Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,088 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,088
Ratings:
2,376
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
14.45%
 
 
Wants:
283
Gots:
424
For Trade:
20
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

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.

Added by gbontrag on 11-28-2004

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,088 | Ratings: 2,376
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fresh 12oz bottle served in a wine glass. Bottle was dated 01/2015.

Appearance: deep red copper with a light brown head

Nose: toffee, caramel, hops and malty sweetness

Taste: strawberries, aggressive warming alcohol and hops character, fruity, caramel, toffee, malty sweetness, full bodies and delicious with nice carbonation, light enough to not leve your mouth coated.

Overall: has the body and hot alcohols thy make this beer a cellar candidate. Delicious.

 464 characters

Photo of tone77
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark ruby color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of fruits, malts. Taste is hops, caramel, light fruits, bitter at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

 234 characters

Photo of 57md
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brownish copper in color. Malty, bready and sweet. Nice blend of hops on the finish. However, this offering did not quite have the body I'm looking for in a barleywine.

 171 characters

Photo of daledeee
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I have heard of this one so I bought it off name recognition. Poured it into a chalice and got really nice head and lacing with an auburn body that is dark but clear. Nose is hoppy and malty. Taste at first was full of caramel and hops. As the beer aired out, it because less so but a nice hop edge with great carbonation and a great creamy mouthfeel. This would be a good beer to keep around. A very fine example of a barleywine.

 436 characters

Photo of dmgeng
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been wanting to try this for a while but there have been too many others to catch my palate until now.

A - Beautiful dark ruby color. Clear with a rocky white head and good lacing. Looks like a Dr. Pepper but with body.

S - Sweet hop character that is fruity almost like blueberries. Big rich malt character right beside the fruitiness. Under the richness there is some herbal hops along with some light alcohol and caramel in the background.

T - The taste also has that almost blueberry but so much malt on the front end. The sweetness is thick and robust but after the sweet malt the caramel and fruits really drive it home. On the finish there is some of the more zest, floral, and herbaceous hops to help balance the sweet malt and raisin character. There is a hop bitterness that attempts to compliment the sweetness but is still a malt bomb on the finish.

M - High to medium mouth-feel with medium carbonation. It is definitely a barley wine with that sweet, richness that is always there with the style but this one is not as balanced as some that I've had in the past.

Overall, a delicious beer but I would definitely classify this under the English Barley Wine with the sweet malt, rich fruit, and herbal hops instead of the American hops and more balance that you find in an American BW. I did really enjoy the rich sweetness but I know that it could be a turn-off for many and could be more complex overall. If you like fruit cake then this is the beer for you!

Glass- Snifter

 1,500 characters

Photo of Houser
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

 220 characters

Photo of gibgink
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

 289 characters

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
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

 252 characters

Photo of MartyMaltose
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

 376 characters

Photo of monkeybeerbelly
3.54/5  rDev -16.1%
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

 281 characters

Photo of superspak
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | 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.

 1,665 characters

Photo of MadCat
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 489 characters

Photo of CowsandBeer
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

 1,474 characters

Photo of NiceTaps
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

 216 characters

Photo of jellikit
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

 374 characters

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

 351 characters

Photo of SamN
4.11/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

 796 characters

Photo of Will_cigars-n-brews
4.05/5  rDev -4%
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.

 248 characters

Photo of StoutFox
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Enjoyed at brewery on tap
Appearance: Brown with a redish tint, uniform body, white head
Aroma: Dark fruits, carmaly, a bit of sweet hops
Taste: A bit to hoppy for my taste, the hops tend to overpower the other flavors of the the beer
Complexity: heavy, and boozy
Overall: Worth the try but not my favorite Barleywine, would be nice to try after a couple of years in the celler

 380 characters

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.76/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: Ruddy, nectarine red. Nectar hazy. Just off white lofty head. Clings to glass as it dissipates with look of sea foam.

S: I get a lot of resin, like walking thru an evergreen forest. Mossy earth and citrus; that's the bright. Toffee malt, rum raisin cake, pineapple, berry jam, thyme, good leather. Alcohol that can over-dominate if you get the wrong whiff, otherwise near perfect.

M: Near gel like chewiness. Very fun, velvety soft. Light and flirtatious carbonation. Good residual warmth. Tasted thinner as it warms/consumed with food.

T: Boozy and alcoholic, perfect drink fireside. Very aggressive hop bitterness noticed next. Pine, orange peel, oak wood, hint of coffee, tangerine sours. Brandy soaked fruits, light sweetness of honey+ woodsiness of maple. I like the bitter and booze. Bitterness is actually perfect for style; taste it with a clean palate else all you'll get is booze.

 898 characters

Photo of GregJ
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Think white head slowly dissipates. Very pleasant aroma, sweet floral and malty. Initially sweetness is quickly overcome by very strong malty and happy flavor. Very dry mouth finish. Excellent early wine beer. The extra hoppiness and heavy malt does an excellent job of masking the high (10.2%) alcohol content. Very good barley wine.

 334 characters

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

A lightly hopped nose with touches of spice and alcohol faintly suggestive of bourbon. Pours brilliant chestnut with a ½” foam cap that surprisingly provides intricate lace. The palate combines big malt, big alcohol and big hops with dried fruit, caramel, faint vanilla, alcohol and a balancing, sustaining bitterness that provides a lingering bitter aftertaste. A very creamy big beer just a shade less than chewy.

 418 characters

Photo of Jaysauras
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%

A: Fantastic. Pours a wonderful dark amber color with a decent amount of head. An aggressive pour could cause an overflow no doubt. A very crisp looking beer when poured into a tulip glass.

S: Smells strong, but not in a bad way. Like the smell of a good, not cheap whiskey. The hops are big up front but there is also a piney and floral aroma that follows it. Definitely get a feel for the sweetness as well.

T: As if the smell and look weren't good enough, the taste backs it up. It's deceptively strong for what it brings to the table. Very sweet with a lot of fig and grape flavors going on. Again, the alcohol is masked so well in this it's hard to believe it's a 10+.

M: Very robust and what you would expect from a high alcohol barleywine. Little bit of carbonation but not too much. It fits well with the overall feel of the beer of it being big in presence but light in some of the things that can take away from good barleywines.

O: I am a lover of the Barleywine and Old Ale style, and GD hasn't disappointed here. A tremendous Barley wine to try if you have never gotten into the style. It's big in a lot of ways but subtle in just as many important ways. Tremendous beer.

 1,188 characters

Photo of Bear1964
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Mason Jar, beautiful color and a creamy off white head. Aroma of hops and dark fruits hits the nose..things get heavy here and I couldn't get much else, no matter because the taste is awesome and although hop forward it has some levels of depth with the overall flavor which covers the ABV very well. The mouthfeel is heavy at first sip and changes on the tongue to medium..almost light and then finishing a solid medium..the tongue takes a journey here but it should with a good Barley Wine Style Ale! Overall a very solid and enjoyable brew..glad I picked it up and would grab it again...Great Divide Brewing Co turns out some nice stuff.

 673 characters

Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%

Look: Dark brown boarderline red body, off-white lacing. Smell: Assorted berries, cherries, citrus, toasted bread, caramel, chocolate notes, slight booze. Taste: Pitted fruits, berries, cocoa, caramel sweetness, slight pine and citrus rind, earthy pungency, a very nice leafy tobacco bitterness that compliments the malt sweetness. Feel: Medium, smooth body. soft carbonation.

Overall: Not as hop forward as the label details, yet it doesn’t lack hops either. This is more balanced than Big Foot. Enough of that gibberish, everything in this is delicious. The booze is more present in the aroma than in the taste. This is recommended.

 638 characters

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.