Barleywine Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by DIM, Jan 4, 2022.

?

Which type of Barleywine do you prefer?

  1. American

    47 vote(s)
    13.6%
  2. English

    204 vote(s)
    59.0%
  3. That's like asking me to choose my favorite child, I love them all!

    86 vote(s)
    24.9%
  4. Neither, if Barleywine is life then life has no meaning.

    9 vote(s)
    2.6%
  1. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,246) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Barleywine has long been my favorite style of beer. They have a wide range of flavor profiles that allow a lot of room for creativity. They're strength makes me slow down and ponder what I'm sipping. Not as easily found as some styles, which makes finding a new one that much more exciting to me.

    In a thread last year about beer rules, I replied that my rule is, when I see a barley wine I have not tried I buy it. I decided to make that a hard and fast rule going forward. This has meant endlessly open Tavour crates, an exploding beer budget, and a reluctant excursion into pastry barley wine. I can't and won't keep this rule up forever, but it's been a fun ride.

    My favorites right now tend to be sweeter, barrel aged English-style Barleywines. Pfriem makes a great one I tried recently.

    What do you all have to say about this magnificent style?
     
  2. rolltide8425

    rolltide8425 Meyvn (1,293) Feb 18, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    I have a love for all barleywines but tend to lend toward the English as they don't tend to be as hop forward as American ones. I prefer more smooth and mellow as opposed to a higher level of bitterness.
     
  3. sulldaddy

    sulldaddy Poo-Bah (4,237) Apr 6, 2003 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    Im with you on Barleywines!! Can imagine the beer budget blowup from your approach.....but it sounds like a fun ride!

    I also prefer English style with malt forward toffee and dark fruit notes dominating. I may be off, but also think the mouthfeel tends to be more syrupy and sticky with English style.

    Lotta good ones out there, and a lot in my cellar too. Only downside is that its not really a sessionable style, so easy to get a backlog. Good thing they usually age well!
     
  4. Rug

    Rug Meyvn (1,450) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I 100% prefer the sweeter flavors of the English version of the style, but I also would never say no to an American one if it caught my eye
     
  5. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,042) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I have a long love affair with barleywine. Old Guardian was the first that I really appreciated. Back in 2012-2014, I would go to Stone Brewing in Escondido and line up (yep, that actually happened at Stone!) to buy a range of different vintages. I still have bottles from 2004 up until the last date it was brewed. Fast forward to today, I am mostly a lover of English barleywines. However, nicely-aged American barleywines can end up tasting a lot like an English barleywine. Old aged English barleywines can start to take on port/sherry flavor. The evolution and ability to age them has always been an attractant.

    I'm pretty similar to @DIM in that I will almost always buy a barleywine if I haven't tried it. I have rated/reviewed 88 different English barleywines and 70 American barleywines. I need to get both up and above 100 soon! Goals for 2022!
     
  6. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,088) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I tend to lean towards English style BW's, but then there's SN's Bigfoot, which I absolutely adore. So I guess I can't really make up my mind as to which I prefer.

    I'll finish with a shout out to Big Sky Brewing, which makes a barleywine with my favorite name and label. Olde Blue Hair barleywine. You can look it up online, but the label depicts an old woman in her walker, raising a pint of BW in a toast. Makes me laugh every time I look at it.
     
  7. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,669) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    With regards to the poll - just a personal thing, but I don't view barley wines in an English/American dichotomy. Instead, I tend to view them through a barrel aged vs non-barrel aged lens these days. On that front, I'll take non-barrel aged any day. I almost always leave the barrel aged ones on the shelf. My top favorites are proper English ones... and I don't mean English-style - JW Lees Harvest Ale and Harvey's Christmas Ale. With the Harvey's at 7.5% ABV, and The JW Lees at 11.5%, the pair embodies a nice spectrum of barley wine with totally different levels of drinkability. From American producers, I like SN Bigfoot. Unlike many, I want these beers as fresh as possible - that goes for both Bigfoot and JW Lees Harvest. I enjoy those beers with age on them, but more often than not, I enjoy them fresh even more.
     
  8. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,246) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Worthy goals! I'll get to 100 English style soon, 94 so far. I've tried 134 American b-wines somehow...
     
  9. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,860) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    English barleywine is my stylistic preference, but do really enjoy a well-aged American barleywine (i.e. let those bitter hops fade.)
     
  10. rolltide8425

    rolltide8425 Meyvn (1,293) Feb 18, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    Just remembered I have a bottle of Thomas Hardy’s 50th Anniversary in the cellar. Do I drink it now or let it continue to sit? Don’t think I could go wrong either way.
     
  11. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,860) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I bought Bottle Logic's Arcane Rituals and Dark Rituals while on a work trip. Contemplating drinking them side-by-side, as I've never directly compared a barleywine with it's stout-cuvee blend. Regardless, very eager to dip into a plain English barleywine.

    Very much enjoyed trying El Segundo's Old Jetty '20 (one year of age on it) while I was out there. Should've brought home a '20 and '21 for comparisons sake, but opted to pass.
     
  12. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,471) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    My two favorite Barleywines are from the English style.

    The 2013 Bourbon County Barleywine is a top five beer all time for me.

    The JW Lees Port Cask barleywine was also sublime.

    Pricey, but the occasional indulgence is worth the bread.
     
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I voted American because all too often the English Barleywines (or Barley Wines as the Brits prefer to spell it) are too sweet for my palate.

    It would appear that other BAs seem to prefer the sweetness aspect of English Barley Wines.

    Cheers!
     
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  14. Mgh2001

    Mgh2001 Initiate (11) Dec 3, 2021
    Trader

    American, English is too sweet. I recently had b5k and had to admit that English style wasn’t exactly for me.
     
  15. MaltyFlannel

    MaltyFlannel Initiate (38) Oct 30, 2020 Iowa

    I typically enjoy the english more, which I find more jammy fig-forward, whereas with most american style, I find that it needs time in the cellar or a barrel to smooth out an over assertive hop profile that can turn it into a bit of a bitter bruiser.

    Had my first barleywine of 2022 last night and it was magnificent. Had the fresh, unbarreled version last Christmas and it was as described above, but was really good after about 9-10mo in the beer cellar. a full year in the barrel did it wonders, smoothing out the hop and giving it a wonderful deep coconut/vanilla note.

    BIL!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,913) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Looks like I've got some work to do. I'm at 46 and 62 respectively.

    My biggest take away from looking at the Beer Style lists is how many of the most popular ones from 10 years ago are no longer in production: Old Guardian, Old Ruffian, Old Horizontal, Old Numbskull, Olde Gnarlywine, Flying Mouflan, Old Crustacean, Green Flash Barleywine, Killer Penguin, Smuttynose Barleywine, Cereal Killer, etc.
     
  17. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,913) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    And as for the Poll, I selected both.

    Need more "Black" Barleywines! Two of my favorite special releases over the years have been Founders Nemesis and Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken's Ale.
     
  18. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,246) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    That is a great list, I miss those as well. FWIW I'm told Mouflan is a seasonal brewery only release. I need to get there sometime.

    I haven't had many, this black barleywine is worth checking out. It's in a mixed 6 from Boulevard.



    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/423/575765/
     
    #18 DIM, Jan 4, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
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  19. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,246) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I used to often feel that about English barleywine as well. I lost my sense of taste for about a month at the end of 2020 and when it came back my perception of sweet seems to have been recalibrated. I detect a lot more nuance and appreciate sweeter styles more than I ever have. Still love the big, bruising 'mericans though!
     
  20. TomFoley

    TomFoley Aspirant (242) Mar 19, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I too have a bottle of the Hardy 50th in the cellar. Mine will continue to age, I just hope I remember to drink it before I die.
     
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  21. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,913) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    The original non-BA version? A couple years ago at a Nugget Nectar event, I put my word in with the Troegs rep for them to bring it back.
     
  22. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,246) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    The reply I got from Troegs last March didn't specify, just mentioned Flying Mouflan. I hope it's regular.
     
  23. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,913) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I don't recall seeing anything about it on their social media this year.

    But back in December they released another brewery-only barleywine called Perpetual Darkness https://www.instagram.com/p/CXbk_OwAn-r/

    Unfortunately I'm almost 2 hrs away from the brewery so don't get there very often.
     
  24. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,669) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I was initially happy to see that you had "barley wine" (2 words) as the thread title. Now it's not. Did a mod change it or am I crazy?
     
  25. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Champion (801) May 5, 2015 Illinois
    Trader

    I love Imperial stouts, I prefer Russian Imperials over American, probably because of the hops. This year, actually last year I started buying barleywines on a regular basis, or whenever I see them. I checked both just because I really never paid that much attention.
     
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  26. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,042) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    It definitely appears in both forms. Thomas Hardy's Ale was called a "barley wine", but "barleywine" is common as well. Personal preference I guess.
     
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  27. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,042) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I can tell you it is excellent right now! @LarryV would agree! That said, it will likely be just as good, if not better, with some age!
     
  28. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,042) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I like sweet, but not too sweet. Thomas Hardy's Ale is a good example. Not too sweet. B5K is quite sweet. Sucaba (to be released again this year!) was a BA English style that, to me, wasn't too sweet.
     
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  29. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,042) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I always feel some sadness when I see all of the great barleywines that are no longer. I'm glad Bigfoot is still going strong. I have frequently hounded Stone to brew OG again...maybe one day. Alaskan Barleywine was another great one. Old Ruffian, especially with some age, was wonderful, as was Old Numbskull.
     
  30. Rug

    Rug Meyvn (1,450) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I'm planning on doing a side-by-side of the Port Cask & Sherry Cask JW Lees at some point soon. They're both 2016 (fairly certain) so I'm gonna crack them open soon
     
  31. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,860) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I think Free State's Old Backus is still brewed annually. At least, I saw it on shelves in late last month.
     
  32. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,352) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado
    Society

    I love barleywine, but it's nearly impossible finding any. As of the past two years, Sierra Nevada's was the only one I could find. It seems they are one of the many beer styles eclipsed by the haze craze. I still have one bottler of 2016 Old Ruffian in my cellar. I had one the other day and it was fantastic.

    As for my answer to the question, I like either.
     
  33. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,246) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    You're not crazy. Not sure why they changed it but no big deal.
     
  34. EmperorBevis

    EmperorBevis Poo-Bah (8,699) Sep 25, 2011 England
    Moderator Society Trader

    IMHO, a good Barleywine should drink like a good sherry, a little dry and on the sweet side, so I had to vote for English.

    Yes I love monstrously over hopped beers but if you want your palate punched & your capability to imbibe high abv ales tested go for a DIPA/TIPA/QIPA

    But as I got my love of Barleywine from my mother, & she also liked a wee dram, a bit of whisky barrel ageing doesn’t hurt

    [​IMG]
     
  35. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,949) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society

    I voted English but bring them all on.
     
  36. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,913) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    One can only hope that sales of SSR were strong enough to convince them to revive others?

    Even if they put IRS, Double Bastard, and OG on a rotation where they staggered them so that each one was brewed every 3 years or something.
     
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  37. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,088) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I was surprised when they discontinued it. I was living in Baltimore when they first released it and it seemed to be very popular. I know I enjoyed it.

    At least where I lived, it seemed to always sell well and was a beer folks looked forward to each season.
     
    #37 John_M, Jan 4, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
  38. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,949) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society

    Old Crusty sure made Bigfoot taste like a malt bomb. At least the ones I drank back in the day.
     
  39. TomFoley

    TomFoley Aspirant (242) Mar 19, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Some Barleywine news. While cleaning up in the garage recently, I came across a program for Split Thy Skull IV, a Barleywine festival put on by Jim Anderson of Beer Philadelphia the Saturday of Easter Weekend. Made for some awesome family dinners where I tried not to throw up. I've had alcohol poisoning twice, once at college when I drank most of a bottle of Yukon Jack (not recommended), and at Split Thy Skull IV, April 3rd 1999. I attended 14 or 15 of these festivals, and what I remember probably doesn't add up to more than 2 hours. This particular afternoon featured what I think was my first meeting with Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot, something I'd rather not discuss. Others included DFH Zwaanend, Yard's Old Bart, Three Floyd's Behemoth, Rogue Old Crusty, La Trappe Quad, Smuttynose Barleywine, Schloss Eggenberg Urbock and 4 or 5 others. I remember that when the taps were shut off at 6pm, I bought a bottle of Chimay Red and proceeded to pour most of it into my lap. We then went to a rather nice restaurant, Serrano's, where I threw up in the bathroom shortly after placing our orders. Thank God we had a hotel room within crawling distance.
     
  40. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,669) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I was just referring to this thread title. I don't know if it ever appeared in both forms in its country of origin before the craft era... but I'd be surprised if it did. "Barleywine" was a corruption for US legal reasons rather than personal preference even if it has somewhat evolved into preference/tradition. I don't know if Thomas Hardy's Ale was ever marketed as a barley wine even if it could be considered one.