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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,195 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,195
Reviews: 1,072
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 240
Gots: 339 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: gbontrag on 11-28-2004

Old Ruffian is a hefty, hop-forward Barley Wine. Seemingly mellow at the start with subtle fruit aromas and complex caramel sweetness, it quickly becomes aggressive with its bold hop flavors and huge hop bitterness. Ultimately, the big body, succulent sweetness and massive hop character come together to work wonders on your palate.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,195 | Reviews: 1,072
Photo of Houser
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i love the deep amber color on this, but thought it was a bit too hoppy...has that hoppy sweetness, which is still good, but wanted more from this classic. ends up tasting like an old dipa. again, good, just not great.

Photo of rderedin
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a fantastic Barleywine. Mine was from 2013. Great beer.

Photo of gibgink
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12-20-2012, poured 4-6-15. Even after 2+ years, the bitterness on this is still strong. I normally get a raisin sweetness from a barleywine, but the prevalent bitter notes made it more like honey. Very well made, but as it warmed, the bitterness became too strong for my palate.

Photo of greshdoghophead
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Dec 13-2013
Not as awesome as I would have anticipated but a solid 4.25 rated beer - seemed better in previous years.

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - hazy auburn color with a great tan head
Smell - sweet malty, pine, leather, some citrus, strong boozy and grainy
Taste - all the same things I said about the smell but also pretty bitter
Fell - full body creamy smooth
Overall - great Barleywine

Photo of MartyMaltose
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very satisfying barleywine on the cusp of, but just missing, perfection. Color, sweetness, and heat are awesome. I agree with comments about excessively bitter finish though. Available in 4-packs of 12 oz bottles, which is a huge plus for me...I hate that barleywines are so often reserved for special-markup bombers. Will definitely purchase at least twice/year if available.

Photo of Shaler_Tate
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This one was ok, but not my favorite. It drank more like an IPA to me, and I normally want a little more sweetness in a barleywine.

Photo of monkeybeerbelly
3.54/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

could not really enjoy this one. very surprised. the bitterness did not seem to be balanced by the malt sweetness making this one bitter mess. very disapointed by this one. i love great divides other offerings but this one was definately not for me. ill stick to collette for now

Photo of dlmvh5150
3.02/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Kind of bitter ending to it

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/19/2012. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red/copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, light pine, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, leather, herbal, floral, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus hops and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, leather, grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, pine, herbal, floral, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, leather, grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops and dark/bready malt flavors; with a fantastic malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding American barleywine at this age. All around awesome complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. Nearly perfectly balanced between hop and malt flavors right now. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of MadCat
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours a nice dark amber red color with a short tan head and some good lacing

Smell: Pine and resin hops, a strong malt backbone with caramel and dark fruits

Taste: More pine and resin hops up front with hints of citrus, very high bitterness backed up by a solid malt backbone comprised of caramel and dark fruits, with some residual sweetness

Feel: Full body and low carbonation

Overall: Fairly good. Curious to see what aging does to this since it is a fairly hoppy barleywine.

Photo of Eziel
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Think I might like it better fresh. Bottle was a 12-13-13 kept in dark cellar.

Photo of CowsandBeer
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz slightly chilled bottle poured into a Farnam House brewing snifter. Bottled on January 29, 2015 per the bottle label.

Appearance: Pours a thick finger of khaki head with a sudsy consistency atop a reddish hued body. The body is clear but dense with good head retention for the abv/style.

Aroma: Rich deep malts of toasted grains, raisins, caramel, toffee and an almost bubblegum sweetness. Strong piney and earthy hops with a warming alcohol bite at end. A bold and robust nose that is actually quite inviting.

Taste: Strong earthy hops up front leading into a toffee malt backbone with a fruity sweetness and an alcoholic bite. Long bitter finish which brings to mind all kinds of high alpha acid hops. A big burly ride of malts and hops that just bites so well.

Mf: A very dry and coarse feel from the hops. Full velvety body with a wine like warmth. Total fireplace beer.

Overall: Might be my favorite in the style of American Barleywines. Very rich and almost tongue bruising with its aggressive hopping and alcohol warmth but you can’t help but keep coming back for more. More refined and cohesive than Bigfoot. Having had a three year old bottle I can say it only gets better, can’t wait to try the barrel aged version. Highly recommended you pick up a four pack this winter, three bottles for now and one for later.

Edit: When paired with Rosemary crackers and an aged English Cheddar it's all fruity, rosey alcohol. Sip, sip, sip.

Photo of Yancey82
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at Pittsburgh Winter BeerFest.

Photo of ksolekjr
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage, tried at the Mad Fox Barleywine Festival in Falls Church

Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/15/13 this is my first one of this kind not my favorite kind of beer but this is good

Photo of NiceTaps
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle shared with a friend, tulip glass.

The hop-forward character set this apart. It smells and tastes fruity with caramel malty sweets. The bitterness keeps the sugar and booze in check. Nice hoppy finish.

Photo of jellikit
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle.
Appearance: deep orange/copper. Clear. Thin head. Thin lacing.
Smell: sugars and fruity hops. Slightly alcoholic.
Taste: Caramel, fruity. Mango and citrus. Alcohol is there but not overpowering. Same with bittering hops.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Big body. Slightly sweet, yet has a dryness.
Overall: what an American Barley Wine should taste like.

Photo of GregoriousMaximus34
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent beer, smooth drink considering it's over 10% ABV's

Photo of TylerKitchens
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2007 bottle...aged beautifully, not a huge hop presence but very well balanced and mellow

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/05/11
Off white head settles gradually leaving lots of lacing. A bit murky bronze color.
Mostly a malt smell with a bit of hops.
Much of the 90 IBU remain especially on the back of the mouth. Much sugar, candy barleywine taste AND also the malt,
Active in the mouth, a bit of sizzle?
If you like American style BW, yes you must try this.

Photo of splendid
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

very bold hopped from barely brewed

Photo of Jonny41
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

one of the best I've tried, Was surprised by the hop profile and slight bitter finish, a great barley wine for sure.

Photo of SamN
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, served in a snifter.

Old Ruffian is a cloudy, ruby color with more head than expected from a two year old 10 abv barleywine.

Smell is an intense mix of sweeter bready malts and candied fruits. Honey, sticky ganja buds, dark rum, dates, Hawaiian bread...the aroma is sweet and malty with just a hint of the hops former glory.

Hops are more prevelant in the taste, with a nice nice caramel notes upfront and plenty of sugary sweetness, lots of malt complexity. Hops gradually open up in the finish leaving a huge bitter stickness on the palette. Mouth feel is luscious and thick with plenty of carbonation left in the bottle.

Overall, not as blown away by this as others, but its still a solid Barleywine and worthy of Great Divide's reputation. Just not a game changer for me.

Photo of Will_cigars-n-brews
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly cloudy dark ale on the pour, nice aroma, but very malty.
First taste is an expected high ABV beer, big malt, sweet, nice caramel taste, but coats the mouth...a lot. What I will call a very typical barley wine but in a good way. Just solid.

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,195 ratings.