Barleywine is a full-bodied, high-strength ale. Barleywine is not wine, but the high ABV and complexity often found in the style may be why people have associated it with wine since the first barleywine was created in the late 1800s.
Sebago Brewing has been making its version of barleywine for more than 15 years. The fun part is that the blend changes every single year, depending on which bourbon barrels are used. Whenever possible, the brewers like to use barrels that have been “freshly dumped” to preserve the bourbon-specific characteristics that will enhance the barleywine flavor even more. They get all their barrels through River Drive Cooperage & Millwork, a global company doing business right in Buxton, Maine.
The ale is aged for 10-12 months, and our brewers taste each barrel individually throughout the year to make sure things are developing properly – and to know when it’s ready to package.
This year, to celebrate our 25th anniversary, we’re offering just 250 four-packs of Barleywine, with one can each from the last four years, including 2022. For this vertical tasting, we recommend sipping the Barleywine slowly, paying attention to how age might smooth the sharper characteristics while shoring up various aromas and flavors in each batch.
According to Peter Dahlen, Director of Brewery Operations, barleywine doesn’t stop developing after being packaged. Like wine (and Sebago) it just gets better with age.
Special Barleywine 4-packs are available at all Sebago Brewing locations while supplies last!