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About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.

Cheers!
Mike

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Divide "Old Ruffian" Barleywine


Thursday March 22nd, 2012 in Buffalo, NY
Sunny and temperatures in the mid-to-high 70's (degrees Fahrenheit)

Saturday March 24th, 2012 in Buffalo, NY
Rain and temperatures in the high-40's-low-50's (degrees Fahrenheit)

At least it's perfect weather for a barley wine.

I purchased this barley wine a couple months ago, but the unseasonably warm weather we've been having here also made the barley wine an unseasonable beer. We were another warm-weather week away from me switching to "Hefe-weisse"time (a.k.a. summertime)! But it's Buffalo, NY so there is always the early-spring fear of an errant cold front drifting out of Canada to ruin our good times; unfortunately, our collective fear materialized into today's weather.

Barley wines are beers with a lot of alcohol (8-12% ABV) in comparison to most other beers. They tend to be a bit malty too. Why so malty? While I've never made one, I assume that in order to get these beers to such a high ABV the brewer needs to make sure there is a lot of malt sugar in the wort (unfermented beer) that can be turned into alcohol; any residual malt sugar would make this a malty beer. However I'm sure it isn't just "malt sugar madness" on the part of the brewer. Yeast can survive (and multiply) beyond 12% ABV so if the yeast were allowed to go much beyond the normal barley wine range, the beer would probably end up a little lighter and drier. The barley wine is a cold weather beer so it has to be big. The excessive amounts of malt sugar not only ensures that the ABV reaches a certain point, but it adds to the "weight" of the beer too. As the grey clouds hang down from the sky and the temperatures drop, these dual burdens seems lighter with a barley wine in hand.

While I cannot go into too much detail on this beer (I ruined my palate with my dinner earlier this evening with some chorizo), I can say that it is what a good barley wine should be: big, malty, bitter, and I've already got a small buzz from only half this 22oz. bottle. As always, well played, Great Divide Brewing Co.

While I lament the change in the weather, this barley wine may just lift my spirits.

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