High fermentation beer “Barely wine”
The term “barley wine” refers to a type of a high fermentation beer from England. The name is given by its similarity to the wine, both for its tastes and its alcoholic volume, higher than the average beers.
It is a style suitable for the ageing that expresses all its best after resting for some years in a cellar.
Barley wine: a little bit of history
From ancient Greece, beer has been called “barley wine” and it has been mentioned even by Senofonte in the Anabasi and by Tacito in its works. It seems, in addition, that the Gauls used the word “barley wine”, instead of “embers”, that in their language means beer.
The modern English word started to be used in Great Britain during the XVIII century after the invasion of the local market by the French wines Bordeaux and Burgundy, that aged in the barrels for a long period of time.
Up to the end of the XIX century, the breweries started to use the definition “barley wine” referring to a craft beer with a higher alcoholic volume.
The first beer to be labelled in this way has been the № 1 Barley Wine of Bass brewery, around 1870.
Barley wine: characteristics
Barley wine beers are suitable to be drunk in winter thanks to their high alcoholic volume, around 8-15%. The colour of a barley wine can vary from dark amber to cloudy moghany up to opaque black, without foam.
The Barley wine produced in England is characterized by a strong aroma of malt with notes of dry fruit, that is enriched thanks to the ageing with notes of treacle and toffee and a bouquet of sherry.
In the mouth it is sweet and well structured with velvety characteristics of wine.
Some examples of English barley wine are the Thomas Hardy’s Ale, was born in 1968 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the death of the famous writer, the J. W. Lee’s Harvest Ale, brewed as tribute to the harvest and sold from the 1st December or the Fuller’s Golden Pride.
In United States the beer Barley wine have a strong presence of hop, often American hop, with citrus notes and/or resin. We want to advise you the Sierra Nevada Bigfood, the Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine, the Anchor Old Foghorn and the Flying Dog Horn Dog.
Among the Italian crafty products are worth mentioning the Draco of the Montegioco brewery (AL) from Piedmont, it is a beer with 11°, pretty complex and fresh. The Prima Luna and Ultima Luna of the brewery Ducato and the SediciGradi of Birra del Borgo, an aged beer, dark, plain and complex with spiced perfumes.
It is a meditation beer, to taste without food pairings to enhance the taste at a temperature around 15 – 16 °C.