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Coming soon: Barrel Aged Barleywine

Coming soon: Barrel Aged Barleywine

What? What is that? Is this…? Who’s idea was this? Why are there six whisky barrels full of barleywine over here? Good grief. What are we supposed to… Well… thanks, whoever you were.

THANKS, WHOEVER YOU WERE is this year’s special barrel-aged winter release, launching w/c 26th October! We have brewed a big, beautiful barleywine and aged it in a combination of American and Japanese whisky barrels for 8 months. It’s absorbed moreish vanilla and spice notes, woven into the decadent malty goodness of this rich, deep amber beer. It’s sturdy stuff for strange times.

Barleywine! Yes. Wait. What?

Barley Wines / Barleywines are a drinkable meme style of strong English ale with a somewhat murky origin. Over the years they have been styled as Old Ales, Stock Ales, Burton Ales and Strong Ales. Not all of those styles can be thought of as Barleywines, nor can all Barleywines be thought of as being any of those styles. Good job we don’t have that problem with IPAs, huh? Hmm. Seriously though, the key characteristics are quite simply:

  • Very strong
  • Malty
  • Paler than black

These kinds of beers would once have been brewed in the houses of great lads lords and ladies with the purpose of being aged and opened on special occasions like fine ports and brandies.

Barleywine’s popularity in The Olden Times was limited to the rich, and only after the larger-scale industrialisation of brewing in the Less Olden Times were they marketed at middle- and working-class drinkers and connoisseurs.

In the post-war years (Even Less Olden Times), Barleywines, like IPAs and other more expensive beers, fell by the wayside thanks to taxation of ingredients and alcohol, leading to the rise of cheaply made beer. They went underground, like the A-Team, until people needed them most.

Modern Barleywines can draw either on their historic vibes, or be used as a vehicle for fun. Traditional English examples tend to be big, sticky beasts of grain well-suited for cellaring and celebrating. American Barley Wines lean towards either hoppy intensity (effectively precursors to Triple IPAs) or may become barrel aged for additional complexity.

We’ve taken a semi-traditional approach to brewing ours. We used a technique called ‘poly-gyle’ or ‘reiterated mashing’, which means creating a wort and using it as the liquor (brewing water) for another mash, and so on, folding multiple mashes together into one, complex super-wort.

We then gave it some whisky barrel vibes to see where the flavours go and give it some welly. Notes of biscuits, bourbon, dried fruit, caramel shortbread and wine-like tannins make for a hefty sip. Rounded, sticky malt flavours in this massive, complex beer are offset by spiced citrus, oak and chocolate notes from the barrel.

THANKS, WHOEVER YOU WERE will be sold in 750ml bottles and 20L kegs, launching everywhere w/c 26th October!

Barleywine is Life.

Toodle Pip,

Howling Hops.