This past Friday I missed the latest Session. This month’s topic was Barleywine. Unfortunately, I don’t feel inspired to write about this topic, so I won’t be trying to make a late entry today. Instead I’ll just refer you to the roundup.

To make this post slightly more substantive, I’ll also mention that I have had several Barleywines in the past couple of months: Three Floyds Behemoth, Bell’s Third Coast Ale, and Clipper City Below Decks. Generally, I greatly prefer American Barleywines over English ones. English ones can be so rich in caramel that they become cloyingly sweet. American examples are more likely to be cranked up on hops and thus, at least to my palate, much more balanced. My favorite two examples have been Stone Old Guardian and Avery Hog Heaven. Another nice, local example of American Barleywine that I’ve found quite enjoyable is Sweetwater Donkey Punch.

I did not drink a Barleywine this past Friday, so I have no recent experience to recite. But I did try Clipper City Winter Storm this weekend. The label describes it as an Imperial ESB, but it could also pass as an American Barleywine – albeit a small one (7.3% abv).

What would a post be without mention of homebrew? I’ve recently reformulated the recipes I have sitting around so they involve a mini-mash with 5 to 5.5 pounds of grain (some of the recipes I have are old, before I was doing mini-mashes). One of them was a recipe for an American Barleywine: Hump’s Old Humperdink Barley Wine. Once brewed, this beast should weigh in around 9.9% abv and 95 IBUs (calculated). I’m not sure when I will get a chance to actually cook this one up though. I’m leaning towards smaller beers for my near future batches. When I do make a stronger beer, I’m currently leaning towards other recipes in my repertoire – like a Strong Scotch Ale or an Imperial IPA…