It seems winter has arrived, no problem, we have barleywines!
You may be asking, what are barleywines? Well, generally they're over 8% ABV, the stronger beers. Historically they were the first running of an already strong batch, such as the wee heavy version of a Scottish Ale. Today, with the compliments of various candy sugars, honey, and maple syrup, the ABVs can easily be hitting 12% and higher.
Why are we doing this? It started last winter with our first oak aged brew, the Loch Ness Scottish Ale. The extra oak flavors really smoothed it out and ended up being what was probably our highest rated beer of the year. And while the flavors were helped no doubt from excessive malt and extra boiled for a bit of caramelization, we were fairly convinced that the oak was mostly responsible for the end result. From this, we were determined to launch a family of oak aged brews, and similar to wines or liquor, the oak flavor especially excelled with stronger brews and with that, we put together a number of recipes that helped to make them stronger, such as with Belgian Candi Sugar, honey and maple syrup. That said, all this was happening at the beginning of summer, the busiest time of the year, so brewery priority had to go to the standard brews. Both because it's less risky and they don't take nearly as long in the fermenter, which adds an extra month or so for the oak aging. This put off getting started until the end of summer and I'm happy to say that just released the first wave of new barleywines, including the Hango Honey Mango, Ample Amber Maple, and the Black Bear-e Blackberry ale.
The Barleywines currently available:
As you've probably noticed, the portions are less than a regular pint, served in five ounce servings in Belgian Beer glasses. This being as they're simply so strong, the smaller portions allow one to pace themselves a bit more, as the ABV can be closer to or more than a standard glass of wine.
We have a couple more that will be coming out over the next month or so, otherwise will be busy getting back on track and stocked up with the standard brews, as we got cleaned out over summer, hopefully we'll be caught up by the end of the year.
In the meantime, you can try these out with a flight and if you don't live in the area but still in Minnesota, we'd be happy to ship it out to you.
The Brewing Loony