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All about barleywine ale
What is barleywine ale?
Barleywine ale got its name from grape wine because it has the same complexity and similar alcohol content, around 8% to 14% alcohol by volume (ABV). Of course, it has a completely different taste. Producers often age these beers in wine or liquor barrels to achieve a complex flavor profile.
Barleywine beers are full-bodied and have a malty flavor, and they can feature notes of caramel or toffee. Aged varieties can have a hint of sherry or whiskey. There are also many flavored varieties, which have added dried fruits or fruit liquors. If you're a real beer connoisseur, there are many vintage varieties. Beer enthusiasts often compare barleywine ale with old ale, but the two styles are different. The latter tends to be sweeter, less hoppy and darker.
What to serve with barleywine ale
Of course, you can sip a nice glass of barleywine on its own, but this distinctive beer style can also work with several foods. Try sharp cheeses, such as Stilton and other blue cheeses, or rich desserts like crème brûlée and cheesecake. Remember to serve the beer in a large tulip glass or snifter glass, so you can swirl it and appreciate its aroma. You'd do the same for your favorite wine, right?
A short history of barleywine beer
British barleywine-style ales reached their maximum popularity in the 18th century. It may sound strange but, because of conflicts between Great Britain and France, English people didn't want to drink French wines anymore. It was a matter of pride. So, barleywines became popular as a patriotic drink. To replace the flavors of French wines, brewers invented ways to make their beers more complex and stronger.