A barley wine typically reaches an alcohol strength of 8 to 12% by volume. It is called a barley wine because it can be as strong as wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is, in fact, a beer.
Most barley wines range in colour from amber to deep reddish-browns, though until the introduction of Whitbread Gold Label in the 1950s, British barley wines were always dark in colour. All are rich and full-flavoured.
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Barley Wine is a style that dates from the 18th and 19th centuries when England was often at war with France and it was the duty of patriots, usually from the upper classes, to drink ale rather than Claret.
When country houses had their own small breweries, it was often the task of the butler to brew ale that was drunk from cut-glass goblets at the dining table.
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In many ways barley wine is the cognac of the beer world. It can be successful paired but it is truly meant to be savored alone.
Hops may be hardly noticeable at all or very noticeable. Sip them out of the special glass, that will concentrate the aroma. They are excellent with cigars or with dessert.
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