Style Profile: Barleywine

Posted on August 27th, 2009

Bass No. 1 ale, the first commercial barley wine. Image via: <a  title=

Bass No. 1 ale, the first commercial barley wine. Image via: Joyce Images

Don’t let it’s name fool you, Barleywine is still very much beer, albeit one which rivals wines in strength (7-12% Alc/volume) and complexity. This beer was originally brewed by English aristocrats of the 18th century who wanted a strong alcoholic beverage of their own to compete with the wine made by the French with which they were constantly at war. These early barley wines were mostly brewed and consumed by the aristocrats in their private breweries, but in 1900 Bass debuted the first commercial barley wine, Bass No. 1 Ale. Although most wine doesn’t actually taste like wine, it has a flavor and beauty all its own that will quickly make you forget about wine (or anything else for that matter.)

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