Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome to my 100th post!

Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Co.
Location: Denver, CO
Name: Old Ruffian
Type: Barley wine
ABV: 10.2%
100. I couldn't think of a better way to hit the 100 post mark. Just for the record (because I feel like it has to be said, lest I get accused otherwise), I am not in any way taking payment from Great Divide Brewing Co. Now that that's out of the way, I can't tell you how excited I am to get this in my gullet! It's a big bottle for a big beer, comes in sturdy at 10.2% ABV and promises to not pull any punches. The aged roughneck, as I have started to call it, pours a lush ruby tinted caramel color that builds a clingy creme colored head. Light passes it through it, though not easily so don't expect to be looking at anything other than ale when peering into your glass. I've got to be honest, there is a fair bit of hops to this nose! More than I was expecting anyway. It's the nice kind of fresh citrus hops. It is the perfect accompaniment to the rotund blast of dense malts and mouth-watering darkly sour fruits. Figs and plum act as aroma asteroids that collide with apricot and toffee. It emits a feeling of warmth and toasty JUST by smelling the way it does. It's a good thing I'm typing this and not making a recording of it. I honestly lose all sense of thought when I drink this. The unapologetic manner by which this ancient knave grants you flavor is astounding. The first taste you get is thick dark fruits bolstered by an English toffee back bone. The malt is an amazing baseline that runs throughout this beer. Past the malt is when the hops come in and they stick around for the long haul. Hops? In a barley wine? Yes, I know. I asked myself the same thing. But citrus and pine both come through cleanly and it does funny things to the aftertaste. If it weren't for the dark fruits and toffee malt beginning you would swear that you were drinking a potent IPA. I can not explain to you how much I am enjoying this beer. Everything is wonderful. The packaging has a guy shadow-boxing, the head is doing a great job lacing the glass, and the beer itself could possibly be derived from the gods of brewing. If you live in an area that has access to Great Divide beers you are honestly doing yourself a disservice if you overlook this beer. This has become my benchmark barley wine and has nestled itself firmly in my Top 5 All Time Favorite Beers. And if any of you want to know what those are, please let me know. But that's another conversation altogether. I can not find a single thing wrong with this beer. I'm sorry for those of you who may have felt a twinge of jealousy as you read this. This was the last of the Great Divides I had in my fridge and I can say, without remorse or irony, that I indeed saved the best for last.

I tried to squeeze the bottle to get every last bit.

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