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Barley Wine Ales are gaining popularity

Our Journey

There are a variety of barleywine ales on the market today, with styles ranging from traditional English barleywine ales to American barleywine ales. No one style seems to be the leader and overall, the entire brewing style is gaining quite a lot of popularity, especially during the Spring season with its bi-polar weather and new sparks of life.

What is barley wine anyway?

Barley wine may sound to you like some fancy wine clothed in a slightly less fancy bottle, however, that is not the case. Barley wine is actually a type of craft beer, though it is known for being quite a bit higher in ABV and is produced a bit differently than other craft beers. The name lends to it an elegance that has made it quite popular, along with its higher ABV.

One of the great characteristics of barley wine is its ability to be aged in a cellar, much like regular wine. This makes it quite the collector’s item, as different bottles can be aged for varying lengths of time to compare the results at a much cheaper price than the premium wines on the market, allowing you to enjoy a little of the best of both worlds.

What are some great barley wines on the market?

There are a wide range of craft breweries that produce barley wine throughout the United States. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below for you to seek out and try. The ageable nature of these craft brews makes it much more likely that you will be able to find them, even if they are no longer available on the shelf.

  • Anchorage Brewing Company – A Deal with the Devil
    • Ringing in at an astounding 17.3%, this barley wine is not currently available through the brewery. However, there are still some for trade through BeerAdvocate, giving you a chance to check out this hefty brew for yourself. Keep an eye on that ABV, as this is a brew you’re going to want to share or save for a special occasion.
  • Great Divide Brewing Company – Barrel Aged Old Ruffian
    • This brew sounds off with an ABV of 10.2%, bringing it within range of those hopped up IPAs on the market without the bitter bite. Available during June of each year, this is a seasonal brew that is certainly worth acquiring. Purchase several and age a few in order to experience how this lovely ale evolves during the aging process!
  • Stone Brewing Company – Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale
    • Stone Brewing has a great barley wine that ages exceptionally well in the bottle. This brew weighs in at 11% ABV and possesses a flavor profile that is not to be missed out on. We strongly suggest aging a few bottles of this lovely brew for special occasions, as it is worth keeping around. However, you’ll have to head over to BeerAdvocate and work some trading magic to get your hands on them.

Tell us about the barley wines you have come across!

If you’ve come across any other really great barley wines in your travels, leave us a comment and let us know about them. Your story just might be the inspiration for our next brew feature and we love to hear from our readers. In the meantime, from all of us here at West Palm Beach Brewery and Wine Vault in South Florida, happy crafting!

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May 23, 2017