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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.

1,976 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,976
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
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Ratings: 1,976 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChumleyX


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

02-08-2012 03:02:15 | More by ChumleyX
Photo of LJWalker


3/5  rDev -28.9%

02-06-2012 23:13:34 | More by LJWalker
Photo of PostVinyl


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

02-06-2012 06:09:47 | More by PostVinyl
Photo of Sreda


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

02-05-2012 20:21:36 | More by Sreda
Photo of RandyBoBandy


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

02-05-2012 03:38:51 | More by RandyBoBandy
Photo of zhanson88


3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov. 2010.

Appearance: Pours out a deep clear ruby color with 1/2" of off-white head. Head is very fizzy and doesn't last long, not surprising considering the ABV and style. Lacing and legs are decent.

Smell: Smells of sweet caramel, maybe a few dark fruits, and plenty of hops. A lot of citrus and pine hops are present.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Fairly malty up front with caramel, and a very hoppy finish. Still very hoppy after 1 year, I would be interested to see what 3-4 years does for it.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. A bit prickly. The beer definitely does drink to it's 10.2% mark, the alcohol is definitely noticeable. Overall, a pretty good barleywine. I tend to enjoy the malty barleywines more, so while I enjoyed this, I didn't love it. Still, have to recognize it for a solid beer of it's style. Would like to try one of these that's aged even more for comparison's sake.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 03:13:25 | More by zhanson88
Photo of Beer21


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

02-04-2012 04:16:19 | More by Beer21
Photo of dcloeren


4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split this bomber with my brother.

This beer looks amazing! Poured a clean and crisp ruby red with 2 fingers of creamy roasted marshmellow head. Got some sticky spotty lacing.

Sweet carmalized dark fruit with a bountiful amount of citrus/tropical fruit hops. Makes for a very sweet and inviting barleywine.

Taste follows the nose. Excellent carmel malt, dark fruits, pineapple, grapefruit and orange zest hops. Amazingly delicious.

Full in body with an abundant amount of carbonation. Extremely sticky and a little numbing on the tongue. This brew hides the alcohol extremely well in the smell and taste but cant hide the tongue numbing alcohol and it is VERY welcomed! Semi dry hop aftertaste. Smooth as all get out! Perfection if there ever was such as thing.

Overall, this is the best Barleywine that I have had to date. Everything about this beer is amazing. Great nose, great taste, excellent mouthfeel... I have to find some more of these. Definitely pick up a bottle if you come across. Well worth it!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 01:08:38 | More by dcloeren
Photo of Brenden


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

A big, thick, fat tan head 2+ fingers tall sits heavily on a bright burnt orange brew and leaves lacing in sticky, heavy deposits pretty well down my glass.
Dark fruits pop from the aroma along with sweet and bready malts and a very American hops presence that provides mostly citrus and a bit of pine. I also detect a very interesting (but not bad) slightly metallic doppelbock-like molasses sweetness. It seems there's good complexity, and quite a lot comes out, but the powerful sweetness tames some of what's underneath.
The flavor opens up, offering a mix of dark fruits and citrus, sweet bready and caramel malts, and floral hops bitterness. The hops bouquet is powerful but exceptionally balanced with the malts and complemented by sweetness, a bit of softness, a light herbal dryness, a very tame spiciness, and a more orange than lemon citrus flavor. I imagine this is as hoppy as a barleywine could be without heavily sacrificing balance and crushing any other nuanaced flavors. This is phenomenally brewed and showcases the major difference between American and English barleywines. As Americans go, this is it. The alcohol somehow staved off unitl the finish for a big 10%+, where it comes out and manages to avoid an overly ethanolic taint.
This is a big, bold beer, nicely thick with a sharp crispness. Body, depth, smoothness and crispness are all here.
This is possibly the quintessential Barleywine in the American style.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 20:02:56 | More by Brenden
Photo of BB1313


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

Bottled on Dec. 12, 2011. Bomber poured into a snifter. Pours a transparent copper red, great white fluffy head and nice sticky lacing and retention; great color and good looking brew. Hoppy nose full of fruity hops, blended with caramel malts. Lots of orange peel and lemon zest in the mix. Tastes really good, lots of hops giving it a nice bitterness. Sharp and bold. The caramel malts definitely give it a nice sweeteness. I'm also picking up on subtle fig/raisin notes. Mouthfeel is very nice, smoooth, creamy, well carbonated. Alchohol is unnoticeable and it's extremely easy to drink at 10.2% abv.. dangerously drinkable.

This is a hoppy barleywine.. almost reminded me of a DIPA, but it stays true to style and is very very tasty. Recommended..

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 01:30:14 | More by BB1313
Photo of smerrell


4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A well balanced beer, this barley-wine has a great malt presence with a nice bitter hoppiness. The roasted malt taste is reminiscent of cola or root beer, and nicely conceals the alcohol. the hops are a good accompaniment that don't overwhelm. I was expecting more sweetness, but am impressed with this beer. I'll need to pick a few bottles up for aging.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 00:42:24 | More by smerrell
Photo of RobertJBeer

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

01-31-2012 21:16:56 | More by RobertJBeer
Photo of jneiswender


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

Pours a beige head which is very thick. The body is brown garnet in color. The smell is very malty with a floral and cake aroma. Smells lead into the flavor with a juicy fruit, pine taste and a middle sip alcohol burn. This beer really takes you on a journey. Medium and slick mouthfeel. Just a classic representation of the style and a very worthy beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 03:26:46 | More by jneiswender
Photo of Acoke


3.63/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle Poured into a tulip glass.

A- Two fingers worth of head. Gorgeous blood orange caramel color. Great looking beer

S- Lots of hops up front with a sweet caramel background.

T- Huge hop presence with substantial bitterness. Definitely taste the alcohol in it. Not getting much other flavors out of this, maybe just a tiny hint of caramel.

M- Smooth beer but a little light on the tongue. Every sip I was trying to make an assessment, but the flavors(or lack there of) vanished before I could get a grip on it.

O- Good beer, just not what I was expecting. Kinda new to Barley wines so I may be off on this one but I'm told this is better with age.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 01:16:55 | More by Acoke
Photo of tjkinate


4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think the new batch is still a little green.

1+ fingered, creamy, khaki colored head that displayed decent retention and eventually settled to a thin soapy film atop this amber colored completely transparent brew. The scent was pretty boozy, hop profile was fairly strong, had to check what style of beer I was drinking and make sure it wasn't an IPA. As the beverage warmed the scent calmed and allowed toffee notes and dark fruits to poke through. The tasting followed the scent exactly. Overall I still enjoyed this beer, but really think I will go out and grab another bottle or two for enjoyment a few months down the road once the flavors have had more time to settle down and blend together.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 21:20:23 | More by tjkinate
Photo of Bierguy5


4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, 10.2% abv. I can't make out the date on the label. Cloudy, copper color. Tan head holds pretty well for a few minutes, finally fading to a thin ring.

Nose has some caramel, and ripe fruit. Grapefruit hop notes and a bit of pine. A bit of a sherry-like note. Even with the hop presence, there is a great amount of fruit here.

A good amount of caramel, without a lot of sweetness. Great ripe fruit, with an almost wine-like feel. Good amount of hop bitterness, without being harsh. I would imagine this would be an outstanding beer to age.

Medium body, with adequate carbonation. Alcohol is hidden very well. This is a very enjoyable, well made barleywine. I can't believe it took me this long to review it.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 01:51:51 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of edwardkersh


5/5  rDev +18.5%

01-29-2012 19:40:09 | More by edwardkersh
Photo of aleslover


4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

01-29-2012 00:16:59 | More by aleslover
Photo of plumcrazyfx


3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

01-28-2012 01:15:00 | More by plumcrazyfx
Photo of ryanw111182


5/5  rDev +18.5%

01-27-2012 03:00:19 | More by ryanw111182
Photo of Fermenticusrex


3.55/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasting note great divide old ruffian american barley wine
22oz bottle poured into pub pint glass
Aroma sweet malt, citrus, cut grass
Appearance beautiful ruby red nice fluffy white head, lacing clings all the way down
Flavor sweet malt, alcohol heat, tangerines and other citrus, very bitter almost astringent
Mouthfeel/Drinkability nicely carbed a little thin one or two of these a night
Overall a very good example of the style, have two more of these i'm going to cellar

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 23:55:23 | More by Fermenticusrex
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

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

At the present, this is ranked #9 in the top American Barleywine category. I remember when it was #1, but never mind that this is by far the most reviewed BW in the top ten by a margin of about 600. Speaks volumes, huh?

Bottled on Dec 10, 2011.

Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

A: Poured a clear, ruby red color, with an amazingly dense off-white (mildly) head that had tremendous staying power. This kinda looks like Nugget Nectar.

S: I start to smell the fragrant hoppy air freshener before the cap was even fully popped. Sure this is hoppy, but based on the nose, I wouldn't consider this one to be a bomb in that direction at all... it's much too floral and candy-like for that. Good nose descriptor: Jolly Rancher.

T: Much more hoppy on the front than I would have imagined from the nose, with very compact sugar/licorice combo that I often ascribe to the great American BWs. Sweet, but the bitter elements wash over that. Pretty incredible.

M: Thick, and with a pixie stick dust-infused sugar bill that keeps pulling me back for more and more. The bitter elements really sizzle the palate in the way world-class DIPAs do, and the lacing was substantial.

O: I can't believe I only paid around $8 for this top-notch example of a very popular style. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this is one of the best brews that Great Divide makes... and that is really saying something!

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 21:20:24 | More by Chaney
Photo of jwat


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

01-26-2012 14:43:34 | More by jwat
Photo of ninner00


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

01-26-2012 12:59:18 | More by ninner00
Photo of KAF


4/5  rDev -5.2%

01-25-2012 22:04:34 | More by KAF
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,976 ratings.