Monday, November 21, 2005

Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine Style Ale

The bottle in front of me is a 22oz. "bomber" of 10.2% abv barleywine. It's called a barleywine due to the fact that it is brewed to the alcohol content more common in wine than in the world of beer. Almost always big with chewy malts predominently. This is an American style barleywine, which are generally characterized as having a big hop profile..many times citrusy or piney. The English style barleywines tend to focus more on the malt flavors with more dark fruity tones. Let's see how Great Divide holds up:



The Old Ruffian pours from the bottle a wickedly thick and syrupy dark reddish brown with a nice sticky khaki head that lingers on nicely. Aromas smack you in the face from the minute the brew is poured. Incredibly rich, big caramel malts hit upfront with mixed fruity notes all over with a touch of raisin. Resinous, piney, somewhat citric hops are in full force as well as puffs of alcohol. Simply a wonderful attack on the senses here and a good sign of things to come.

First sip brings starts with a massive thick caramel fruity maltiness that is fairly sweet. However...as the brew reaches the back of the tongue you're assaulted by a shockwave of piney, resinous hop bitterness that lingers on after each gulp. Raisins and dark fruits are well integrated as well as a faint bready flavor. This is definetly a hoppy barleywine but it remains quite nicely balanced throughout. A tasty treat.

Mouthfeel is freakin spot on. So full, big and creamy..it grabs on and does not let go...all the while being extremely drinkable at the same time. So tasty that it's hard for me to set my glass down. I wouldn't mind have another bomber on hand to cellar. A very nice barleywine that I wish I had access to locally, as I get the rest of the Great Divide line. Picked this up on a trip down to Kentucky.

Overall I gave this beer a 4.35 out of 5.

Want to know what other beers Great Divide offers? Check out www.greatdivide.com