Best Barley Wines - By The US Open Beer Championships

Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company
Old Ruffian is a hefty, hop-forward Barley Wine. Seemingly mellow at first sniff, with its subtle fruit aromas and complex caramel sweetness, this deep mahogany-hued ale quickly shows its true character marked by bold hop flavors and massive hop bitterness. Old Ruffian’s rich, slightly creamy, caramel malt mouthfeel balances its grapefruit, pine, and floral hop flavors, working wonders on your palate. A mind-numbing 90 International Bittering Units (IBUs).

Bigfoot Barley Wine - Sierra Nevada, Chico, CA
Bigfoot Ale is an award-winning example of the traditional barleywine ale style. It boasts a dense, fruity bouquet; an extremely rich, intense palate; and a deep, reddish-brown color. This ale is superbly balanced between an almost overpowering maltiness and a wonderfully bittersweet hoppiness.

Old Crustacean, Rogue Ales, Newport, OR
Old Crustacean is brewed with eight ingredients, Great Western Harrington, Klages, Hugh Baird Carastan and Munich Malts, Chinook and Centennial Hops, free-range coastal water and PacMan yeast. Old Crustacean is best when aged for one year. Old Crustacean is available in a new 750-ml ceramic swingtop bottle and on draft. Measurements: 25 degrees Plato, IBU 110, Apparent Attenuation 83, Lovibond 57, ABV 11.5%.

Stone Old Guardian, Stone Brewing Co.
Stone Brewing is known for a big attitude and even bigger beers. As a result, it is no small news that one of their biggest, Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, is being released. A perfect example of all that is big and bold in beer, Old Guardian's malt character weighs in with a huge 11.26% alc.vol. and is accented by a near-critical level of hops.

Old Foghorn, Anchor Brewing
Old Foghorn is highly hopped, using only Cascade hops. It is fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast. Carbonation is produced by an entirely natural process called "bunging," which produces champagne-like bubbles. Our "barleywine ale" is dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it ages in our cellars.

Olde School Barleywine, Dogfish Head Brewery
This ale start
s out with a warm light fruit flavor, e.g. apricots, pears, red apples. Then the 15.04% abv slowly creeps in. The alcohol slowly warms your taste buds more and as the beer warms. No hops can be detected in this brew. The finish was a nice balance of warmth and summery fruit.

Full Sail Boardhead Barleywine Ale, Full Sail  - Portland, OR
This smooth and fruity barleywine ale is a delicious brew to sip in chilly  weather. Deep and robust, it is brewed using two-row Pale, Dextrin and Crystal malts, combined with flaked barley, to give it a strong malty body. Hopped with Willamette, Styrian, Goldings and Centennial hops, Old Boardhead Barleywine finishes with a pleasant hoppiness.

Avery Hog Heaven Barley wine
This dangerously drinkable garnet beauty is a hop lover's delight. The intense dry-hop nose and the alcohol content are perfectly balanced for a caramel candy-like malt finish. This is a serious beer for serious beer afficianados and it only gets better with age. Cellarable for 3 years.Hop Variety: Columbus. Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 75L. OG: 1.085   Alcohol By Volume: 9.2%   IBU's: 104. Color: Deep Garnet

Alaskan Big Nugget Barley Wine , Alaskan Brewing Co.,
This was a brew done for the GABF '04 competition. They had it on tap at the brewery around and during the fest. Poured, the short dark almond head settles quickly, letting the rich opaque hazelnut color show almost immediately. The nose is powered mainly by the kick-you-in-the-butt 10.4% AC, but with a strong undercurrent of malted barley and a faint roasty waft. On first taste, the alcohol is again overpowering, but the barley makes its way through much more readlily. As it warms, the barley malt takes controll of the palate and steers you to some of the subtle bready and roasted malt, backed up by a slightly bitter hop flavor.

Old Backus Barleywine, Free State Brewing Co., Lawrence, KS
The huge amounts of both hops and malt that go into this beer necessitate a long conditioning period to mellow its intense flavors. The Old Backus contains just over 2,000 lbs of malt and 55 lbs of hops. the Original gravity is 25.6 °P/1092 which contributes to an alcohol content of 8.4% by wt. and 10.5% by vol. The bitterness level is 150 ibu. This is a tremendously complex beer that should be savoured slowly and in moderation. It will continue to change with age as it is served unfiltered and is continuing to mature.


Beer Magazines and Newspapers

Ale Street News
Beer newspaper featuring news, articles, beer tours and calendar.

All About Beer
Magazine includes information about all beers imaginable, from Amstel Light to Zima.

American Brewer: A Premier Beer, Brewing and Microbrewing Magazine.
A beer publication covering the brewpub and Microbrewing industry.

Beer Across America
Features month's selected microbrew,

Subcategory: American-Style Barley Wine Ale
American style barley wines range from amber to deep copper-garnet in color and have a full body and high residual malty sweetness. Complexity of alcohols and fruity-ester characters are often high and counterbalanced by assertive bitterness and extraordinary alcohol content. Hop aroma and flavor may range from medium to very high levels. American type hops are often used but not necessary for this style. Very low levels of diacetyl may be acceptable. A caramel and/or toffee aroma and flavor are often part of the character. Characters indicating oxidation, such as vinous (sometimes sherry like) aromas and/or flavors, are not generally acceptable in American-style Barley Wine Ale, however if a low level of age-induced oxidation character harmonizes and enhances the overall experience this can be regarded favorably. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.

OG: 1.090-1.120
FG: 1.024-1.032
Alcohol by Volume: 8.4-12%
IBU: 60-100
Color SRM: 11-22

Subcategory: English-Style Barley Wine Ale
English style barley wines range from tawny copper to dark brown in color and have a full body and high residual malty sweetness. Complexity of alcohols and fruity-ester characters are often high and counterbalanced by the perception of low to medium bitterness and extraordinary alcohol content. Hop aroma and flavor may be minimal to medium. English type hops are often used but not necessary for this style. Low levels of diacetyl may be acceptable. Caramel and some characters indicating oxidation, such as vinous (sometimes sherry-like) aromas and/or flavors, may be considered positive. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.

OG: 1.085-1.120
FG: 1.024-1.032
Alcohol by Volume: 8.4-12%
IBU: 40-60
Color SRM: 14-22


This listing of the
Top Ten Barley wines in the United States is constantly being revised as we drink more and more of the great beers made here in America. So, If  you feel
we are missing one, please email
 us and let us know!