American barley wine ranges from amber to deep red/copper-garnet in color. A caramel and/or toffee aroma and flavor are often part of the malt character along with high residual malty sweetness. Complexity of alcohols is evident. Fruity-ester character is often high. As with many American versions of a style, this barley wine ale is typically more hop-forward and bitter than its U.K. counterpart. Low levels of age-induced oxidation can harmonize with other flavors and enhance the overall experience. Sometimes sold as vintage releases.
American Barley Wine
Category: Strong Ales
- Beef Cheek
- Strong Blue Cheeses
- Rich Desserts
- Bigfoot, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
- Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co.
- Toad Choker Barley Wine, Nine Band Brewing Co.
Amber to Deep Red or Copper-Garnet
Clear to Brilliant
Slow to Medium Rising Bubbles
Noticeable to Hot
Hop aroma and flavor are medium to very high. Hop bitterness is high. American-type hops are often used, but not necessary for this style
Caramel, Toffee, Bready, Sweet
Fruity-ester flavors are often high
Not common to style
Very low levels of diacetyl may be acceptable
Mouth-Coating to Sticky
Low to Medium
Medium to Long
Magnum, Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo
Pale, Crystal, Pale Chocolate, Special "B"