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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Perhaps a stupid question
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:25 AM   #1
cronxitawney
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Default Perhaps a stupid question

What is the difference between a Barleywine, and an Imperial Ale? Couldn't any any IIPA or Imperial Stout be labeled a Barleywine? Like I said , this may be a stupid question.

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Old 03-14-2008, 11:54 AM   #2
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Not necessarily stupid.... Pretty much an imperial ale is a regular beer but on steroids.... A barleywine really is it's own class and style it's even got it's own BJCP guidelines.

Quote:
American Barleywine
Very rich and intense maltiness. Hop character moderate to assertive and often showcases citrusy or resiny American varieties (although other varieties, such as floral, earthy or spicy English varieties or a blend of varieties, may be used). Low to moderately strong fruity esters and alcohol aromatics. Malt character may be sweet, caramelly, bready, or fairly neutral. However, the intensity of aromatics often subsides with age. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Color may range from light amber to medium copper; may rarely be as dark as light brown. Often has ruby highlights. Moderately-low to large off-white to light tan head; may have low head retention. May be cloudy with chill haze at cooler temperatures, but generally clears to good to brilliant clarity as it warms. The color may appear to have great depth, as if viewed through a thick glass lens. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible in "legs" when beer is swirled in a glass.

Flavor: Strong, intense malt flavor with noticeable bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high malty sweetness on the palate, although the finish may be somewhat sweet to quite dry (depending on aging). Hop bitterness may range from moderately strong to aggressive. While strongly malty, the balance should always seem bitter. Moderate to high hop flavor (any variety). Low to moderate fruity esters. Noticeable alcohol presence, but sharp or solventy alcohol flavors are undesirable. Flavors will smooth out and decline over time, but any oxidized character should be muted (and generally be masked by the hop character). May have some bready or caramelly malt flavors, but these should not be high. Roasted or burnt malt flavors are inappropriate. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture (although the body may decline with long conditioning). Alcohol warmth should be present, but not be excessively hot. Should not be syrupy and under-attenuated. Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.

Overall Impression: A well-hopped American interpretation of the richest and strongest of the English ales. The hop character should be evident throughout, but does not have to be unbalanced. The alcohol strength and hop bitterness often combine to leave a very long finish.

History: Usually the strongest ale offered by a brewery, and in recent years many commercial examples are now vintage-dated. Normally aged significantly prior to release. Often associated with the winter or holiday season.

Comments: The American version of the Barleywine tends to have a greater emphasis on hop bitterness, flavor and aroma than the English Barleywine, and often features American hop varieties. 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.

Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt should form the backbone of the grist. Some specialty or character malts may be used. Dark malts should be used with great restraint, if at all, as most of the color arises from a lengthy boil. Citrusy American hops are common, although any varieties can be used in quantity. Generally uses an attenuative American yeast.
http://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category19.html#style19C
http://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category19.html#style19B


Basically, you couldn't call an IIPA a barleywine because there'd be too much hops. You couldn't call an RIS a barleywine because the roasted barley doesn't fit.



OT: I had a taste of a barleywine at my LHBS that was aged for 9 years on oak. 20% ABV too and couldnt tell.... man it was good
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:59 AM   #3
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Thanks. I just had a Bigfoot Barleywine last night, and I thought it tasted like an IIPA. Maybe their version is overhopped for the syle. The beer was certainly delicious though

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Old 03-14-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cronxitawney
Thanks. I just had a Bigfoot Barleywine last night, and I thought it tasted like an IIPA. Maybe their version is overhopped for the syle. The beer was certainly delicious though
American Barleywines and IIPAs are very similar and sometimes there is plenty of overlap. Since IIPAs tend to saturate the hops levels the main difference between the hoppy American barleywines and IIPAs is the OG and malt flavors with barleywines being bigger.
Russian Imperial Stouts are their own style also and are usually very black and roasty. Much too much so for a Barleywine. As always there tends to be some overlap in styles at the boundaries.

Craig
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:43 PM   #5
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I like scotch. Scotch, scotch, scotch. There it goes. Down into my belly. MMM, MMM, MMM.

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Old 03-14-2008, 04:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
American Barleywines and IIPAs are very similar and sometimes there is plenty of overlap. Since IIPAs tend to saturate the hops levels the main difference between the hoppy American barleywines and IIPAs is the OG and malt flavors with barleywines being bigger.
Russian Imperial Stouts are their own style also and are usually very black and roasty. Much too much so for a Barleywine. As always there tends to be some overlap in styles at the boundaries.

Craig

That makes since looking at the guidlines posted above. I just threw the imperial stout in the question as it is a another example of a big beer.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cronxitawney
That makes since looking at the guidlines posted above. I just threw the imperial stout in the question as it is a another example of a big beer.

To contrast bigfoot barleywine try Old Foghorn, it's closer to a British Barleywine. Atlernatively try comparing a Barleywine and an Imperial _______ from the same brewery.

For instance compare Horn Dog (BW) and Gonzo (Imp. Porter) from Flying Dog. Vastly different. Imperial just means a bigger version of said style.

It is interesting how some styles are alike, but as you drink the different kinds you start to notice small differences that become bigger..... or maybe i'm just becoming a beer snob, lol.
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