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American-Style Barley Wine Ale

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Location: North American
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 22C - American Barleywine

Style Description

This is the description of how the American-Style Barley Wine Ale style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the American-Style Barley Wine Ale beer style.

Vinous, sherry-like or port-like attributes arising from oxidation may be considered positive when in harmony with overall flavor profile.

  • Color: Amber to deep red/copper-garnet
  • Body: Full
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Caramel and/or toffee malt aromas are often present. High residual malty sweetness, often with caramel and/or toffee flavors, should be present.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Medium to very high. American hop varieties are often used, but are not required for this style.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: High
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Complex alcohols are evident. Fruity esters are often high. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Common Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt should form the backbone of the grist. Some specialty or character malts may be used. Dark malts should be used with great restraint, if at all, as most of the color arises from a lengthy boil. New World hops are common, although any varieties can be used in quantity. Generally uses an attenuative American ale yeast.
  • Commercial Examples: Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine, Anchor Old Foghorn, Great Divide Old Ruffian, Rogue Old Crustacean, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Victory Old Horizontal

Brewing Properties of American-Style Barley Wine Ale

These are the functional brewing properties of American-Style Barley Wine Ale beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
8.5 - 12.2%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
60 - 100 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
11 - 18 SRM
(22 - 35 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.090 - 1.120
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.024 - 1.028

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.