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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

1,977 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,977
Reviews: 1,038
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 207
Gots: 278 | 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: 1,977 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle, w/o vintage or any other info. Pours dark honey/amber, dark tan, fine head, leaving scattered and fine/wispy lacing. Malty nose, with a hint of earthy funk as it warms. Smooth. mellow and quite tasty Bwine. Plenty of smokey malts, hints of scotch and leather. Thoroughly pleasing sipper, fine night capper, went well with some aged chedder

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2007 02:46:01 | More by Billolick
Photo of RedChrome
RedChrome

Connecticut

4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep copper color with minor ruby hues. Half inch off white head took about three minutes to drop. Slightly above average amount of carbonation rising slowly. Huge sticky lace on sides.

A huge hops aroma powered right off the top. Strong roasted almond presence with a light caramel aroma. Alcohol is clearly there, but seems balanced.

Strong taste on all sides. Hops and malts lend nicely for sweet and tart tea and fruit flavors. Citrus hint to an alcohol undertone. Very great balance with delicious flavors.

Nice and thick feeling on the mouth surfaces. Carbonation is downplayed, but shifts the beer around.

A very high quality choice. Great with a nice sharp cheddar cheese. Cheers to the boys at Great Divide. Anyone can appreciate something of this flavor as long as it doesn't overwhelm.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2007 05:00:18 | More by RedChrome
Photo of TheSarge
TheSarge

Virginia

4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew has nearly freaked out my palate. The taste is so intense, and so full in body that this is no way a boring brew.

This has a khaki two finger thick head, with the body being ultra hazy and orangish amber in color. The head sticks around for a good while and forms into sticky clumps.

Aromas are of caramel and toffee for the sweet side. As for the hop side, there are grassy, piny, and lemony aromas.

The taste is tart with the hop bitterness, but sweet toffee and toasted biscut at the same time.

This is very warming to the palate and very full in body.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2007 16:28:17 | More by TheSarge
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, bought at the Lone Hill Liquors, in Glendora, CA, poured into a Duvel tulip,

A: Pours a dark brown, quite clear when held up to the light, with a thick, 2-finger, white-tan head, which leaves great rings on concentric lacing, as the barleywine is drunk.

S: Smells of heavy malt, molasses and dark fruits, like figs and prunes.

T: The malt hits heavy at first, followed by some mellow, smooth alcohol notes that are not overdone, the hops are there, they are quite bitter and piney, but they are understated, even at 90 IBus, they work to perfectly balance the malt, probably the most balanced American barleywine that I have ever had.

M: Smooth, very smooth, mildly solventy, quite resiny, piney and chewy from the hops. It is also thick and full-bodied, as expected from a barleywine.

D: A great barleywine, drinkable even in the heart of summer, well balanced and smooth.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2007 05:34:54 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of BeardedSquash
BeardedSquash

Tennessee

4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky brownish red with a 1/2-inch tan head. Lots of lacing throughout,

S: Cold, bright hop flavor with a slight sweet maltiness. With some time, the hops simmer down and it almost smells like a big ESB. I guess that's essentially what a Barley Wine is though.

T: First sips carry an overwhelming hop flavor. Tons of bittering hops around the back of the mouth. I think it will balance out nicely with some warmth. So, after 45 minutes, a nutty sour bread flavor comes around with a strong caramel back. The bitter swallow mellows, but not by much. The bottle says 90 IBUs. I can taste them all, which is weird considering the amount of malt this thing probably has in it.

M: Chewy mouth feel that leaves a syrupy mess on my lips. Nice.

D: Excellent beer, but nothing I could do more than one of, especially when I'm drinking 22oz bombers. Would pair nicely with a big sloppy rack of ribs.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2007 01:50:39 | More by BeardedSquash
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber>Fat wine glass

AP: Deep, clear brown-tinted amber color body with a 2" bubbly and thick mocha colored head that displays long and impressivly sticky legs.

Nose: Caramalized grapefruit sweetness, tropical fruits, greeen, veggie hops with deep roasty and oak-wood edge and a slight jamaica-rum-like heat tingle.

flavor: Burnt caramel sweet malt at first with some slight chocolate notes is quickly dominated by an intense, whiskey-ish heat that bites down hard and allows the ultra bitter, dry, leafy hop that finishes rather harsh. The 10.2% ABV is very presnt and the bitter-edge throws of the balance.

Feel: Full body, heady feel, sticky on the lips after a while. The finish is a dry bitterness.

DA: Th 10.2 % ABV feels more like 15% and the bitter, harsh edge makes it not as easy to finish.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 09:30:05 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of yodaseo
yodaseo

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured a hazy dark brown the same color as the label. the head rose slowly from the depths of the trapped carbonation and left hazy lace that stuck the the glass and refused to go away. the head finally settled into a nice foamy mattress but the overwhelming smell of the citrus mixed with heavy malt continued to fill my nostrils. the first sip revealed all the tang and sweetness of the initial smell but also a flash of bitterness that was most welcome and refreshing. the sweet and almost syrupy concoction left a wonderfully dry aftertaste in my mouth. definitely the best american barleywine i've ever tasted (leagues beyond harpoon or even the alesmith). for a 10.2% the alcohol is masked well underneath the tangy citrus, but a hint of it catches the very edge of the palate and warms you up just to remind you how heavy it really is. i'm not a big fan of barleywines, but i am a huge fan of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2007 13:53:28 | More by yodaseo
Photo of JayQue
JayQue

Virginia

4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW!!! A great tasting American Barleywine with an initial blast of hops bitterness and an equally strong, caramel tinged maltiness follow up. You could say "balanced" here but both the hops and the maltiness are strong "in your face" flavors. Pours a cloudy reddish color. An agressive pour gives you a big tannish head that dissipates to a small, "hang in there" head. Lacing is huge, thick ladder down the glass. The taste is a nice transition from strong hops bitterness to a somewhat sweet, but not cloying caramel/malt taste. There is no alcohol taste. Mouthfeel is rich and halfway through the bomber, the maltiness becomes predominant over the hops. Drinkability is very good. Anything more than the bomber would result in degraded/abnormal/not full mission capable performance, but I would never pass up 22 oz of this elixer. A really fine beer!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2007 00:31:23 | More by JayQue
Photo of MiguelMandingo
MiguelMandingo

Texas

4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the first beer in quite some time that left me speechless after the first sip. All I could say was "Damn". This beer is truly phenomenal.

Poured part of a 22oz. bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance - It poured out a cloudy deep ruby color and produced a solid 1 finger foamy head. The head dissipated into a thin foam coating across the top of the brew. There is a ton of lacing left behind the longer I drink. Over time, as it came to room temperature, the cloudiness disappeared and the brew became transparent.

Smell - I mainly smell caramel and toffee-like malts, and citrusy hops. I also detect notes of pineapple. The scent of alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste - This beer starts off sweet. I initially taste buttery caramel, toffee-like malts that are slightly roasty, honey, and some fruit that I can't distinguish. Then, it has a HUGE, dry citrusy hop finish. I can detect the slightest amount of alcohol as it warms. The alcohol is hidden amazingly well for a beer this strong.

Mouthfeel - Medium thickness just shy of being syrupy. It has a very small warming sensation from the alcohol. Small carbonation level that is near perfect for a beer like this. Goes down amazingly smooth.

Drinkability - For a beer this strong, the drinkability is flawless. Period. I would happily have a second bomber. I would be pretty trashed, but I would be happy.

This beer is now a mainstay in my beer rotation, and it should be a part of your's. Try it.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2007 05:39:13 | More by MiguelMandingo
Photo of rallison
rallison

California

4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful copper brown with the best head on a barleywine I have ever seen - 1 finger thick and ridiculously creamy. Don't know how they do it, but it is beautiful. Tons of lacing as well.

Smells of caramel malts followed by some earthy hops and a touch of alcohol.

Taste is delicious. Initially, lots of caramel toffee sweetness, but immediately balanced by a delicious helping of earthy, somewhat piny hops. Alcohol is slightly present, but really not noticeable. Maybe even a touch od dark fruits here too. Everything is perfectly balanced.

Mouthfeel is excellent - rich and creamy, but yet somehow light and delicate too - never even approaches being heavy.

Drinkability is insanely good for the alcohol.

Highly recommended. This might replace Bigfoot as my favorite BW. It is so flavorful, but so easy to drink a pint of (or a bomber of...).

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2007 05:59:03 | More by rallison
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber, served in a pint glass.

A - clear, deep amber color with a light tan head that stayed for the entire glass (I didn't sip the first glass), leaving a clump of head and a whole bunch of lacing.

S - sweet malty aroma with a faint smell of hops, it is a very pleasant smell.

T - delicious tasting barley wine, extremely well balanced sweetness of malt along with a snappy hop finish. ABV is totally un-detecable in taste.

M - medium bodied, lightly carbonated, enjoyable treat for the palate.

D - kick back wherever you are and enjoy this barley wine, drink this brew slowly, the alcohol is in there, even if you can't taste it.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2007 01:11:01 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of treehugger02010
treehugger02010

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle at Total Wine and more in Tampa, Fl and poured it into two pint glasses.
Appearance: I poured a creamy or cloudy (I couldn't make up my mind so let's say a cleamy) brown body with orange tones. A nice large tan head that was a couple of fingers with tight retention and thick lacing from the millions of tiny bubbles.
Smell: Very sweet aroma with lots of citrusy hops and a bit heavy with the malt.
Taste: Very malty up front, giving me the shivers at first and then a very strong wave of tang from the hops. The malts were a bit roasty which suprised me, but not entirely unwelcomed.
Mouthfeel: Right down the middle of the road, if becomes crisper with the first few warming degrees, but then smooths out.
Drinkability: Pretty good.
Don't drink and review.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2007 20:31:01 | More by treehugger02010
Photo of crayphish
crayphish

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Old Ruffian poured a murky ruby color. A dense foamy head lingers stubbornly and leaves a fair amount of lace. Smell is sweet and a bit sour. Notes of caramel and fruit. Taste is sweet malts, some sour fruits, and hops. An alcohol flavor lie under it all. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, that is cleaned up by the hops presence. I found this barley wine to be a drinkable representation of its kind.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2007 04:48:06 | More by crayphish
Photo of OKCNittany
OKCNittany

Oklahoma

3.13/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle

A: Poured a hazy reddish brown with a 3/4 in light tan head that stayed awhile. Heavy lacing all over the glass.

S: Light aroma of sweet caramel and grapefruity hops.

T: Sweet for just a sec than bitter hops come through. Pretty good balance considering how hoppy this is (not that I'm complaining about the hoppiness). Unfortunately, the alcohol taste is so overwhelming it diminishes everything I like about it. I know this style calls for a high abv, but in this case it interferes too much with an otherwise good flavor.

M: Creamy mouthfeel - thick with light carbonation - halfway between beer and motor oil. Finishes with a nasty alcohol burn. Maybe I should have poured it into a shot glass.

D: Considering the reputation, I almost feel apologetic for not loving this - but while there's lots to like, the alcohol taste is too much to let me get through more than 1. It's a sipper only - and the first of Great Divide's big beers I don't love.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2007 22:20:08 | More by OKCNittany
Photo of bluegrassbrew
bluegrassbrew

Georgia

4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep red-brown. Two finger off white head drops to a ring and leaves nice sticky lace.

Smell is sweet candy and alcohol. Some notes of pineapple as well.

Taste starts out with some sweet caramel malt and citrusy jam. Finishes with a punch of hop bitterness.

Thick but not syrupy at all.

Overall, wow! The best barleywine I've had to date. Combines all the things I look for in this style and melds them beautifully.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2007 00:45:34 | More by bluegrassbrew
Photo of mhaugan
mhaugan

Arizona

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a shaker pint.

Poured into my glass with a nice big head. Tinges of red in an very light tan/brown. Wonderful odor with hints of the hops and malts to come. Nice bready malt taste with just enough hops top balance it out. Strong alcohol and bitterness on the finish. The entire beer was remarkably balanced for the style and actually left me thinking about another. For this I give this a higher than normal than drinkability for the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2007 21:09:50 | More by mhaugan
Photo of atsprings
atsprings

North Carolina

4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter a nice brown with a great frothy head that left wonderful lacing. The aroma is of malts and dried fruits with just a slight bit of hops. The taste was very well balanced with the malts and hops dancing in great harmony, neither overpowering the other, very savorable and it only gets better as it warms. The beer is slightly heavy but the alcohol is well hidden. This is certainly my favorite Barley Wine, enjoyable in the Winter or Summer, it doesn't matter.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2007 03:14:57 | More by atsprings
Photo of Patrick999
Patrick999

Florida

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a snifter, deep brown, great head for a barleywine, actually tries to replenish itself a little after each sip.

S - Suitably heady, with a spiky rum raisin emphasis over a malted milk underpinning.

T, M - Very little sweetness to be had...the hops win out here. A flash of sweetness, then mega hop sticky bitterness in the finish. You're gonna get your hop fix here, that's certain. Alcohol? It's very easy to tell you're drinking a huge beer, but actual alcohol taste is masked very well. I don't even feel much warming...this almost tastes refreshing, believe it or not. Some stickiness from the hops; this sits very well in the mouth.

D - Really easy to sip on this one. Another winner from Great Divide.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2007 21:47:25 | More by Patrick999
Photo of letsgopens
letsgopens

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been looking forward to trying this barley wine for a long time, and it certainly did not disappoint. It pours a very cloudy, woody brown with a nice tan head and decent lace.

The aroma is surprisingly malty with some good light fruit: orange, cider, and some graininess.

Sweet malt, honey, caramel, citrus, apple, some roasty nuttiness, some characteristics that I wasn't expecting from this selection but were very welcomed. Exceptional, Buttery toffee, yet maintains its fruitiness.

The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety with a reasonable clean finish due to good natural carbonation. Really awesome. One of, if not the best, barley wines out there.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2007 00:08:32 | More by letsgopens
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy bright amber color with a nice white head on top.

Aromas are of whiskey, sweet fruits, nuts, and a hint of hops. Nose is a bit subtle, but the aromas are very nice.

Taste is clean and crisp up front. Lots of creamy malt flavors, and a general soft smoothness in the middle. Finish is a bit bitter and mineral like from the hops, in addition to some alcohol and boozy flavors. The bitterness really lingers after you swallow.

Mouthfeel is very nice, supple, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is good. This is a nice beer. I like a little more punch from an American Style Barley Wine, but this is a still a solid example of the style.

I got this bottle from mikesgroove months ago. Thanks again Mike.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2007 03:17:24 | More by flexabull
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this bomber up from my beer guy who was not aware of the quality of this one.

A: Clear golden amber in color, with nice head and lacing.

S: Pure Sweetness and Hops baby, I think I'm gonna like this one.

T: This is a big beer, let me rethink that, NO this is a HUGE beer. It has a nice mix of hops brillance and malt sweetness. You can taste the alcohol in this one, but it's not overbearing.

M: This one is full bodied and smooth. The oil from the hops helps it to go down nicely.

D: This is a one and done beer. More than one bottle of this bad boy and you would be sloppy drunk. But the one bottle puts me in a very very happy place.

Overall: A great Barleywine by Avery, and quite possibly the best I have ever had. It has the perfect mixture of malty sweetness and citrus hops. Every sips leaves you yearning for more. The entire bottle went down so smooth and nice, yet when I got to the bottom I realized I had just consumed a bad boy of a beer. This one was followed by 10 hours of wonderful sleep. This is another one worth seeking out. Great beer by Avery. Will put a few in the cellar to see how they fare.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2007 19:15:01 | More by tpd975
Photo of Atron67
Atron67

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 750 ml bottle,

poured a foamy off white head that stuck well, and left good lacing. had a amber with red tones
This beer seriously smells so delicious my mouth salivates at every whiff of it. a strong smell of hops, has a slightly malty smell as well, a little brown sugar, something reminding me of fruit, but i cant place it exactly,
has a bready start which smoothly changes into a slightly tart fruit and molasses. a slight alcohol bite meets at the same time as the heavy hops notices in the smell. It is delicious.

Has a nice solid body, a medium carbonation although by the end of the 750 ml bottle, had warmed significantly as well as most of its carbonation and was still amazing. I could drink alot, although ide prolly fall over after not too many due to the alcohol

A great beer

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2007 23:45:13 | More by Atron67
Photo of soupyman10
soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

UPDATE - 10/16/08 - 4/4.5/4.5/4.5/4: Grabbed another bottle of this, aged for a solid year. Delicious beer. Crazy sweet candy and cookies to start, that slowly moves into a huge hopfest as the beer warms up. Syrupy throughout. Very good beer, one of those barley wines just a hick-up left of a double IPA. No alcohol presence whatsoever. Very, very good (although doesn't quite reach the levels of the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot).

6/01/07 - 4.5/4/4.5/4/4: Pours a perfect two fingers of white frothy head, with intense lacing. Clear amber beer that looks great. Nose is strong and spicy, a little breadiness. Taste is great. Dried fruit up front, molasses, brown sugar maltiness, a little alcohol in the middle. Breadiness shows up in the end, just before a good hop kick. Feel is good, medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall a really great beer, high ABV but flavor's so great I don't really care (I'd drink a bunch, until I couldn't stand).

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2007 00:30:36 | More by soupyman10
Photo of mattd017
mattd017

Florida

4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass

Pours a deep reddish brown with a thick creamy off-white head that won't quit. Smells of piney hops, caramel malts. Tastes of... piney hops hit you up front, in the middle, and leave a lasting impression. Chocolatey malts creep in towards the end, then are covered with more hop. Alcohol bite is there, but covered well with this well blended brew. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, just this side of a cream stout, with sharper carbonation. Very good example of this style of beer, possibly the best I've tried

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2007 01:11:24 | More by mattd017
Photo of oakbluff
oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark ruby with a creamy head and great lacing. Nose- piney hops with a hint of malty sweetness. Taste- piney hops slam the senses, with a rich malt base that follows. This baby is hop overload to the senses- thick and chewy mouthfeel. Freaking awesome! This is the american barleywine- huge hops, but with a great malt base- not cloying at all and with just enough of a booze bite to make you take notice that isn't a session beer. There's a lot of great barleywines out there that I haven't tried- but I doubt there's many that beat this.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2007 01:57:30 | More by oakbluff
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,977 ratings.