1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

1,996 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,996
Reviews: 1,038
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 212
Gots: 284 | FT: 13
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Ruffian Barley Wine Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,996 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MikeWard


3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

05-05-2014 19:03:36 | More by MikeWard
Photo of mattreitz49


4/5  rDev -5.2%

05-04-2014 02:15:06 | More by mattreitz49
Photo of Triklino

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

05-03-2014 01:00:12 | More by Triklino
Photo of Golferallen54


4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

05-02-2014 22:18:52 | More by Golferallen54
Photo of Darkmagus82


4.43/5  rDev +5%

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a deep crimson red color with a tiny head of fizzy, just off white foam. The brew looks thick even upon pouring sloshing in the snifter and sticking to the sides of the glass. The tiny head that was present upon pouring fades very fast leaving just some foam islands on the surface of the brew and a trace of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – A big and boozy but quite pleasant and warming aroma is in this one. The rum-boozy bourbon smell is one of the heaviest, but is complemented by lots of big sweet aromas as well. Caramel is the heaviest of the sweet, but there is also a good deal of toffee and plenty of dark fruits with it consisting of cherry, raisin, plum and fig. With these aromas are some decent showings of a cocoa smell as well as a little bit of an earthy and herbal hop aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a thick and bready flavor with some hints of a more roasted malt nature and a good dose of caramel sweetness. Along with the caramel are some flavors of dark fruit, consisting of the fruits that were detected in the nose; cherry, raisin, plum and fig. As the flavor advances the caramel transitions to a more buttery toffee flavor with the fruit flavors remaining rather constant. The bready flavors seem to dwindle ever so slightly but still remain a dominant taste in the profile. Around the middle of the flavor profile the booze starts to become noticeable. It is light at first having a more neutral boozy flavor. Along the same time some hop flavors begin coming to the tongue as well. The hop are mainly of a grapefruit flavor at first, but as the taste advances toward the end, other hops of an earthy and herbal nature join the flavor profile as well. Along with the increase in the hop, the boozy taste takes on more rum like qualities and gets quite a bit more potent toward the end. The newly augmented rum alcohol flavor, when mixed with the rest of the flavors, ends up leaving a nice warming and thick bready and somewhat more hoppy flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is rather low. The feel is just about perfect for the style as it really soaks the tongue in all the boozy, bready, dark fruit, hopped and roasted flavors of the brew making them really stand out in a sea of big flavors. Well done.

Overall – This is a fantastic barleywine!!! Many are either too sweet or just a pure pack of burning booze. This one is fantastically balanced and drinkable with great flavor, feel and aroma. I would recommend.

05-01-2014 01:18:59 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of KYGunner


4.16/5  rDev -1.4%

The color was a tawny Dark copper with a cloudy body and a bit of thinness. The foam head was thick and dense.

The nose was filled with chocolate and fudge brownie sweetness. The malt was obvious barley but there was a wine like air, hence barleywine.

The flavor is clean and at first very simple. It tastes like barleywine but as you delve further strong caramel flavor comes on. Even further still I was catching sweet dried dark fruit like prune, raisin and crabapple. It finished with fudge and brownie.

The feel is smooth but a little thinner than I anticipated, with low carbonated feel and a bit of alcohol sensation.

This is a solid and quite delicious barleywine that starts simple but opens up to be a relatively complex experience.

04-30-2014 23:37:06 | More by KYGunner
Photo of BuckTuckian


4/5  rDev -5.2%

04-30-2014 12:44:34 | More by BuckTuckian
Photo of drmcleod10


3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

04-29-2014 15:56:10 | More by drmcleod10
Photo of frlrv1020


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

04-27-2014 02:49:27 | More by frlrv1020
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

4.16/5  rDev -1.4%

Found an odd-labeled bottle and looked it up, and apparently instead of being new, it's an old label. From my limited research the bottle is circa 2008 or so. I was going to try it anyhow, but became more intrigued by the age factor.

A: dark ruby and clear (as clear as a darker beer can be, I guess). Edge and lacing is decent, quite nice if it is aged as presumed
S: heavy on the dark fruit, raisin mainly, maybe some fig. Also grape notes as one might get from wine. Minor amount of alcohol noted
T: follows the nose pretty well, but adding in a hops dryness (it is listed at 85 IBU). There is also a woodiness present, even though it isn't touted as having to do with a barrel (aging). Stronger on the dark fruit, but not sweet at all. Taste also includes stronger hints of alcohol.
M: dry hops pervades the end, muting the dark fruit into a bourbon-like taste. Even though the carbonation was present in the head, it didn't make a presence in the feel

O: more hoppy and less sweet than I expected from a barley wine. The tastes did seem more mellow than I can imagine them being at one point (especially considering what I've seen from Great Divide). I'll have to have a newer batch to compare.

Review of Dec-2013 bottle:
A: little lighter than I saw from 2008, but I had that in a darker bar
S: maybe a little more bitter than previously noted
T/M/O: about online with my rating, although I think the hops is a little more forward. I kinda expected this in a fresher batch.

04-25-2014 21:49:07 | More by cjgiant
Photo of R_J_FearNoBeer


4/5  rDev -5.2%

04-24-2014 00:53:35 | More by R_J_FearNoBeer
Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack

New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev +5.2%

Bottled date: Dec. 20, 2012. Thanks, local liquor store.

A slight boozy smell to this one, which I'm sure has been balanced by the year and a half it's been aging on my local store's shelf. I love that I can taste the hops, almost as if there's an oak-aged IPA hiding in here. Delicious! I'm looking forward to killing this bomber!

04-22-2014 01:24:50 | More by MakeMineADoubleJack
Photo of Kerne


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

04-20-2014 17:09:06 | More by Kerne
Photo of TheSixthRing


4.13/5  rDev -2.1%

Bottled on date of 12/13/13

Appearance - Pours a dark, relatively clear ruby brown with a finger's worth of sandstone colored head. Fair retention, resulting in a thin layer of surface suds. Fair lacing around the glass, with good stick.

Smell - Huge caramel in the nose, offset by some earthy, woody and leafy tea-like aroma. Hints of citrus once it warms.

Taste - Caramel and burnt toffee make up the bulk of the malt base, while hints of wood and earth lurk below. A solid punch of grapefruit pith comes crashing in mid-taste to give this a beautiful, bittersweet finish. The bitterness builds, sip after sip, and a resultant ruby red grapefruit character becomes the predominant flavor, while caramel hangs around the edges.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with fair carbonation. Lightly syrupy. Smooth at first, but gets a little rougher with the passage of time.

Overall - One of those barleywines that might be best while fresh, because the hop profile is a thing of beauty, though I wouldn't mind scoring a bottle at some point in the future just to see how well it ages. Gets a bit sweeter as it warms, and frankly I better loved the layered complexity it showed when first opened, but it's a hell of a barelywine all the same.

04-20-2014 05:56:01 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of dextermcgurk

New York

3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

04-20-2014 00:23:28 | More by dextermcgurk
Photo of DRTBrewster


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

04-18-2014 18:10:40 | More by DRTBrewster
Photo of Dutch55


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

04-17-2014 15:46:50 | More by Dutch55
Photo of DubCo21


3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

04-16-2014 22:35:00 | More by DubCo21
Photo of MalibuKenny

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

04-14-2014 17:43:08 | More by MalibuKenny
Photo of JeffTheJuice


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

04-11-2014 02:51:39 | More by JeffTheJuice
Photo of draheim


4.13/5  rDev -2.1%

22oz bottle (bottled December 2011) into a tulip. Pours a murky amber w/ an eggshell head, sticky lacing.

Aroma is caramel malt, toffee, rum-soaked figs, nuts & raisins.

Taste follows nose. Rich buttery caramel malt, chewy dried fruit, brown sugar, toffee, warming alcohol. A floral, bitter hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel is sticky, chewy, full-bodied. Lingering finish.

Overall a nice American barleywine that has improved and mellowed with age. Rich, complex but not complicated; tasty.

04-10-2014 04:49:40 | More by draheim
Photo of PetrusPalmgren


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

04-09-2014 23:53:47 | More by PetrusPalmgren
Photo of craftbeersweden


4.3/5  rDev +1.9%

Dark, mahognyred, clear beer with a two finger high, beige, creamy, flyffy head.

Nose: Caramel malt, toffee, dried fruit, black pepper, red berries, vanilla and orange.

Taste: Orange peel, sweet caramel, herbs, dark fruit, apricot, syrup, raisin and hops.

Mouthfeel: Complex body with small but tingling carbonation and a great bitterness from all the hops. Long after you swallow the beer you feel the bitternes growing in your mouth. Really good!

10.2 % ABV that's well hidden in the bitterness and hoppy taste.
This is absolutely one of my favorite barely wine.

04-08-2014 21:46:01 | More by craftbeersweden
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

4.31/5  rDev +2.1%

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Deep dark transparent amber with a brown tint to it. The off-white head that rose to maybe 1/4" at best settles nice and even after a sip....very good looking brew.

Smell: Honestly I have been going back and forth with this and it at the very least to me comes off bland. Could definitely be more potent, you smell the alcohol and like a wood note to it but drops before you place your glass down.

Taste: Complex, most barleywines in general dont have a such strong bitterness to it....this one is deep floral in taste but with wood undertones. Has almost a sweet feel to it, to the inexperienced might feel like a mellow DIPA. Malty as it gets, wow.

Mouth: Definitely feels medium to heavy with a gentle stickiness to it. It doesn't overwhelm you like some other brews to the point comes off easy and very well paired with food.

Overall: Great barleywine, I recently bought six bottles of one of my top three barlewyines and would have it tomorrow to compare. Drink up and enjoy, Salud!

04-08-2014 02:08:48 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of ethanmc12


4/5  rDev -5.2%

04-08-2014 01:50:43 | More by ethanmc12
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,996 ratings.