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Why is the barleywine style so under utilized by the new crop of British brewers?

Discussion in 'UK & Ireland' started by ImperialStoat, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Magic Rock, Kernel, Arbor, Brewdog, Buxton, Brodies and all have fallen over themselves to concoct a hundred billion varieties of American-style IPAs, and also made some attempt to try their hand at other styles, be that porter, imperial stout, amber ale, bitter, sour, or random experimental shite (the entire Brewdog Abstrakt range).

    But none, to my knowledge, have bottled a reasonably traditional barleywine, be that tradition American (Old Guardian) or British (Thomas Hardy).

    WHY NOT?

    Note: Hardknott have brewed one but it somehow tastes more like an imperial stout.
    EmperorBevis likes this.
  2. I presume it is an issue of tax and strength and sales.
    Strong beer doesn't seem to survive :(
  3. But all the brewers I mentioned bottle imperial stouts, so that can't be the reason.
  4. I suppose with stouts and ipas, the alcohol is covered/complimented more by big hops and malts. To many people pretty new into craft beer as many of their customers will be, booze is all they will be able to taste, so the brewers focus on crowd pleasers.
  5. I'm thinking more that a good Barleywine should be over 10%
    where as an IRS can be good around 6-7%
    I should have said really strong beer lol
  6. The exception being poodog's attention seeking "mines stronger than yours" type beers, Sink the Bismark etc?
    EmperorBevis likes this.
  7. Not entirely sure why. There is certainly a dearth of the style to be found; it truly is a forgotten style. I assume a good one takes time to mature - perhaps all the young breweries are focused on styles that can be sold more quickly (for cash-flow purposes). Tax could also be an issue.

    Having said that, this year's Champion Beer of Britain was a barleywine - maybe this will be a catalyst for other breweries to experiment and give it a go. It would be nice to have some rich, fruity, boozy barley-wines on the market.....
    ImperialStoat likes this.
  8. Imperial Stout,

    There's a real air of the Daily Mail about this thread and the OP's apparent contempt for the mentioned breweries. I'm done here.
    drtth likes this.
  9. Alcohol strength - UK brewers generally shy away from making too many high ABV beers.
  10. Sink the Bismark is nothing like a Barley Wine, it's more like a god awful mess.
  11. One of the things about a good Barley Wine is it takes a certain amount of finesse rather that a bucket load of hops. Maybe our current crop of Brewers will eventually get round to it.
    ImperialStoat likes this.
  12. drtth

    drtth Advocate (690) Pennsylvania Nov 25, 2007

    One of the things about a good Barley Wine is that it takes a certain amount of willingness of beer drinkers to spend their money on drinking beers with that level of subtlety and ABV. Perhaps, as Ron Pattinson pointed out in one of his blog posts, some styles aren't being brewed because there's no demand for them amongst their target market British drinkers and the brewers are being responsive to their customers? One does have to pay the bills, after all.
  13. Never said it was, I just used it as an example of a strong beer.
  14. Because it's written barley wine, that's why not.
  15. !!!
    That's without doubt the weirdest thing I've read in the UK forum. Nearly every post I make here is in reference to drinking and enjoying beers by the likes of Kernel, Buxton, etc.
    You're being hysterical (as in the adjective of hysteria -- not funny).
  16. As helpful as ever.
  17. Oh? What was the Champion Beer of Britain? I missed that.
  18. Coniston's No. 9 Barley Wine. I was able to try a third while at the GBBF - pretty good though quite sweet. Perhaps it was just the wrong style at the wrong time of year, would probably go down a treat in winter while sitting next to a roaring fire.....

    More info here:
    http://www.camra.org.uk/article.php?group_id=7094
    ImperialStoat likes this.
  19. Simply that beer culture in the UK isn't comparable with that in the US.The market for such beers isn't big enough to make it worth while. The people who go for good beer in this country do it overwhemingly in pubs, on draught.And most pubs, in particularly rural and suburban areas have real difficulty selling strong beer.
  20. Anyone hear/remember about someone bringing out a beer that was basically Thomas Hardys Ale under another name?
  21. The rights to brew Thomas Hardy Ale have been sold, the new owner is currently investigating options to brew
  22. Does J.W. Lees Moonraker

    count?
  23. Brewing a barley wine needs time, cashflow and skill. Very few UK brewers have all three.
    Zimbo and CwrwAmByth like this.
  24. Older, bigger brewers are wedded to the session beer and to the marketers who say nothing else will sell.

    New brewers are too young to remember when every brewery sold a barley wine. They only know about American beer.

    I generalise of course.
    Hoppsbabo likes this.
  25. We're a nation of pub drinkers ie. we mostly drink session beer. Plus, I'd probably get glassed at my local if people saw me sipping from anything other than a pint glass.
  26. Brewers aren't idiots.If the demand was there it would be met. As already mentioned many brewers once listed one.Another factor is the increased popularity of wine and the massive improvement in cheap plonk. Yes, I know but can you remember the battery acid sold as cheap wine in the past?
  27. Picked one up earlier from the York Wine & Beer shop - Dunham's Barleywine. I've seen it before but passed it over. Should be good for winter....
  28. Is that Dunham Massey? Haven't heard or seen anything from them for a few years, I remember their cask stout being lush.
  29. Yes, the shop in York has a few of their beers so I guess they're still in business. Haven't had one yet....
  30. Still on with this, eh?

    Had a draught Arbor Down Deeper yesterday at The Hanging Bat and recalled that Thornbridge has Bracia while BrewDog's has brewed Bitch Please. All barley wines. :rolleyes:
  31. Is Down Deeper still around? I had a bottle a while back and thought it said that it was a festival one-off....
  32. I know they brewed a batch for DIPA day. Lot of sediment and didn't clear IIRC, well my couple of bottles didn't.
  33. I just remember it tasting of crazy fruity hops. I swear there were notes of strawberry.....
  34. Down Deeperer was still at The Hanging Bat yesterday.
  35. Actually, Bracia is an old ale, while Bitch Please is fermented abortive fluid, so no.

    I can do emoticons too: ;):oops:o_O :mad: See?
  36. Impressive.They're there to be used when the moment demands so well done on the multi tasking.

    FWIW, you really should be more careful with the tone of what you write. This whole little spat began with the exception I took with the unfortunate and condescending choice of words you used to describe the brewing decisions taken by many of the UKs newest and most successful brewers. This comes off the back of the narking tone you dished out to CwrwAmByth and a few others a couple of months ago.

    As for why new brewers are relectant to produce barkey wines look to this thread's recent posts from Marquis and Reluctant Scoop and you'll find you answer. Given your background on BA I had just assumed your OP was a joke or a rhetorical question. There isn't great demand for barley wine (it unfairly tends to share a similar image to sild or tinned potatoes) out there no matter how much we might like it. And it is expensive to make even if you do have tried and tested brewing experience. Most of our favourite new brewers are relatively small concerns and do not have cash to burn so they need to be careful with the decisions they make in order that they get their return in sales.
  37. There's also the cash flow consideration. A relatively low ABV cask beer is ready for sale pretty soon after brewing. Make something strong which requires lengthy maturation and you are waiting for the money.
    Zimbo likes this.
  38. Thank you, I appreciate the proper response. Criticisms duly noted.
  39. Right, and I get this, but is the brewing process significantly longer for a barley wine than it is for a 9-to-12% imperial stout? Because there seems to be a number of those made now.
  40. I can admit that i'm an arsehole on the internet sometimes so in all fairness I probably deserved whatever it was.

    Good news everyone, dad's made a barleywine for xmas (alot with a 'sporter' (not quite a stout so half porter half stout) and an (attempted) Arrogant Bastard copy).

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