Examples: Bigfoot, Old Ruffian, Old Crustacean, Hog Heaven, Old Guardian
Serving Temp: 45°- 50°
Aroma: Assertive hop aroma (earthy, floral or spicy) may be present especially in young samples. Sweet caramel notes will be present in young samples.
Appearance: Crystal clear, amber to deep copper with red highlights. The head can be off-white to light tan but generally the head dissipates rather quickly.
Flavor: Sweet caramel malt will be noticeable at first but the finish will be all hops (flavor and bitterness) especially in young samples.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full and smooth with a smooth alcohol warmth.
Food Pairings: Dessert: chocolates. Cheese: sharp.
HopHeadSaid: I love American Barleywines, young ones anyway. I enjoy their assertive malt flavors and crazy-over-the-top hop flavor and bitterness when they are young. If you find young barleywines to be too assertive I suggest you buy a few six packs and save them for a year or two. If you do buy some for storage, be sure to store them upright in a dark and cool place. Taste one every few months after the first year and note the changes in the beer. Barleywines age well and after a few years the bitterness will diminish but the hop, malt and oxidation flavors meld to create an incredibly complex beer. I do enjoy these aged beers especially when paired with the right meal but I am too impatient to wait a year or more to drink a beer.