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Burns Family Artisan Ales | Ship of Theseus Old Ale

Burns Family Artisan Ales | Ship of Theseus Old Ale
Scott Grossman

Burns Family Artisan Ales’ Ship of Theseus serves up plenty of depth and complexity, echoing the multi-faceted career of brewer Wayne Burns. Burns’ two-decade journey has taken him from Michigan to Colorado. During his beer career, he has worked for notable breweries including Bells Brewery and Wynkoop Brewing Company; co-founded Jagged Mountain Brewery and started his current endeavor.

Along the way, Burns picked up favorite recipes and a fondness for crafting high-gravity beers. Ship of Theseus docks at 11.6% ABV along with a quirky name that pays tribute to the origin of the recipe.

Born of a Legend

The tale of the ship of Theseus questions whether a ship can have all its components replaced and still be the same ship. In this brew’s story, swap beer for ship.

Ship of Theseus uses the 4th Dementia recipe from Burns’ time at Michigan’s Kuhnhenn Brewing Company. However, it substitutes local ingredients. For example, Burns brews with Denver water instead of Michigan water and with Colorado-grown barley.

Owner/Brewer Wayne Burns with Ship of Theseus

So is it the same beer? More importantly, does that matter as long as it tastes good? Having not sampled the original, I can only help address the second question.

Complex Flavors

The copper/mahogany color supports the initial nose of malt and dark fruit—particularly figs. Sipping the beer broadens the fruit profile to also reveal a complexity of multiple dried fruits such as raisins. The malt adds a dose of sweetness and caramel without being cloying.

For such a high ABV beer, Ship of Theseus surprisingly has a medium body and a smoothness that gives little hint of the alcohol. Both of these make for a dangerously easy-drinking brew. As the beer finishes, the sweetness gives way to some dryness which provides a pleasant balance.

Regardless of how it compares to the original, Ship of Theseus provides a solid, modern-day drinking experience in its own right.

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