The Session: Barleywine

Below Decks

Riding out the storm
Below Decks with my crew mates
Fearing Davy Jones

Old Horizontal

After a couple
I enter a dream-like state
Or maybe passed out

Criminally Bad Elf

Long past Christmas day
I find myself harassed by
Gangs of scofflaw elves

Written by Captain Hops.

the Session: Barley Wine

References: This post is part of The Session. The Session is a monthly beer-themed group writing project for bloggers. This month’s theme is Barleywine or as they are known in the US: Barley Wine Style Ales. This month, the Session is hosted by the Brew Site.

To be honest, barleywines always seemed rather exotic and intimidating to me so I don’t have a lot of experience with them. (Feel free to read that as too expensive for me.) However, this session gave me the excuse and the gumption to finally take the plunge.

I went down to the Wine Source, and picked up Below Decks from Clipper City’s Heavy Seas label (Baltimore), Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company (Pennsylvania), and Criminally Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing (England).

All of them were different, but they were all good and they were certainly potent. The Below Decks was the hoppiest of the bunch, but all of them had a strong malt profile, almost fruity.

Barley Wine is beer not wine. It got it’s nomenclature because it is brewed to be as strong as wine. The alcohol content is probably the defining characteristic of this style because the flavor profiles can vary a great deal.

I chose to share my barley wines with friends in wine glasses and found it very pleasant. It was almost startling to see how quickly you could feel the punch so I wouldn’t recommend sitting around downing pints of this stuff.

All in all it was a good experience. I’m not about to put barley wine on my regular list, but they certainly make the grade for special occasions.


Check out the full round-up of barleywine posts, now up at the Brew Site.

Thing of the Day: Ultimate Beer