Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company
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Ratings: 1,974 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kkipple:
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
My first time trying this formidable brew.
Half-way through an after-dinner viewing of The Shining, my friend decides to crack open one of these bad boys. I was still clear headed enough to grab a tasting notebook and write down my thoughts as Jack Torrance hammered away at his typewriter.
This beer fills my goblet with a hazy, rust colored brew; the head is small, but lingers on the surface of the beer. The smell is immediately apparent, a strong mix of alcohol, piney citrus hops, and prunes. Not much subtlety here really.
Usually the words "barleywine" and "balanced" aren't seen anywhere near each other, but I'm happy to report Old Ruffian is the exception to the rule. It's got the signature bracing bitterness you'd expect, but is evened out with a tasty mix of brown sugar and fresh hops, so that the end result is more than the sum of its parts. There's a nice fruityness to the flavor, prunes and maybe apples was the best I could think of. The hops have a resiny quality to them, and the sweetness is quite syrupy, which culminates in a very smooth (for a barleywine!) and juicy beer.
Mouthfeel is again smooth, syrupy, and a bit bubbly. Finishes moist, bitter, and leaves residual hops flavor everywhere. Yum.
Old Ruffian feels very much like someone's labor of love. There's really not much to complain about. I did notice that the three women in our party made funny faces and proclaimed their utter hatred of this beer, so it is likely best shared with fellow barleywine devotees.
About the time Jack decided the solution to his boredom could be solved via axe, I was polishing off this remarkable beer and wishing I had a bit more. I have no problem proclaiming this the best barleywine I've tasted, and certainly hope to taste it again.
Serving type: bottle
04-19-2006 23:59:29 | More by kkipple
More User Reviews:
4.3/5 rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Vintage 2011.
A: yeast dregs were poured in my glass, so it stays pretty cloudy. Beautiful brown color with shades of ruby and Siena. Beige head retains at about a half inch. lacing is spotty.
S: Big bready sweetness up front. Bread pudding. Crust and toast. Runny caramel. Berry juice esters. Cherry and ripe, sweet raspberry. Some wet paper oxidation, which is fine. Fading hops still bring earthy pine and bark.
T: Toasty, crusty. Scones. Caramel. Fruity esters of cherry and raspberry. Prune juice. Perhaps suggestions of apricot and marmalade, though I think it's coming from hops. Hops also add earthy flavors of pine and bark. Modestly strong bitterness to balance all the malt. Long finish of scone, crust, and earthy hops.
M: Big thick body. Creamy and smooth. Weighty but not heavy or syrupy. Gentle supporting carbonation.
O: A classically done American Barleywine. All around solid. One of a handful to look to as a measuring stick for the style. The age on this one has rounded it out beautifully.
Serving type: bottle
07-19-2014 20:46:53 | More by ryan1788a5
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,974 ratings.