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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

2,063 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,063
Reviews: 1,045
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 218
Gots: 302 | FT: 15
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: 2,063 | Reviews: 1,045 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GClarkage
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mid September 2005. Received via trade with Lostbearbrew.

Presentation- 22oz bomber with no visibile dating. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky Chestnut color. 3/4 inch head. Almost milkshake like in head appearance. Decent lacing.

Smell- Sweeter caramel scents. Hints of butterscotch and powdered sugar..

Taste- Not as in your face as Old Gaurdian. The hops are definitely present though. Nice sweet thickness too it. Plenty of dark fruits to go around. Mostly raisins and maybe some dates. Huge caramel background as well as some alcohol soaked cherry flavor. Brown sugar comes through as well.

Mouthfeel- Warming, a bit sryupy and super smooth. Very low carbonation. Thick as viscous.

Drinkability- One of the better BW's I have had. Not my favorite, but one I would have down the line again for sure. Good after dinner warmer.

GClarkage, Oct 01, 2005
Photo of goochpunch
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This poured out the color and consistency of motor oil (in a good way). No head and minimal lace. I have never seen bubbles move so slowly in a beer.

Smell: Tons of floral hop and booze aroma with sweet preserved figs in there somewhere.

Taste: Incredible. This is most definately the most interesting and best barleywine I've ever tasted. Lots of sweet dried fruit and hops with a little booze mixed in. Very chaotic on my first few sips, but as I progress, they all seem to intertwine perfectly, not one flavor dominates the others.

Mouthfeel: Very thick with hardly-there carbonation. Like drinking cough syrup (in a good way).

Drinkability: Definately drinkable enough to finish a bomber all by myself. The only thing preventing me from popping another is the high alcohol content.

I have come across some American barleywines that have almost turned me off from from the style by completely overhopping it to the point of nudging out the malt character. This is one beast of a beer, and it is as close to perfection as I have ever tasted in a barleywine.

goochpunch, Oct 01, 2005
Photo of oberon
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first carack at this bad boy its nice to see it here in Greensboro,pours a deep amber with a creamy like head that leaves a nice amount of lace behind as it slowly settles.Big fruit in the aroma upfront along with some raisin and caramel very vibrant in color and aroma it really jumps out at ya.Like the aroma the flavors of this are very fruity up front very ripe peaches and brown suger,there is a real hop presence even more as it warms in the finish keeping it balanced.Wow this is a dangerous brew intense and flavorful this is one I'll be grabbing alot of now that its local.

oberon, Sep 23, 2005
Photo of Higravity
2.75/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well this BW is not for me. Thick syrup of crystal malt with extra sugar added in. A nice red brown color and a good head, but I could tell from the color it was going to be syrupy. Smell was pretty damn fine and the best thing about this one. Full of hoppy pine and earthy digs, sharp distinct citrus that fold with the sweetness of berry fruit all of it sitting on top of a caramel and a hint of roastedness punched with alcohol. The taste was like a big hop bomb that someone had but too much sugar into like the kool-aid that kids will make when their Mom isn't watching. The beautiful floral hops are awash in the sugar and alcohol, the malt flavors are stunted by all the sweetness. Thank god I was sharing this with two other people.

Higravity, Sep 21, 2005
Photo of texashammer
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red-orange color and hazy; appropriate for the style from what I know. Beautiful, fine head. Nose is sweet floral spicy hops, and honey. Very smooth mouthfeel, body, flavor, finish. Overwhelming smooth for being so hoppy. Bready, toasty, nutty malt flavors and huge hops! Finish is bready, yeasty, bitter. Drinkability is hurt by alcohol, but a really great beer.

texashammer, Sep 21, 2005
Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber is a lot of barley wine - a style for me where a little ususally goes a long way. Fortunately, for all the heft of this beer, it does manage to pull off a reasonable degree of drinkability. Poured an amber walnut. Sweet malt in the aroma. A big whack of sweet malt and hops land up front, the sweetness well balanced by the hops bittering. Caramel flavor predominates, thinning out at the end to what reminded me of Cracker Jacks. Sweetness hangs on throughout, but not cloying or tongue-coating. Long finish of caramel, with a little alchohol peaking through.

Brent, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a dark reddish-brown color. The big, creamy head is tan with light tan speckles. The aroma is a battle between citric hops and sweet malt. The winner of the battle seems to be my nose. The taste is big and bold. The sip is very bitter, while the aftertaste, alought still bitter, is quite sweet. The inside of my mouth is actually tingling long after the beer has pass though it. Beside the tingling the mouthfeel is full bodied and lively carbonated. Overall, this is a really good beer, but I would like to see the malt a little more. Perhaf, the malt would show more if I had aged this brew longer than six months.

KarlHungus, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of HappyHourHero
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dense, cream colored head that fades slowly leaving a nice coat of lace. Inviting, thick aroma of chewy candied grapefruit hops and butterscotch. Transparent dark mahogany colored head with a ruby hue and streams of large bubble rising slowly to the top. Moderately sweet, chewy pine and grapefruit hops on a big malt base. A hint of bitterness fades in midway through is joined by some cotton candy. Finish is flavorfull and quite warming, but not distracting. A full bodied beer that remains just short of slick. Big, tasty, sweet beer that verges on all 4.5's and manages to push the bounds of big beer without taking it too far.

HappyHourHero, Sep 13, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a thick dark brownish red with a tall light tan pillowy head. Plenty of sticky lace and good head retention. Big hoppy nose with plenty of citric and piney hops over a great solid malt base. Some caramel, fruits and a bit of toastiness round out the aroma. Toasted malts with a big dark fruit sweetness and a touch of caramel start off the taste. Plenty of hoppiness mixing about here with grapefruit and pine notes over the sweetness. Both the malt and the hops come on strong. A bit of a bittersweet bite to the finish. Sticky sweet feel with a plenty thick body. Somewhat dry as well. Excellent drinkability here for a brew with so much alcohol and complexity. So much going on and a great mix of big hops and big malt.

meathookjones, Sep 08, 2005
Photo of bditty187
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark gold in hue, bronze influenced as well with coppery-amber highlights. Hazy. The liquid is darker than I was expecting, lovelier as well. The head was faint beige in color; at the apex the foam was two-fingers in height. Head retention was excellent; the foamy mass of bubbles just sat on top of the beer like it was protecting it. Teflon. Impenetrable. A tight cap did last the entire consumption and I took my damn time drinking this! The subsequent lacing was thick and coating, oh so impressive! Beer porn.

The nose mumbles a bit, plus it talks in a low, but sexy, voice. Regardless, it clearly states this beer is an American Barleywine. Hoppy? Yes, but not as aromatic of Bigfoot. Malty? Yes, but not as rich as Old Backus. Fruity? Yes… but the aromas are hidden, somewhat, they are dark and mildly tropical. Raisins. Figs coated in chocolate. Spicy pine. Citrus. The alcohol is also in play. Caramel. Spruce. Okay, screw my lame comparisons; the nose is great, simple as that. It is rich; it has tremendous depth. There is the right amount of aggression and the ideal amount of compassion. There is an angry hoppy side and a loving malty side to cuddle up with. I wish this beer screamed at me. No matter the tone, this beer is very inviting. Oh, hell yeah…

The palate is… delicious. NFM. Okay, I’ll go on. It is rich and alcoholic. I adore the malty sweet throughout, the caramel and toffee notes suits me just fine. The light chocolate notes are graceful. Playful candied fruits are a lovely addition. It is spicy and hot with prickly citrus zest, some spruce and pine needles. Grapefruit flesh. Moderate bitterness but it is very firm and it stands up well to the malt. Raisins. Figs. Tropical melons. Is yummy a taste or a feeling? Because this beer tastes yummy! In a nutshell, this beer is a “Top 3” American Barleywine. It isn’t the loudest or angriest or the most articulate but it scores very high in every attribute and thus it really kicks ass. There is plenty of depth; I love what I taste. I am savoring every drop.

Rich, creamy mouthfeel, the low carbonation is so damn fitting! The mouthfeel is smooth; it is velvet in liquid form. Long, malty sweet but bitter aftertaste... this a reward, plus it doesn’t let me forget what I just swallowed. It begs to be paired with cheese and meat and rich fruit. It begs to be paired with a glass. This beer can fly solo. The mouthfeel is so damn relaxing without being lazy or monotonous. In fact, I can’t think of a Barleywine with a better mouthfeel. Perfect.

Dangerously drinkable, it is a flawless beauty in this regard. The palate wasn’t “perfect” but my yearning for another ten bombers is through the roof! I really want more of this beer. I would spoil myself silly if I could drink this everyday. WTF… would I ever be sober? Big beer. Big flavors. Big kudos to Great Divide, this is awesome stuff. I purchased my bomber in Boulder, CO. I highly recommended it.

bditty187, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of lostbearbrew
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep burgundy's and mahogany's in the pour, with a resemblance to nothing else I've seen. The hues of reds and scarlets in this brew are amazing under a halogen light.

The smell on this baby is quite fine - a rush of piney hops, malt, fruit (plums, I think, predominantly) and a little alchohol...

As you take your first sip - be aware - this is a complex beer. The layers seem to change on almost every sip, where you often taste something new each time you swallow. Although the overlaying tastes are the same as the smells, there is also a hint of roasted grains, and some chocolate, perhaps. As the glass warms, it seems to gain even more character, adding not flavors, but seemingly layers to the complexity.

Up until recently, I didn't really "get" barleywines, but I must admit this is one that I am fully latched on to and enjoy tremendously.

lostbearbrew, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of tjthresh
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.

tjthresh, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with very little light penetration, and a thick frothy tan head that retains well for such a high abv brew. Aroma packs a huge hop punch, with big citrus and floral scents and a strong caramely/molasses like malt backbone. Wow, they werent kidding when they said "Hop Forward". Taste begins with a big hop wallop, huge citrus, pine resin, floral and earthy hops followed by a nice but not quite as big malt profile. The malt side of the equation is bready, lightly toasted, caramely, and molasses like with a nice sweetness to compensate for the overwhelming hops presence. The finish is bitter, and drying with a mild biting alcohol presence that is not unpleasant. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a big body. Drinkability is good, but this is a barleywine so you should really take it slow. Another great offering from great divide, definately something to seek out if you like big beers (especially hoppy ones).

silver0rlead, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber

brilliant red with hints of orange along the edges.. creamy tan head that shrinks down to something very substantial for a barleywine.. like the head on an espresso! lacing forms quickly. big carbonation. aroma is absolutely perfect. sweet maple and brown sugar mouth-watering goodness with fresh cannabanoid hop perfume. slight hint of alcohol in the nose, deep breaths let me feel it in my throat. powerful. first sip presents an overwhelming bitterness that fades fast... light body and mouthfeel peppered with carbonation helps this beer go down easy. flavor oozes roasted malts and waxy bitterness is so aggravatingly dominant. wish there was more of the sweetness in the body, but less is usually the preferred style. this beer screams west coast and i could spend hours with my nose buried in the opening of my tulip glass. warmth evokes more layers of bitterness.. some salty bread and raw hop oils. an excellent exercise in barleywine mastery. yet another good beer from the G-to-the-D.

goodbyeohio, Aug 09, 2005
Photo of egajdzis
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby red / dark gold color with a medium sized light tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was hoppy, sweet caramel, lots of malts and fruits, and light alcohol. Very complex aroma. Sweet malts, citrus fruits, strawberries, lots of hops, and strong alcohol finish. Very young, but should age with the best of them.

egajdzis, Aug 08, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Phenomenal beer. Very nice appearance; appears to be filtered. A brilliant mahogany pour reveals a deep caramel indication... massive, pillowy head forms above.

Subtle fruit aromas hint at softness. Taste reveals otherwise. This beer has a massive hop whallop that punches your palate in the gut. You get the wind knocked out of you but you come back for more. It's some weird sort of sadist enterprise. I love it.

Mouthfeel is quite creamy for a barley wine. Quite unique. Overall, one of the most complex, subtle, and interesting American Barley Wines I've ever had. Bravo.

Sixpoint, Jul 31, 2005
Photo of Morris729
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and murky reddish brown color with a tall frothy tan head that sticks to the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes. Fresh pine and cedar dominate the nose with some fainter aromas of cocoa and freshly baked cinnamon cookies in the background. This is a very flavorful beer with candied sugar and sweet malt up front quickly followed by lots of dark fruit and chewy caramel. Next up are acidic bitter raw hop flavors, rum-soaked raisins, a rather pronounced spiciness (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and white pepper) and a bit of brandy towards the finish. A sticky hop resin aftertaste remains on the lips and tongue until the next sip. Very nice—a thoroughly enjoyable barley wine.

Morris729, Jul 28, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

ppoitras, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not sure what they hype about this one is about. I find it to be akin to a sub-par bigfoot. Oh well here we go. Pop the top in Philly, and another time in Denver. They were both the same so freshness is not the problem here. Dark ruddy amber/red, bordering on caramel with a small slightly off-white head of foam that does not last too long and provides the glass with only a minute amount of lace. Aromas are fresh citrusy, grapefruity hops, and a bit of booze, and some hearty malts. A bit complex and balanced, but not really for a barleywine. Seems a bit one-dimensional and semi-bland for a barleywine. Taste is similar. The poerful citrusy hops blend pretty well with the big bolshy amounts of caramel-flavor-infused malts that I sense in this one, a little bit of a dirty/earthy flavor comes into play as well to make it a bit more interesting. Sticky finish, begs me to take another sip of brew. Mouthfeel is thick, bit on for the style, and drinkability is pretty good as well. Nothing wrong with this one, just seems like a kinda bland bigfoot clone that is not as good...

francisweizen, Jul 22, 2005
Photo of Domingo
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Absolutely terrific. Tied atop my favorite barleywine list with the Full Sail.
Pours an beautiful cherry wood color with a head that's perfect and doesn't dissipate.
Smells of bourbon, sweet fruits, alcohol, and finished with a hoppy edge.
Flavors are similar, but I'm surprised how sweet everything turned out (even for a barleywine) but without making you ever think that it's too much. Of note, I've noticed that this beer has a little bit of an iced tea flavor finish. I think it's the mix of the hops and alcohol but after thinking about it I find it to unmistakable now.
For a brew over 10%, you can certainly tell it's alcoholic, but it's not overpowering like some can be.
Definitely a great choice for all lovers of barleywine, which is one of my favorite styles.

NOTE: Recent tastings have been more heavily hopped and I think some of the malty and tea nuances have gone down a bit. It's still good, but it's not as I remember it.

Domingo, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a vitreous amber brown hue with a topped off tan sticky meringue bubbly uneven head leaving a thick lace. Second pour created a statuesque two inch head cap, that leaves a painted inner glass. This is pure perfection.

Aggressive fruity scents of berries and a powerful nose of pine syrup hops. Well balanced oaky malt balance.

First swigs: Sticky sweet malty bubble gum barleywine. Almost like a triple IPA. Blistering grapefruit slices of citrous hoppy sizzle. Sugar Daddy caramel candy in there somewhere. Dry woody lingering aftertaste. Slightly detectable booziness in the warming sips.

As full as full bodied gets, folks. Thick, sticky, sugary syrup, and sizzlin’ which leads to a total sipper! Can't get enough of this magical Duff. Smooth as silk.

Last swigs: Citrous lemony grapefruit thick strong ale.
Reminiscent of SNBF but sweeter with a nod towards Double Bastard.

***Re-review of a two year old bottle***

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Jul 17, 2005
Photo of UncleFlip
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour....a deep copper to brown colour, very red and a little hazy when held tot he light. Very healthy tight, thick head that holds for along time, and leaves a good lace behind.

The first thing that hits me on the smell is the hops- lots of hops, carried on a somewhat light malt sweetness- a little lighter than the colour would imply.

The flavour is more in line with the colour. There's a rather pleasing bitterness that hits up front, and gives way to the hops just for a moment, then is back again, almost peppery to the finish. It rides on top of a thick, quite strong dark malty sweetness with hints of orange and banana.

The body is thick- but not quite syrupy, with a fizz that hits about halfway through.

When I first tasted this one, it was a bit intense, and I wasn't quite ready for it. However, as I go through the bomber (no one to share it with me, so it's good there's no heavy machienry nearby), it grows on me very quickly. Not a sessioner for the first-time drinker, but as you get used to this one, it could get you in a LOT of trouble. I could drink it all night, but then I'd have to hold on while lying down.

Be well
-UF

UncleFlip, Jul 13, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - When I started softly pouring this I saw that it was flat so I worked the pour a little more. Boy was I mistaken. The head came up a full inch and a half and almost overflowed my Chimay glass.

The body was a solid orangish-brown and just gorgeous. The afore-mentioned head was light brown and showed great retention, leaving tons of lacing as it slowly went down. I can't believe that this is a 10% ABW.

Smell - There's a good malty winey aroma here, but the hops really rule the roost. They are very complex and seem to favor pine resin, which is something for a BW. There are a lot of sugars in here, too.

Taste - Man, this has some big flavors. The hops are gigantic, almost like an ADIPA, but the malt flavors are so strong that it's somewhat balanced. The sugars are raw table and grapes. The wine is more cab than anything else. The ale just explodes with flavors.

Mouthfeel - This one is borderline full in the body but not quite. The body goes perfectly with the flavor profile. There's a slight sense of carbonation in the mouth. The show here though is the roller coaster that your tongue gets on with all of the dynamic flavors. You have big hops, chewy malts, and candy-sweet sugars all driving you wild. The huge dryness will have you lapping your lips.

Drinkability - I'd have to do a few side-by-sides to say that this is the best American Barley Wine that I've ever had, but it has to be in the running. It's such an easy drinker and just epitomizes the style as I've imagined it to be.

Update - I originally drank this in 2005 so thought I'd take another shot in 2010. This is an exceptional BW by any measure and certatinly represents the best of the best by any stretch of the imagination.

RoyalT, Jul 08, 2005
Photo of phishgator
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The best barleywine that I have had to date! The deep ruby color pours into a snifter with a nice head that thins and then dissipates. You can smell the hops so present that they smack you into the face. And the bitterness in the thick malty sweetiness samcks you in the tongue and the back of your throat. As far as the flavor all I can say is that as this brew warms is becomes intensely delicious. After one bomber you feel just fine!

phishgator, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of nomad
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep red with a seemingly brown hue, possibly from the off-white head. Great retention with a nice clarity underneath. Solid appearance.

Smell is a forward trio of moderate caramel, doughy bread, and toasted nuts. A few fruity esters and faint floral/pine hops accents abound, but the overwhelming scent is a full maltiness eerily reminiscent to the wee-ist of the Wee Heavies or the burliest of vintage Thomas Hardy ales. I was highly impressed by the malt use in this one, at least to my nose.

Almost-dark caramel is first and foremost through out the glass, sizable in sweetness with bready and nutty accents to a much less degree than in the smell department. The back end has a calm sheen of floral and piney flavor bordering on spicy and creating a perfect slaking slide through the finish. Fruity esters grow with air exposure as does a meal of melanoidin chewy maltiness. Mouth is full but not filling and smooth with being slick, accenting the slide from malt to hops.

Impressive to say the least and nowhere near as hoppy in flavor or mouth-raping bitterness as advertised - and I appreciate that. The malt plays first fiddle in scent and flavor with hops providing a proper vegetal balance of flavor and wonderful dryness. Couldn't believe how fast I finished a bottle.

nomad, Jul 04, 2005
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.