While not for everyone, if done well high gravity beer is full of alcohol and full of flavor. Some master brewers love the challenge and some connoisseurs love to sip on them. Imperial beers, barrel aged ales and barleywine are three types of high gravity beer. Common Imperial beers include stouts, porters and even pale ales. Barrel aged ales are – you guessed it – fermented in barrels, commonly old liquor casks. This means the beers sometimes take on the flavor profile of the liquor. Barleywine originated in Greece and is not made from grapes but grains. The aging process is what gives it it’s name.
High gravity beer is made by adding a lot of yeast early in the brewing process – more yeast equals more fermentation which in the end means a higher alcohol content. Due to the higher alcohol content, these beers can be a bit tricky to make. The alcohol content can get too high, killing the fermentation process to early.