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Craft Beer Times | Barleywine Brewing Trends: Unveiling the Dark and Stylish Brew

Barleywine Brewing Trends: Unveiling the Dark and Stylish Brew

Barleywine Brewing Trends: Unveiling the Dark and Stylish Brew

Brewing Trends: Barleywine, Looking Good in Black

An Introduction to Barleywine

Barleywine has been gaining popularity in the brewing world. This strong and rich beer style is loved by many for its robust flavors and high alcohol content. Barleywine is characterized by its deep copper to dark brown color and its complex maltiness. It is a perfect beer to be savored slowly and enjoyed on special occasions.

The Rise of Black Barleywine

In recent years, a unique variation of barleywine has emerged – the black barleywine. This twist on the classic style brings in the intensity of roasted malts, resulting in a beer with a striking black color. Black barleywines are known for their bittersweet taste and a balance between roasted maltiness and hop bitterness.

A Beautiful Dark Appearance

The deep black hue of black barleywine is a visual delight for beer enthusiasts. Its appearance is often compared to that of a rich stout or porter. When poured into a glass, it forms a creamy tan head that adds to the overall allure of this beer. Black barleywine is often enjoyed in a goblet or tulip-shaped glass to enhance its aroma and maintain its temperature, allowing you to fully appreciate its aesthetic appeal.

Flavor Profile and Aromas

Black barleywine exhibits a complex flavor profile that combines the sweetness of caramel and toffee with the bitterness of dark chocolate and espresso. Its roasted malt backbone provides notes of roasted nuts and a hint of smokiness, adding depth to the beer. The hop presence in black barleywines ranges from moderate to assertive, contributing a pleasant bitterness and aromas of pine and citrus.

Cellaring Possibilities

Black barleywine, like its traditional counterpart, is a beer that can be aged to develop new and exciting flavors. With its higher alcohol content and robust characteristics, black barleywine can benefit from extended cellaring. By allowing it to mature in a cool, dark place, the beer undergoes subtle changes, becoming smoother and more balanced over time. Cellaring can bring out flavors of dried fruits, sherry, and even light oxidization, resulting in a unique tasting experience.

Food Pairings

Due to its bold flavors, black barleywine pairs well with hearty and rich dishes. Its caramel sweetness complements grilled meats, such as ribeye steak or lamb chops. The beer’s roasted malt components make it an excellent companion to dishes featuring roasted vegetables or barbecued meats. For dessert, consider pairing it with chocolate truffles or a decadent chocolate cake. The complexity of black barleywine makes it a versatile choice for food pairings, and experimentation is always encouraged.

The Craft Brewing Movement and Availability

Black barleywine is commonly found within the craft beer industry. With the surge in popularity of small-scale breweries, many skilled brewers have embraced the challenge of creating this complex and delightful beer style. While availability may vary depending on your location, black barleywine can often be found in specialty beer stores, brewpubs, and select bars with extensive craft beer selections. Additionally, some breweries offer seasonal releases or limited editions of black barleywines, so keep an eye out for those exciting opportunities to try new variations of this style.


Black barleywine is undeniably a beer style that’s making waves in the brewing world. Its stunning black appearance, intense flavors, and higher alcohol content make it a beloved choice for beer enthusiasts seeking something special. Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or just starting your journey into craft beer, don’t miss the chance to indulge in a black barleywine and experience the magic it brings to your palate.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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