About English Style Barley Wine

About English Style Barley Wine
English style barley wines are golden copper to dark brown in color and range from 8-12% in alcohol. They are characterized by extravagant caramel malt flavors and bitter hops that prevent their malt sweetness from being cloying. English versions of this style typically feature rich, complex malt flavors including caramel, toffee and molasses to name a few.

This style ages remarkably well, with aged versions showing oxidized port and sherry-like flavors and aromas that add to the overall complexity. 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 US craft brewers who often produce them as winter specialties. The chocolate and fruit cake flavors in the brews mean they should be paired with chocolate desserts.

Top Picks for English Style Barley Wine

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Gulden Draak
88 points
Burnt sienna color. Aromas of cherry preserves on buttered toast, chamomile tea, candied almond, and banana with a satiny, vibrant, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, intricate, long candied ginger, baked stone fruit, flaky pastry, and toasted raisin bread finish. A cellarable barley wine with a nice spectrum of malty, complex spicy flavors.
NoDa Brewing Company Olde Voyager Port Barrel Aged Barleywine
86 points
Sunburst color. Aromas of fallen cherry, dried leaves, nougat, and ground coffee with a satiny, vibrant, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, medium marinated mushrooms, parker roll, cracked pepper, and oatmeal with brown sugar finish. A solid barleywine with a nice thread of peppy acidity.
Willimantic Brewing Co. "Willi Whammer" Barleywine 2016
84 points
Brilliant dark copper color. Aromas of buttered dark raisin toast, caramel apple, spiced nuts, and gum and wood with a satiny, soft, effervescent, fruity medium body and a tingling, medium-length praline, dried fruits, peppered lettuce, and chestnut honey finish. An easy drinking barleywine.
NoDa Brewing Company Olde Voyager Cabernet Sauvignon Aged Barleywine
80 points
Copper color. Interesting aromas and flavors of mead, cedar, green apple candy, and tea leaves with an oily, bright, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, nuanced, medium-length finish that presents notes of stewed apricot, orange marmalade, mushrooms, parchment, and sherry finish. A fruity barley wine that could be a nice introduction to the category.