Barley wine goes back to ancient times when the Greek military commander and historian Xenophon mentioned it in his History of the Persian wars.  Xenophon’s  beverage, however, predates the use of hops so would not be the same as barley wines made today.  Modern barley wine was first marketed about 1870 and had an alcohol content of 8-12%.  In spite of its moniker, the beverage is a beer rather than a wine because it is made from fermented grain rather than fermented fruit. The recipe for barley wine given by  my paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, in her book Old Time Recipes for Home made Wines, does not use hops and bears little resemblance to modern barley wines.  Could it be more like Xenophon’s ????

Here is the recipe for barley wine in the words of my grandmother:

Take one-half pound of French barley and boil it in three waters, and save three pints of the last water, and mix it with one quart of white wine, one-half pint of borage water, as much clary water, a little red rose-water, the juice of five or six lemons, three-quarters pound of fine sugar, the thin yellow rind of a lemon.  Brew all these quick together, run it through a strainer, and bottle it up.  It is pleasant in hot weather, and very good in fevers.

To buy Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines by Helen S. Wright Click Here.


By Karen