Sunday, April 6, 2008

Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine Style Ale

B+ / 3.95
look: 4 smell: 4 taste: 4 feel: 4 drink: 3.5

ABV: 10.2%
Style: American Barleywine
Purchased: $7.99/22 oz. bottle at Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, VA

Pours a murky fig color with a couple fingers of creamy khaki head that leaves strong layers of lacing down the snifter. It hangs around in a clump at one side and a ring around the glass.

Caramel malts hit the nose first, then dark chocolate, toffee, and roasted malts. The fruit talked about on the label begins to shine with warmth - mostly of the dark variety like fig and prune. Some earthy hops round things out.

Flavor is far more bitter than the nose lets on, a great swath of which expands across all corners of the palate with the first sip. Again, these hops are earthy and woody, developing some floral and slight grapefruit character as it warms. Caramel and chocolate are still prevalent all along. Five degrees or so of warmth makes all the difference. With the second pour out of the bomber, you're now drinking a vanilla caramel praline ice cream cone with chocolate sauce, albeit still with a bitter backbone, but more subdued.

The mouthfeel is massive and robust, and the hop bitterness is relentless. I'd recommend cellaring this one for a while. Alcohol only shows up both in nose and on tongue towards the final 20% of the beer, but it's so full-bodied, it's one and done per sitting for this one. It's a great version of the style but a bit too bitter for me at least at this age.

1 comment:

Bailie said...

I hate that you are so good at writing reviews. You make me want to try beers that I know I would absolutely hate. Stop making everything sound so damn good.