Colorado makes great beer.  There I said it!  It seems I haven't met a beer I have not liked from Colorado!  And beers from Great Divide do not disappoint.  I thought I would give my taste buds a TRUE shock to their system after the crazy economy week I've had!  Some people have asked why I was dedicated to drinking economy all week.  Or why drink economy at all.  Its simple.  This is a beer journey!  I am not going to discount any beer because of taste/cost/color/origin.  NO!  That is not what I'm here to do.  I remember days a of yore where Malt Liquor like Mickey's Wide Mouth Bottles gave me the best night of my life (usually followed by one of the largest hang overs but still).  I remember nights where a $12-15 dollar bottle of 12 oz golden goodness sang to me.  Every beer has a story.  Every beer has a history.  And every beer has a place.  Yes, I had some low beer this week.  And no, I didn't really like many of them at all.  None of them were complex.  Most of them actually did not smell pleasing at all.  But, they were all beer and deserve a spot in my 365 journey.  I hope to get back on top of my game with blogging here as I know the past few weeks have been slow.

With beers like this "Old Ruffian" Barley Wine-Style Ale, I have so much to talk about.  In searching for a definition on Barley Wines I came across THIS LINK.  Now, I did very little homework here.  The guy could be total smoke and mirrors but what I read was interesting stuff.  Barley Wine really is a "RANDOM" style of beer.  Heavily hopped high alcohol beers can be classified as Barley Wines... but do not need to be.  Seems like barley wines and old ales are similar.  As I'm not totally familiar with "old ales" I'll need to add that to my to do list of 2012.  I've had some old ales I believe but just have little education on them.  Guess I have some light reading to do in the next few weeks - anyone have good info on this please let me know.

Anyway, as for this Old Ruffian, this is right up my alley of beers needed after a 'economy week'.  It is bold, it is hoppy, it is malty, and it is smooth.  Some people have said that 'barley wines' that I've drank taste similar to cough syrup.  And they may be somewhat accurate.  There are some "similar" qualities between cough syrup and these beers.  This probably sounds bad but it isn't far from the truth.  It has a very thick taste in your mouth.  It is syrupy and hangs around in your mouth long after you swallow the beer.  The carbonation is extremely low so it is a bit creamy or (again) syrupy in texture because there is little carbonation to make it fizzle and fuzz!  It has a cherry brown color in the glass and is maybe a little hazy to see through.  The hops power through (maybe this needs to be aged a bit longer next time) this beverage and make it bitty and a bit bitter.  I know some barley wine recipes (one or two I've brewed at home even) call for using raisins in the brew to kick up the sugar content (in an effort to kick alcohol content).  I can't tell if it is the hops or a large amount of raisins used - but I get a huge mouth full or sugary raisin in every sip.  The caramel barley shines in the background and works on evening out this beer.  This is probably where it starts to break away from the "cough syrup".  It has to much beerness to it!  You heard it here first - Beerness!  haha - so, do not let the cough syrup description shy you away.  Its greatness in a glass.  Its complex and something that deserves several sips with a lot of thought provoking analysis behind it before you judge this beer.  Please do enjoy.

These beers are generally brewed to be "aged".  And this beer was brewed on Jan 3 2012.  So, that is only 2 months ago.  This is a young brew.  I should have "thought about that" when buying it.  But is it to young to be drank?  I'm sure this is another arguable topic.  I say, drink now, drink later, and drink much later!  And see what you think.  Personally, this is a little to raisiny and bitter for me now.  But I think that is a matter of timing.  I hope that we sell our house soon and I can get my new house and work on a basement to be able to age beers a bit better.  Because if I had that - I'd probably go out and buy a few more of these to sit and grow old.  I'm saying this is worth having in the cellar.  Go out now and find it... buy it... and WAIT... WAIT... WAIT...


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