ENTRY 2: BARLEYWINE
Wine? Beer? Barley? What is going on with this style!? A common misconception on the style, it is not wine, not even barely…no grapes were harmed in the making of this beer. Yes, it is beer, generally made primarily from malted barley (like most other beers). The wine designation came to be as a strength of alcohol indicator, and a preconceived notion about the complexity of flavor found in wine and not found in beer to that point. Consider most beer averages in the 5% abv realm, the range for barleywine is generally 8%-12%+. “Hey! This is strong, like “wine!” This may have helped to alleviate some of the failures of over consumption. Most sources point to origins in England, and were traditionally referred to as Old Ales, Stock Ales, or Strong Ales. Most brewing cultures have a high gravity beer associated with winter and seasonal celebration. In Scotland they have Scotch Ales (Wee Heavy), and Germany has their Doppelbocks.
Credit in the US to reviving the style, really has to be given to Anchor Brewing (San Francisco) for creating their version in 1975. Once American craft brewers got their hands on the style, the very American thing to do was (is) to amp up the hop character. We take the old world approach, by making a more English in origin base beer, dark brown in color, then finishing it in whiskey barrels.
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