Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company
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Ratings: 1,841 | Reviews: 1,026 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by TheBrewo:
4.08/5 rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
We pour a reddish, tawny colored brew. It holds a caramel colored head of half a finger which recedes into a single layer of large sticky bubbles. These leave spots of lacing as they go. Heavy swirling produces a characteristic ring of bubbles around the edges of the glass, like a wall marking the borders of the liquid. There is a big haze to the beer with chunks of sediment floating about the glass. The carbonation appears standard, but the bubbles slowly rise through the thickness. The aroma is vibrant and rich, with a sturdy base being laid down by big and sweet caramel malts. They don’t seem roasty, but they have a deep character to them. This supports light buttery diacetyls and sugary strawberry. There is also a highly active hop presence lingering high over everything else to brush the back of the nose with its grapefruity glory. The booze is quite apparent, and becomes even more so with warmth. As we sip the mouth is met with heavy malts, buttery diacetyls, and a robust hop bitterness right from the start. The middle brings about a sugar sweetness of citrus, likely lent from the hop varietals. Bitterness of hops, however, remains, and takes on a bit of a soapy character. We ride this component through to the finale, where that strong bittering is cut further by an enhance sweetness of boozy fruit and a drying, chalky graininess. Additionally, the booze gives that strong peppery feel to clean the remaining flavors from the palate. The aftertaste breathes with bittering hops, a hint of caramel malts, and big spicy booze. The body is full and the carbonation is medium. There is nice froth lent by the persistent bubbles and the thickness, and there is a thick slurpability with each sip. The mouth is left dried by the hops, despite the initial creamy coating. The abv is strong but appropriate, and the beer drinks more slowly.
Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the rich aroma. None of the components seemed to outmuscle the other, with the nose ultimately striking a nice balance. The hops were there and unique with citrus for the style, while the malts were equally as unique, with their sweet caramel characteristics. As advertised there was a huge bittering aspect of this beer, as lent by the aromatic hops. While this did not act against the brew, by the end of the glass it became, debatably, a bit much, making the drinker sit back and really take his or her time.
Serving type: bottle
07-21-2011 02:16:57 | More by TheBrewo
More User Reviews:
4.15/5 rDev -1.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on Dec. 20, 2012.
A: Pours a murky copper color. The head is a one finger off-white shade featuring decent retention and a soft, creamy texture. Some nice lacing is left on the glass. The haziness isn't exactly appealing visually, but will likely translate into a surprisingly easy drinking barleywine.
S: Upon first whiff, I get a lot of bready, vaguely caramel-forward malts, which is supplanted by some aged leafy hops. Of course, the trick here is to let it warm up - that way, the subtle fruit esters (like cherries and apricots) will come out and add a welcome dimension to the beer. I'm also getting some notes of chocolate, brown sugar, and tobacco. The more I let this sit, the more interesting it becomes. In other words, just like how a barleywine should be.
T: A wave of bitterness opens things up, and is quite fleeting off the palate. I'm getting a lot of tobacco flavor from this beer, which quickly develops into chocolaty, fruity, and caramel-y notes. These flavors are more whispered than shouted It has a somewhat dry, mineral water finish. There are really light hints of alcohol, slowly coming out the more it warms up - again, adding to the experience rather than detracting. Every flavor here is integrated and balanced to near perfection; I'll take that over something mindlessly complicated any day.
M: While it's not exactly light, it's shockingly crisp and dry on the finish. A lot of that has to do with how vibrant the carbonation is. I can tell it's a big, strong beer, but there's absolutely nothing to suggest it's 10.2%. It's definitely more drinkable than your run-of-the-mill DIPA, yet every bit as rich and decadent as a barleywine should be.
O: Oh man. This is a killer barleywine. Not only is it luxurious and complex, it's surprisingly drinkable and not overly sweet (which is a problem, even in good barleywines). Actually, I overstated it's drinkability...if only because I want to savor every last drop of it.
Serving type: bottle
03-01-2014 21:45:31 | More by ThisWangsChung
4.75/5 rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
The beer pours an off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves some very noticeable lacing. The beer itself is a clear ruby with hints of purple. The beer is very clear and see through. The beer has a strong notes of barley with lighter dark fruit notes that resemble raisin with a slight hint of alcohol. The beer taste is slightly different. The barley notes are weaker than the dark fruit notes. Also, the beer has a slight strawberry tartiness. The dark fruit notes are raisin with a bit of plum. The beer is heavy-bodied with a smooth feel and biting carbonation. Overall, a fantastic barleywine and worth drinking.
Serving type: bottle
03-01-2014 03:53:07 | More by HattedClassic
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,841 ratings.