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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,173 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,173
Reviews: 1,067
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 237
Gots: 334 | FT: 19
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:
Beer added by: gbontrag on 11-28-2004

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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,173 | Reviews: 1,067
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Almost ruby bodied, but a bit more brown. Very clear with a decent head. Not a lot of lacing once it recedes.

Smell - Wonderful smell, once it warms. Caramel malts and dark fruits. Maybe a hint of banana. Not much sweetness to the smell, just the flavors. A bit of earthiness from the hops.

Taste - Not as good as the smell. The dark fruits are hard to pick out, but the caramel is there. Still not as sweet as I'd expect, and I like it. The pine hop presence in the back lends to the earthy flavor detected in the smell. Nice, but doesn't live up to the smell.

Mouthfeel - Barleywines often turn into syrup by the end of the glass. This one steers away from the sweetness nicely and doesn't become too thick. The carbonation keeps it drinkable as it's high enough to combat the body of the beer.

Overall - A very nice barleywine. Lacks a bit of complexity, but it's delicious and well made.

Photo of Dicers
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown in color, some carbonation, nice head which sticks around for a while, very nice sticky lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of sweet malts, hops, and caramel.

T - The taste is pretty sweet and hoppy, there's a little bitterness in the finish. Also a hint of alcohol.

M - Medium body. A very nice well rounded brew.

D - Very drinkable. This is a nice offering from GD, would buy again, and recommend to others.

Photo of sendbeer
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of PEIhop
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of ppoitras
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1 1/4" of dense tan head over the deeply orangey amber brew. Head just sits there, and lacing is nice. Aroma is sweetly of malts, with tinges of fruit, hops, and alcohol. Taste begins with smooth sweet grains, then the hops, fruitiness, and alcohol all hit at once. Kind of overpowers the palate, and then departs with a strong alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel and drinkability are not bad for the style, but it is certainly an acquired taste, even compared to others in the style.

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -34.7%

Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of beerthulhu
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark cherry red color with a thin light beige head head.

S: Some citrus, dry pine on nose.

T: Nice sticky pine resin flavor, dry, with some oak cherry wood notes. Dry pine, alcohol is well hidden for 10.2 abv. Some floral bittering with citrus hints in the finish. Sweet caramel and toffee round out the mouthful for a creamy rich body. Good malt complexity and and woodiness.

M: Mouthful is sticky and dry with some caramel sweetness.

D: Very drinkable until you finish and alcohol hits you. Some alcohol bite upon warming.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 received from Redwood21 in the LNBA BIF... Thanks David... This bottle has been refrigerated ever since so I could drink it as fresh as possible. Poured into my New Belgium snifter.

3 finger head towered probably 1/2" out of the glass and left behind tons of lace... the brew is a very pretty reddish amber.

Very "American" in the nose... huge C-hops... citrus and resiny piney hops... enough caramel to be noticed but it's blown out of the water by the tidal wave of hoppiness.

Flavor is also very assertive big American... quite a bit of bitterness even for the style.. great maltiness and quite a bit of caramel.. lower fruity esters melt into a bunch of piney hops and back into long estery and fruity/bitter finish.

The body is on the full side... lush though with smooth carbonation.. very rich from front to back.

Really an epitome of what any brewery should really shoot for.

Photo of beertunes
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of tobelerone
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tone
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, amber/copper color. 1/2 inch head of a pale tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, dark citrus, and caramel. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol (strong), slight roasted malt, citrus, slight hop, and sweet malt background. Overall, a strong alcohol characteristic, but good body.

Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly clear, deep red/brown with a hint of orange highlights. Dense tan head with great lacing and retention. Malty aroma with intense hoppiness, some pine, orange citrus, and faint alcohol. Piney hop bitterness is way out front, but is balanced well by caramel and toffee. Juicy orange kicks in midway, and it ends with nuts and warm alcohol. The finish is dry and bitter with a caramel/orange combination. Moderately low carbonation, perfect in conjunction with the creamy texture. Overall it's a bit dry, but balanced well with malty sweetness. This is an awesome barleywine, highly recommended.

Photo of ZEB89
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage in a Ommegang flute. Pours a deep red-orange amber. Thin persistent very light tan head fine and medium bubble head and light lacing. Aroma of spicy caramel malt, dark fruit, herbal hops and a hint of oxidation. Piney hops and sweet malt dominate the flavor with dark dried fruit and a light fruit or fruit esters component and light citrus. Nice medium mouth feel with some creaminess. The alcohol is still hot, but the pleasant combination of flavors keeps this tasty. A prototypical well made American barley wine. Tasted side by side with a 2009 in a Nostradamus flute. The 2009 has mellowed very nicely. A thicker, finer head with massive lacing. Aroma is more subdued, but still has the sweet malt, dark fruit and a hint of hops. Flavor is caramel malt, dark fruit and a hint of citrus, nicely integrated. Flavors have mellowed over time, but have combined very nicely. Body is incredibly heavy bodied and creamy. This has aged beautifully and is delicious.

Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby brown, with plenty of head! Leaves a little lace.

S: Piney hops, caramel malts.

T: Piney hop flavour and bitterness is pleasant, and a little assertive, but it's not an assault on your taste buds like some of the hop bombs (Nothing like BigFoot or Old Crustacean, a nicer balance like Old Foghorn). Well rounded caramel malt flavour.

M: Not as heavy as one might expect. Nicely carbonated.

D: I think it's quite drinkable, and at this alcohol level, quite dangerous!

Photo of flagmantho
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. Bottled 12/2/11, so it is basically un-aged, but I'm going to give it a try.

Appearance: rich amber hue with the tiniest touch of haze. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam with a hint of orange infused. Nice!

Smell: big sweet malt with a light fruitiness and a bit of that strong-ale prickliness. Good!

Taste: big malt and big alcohol. Sweet with some caramel notes with a bite of both bitterness and alcohol. The hops themselves don't come through very strongly other than in bitterness. Frankly, it's a bit over-alcoholic; the flavor doesn't stand up to the octane.

Mouthfeel: big body with a great carbonation and a great silkiness. Pretty awesome.

Overall: there's just too much strength here for the flavor profile. The flavor is good, but even for a barleywine it's got too much alcohol.

Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear ruby red, medium off white head forms, lacing is nice. Smell is caramel, chocolate, floral and pine hops, alcohol, and some citrus, the hops are spectacular. Taste is toffee/chocolate/coffee malts with super piney and floral hop destruction, some alcohol is present. Mouthfeel is pretty thick, low carbonation, very excellent barleywine. Thanks DrJay!

Photo of Bighuge
4.87/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rustic looking auburn/burgandy blend. A slight creamy cigarette stained beige head recedes to a collar quickly. And this collar leaves some adequate lacing for a barleywine. This beer's aroma has caramel and nougat oozing out of every pore...with every pore being comprised of hop resin. My kind of aroma. The flavor profile is everything I look for in a barleywine. Deep blanket of caramel, toffee, nougat and fruit tones. But this blanket doesn't completely cover up the hop tones...no, it merely shades them. Those pine cone, resinous, rind-like qualities are present. But not in a Big Huge way in which you might find them in a DIPA. The bitterness is pretty clean, but very evident. Even though this barleywine is checking in close to 100 IBUs, this is a malt driven Barleywine, which really hits home with me. The alcohol is noticeable, but definitely not overbearing and quite fitting in the context of this beer. Mouthfeel is quite agreeable. A slight prick of CO2 is felt and the body is about medium-full. This is an excellent, excellent barleywine. One of the absolute best I've had.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice scarlet appearance with good clarity and 1" head to it. Aroma was kinda muted, didn't take much away from it but caramel and a nice lack of alcohol given its strength.

Taste, pretty enjoyable, rich and smooth. Alcohol, as usual w/ great divide, is hidden extremely well. Decent hopping to it, but clearly a barleywine. Stays away from sweetness, delivers some vanilla and finishes dry. Really keeps the bitterness and alcohol so suppressed on the tongue. Cocoa powder?

One of the best and decently priced barleywines out there. With this and Bigfoot around, you have to wonder how someone can do better at such a price and wide availability. Dethrone Rarity!

Photo of vfgccp
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottled Nov 2010, opened Dec 2013

A - Gorgeous mahogany, burnt siena body. Creamy, off-white head has great retention and nice lace.

S - Caramel, cognac, raw wood, figs, tobacco, tart cherry, raisin.

T - White wood, booze, raisin, touch of cold coffee, bitter dandelion.

M - Surprisingly light, thin body. Way under par for a barley wine imho.

O - A little disappointing. The flavor could use a little more depth and complexity, and the body was surprisingly thin. It's possible the bottle didn't age well, so I will definitely be trying a fresh bottle of this beer as soon as I can.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,173 ratings.