Beer Reviews, HomeBrew & Cocktail Recipes



Craft Brewed Barleywines


deep ellum barleywine

Barleywines are ales packed with rich malty flavors of caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. Hopping levels vary, with American-Style Barleywines reaching intense levels, while British versions tend to be more balanced with earthy hop notes.

Barleywines start of with a big base of Pale 2-row malt. North American malt seem to be the most popular choice, followed by Maris Otter from the UK. Specialty malts almost always include Crystal/Caramel varieties, except in Blonde Barleywines which are fairly scarce. You may also see smaller percentages of Brown Malt, Pale Chocolate, Wheat, and Munich varieties. Flaked grains are sometimes used to add a creamy texture to the beer, and a fair amount of barleywines are brewed with a moderate portion of specialty sugars to help thin out the beer’s body and reduce strain on mash tuns.

Barrel-aging barleywines adds another layer of flavors to the beer, and several breweries offer beers aged in oak bourbon or whiskey barrels.


Rated A, Fantastic, The Best Barleywines

AleSmith Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Numbskull (11%) | Aged for one year in oak bourbon barrels. | San Diego, CA


Black Raven Old Birdbrain (11.5%, 85 IBUs) | Partially aged in whiskey barrels. | Redmond, WA


Block 15 Louis le Whopper | Cognac barrel-aged, with blood orange peel and juice. | Corvallis, OR 


Firestone Walker Sucuba (13%) | Brewed with 6 malts and aged in oak bourbon barrels. | Paso Robles, CA


Founders Bolt Cutter 2012 (15%) | Bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. Dry-hopped with Cascade hops. | Grand Rapids, MI


Weyerbacher Insanity Ale (11.1%) | Bourbon barrel-aged. Limited release. | Easton, PA

Rated A-, Great

21st Amendment Lower Deboom (11.5%, 92 IBUs) | Dark toffee, figs, and piney hops. | San Francisco, CA


AleSmith Old Numbskull (11%) | Available year-round. | San Diego, CA


Deep Ellum Numb Comfort (12%, 85 IBUs) | Whiskey barrel-aged barleywine. | Dallas, TX


Firestone Walker Double DBA (12%) | Brewed with 5 malts and dry-hopped. | Paso Robles, CA


Gigantic Brewing Massive Barleywine (12%) | Rich, malty, and very flavorful. | Portland, OR


Green Flash Barleywine (10.9%, 85 IBUs) | Available year-round. | San Diego, CA 


Lakefront Chad Barleywine (12.5%, 53 IBUs) | Brewed with rolled oats and rye. | Milwaukee, WI


The Lost Abbey Angel’s Share (12.5%) | Flavors of dark fruit and caramel. Aged in bourbon barrels. | San Marcos, CA


Perennial Artisan Ales Vermillion (10.5%) | English style barleywine. | St. Louis, MO


Pretty Things Our Finest Regards (12.1%) | Brewed with English malts. | Somerville, MA


Revolution Straight Jacket (13%, 55 IBUs) | Rich and malty. Aged in bourbon barrels. | Chicago, IL


Rogue XS Old Crustacean (10%, 110 IBUs) | Classic Pacific NW barleywine. Heavy on hops. | Newport, OR


Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (9.6%, 90 IBUs) | Classic American-Style Barleywine. Widely available Jan-Apr. | Chico, CA


Three Floyds Behemoth (10.5%, 80 IBUs) | Seasonal release in January. | Munster, IN 


Uinta Cockeyed Cooper (11.1%, 65 IBUs) | Bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. | Salt Lake City, UT

Rated B+, Very Good

Cisco Brewers Baggywrinkle (9.6%) | Flavors of rich caramel and dark fruit. | Nantucket, MA


Crazy Mountain Lawyers, Guns & Money (10%, 80 IBUs) | Brewed with candi sugar. | Avon, CO


Dieu Du Ciel Solstice d’hiver (9%) | Seasonal December release. | Quebec, Canada


Flying Dog Horn Dog (10.2%, 45 IBUs) | Malty with very moderate bitterness. | Frederick, MD


Full Sail Old Boardhead (9%, 91 IBUs) | Limited Brewmaster’s Reserve release. | Hood River, OR 


Heretic Dead Weight (10.5%, 44 IBUs) | English style barleywine. | Fairfield, CA


Hopworks Organic Noggin Floggin (9.7%, 70 IBUs) | Seasonal release Nov-Feb. | Portland, OR 


Pelican Pub & Brewery Stormwatcher’s Winter Fest (12.7%, 40 IBUs) | English style barleywine | Pacific City, OR


Real Ale Sisyphus (10%, 77 IBUs) | Available year-round | Blanco, TX


Sixpoint Old Redhooker (9.6%, 70 IBUs) | Well-balanced, draft only release. | Brooklyn, NY 


Tenaya Creek Old Jackalope (10.4%) | Limited special release. | Las Vegas, NV