Barley wine is the evocative name coined by British brewers to describe an extremely potent ale that can range from golden copper to dark brown in color. They are characterized by extravagant caramel malt flavors and bittering hops that prevent the malt sweetness from cloying. Rich and viscous, they can have in their most complex manifestations winey flavor profiles, with a hint of sweetness. Some examples are vintage dated and can improve with extended bottle age. These powerful brews are classically sold in small “nip” bottles and can be consumed after dinner or with dessert. The style has become popular among U.S. craft brewers who often produce them as winter specialties.
Learn about more British and North American Ales