Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Great Divide Brewing Company - Old Ruffian Barley Wine

So, the other night I had a strange dream. A beer dream. I was in some restaurant and they happened to have a beer I've been wanting to try for a while, Great Divide's "Yeti Stout", on tap and I tried it and it was delicious. I could taste very nuance of flavor and even remember thinking to myself that the beer was better than The Abyss. I know- blasphemy. And while dreaming about beer may be bad news for my future sobriety, I think it signals a change for me in that beer has become more than a hobby. They say that the best way to know you're really picking up a new language is that you start to dream in it so maybe the same goes for beer. So could this possibly signify the shift of beer in my psyche from "interest" to "passion"? I don't know. But it made me really want to try Yeti.

So what does this have to do with a beer called Old Ruffian? Great Divide, the brewery that makes Yeti, also makes a barleywine called Old Ruffian. We happened to be in North Park for Brian's birthday the other night and the place we were at had this one on tap so I decided to give it a try. Barleywines aren't typically beers that I try a lot, but I was pretty curious about this one.

Old Ruffian pours a deep ruby and chestnut color with a few specks of foam on the top. The smells are dominated by malts but hint at some hops as well.

Malts dominate the flavor, but again, the hops add a nice touch. Flavor-wise, this beer reminded me of a much, much better Arrogant Bastard. There was some nice caramel sweetness from the malts and the hops that Great Divide used had some nice pine flavor. This beer was incredibly balanced and helped to keep the 10% alcohol in check. Next on the list: Yeti.

Final Grade: A

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