Skip to content
Craft Beer Times | Brewing Trends: Exploring the Allure of Black Barleywine Brews

Brewing Trends: Exploring the Allure of Black Barleywine Brews

Brewing Trends: Exploring the Allure of Black Barleywine Brews

Brewing Trends: Barleywine, Looking Good in Black

When it comes to craft beer, there’s always something new and exciting happening in the industry. From seasonal releases to experimental brews, breweries are constantly pushing the boundaries of what beer can be. One style that has been gaining popularity in recent years is barleywine, a rich and intense beer that is perfect for those who enjoy bold and complex flavors.

The Origins of Barleywine

Barleywine has a long and storied history dating back to 18th-century England. Originally called “strong ale,” this beer was brewed to have a higher alcohol content than other styles of the time. It was often aged for extended periods, resulting in a smooth and well-rounded flavor profile.

Over the years, barleywine has evolved and adapted to modern brewing techniques. It is now recognized as its own distinct style, characterized by its high alcohol content, deep amber color, and strong malt backbone. Barleywines can range from slightly sweet to intensely bitter, making them a versatile choice for beer lovers.

The Black Barleywine Revolution

In recent years, a new variation of barleywine has emerged – the black barleywine. This unique brew takes all the best characteristics of traditional barleywine and adds a dark and roasty twist. Dark malts such as chocolate and roasted barley are used to create a rich, almost black color and enhance the beer’s complexity.

The use of dark malts also contributes to the black barleywine’s flavor profile. Expect notes of chocolate, coffee, and even dark fruits, along with the traditional malt sweetness and hop bitterness found in regular barleywines. The result is a beer that is both bold and smooth, with layers of flavors that unfold with each sip.

Why Black Barleywine?

The popularity of black barleywine can be attributed to the growing demand for unique and complex brews. Craft beer enthusiasts are always on the lookout for something different, and the black barleywine delivers just that. Its distinctive appearance and flavor profile set it apart from other beers on the market.

Black barleywines also provide a great opportunity for brewers to showcase their skills and creativity. The combination of dark malts and traditional barleywine elements allows for endless possibilities when it comes to recipe development. Breweries can experiment with different malt varieties, hop profiles, and aging techniques to create their own take on this intriguing style.

Pairing Black Barleywine

Given its robust flavors and higher alcohol content, black barleywine pairs well with rich and hearty dishes. The dark malts complement the flavors of roasted meats, stews, and aged cheeses. The beer’s bitterness helps to cut through the richness, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

For dessert pairings, consider pairing black barleywine with chocolate-based treats like flourless chocolate cake or chocolate-covered berries. The beer’s roasted notes and slight sweetness will enhance the flavors of the dessert, creating a luxurious and indulgent experience.

The Future of Black Barleywine

As craft beer continues to evolve, it’s likely that black barleywine will become even more popular. Breweries will continue to experiment with adjuncts and barrel aging techniques to create unique variations of this already fascinating style. Black barleywine festivals and competitions may even start popping up, celebrating the creativity and skill of brewers.

So, if you’re a fan of bold and complex beers, keep an eye out for black barleywine on your next trip to the local brewery or bottle shop. Its deep color, rich flavors, and high ABV are sure to satisfy even the most adventurous beer enthusiasts.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *