Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

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Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,246 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,246
Reviews: 1,086
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.74%
Wants: 246
Gots: 369 | 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
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Ratings: 2,246 | Reviews: 1,086
Photo of CowsandBeer
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of Yancey82
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at Pittsburgh Winter BeerFest.

Photo of ksolekjr
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage, tried at the Mad Fox Barleywine Festival in Falls Church

Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/15/13 this is my first one of this kind not my favorite kind of beer but this is good

Photo of NiceTaps
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of jellikit
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Photo of GregoriousMaximus34
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent beer, smooth drink considering it's over 10% ABV's

Photo of TylerKitchens
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2007 bottle...aged beautifully, not a huge hop presence but very well balanced and mellow

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of splendid
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

very bold hopped from barely brewed

Photo of Jonny41
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

one of the best I've tried, Was surprised by the hop profile and slight bitter finish, a great barley wine for sure.

Photo of SamN
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of Will_cigars-n-brews
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of Kevinpitts
2.75/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Hoppy barley wine. A little too hoppy for my taste.

Photo of Philthe
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

One of my favorite American barley wines. carbonation is spot on, good hop profile and a great finish.

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

2011 bottle. Floral, malty, caramel, and oak. Still has a pretty good hop flavor after 3 years.

Photo of StoutFox
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

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

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.76/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Photo of GregJ
4.04/5  rDev -4%
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.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

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.

Photo of Jaysauras
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

Photo of Bear1964
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

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.

Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Vintage 2011.

A: yeast dregs were poured in my glass, so it stays pretty cloudy. Beautiful brown color with shades of ruby and Siena. Beige head retains at about a half inch. lacing is spotty.

S: Big bready sweetness up front. Bread pudding. Crust and toast. Runny caramel. Berry juice esters. Cherry and ripe, sweet raspberry. Some wet paper oxidation, which is fine. Fading hops still bring earthy pine and bark.

T: Toasty, crusty. Scones. Caramel. Fruity esters of cherry and raspberry. Prune juice. Perhaps suggestions of apricot and marmalade, though I think it's coming from hops. Hops also add earthy flavors of pine and bark. Modestly strong bitterness to balance all the malt. Long finish of scone, crust, and earthy hops.

M: Big thick body. Creamy and smooth. Weighty but not heavy or syrupy. Gentle supporting carbonation.

O: A classically done American Barleywine. All around solid. One of a handful to look to as a measuring stick for the style. The age on this one has rounded it out beautifully.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: ruby red with orangish hints to it. very strong clarity, a finger plus of a tannish head thats leaves behind a strong lacing.

Smell: lots of hop resin. covering up caramel and toffee sweetness. some alcohol. grassy, herbal and resiny hops.

Taste: opens with some caramel and slightly darker sweets. some strong breadiness. back end is flooded with hops, grass, citrus, resin and mostly herbal. alcohol astringency plays a strong role in it.

Mouthfeel: heavy and bitter. sweetness is there but nothing compared to the bitterness.

Overall: pretty good and tasty for a young barley wine. good sweetness, a bit too much astringency and herbalness though.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,246 ratings.