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Old 06-09-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default American barleywines. I don't get it.

What is the difference between an American barleywine and a darker IIPA, like a rye IPA? Of the American barleywines I’ve drank, all I can think about is I have the hop of an IPA but with a little more caramel taste. For example, last night I picked up an RIPA from Shmaltzbrewing and if it had barleywine written on the side, I would not have questioned it. Hog Heaven by Avery, is an excellent IIPA with its 104IBU's and is actually too hoppy for me, but is labeled as a barleywine.

According to the wiki page on here, "the term Barley Wine was coined by Bass in 1903 to describe its Bass No. 1 Ale. CAMRA claims that its origins were patriotic, since the English upper classes needed a beverage to replace French wine during England's many wars with France." It sounds like the style, barleywine, came about due to politics.

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Old 06-09-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
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Barleywines are supposed to be sweet and less hoppy than a IPA. The high alcohol also contributes to the taste. It is also aged for more than a year.

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Old 06-09-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Barley wines are malty and IPAs are hoppy.

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Old 06-09-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby_Brew View Post
Barley wines are malty and IPAs are hoppy.
And according to the wiki page, english barleywines are like that, with IBU's up to around 50. I think the only malty barleywine I've had is Sam Adam's Griffin Bow. http://www.samueladams.com/enjoy-our...d-acb3c2ad4bdf. Otherwise, they've all been real hoppy like an IPA would be.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18thstatebrew View Post
Barleywines are supposed to be sweet and less hoppy than a IPA. The high alcohol also contributes to the taste. It is also aged for more than a year.
Not necessarily. A lot of barleywines stand up well to aging, but "classic" American examples like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot aren't aged before release afaik.

Your main differences between IIPA and barleywine are level of hop character, level of malt "backbone", like you said. Two more essential differences are the higher levels of fruity esters in barleywine, and most importantly for me: malt flavor. Both IIPA and barleywine are often just 2-row and a little caramel, but the barleywine will be attenuated less and potentially boiled longer to develop the maltiness.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Higher OG and higher FG than an Imperial IPA. This means there is more residual sweetness in the finished beer. BJCP says this under American Barleywine: "Differs from an Imperial IPA in that the hops are not extreme, the malt is more forward, and the body is richer and more characterful." Barleywines are also usually boiled longer to condense the wort.

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Old 06-09-2012, 03:17 PM   #7
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Just like there is some overlap between an IPA and IIPA, there is also between an IIPA and Barleywine. I would say the biggest distinguishing characteristic is more alcohol. The big chewy sweetness is cut equally with hops and alcohol where in a IIPA, the alcohol would generally be overpowered by the hops.

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Old 06-09-2012, 03:54 PM   #8
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Am. BW is stronger than an IIPA. In addition, it has more body. Most IIPA use sugar to reduce the body and make them more drinkable.

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Old 06-09-2012, 04:10 PM   #9
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I must agree with the original post, that the barleywine style rose due to politics. Yet, to quote Ashton Lewis in "The Homebrewer's Answer Book", "Brewing terminology varies by brewer or brewery and I try not to get caught in the semantics". So this discussion needs to be taken with a grain of salt. With that being said, I have to disagree with the theme that the most distinguishing factor is the difference in alcohol. A common example of this is Dogfish Head's 120 minute Imperial IPA coming in at a whopping 18-20% abv; in comparison to Sierra Nevada's Barleywine which typically sits around 9.5-10% abv. Both Beers are well suited to be aged for years. The essential difference is the hop profile in comparison to the malt backbone as generally perviously stated. While with nearly every style there is a grey area in which a beer may sit between two similar varieties; many IIPA's and barley wines fall in the overlap of this vin diagram.

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Old 06-09-2012, 04:19 PM   #10
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I almost consider it not the job of the barleywine to be different as much as it is the IIPA's job to be different. IIPA is a newer style. I just think it grays the area between a pale ale and a barleywine with every hop/malt nuance adjusted ever so slightly until you feel it has slide into a different style. There are very gray areas.

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