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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,957 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,957
Reviews: 1,037
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 205
Gots: 276 | FT: 12
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:
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 added by: gbontrag on 11-28-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Ruffian Barley Wine Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,957 | Reviews: 1,037 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123

Indiana

3.14/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours murky rust with a finger or so of tan head receding into nothing. Little lacing.

Lots of caramel and burnt sugar in the aroma. Some plum and other dark fruits.

Similar flavors. Very sweet throughout until some bitterness grips at the end. The bitterness should be welcome, but clashes a bit and doesn't mesh well with the dark fruit and caramel.

Medium bodied somewhat sticky so good for the style. Medium carbonation. A little cloying at times, but still finishes with some bitterness so sweetness doesn't linger on the tongue.

Ok barleywine and for the price and availability probably worth it. Not something I seek out all that often though.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 17:07:09 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of afksports
afksports

New York

3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I'm an amateur, and given that the bros give this an A, I feel compelled not to rip this. Primarily because it seems I'd stand alone. That said, I just don't like it. I'm drinking it on tap right now at Ginger Man in midtown NYC (2009, they said they aged it).

It looks great in my snifter, and if that were the only assessment this would be a winner. The nice head to begin the pour sits at about a finger above the the red orange hue with lacing throughout. It smells of pine, some hops and citrus.

The taste starts off strong with malt and sweetness. In the middle it exhibits something toasty, maybe a little fruity. In the end there's a soap hoppy bitterness (more soap than hop) that sticks on your tongue. I'll give it props for lasting, and it sure seems complex, but I don't have to like it. In fact, I want to wipe my tongue and mouth off. The finish reminds me of the end of my GD BelgIca pours. Maybe it's something in the Colorado water. I'll have to ask Coors!

For that reason, drinkability is low for me, although if this is your thing, it's a truly smooth brew for the abv and the category. As for me and Great Divide, I think I'll stick to my Yeti.

Serving type: on-tap

10-07-2010 22:48:29 | More by afksports
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A gorgeously intense brown/amber color with a tremendously dense tan head that lasts and lasts and lasts.

Smell: Very intense piney hops blended with burnt caramel and punctuated by a spicy alcohol aroma.

Taste: Starts with an explosion of hoppiness, followed by a quick burst of sickly sweetness. Much of the maltiness is lost when the dryness and bitterness takes over. The level of hops is what I have a problem with. It seems overhopped and overbitter for a potentially smooth brew that you could just soak in for a while.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but a little too oily and syrupy for me.

Drinkability: Quite the Hop Monster, here, and one I lost the battle with. My senses are left singed. "Hop-forward" is an understatement. While others seem to really love this one, I'd prefer something a little more "malt-forward" without being so cloyingly sweet.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2005 07:51:40 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Dizzy
Dizzy

Texas

3.2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours hazy reddish brown with a tan head. It retains the head really well for the amount of alcohol in this one. Aroma is citrusy hops, fruits, tons of sweet malt and alcohol. Taste is dominated by the hops and the alcohol, and unfortunatly the malts and a lot of the complexity are overshadowed by the hops. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. This beer isn't bad, but I don't really understand why it is rated so high. At almost $6 for a bottle, I probably won't buy it again but I don't regret trying it. Might be good to split the 22 oz bottle with someone.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2006 01:26:05 | More by Dizzy
Photo of Naerhu
Naerhu

Japan

3.2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - deep dark brown body, with a tight off white head.
S - Grapefruit peel, old flowers and alcohol.
T - The initial malt flavors are entirely over run by the hoppy bitterness. Unbelievably long bitterness. Dark, over-ripe, burned fruit.
M - Extremely heavy and syrupy. It took me over an hour to just drink a third of the bottle.
D - Really this was just too much. Too much alcohol, too much bitterness, too heavy. Its really just over the top. The name tags this beer pretty well becaus it is quite rough. It should be Old Rough-ian.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2006 02:35:25 | More by Naerhu
Photo of incubuscience
incubuscience

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -23%

01-14-2014 04:45:43 | More by incubuscience
Photo of PatB1987
PatB1987

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -23%

06-11-2014 16:11:56 | More by PatB1987
Photo of Piddmeista
Piddmeista

California

3.25/5  rDev -23%

12-20-2013 04:43:32 | More by Piddmeista
Photo of gueuzer
gueuzer

Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery

App- A reddish brown with a clinging lace. Quite nice.

S- Strong bittering hops with a sticky bun notes in the back. A little booze burn.

Ta- Upfront hops. Very bitter. The sweet caramel malt back it up but not quite enough to balance out.

Ov- Border between a double IPA and barley wine. Need to tone down the hops to let everything play out a bit more.

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2011 02:03:38 | More by gueuzer
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$8 for 22oz @ Huck's in Spokane, WA
Poured to NB tulip.

A: Ale pours a dark mahogany with red edges. Mildly transparent around edges. Light caramel, thin cap over the ale. Can agitate bubbles to thicker head, but less so as temperature increases.

S: Caramel, toffee, mint, pine, earthy hops. Still a small hint of alcohol. Standard lineup of a BW.

T: Bitter. Pine, astringent. Sweetness from alcohol present, too much bite on back of palate. Finishes with a hair of nougat, but not enough to help balance out the mass of early wort hops on this one.

M: Medium to heavy ale with medium to low carbonation. A bit sharp with high ABV.

D: This is absolutely a big beer, in GDBC's nature. Although this beer is decent, and I imagine fantastic with two years under it's belt, I cannot call it great. Worth a try, worth a purchase to age a couple. Beyond that, mediocre as far as BW's go.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 09:09:17 | More by harrymel
Photo of davidwhatshisnam
davidwhatshisnam

New York

3.25/5  rDev -23%

05-08-2014 20:32:34 | More by davidwhatshisnam
Photo of BrockGibson31
BrockGibson31

Indiana

3.25/5  rDev -23%

02-23-2013 19:52:54 | More by BrockGibson31
Photo of JPFaile
JPFaile

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -23%

06-19-2014 02:05:57 | More by JPFaile
Photo of Mlawrence
Mlawrence

Georgia

3.25/5  rDev -23%

05-14-2014 23:24:46 | More by Mlawrence
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

3.25/5  rDev -23%

01-23-2013 05:38:22 | More by Kelp
Photo of UpToMeBeer
UpToMeBeer

Colorado

3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I do not get the hpye over this beer. Pours nicely with a mohagany/copper color and healthy head that retains nicely.

The smell is ordinary at best. Nothing pronounced.

The taste is alcohol-heavy with little else to offer... too much grassy-ness and no trace of what you hope for in a barley-wine. As it warms, a hint of caramel comes out, but it's too little, too late. The best thing is the mouthfeel: this is a full-bodied, nearly sticky beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2011 03:44:15 | More by UpToMeBeer
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into a Rochefort glass.

This beer is a muddy brown color that is not entirely appealing. The head is a very light tan with little retention or lacing.

The aroma has a little malts on the front with a very "off" hopish flavor. Its hops but one that is very unique almost tarry.

The taste is also tarry, piney with a lots of hops.

The feel is heavy but drinkability is done.

Overall this is ok, but nothing super special.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 23:50:00 | More by jrallen34
Photo of deanhead
deanhead

Vermont

3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice amber color, highly alcoholic nose

The taste is bitter almost sour...maybe acid aldehyde. I want to have faith in this beer, and hope it's not infected. Finishes with a taste like acetone.

Very dank and hoppy. Slightly thin to medium body. Would have expected more body from a beer this big. The malt flavor is somewhat overpowering.

It's drinkable, but either needs some time, or a different bottle then one I drank.

I did enjoy this beer despite the bottle itself being suspect.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2008 02:34:28 | More by deanhead
Photo of chilly460
chilly460

Virginia

3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Copper/orange amber, pours a one finger tan head. Nice capped head the entire beer.

S: Big grapefruit and banana dominate. Some strong toffee malt in there too.

T: Here we go again, I admit I'm not a barleywine fan and this one does the "usual" to me for the style. Initial sweet banana taste, almost overly sweet...then the sudden and unpleasant shift to a pure pine resin bitterness. Just not my cup of tea, don't like the balance.

M: Chewy comes to mind, thick and goopy, one of the first beers I've had that I thought may have had too much body.

D: Can't put it any other way, struggled through half a bomber here. Just couldn't get over the harshness of the flavors, both sweet and hoppy. It's clear now I'm not going to like any barleywines, but found this one among the worst I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2011 20:31:27 | More by chilly460
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy deep orange/reddish color. At first pour, a large white head forms, but recedes to a ring and leaves some sticky and patchy lace.
S: This is great. Hops and malt are balanced perfectly. Fruity citrus aromas (lemon, grapefruit, lime) with sweet candy malt aromas. A lot is going on in the nose.
T: The flavor seems a bit muted. Plenty of hop bitterness and malt flavors to balance out, but not as rounded as the nose. Almost a cloying sweetness. Not that it is bad by any means, just not a knock out.
M/D: Creamy, smooth, and well carbonated. Lots of alcohol, and the sweetness makes this a sipping beer. One is more than plenty.

A good American barlywine that I enjoy. Nothing outstanding, but a well balanced beer. Something I would recommend to lovers of the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2008 04:45:33 | More by champ103
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper color with a 1 - 2 finger light tan head, with good retention and lacing. The aroma has pine hops and caramel malt. Seems to be a pretty even balance between hop and malt aroma.

The taste of this beer has a pretty even balance between pine hops and caramel malt. I believe the best Barleywines have more malt, and fewer hops, which is only my preference for Barleywines.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation, hoppy and oily. This is a decent beer, but is too hoppy for a Barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 03:51:34 | More by hardy008
Photo of yourchoice
yourchoice

New Jersey

3.4/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Catching up on some notes from the last couple weeks...

A - Muddy brownish red, like stained mahogany. Very little light tan head, quckly dissipating.

S - Raisins, sweet cranberries...very raisiny and sweet.

T - Not detecting it in the smell, I was surprised to find it a little smokey, but still very sweet. Still raisins and figs. Pronounced alcohol (not a "hidden" 10 ABV).

M - Little carbonation, good body.

O - I can't honestly say I was longing for my next sip. I'll have to revisit in the future to see if I may have missed something or my palate was off...

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 01:27:16 | More by yourchoice
Photo of GehenHerzog
GehenHerzog

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 2009 Vintage 22oz bomber, purchased from Brawley's (Charlotte) poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter.

A- Pours a a red to burnt red color with almost no head. .

S- Smells of dark fruits, caramel and a extremely small hint of hops. Not much here other than the dark fruit.

T- Again...Dark fruits, caramel and and earth hops (again, not much hops present). It is slightly bitter but the dark fruits really shine.

M- Medium bodied with almost no carbonation.

D- This is a strong beer. You can tell this beer is strong and it burns going down.

I'll end this by saying I am not a big barleywine fan but I was definitely not a fan of this beer. It was too strong for me and the flavors didn't suit my palate.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 01:38:47 | More by GehenHerzog
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.41/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, 10/28/10. ~11 month old bottle. This beer could use some more time. Right now, it’s sticky, kinda boozy and harsh. There are some nice caramel notes lurking in there, but it’s just not all that enjoyable right now. Aroma is caramel malt and citric hops. Sweet sugar cane, apricots and an acetone/metal note also show up. The taste is sweet leading to harsh. Lots of caramel malt flavor is packed into this beer. Mouthfeel is fairly sticky. Appearance is a darkened amber with an off-white to beige head. At any rate, I imagine a vintage bottle would get higher marks. Also, I’m sorta down on barleywines, right now, so I’ll give this one another try in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 07:53:04 | More by popery
Photo of tjthresh
tjthresh

Indiana

3.43/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber. Pour a beautiful clear garnet/mahogany red. A creamy whipped head forms that lasts the entire pint. Notes of caramel/toffee, cooked brown sugar, and ton of hops rush right to the nose. You can taste all 90 IBUs in the beer. Almost to a fault. There is an alcohol burn that I can do without also. There is some big hop flavor with enough malt sweetness to keep this beer from crossing into the Imperial IPA catagory. Quite full bodied and mouthfilling. Everything clings to your tounge for a while. I think it might hang on too long. Old Ruffian is worth the 6 buck I paid for it. I just think it might be a bit too over the top.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2005 20:58:55 | More by tjthresh
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,957 ratings.