt notes that include deep, bready and biscuity tones, accompanied by molasses-like sweetness. Aromatics might also showcase moderate to strong fruity esters (dark fruits commonly - think raisins or prunes). The character imparted by hops ranges from mild to assertive yet balanced; earthy and floral British hop varieties are most traditional. On the palate, one can expect similar malt-driven complexity with juicy caramelized sugars, perhaps a hint of toastiness or roastiness depending on the specific brew and potential notes of chocolate or molasses. Aging this type of beer can introduce interesting oxidative sherry-like qualities that add depth without negative stale flavors if done properly. On occasion, nutty and hoppy flavors carry through with a refined bitterness balancing out the strong malty backbone.

While it shares some characteristics with British Strong Ale or Old Ales due to its potent strength and malt intensity, English Barley Wine usually presents richer malt flavors coupled with unique ester profiles attributed to diverse yeast strains used in fermentation. The dimensionality between heavy malt sweetness interplayed with mature hop bitterness provides this venerable brew a regal standing distinctively apart from lighter or hop-dominated styles.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
8.0 – 12.0 %

In Database
7.3 < 10.0 < 13.0 %

Bitterness

Specification
35 – 70 IBU

In Database
24 < 48 < 81 IBU

Color

Specification
16 – 43 EBC
8 – 22 SRM

In Database
13 < 31 < 50 EBC
6 < 16 < 26 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
19.2 – 27.8 °P
1.080 – 1.120 OG

In Database
17.8 < 23.8 < 30.6 °P
1.074 < 1.101 < 1.134 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
4.6 – 7.5 °P
1.018 – 1.030 FG

In Database
2.6 < 6.1 < 9.7 °P
1.010 < 1.024 < 1.039 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Trending Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Trending Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes