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Barley wines

Barley wines' color ranges from a translucent deep amber, to cloudy mahogany (left), to an almost black opaque (right)

Barley wine or Barleywine is a style of strong ale originating in England in the nineteenth century (derived from the March or October beers of the 18th century) but now brewed worldwide. The first beer to be marketed as Barley Wine was Bass No. 1 Ale, around 1900. The term "barley wine" had been used before in other contexts.


A barley wine typically reaches an alcohol strength of 8 to 12% by volume and is brewed from specific gravities as high as 1.120. It is called a barley wine because it can be as strong as wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is in fact a beer. In the United States, barley wines are required for this reason to be called "barley wine-style ales." Though this may be mistaken by some to imply that they are not truly barley wines; in fact it only means that they, like all barley wines, are not truly wines.

Its natural sweetness is usually balanced with a degree of hoppy bitterness, though traditional English barley wines often have far less bitterness than their American counterparts.

This beer is meant for slow sipping and savoring of its fruity, high-alcohol and well-aged character. It is brewed often to celebrate events and the high levels of both hops and alcohol allow some barley wines to be aged for years, much like wines.

Most barley wines range in color from amber to deep reddish-browns. Though until the introduction of Whitbread Gold Label in the 1950s, British Barley Wines were always dark in color.

Style statistics[]



  • Olde Deuteronomy from Alley Kat Brewing Company
  • Solstice d'été from Dieu du Ciel
  • St-Ambroise Vintage Ale from McAuslan Brewing Company
  • Burlywine from Half Pints Brewing Company


  • Smithwick's Barley Wine from Diageo


  • Bass No 1 Barley Wine from White Shield Brewery (brewed occasionally)
  • Bodger's Barley Wine from Chiltern Brewery
  • Elizabethan Ale from Harvey's
  • Gold Label from Whitbread
  • Golden Pride from Fuller's
  • Old Nick from Young's
  • Old Tom from Robinson's
  • Samuel Smith's Strong Golden Barley Wine from Samuel Smith, Tadcaster
  • Thomas Hardy's Ale from O'Hanlon's, Devon

New Zealand[]

  • Enigma from The Twisted Hop



  • Nils Oscar Barley Wine from Nils Oscar Bryggeri och Bränneri

United States[]

See also[]

External links[]

WikipediaLogoSmall This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Barley wine. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Beer Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0.