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British-Style Barley Wine Ale

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Location: British
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 17D - British Barleywine

Style Description

This is the description of how the British-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 British-Style Barley Wine Ale beer style.

  • Color: Tawny copper to deep red/copper-garnet
  • Body: Full
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Residual malty sweetness is high
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Hop aroma and flavor are very low to medium. English type hops are often used but are not required for this style.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Complexity of alcohols and fruity ester attributes are often high and balanced with the high alcohol content. Low levels of diacetyl are acceptable. Caramel and some oxidized character (vinous aromas and/or flavors) may be considered positive attributes.
  • Common Ingredients: High-quality, well-modified pale malt should form the backbone of the grist, with judicious amounts of caramel malts. Dark malts should be used with great restraint, if at all, as most of the color arises from a lengthy boil. English hops such as Northdown, Target, East Kent Goldings and Fuggles are typical. Characterful British yeast.
  • Commercial Examples: Adnams Tally-Ho, Burton Bridge Thomas Sykes Old Ale, Coniston No. 9 Barley Wine, Fuller’s Golden Pride, J.W. Lee’s Vintage Harvest Ale, Robinson’s Old Tom.

Brewing Properties of British-Style Barley Wine Ale

These are the functional brewing properties of British-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.
40 - 65 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 - 36 SRM
(22 - 71 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.
1.085 - 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.