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

2,095 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,095
Reviews: 1,048
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 224
Gots: 308 | FT: 14
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: 2,095 | Reviews: 1,048 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zoso493
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber that was bottled on 12/29/2009 into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark and hazy burnt garnet color that lights up to a radiant amber when held up to the light. The beer is crowned by a massive three-finger, offwhite head that has very good retention and leaves only trace amounts of lacing on the glass.

Smell: This a wonderful- and interesting-smelling barleywine, in my opinion. A huge plume of hops meets your nose first, followed by some hot, port-like alcohol. The hops make this brew smell like thick, resinous pine sap. There is also a big caramel-malt profile which is accented by some delictable brandy-soaked fruit. This is a hugely complex and powerful nose.

Taste: Smoothness is the name of the game for Old Ruffian. After the smell, you might be expecting to get blasted by the immensity of the flavors, but Old Ruffian manages to tie all the tastes together wonderfully. The hops don't play quite as central a role as in other barleywines (Sierra Nevada Bigfoot for example) but they are ever-present in the background, providing a bitter, piney and even floral counter to the huge malts.

The caramel malts are absolutely massively incorporated into this tremendous beverage. How can a brewer make this much flavorful goodness work this beautifully in a beer? It's easy to overlook just how good this beer is because of how smoothly and magnificently the tastes are blended together. In addition to the enormous caramel malts are the brandy-soaked fruits, which are a treat on their own.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Old Ruffian is the perfectly "weighted" barleywine. The thickness of the beer is sensationally thick and appropriate to the style. Despite being so hugely flavorful and powerful, the beer just slides off your palate. The carbonation works to wick any residual flavors that might work to cloy at your palate, while still allowing the beer to retain just the right amount of body.

Drinkability: For being 10.5% alcohol, this is a very drinkable beer. Pure ethanol is very difficult to come across in the taste, but it does have some liquer-like qualities to it. Thus, even though the alcohol is not directly involved in the taste, it does have some of the "hotness" that's characteristic of alcohol. I feel ashamed to criticize an aspect of this beer, but this is what keeps it from attaining the perfect score.

Overall, this is a beautiful, beautiful beer. My criteria for a truly great beer are simply as follows: how bold and complex is a brew and how well smoothly are the flavors therein tied together. Well, Old Ruffian is brazenly bold, massively complex and effortlessly smooth. I can't compliment the brewers at Great Divide enough for this, because my eloquence cannot fairly and accurately describe how insanely great this beer is.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Schell tulip, with a gigantic off-white head that fades into a rocky, very uneven head. Body is a dark maroon/purple color. Holy hops in the nose. Smells more like a DIPA than a barley wine, with just an outrageous hop aroma. Taste is that of an DIPA, also. Outrageous hops dominate the flavor, with strong maltiness in the background. I would suggest that Great Divide sell this as a Triple IPA (only compared to their DIPA) and forget about a barleywine distinction. Do I like the beer? Yes. Do I think it represents the style very accurately? No. But I like it and I will give a beer that I like this much high marks anyways.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This magnificant barley wine pours cherry red with mahogany glints. The creamy tan head never dissappears and leaves the glass coated in sheets and intricate webs of lace. When I popped the cap I immediately smelled some piney hops. This is always a good sign. Thick, fresh layers of hop citrus and pine invite me to keep smelling this beer. Caramel and English biscuits are also all over the nose. The taste is a rich explosion of hops and malts. This is a hop dominated Barleywine that borders on DIPA territory. The initial pungent piney bitterness is immediately counterveiled by a big toasty caramel malt character and hints of over-ripe dark fruit. Bitterness builds as the beer warms and increase the pine resin character. The finish is bitter without any harshness and a bit of malt biscuit. The mouthfeel is thick and fullbodied with a fine, light carbonation and mouthcoating hop resins.

The is a stellar barleywine. Its one of the best beers Ive ever tasted. So well balanced, yet so hoppy. A rich amalgamation of intense flavors. If you dont try this, your life is incomplete.

Photo of markman
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Ruffian Barleywine:

Quite possibly the perfect barleywine…big-time hops, wicked-large bodied, and de-freakin’-liceous. Beautiful deep crystal-clear garnet pour under a head as thick a whipped cream. As hoppy as this is (85-90 IBU), somehow it manages to drive home a caramelly malt presence that is out of this world…possibly my favorite of the style to date, near perfection in an American Barelywine; maybe it’s my mood, but maybe, just maybe, this is the perfect nightcap…and at 22oz, good-night bro.

Cheers...

Photo of goethean
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Two conflicting impluses I feel.

One: 6.99 for a beer?! what a rip off!

Two: oh, this is so, so good.

My personal standard for a balanced barleywine is Anchor Old Foghorn. What we have before us here is a bigger, badder, meaner, darker, more complex Old Foghorn. Updated for the 21st century, you might say.

Duvel glass. Massively malty nose. Great big flavor profile from tiny sips, big burnt English toffee sweetness and an immediate streak of bitter flavor hops that blends right into the mouth-coating Chinook finish. Really a strongly, almost irritatingly hoppy aftertaste. We're in IIPA territory here.

I marked it down on the drinkability because a 22 oz bottle is like 5 servings. Also, you should be a fan of big big beers in order to enjoy this one.

Photo of MOB210SA
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge, rich slowly creeping up 2 finger head that retains well and looks absolutly great for a decently high ABV barley-wine.

Nose and taste is great. Thick and creamy huge hoppiness. Stong eminating hoppiness with a strong caramel backdrop. Complex and balanced. Bold and Sweet. Almost candy like, but not syrupy. {Probably the best barley-wine ive ever had.}

Super smooth silky mouthfeel. Almost feels as if it melts in your mouth. Phenomenal mouthfeel.

Drinkability, this couldnt be any better.

This was a favorite of mine a long while ago. Still as great as I remember.

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber. Left a beige two finger head, that receded after awhile to a long lasting surface skim, and it left good spotty lacing here and there. Body was a deep red copper amber. This is a beautiful looking ale.

Smell - Floral and caramel, seemingly perfectly balanced. Hint of the high abv. Mouthwatering.

Taste - Like the smell. Floral, pine, citrus. Caramel and toast. A perfectly balanced ale between the hops and malt. It is bitterly refreshing ( hops ) and sweetly satisfying ( malt ) at the same time. Moreover, this is a BIG beer, and not overbearing, but instead entirely tasty and mouthwatering. The alcohol here is almost entirely hidden.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, low carbonation, and a lot of hop oil slickness. Also, leaves your mouth watering after you've finished it ( as well as before, from the smell ).

Drinkability - this is very good, and it goes down very easy. The high abv is very well hidden. I should lower drinkability because its high abv should limit sessionability, but I'm not going to, so one should go ahead and have the next serving ( a 22 oz. bomber, that is ), but exercise all due caution ( no driving, not if you have to go to work early, etc. ) .

Photo of TheBungyo
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Worth every penny.
This beer reminds me of what someone might come up with if they took notes on what would make a perfect barley wine and then executed it.The head is perfect ... about an inch in hight. The body such a dark orange they call it brown around these parts. One whiff and you know it's gonna be bitter, even with such a syrupy malt sweetness that really does rival the hops. The taste will blow you away. Imagine cough syrup thickness and coating but only this tastes PERFECT. Malty sweetness beaten into submission by the hops, but not too bitter for the layman. The taste is so overwhelming that I know you'd gladly drink this all night, I know I would. This is the best barleywine on the market period.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Warmly glowing tawny with an infusion of candied cherry. I don't know if I've ever seen a larger or more spectacular looking head on a barleywine. The color is equal parts pastel orange and golden beige, a beautiful complement to the beer on which it sits. I love its rich, thick, marshmallow-like creaminess and the fact that it leaves more lace than any beer with an ABV higher than 10% has a right to.

Old Ruffian's nose defines the American barleywine style for me. It's so hugely powerful that one doesn't need to get within a foot of the glass to appreciate its wonderousness. Even a passing sniff causes melted caramel, candied citrus fruit and pine sap to enter the nose and impact the brain's olfactory center with megaton force. I'm not kidding, I haven't smelled a more explosively aromatic beer in a long, long time.

I wondered if this Great Divide offering could possibly live up to the Top 100 Beers hype. One glorious mouthful is all it took to tell me that Old Ruffian is the single best version of the style that has ever crossed my lips. Like the nose, this is exactly what I expect when I pop the cap on an American barleywine... and what I've almost never gotten. Make that never gotten. Until now.

It's tempting to think that any old brewer could recreate the magic that's in every drop of this magical elixir simply by dumping massive quantities of caramel malt and American hops into the kettle. Obviously that isn't true because only the brewers at Great Divide have managed to do it this well. My hat is off to them, as much for this beer as for the rest of the big beer they grace us with.

The caramel malt backbone is huger than huge and is easily the equal of the roasted malt backbones on the biggest Russian Imperial Stouts. Torrents of sticky, melted caramel flow across my tongue with each upending of the glass. If you have a beer sweet tooth (it's okay to admit it), then Old Ruffian will do you right. There's something else present, though, that keeps the sweetness at bay and keeps it from gumming up the works. And that is...

... a barrage of citric hoppiness that is greater than anything I've tasted in a beer of this style, no matter the age. My best guess is that this bomber is at least a year old. When fresh it must have been a masochist's delight, but then most hopheads have something of a masochistic streak anyway. Massively bitter hops of the candied grapefruit, orange and pineapple variety sink in and never really fade after the swallow. Maybe a little, but then it's time for another mouthful.

The glass couldn't possibly be more covered with lace than it is at present. I have no choice but to bump the appearance score a half point. While alcohol is clearly noted, there's so much maltiness and so much hoppiness running interference that I don't mind a bit. In fact, it gives the beer a certain raw power that further adds to its appeal. You want 'over the top', you've got it.

I can't begin to adequately describe the luxuriousness of the mouthfeel. Partly because I've run out of synonyms for f***ing amazing and partly because the ABV has begun to blanket my brain with a fantastic fog that is making the imaginative use of adjectives increasingly difficult. Simply put, it's hard for me to conceive of a more full, more velvety smooth, more heavily silky mouthfeel than the one that has been provided.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine is the American barleywine of my dreams. It does everything I want a beer of this style to do and then some. Every other brewer in America had better stay up nights if they hope to match the brilliance of Great Divide when it comes to this particular offering. This is the new gold standard as far as I'm concerned and is one of the best beers ever created.

Photo of Dave1999
4.89/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a ruby red with a big foamy white head, looks fantastic an't wait to taste it.

The smell is sweet and malty, with a huge does of grassy, earthy hops. The smell is so rich and powerful.

The taste is sweet and malty, finished with a good level of bitterness. Perfectly balanced and delicious.

The mouthfeel is smooth with low carbonation.

Overall this may be my new favourite beer, perfectly balanced and delicious. The sweetness and bitterness are bang on, and drink great. The abv is very well hidden as well.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance looks deep cloudy amber maroon murkiness cream colored thick head leaves ample evenly dispersed lacing. Aroma is full of overly ripened deep fruit tones hardcore layers of pince scented hop overtones tart citrus notes as well complex aromatics with a hint of vanilla and slightly burnt caramelized residual sugars. Taste comes on at first a dark hop syrup pine cone and citrus hop mix big malt backbone carrying malty caramel tones withy a touch of vanilla and oakiness even though I know this wasn't aged in a barrel I'm still picking up some of those characteristics along with the classic over ripened vinous alcohol bursts. Mouthfeel is very thick full bodied b-wine carbonation is ample has trouble flowing through the big body of this brew sticky oily resinous layers. Drinkability is still easy to enjoy despite the massiveness and complexities this ale has to offer enjoy with friends damn good.

Photo of jdklks
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

oh my god, what a beer!

A- color of the body is a perfect see through dark amber/brown. had an off-white head.

S- lots of hops in the smell. noticeable malts and brown sugar.

T- Not nearly as hoppy as the smell would suggest. the hops and malts are balanced, and when i say balanced, i mean BALANCED AS FUCK! i hate the very term "balanced" when it comes to beers, but there is just no other word to describe it. there is a sugary sweet and dry finish that emphasizes the hops more than the taste up-front.

M- easily one of the smoothest beers ive ever had. enough said.

D- i split a bomber with my friend... that's all we had (he got it in a trade). if i was able to buy it, i would have a weekly old ruffian night, during which i would drink old ruffian ALL NIGHT.

EDIT: got another bottle in a trade and had it all to myself. nothing has changed except the score for appearance has gone up... it looks totally different from the other one i had, and is a bit hoppier. fantastic beer.

Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a beautiful deep mahogany. A non-aggressive pour reveals a huge tan head that lasted throughout the entire beer with very big rings of lace all over the glass.

The nose on this beer is an achievement. Floral hops, oily hops, and then some more hops hits your nose with a deep aroma of toasted malt and caramel. The nose on this beer is by far the best of any beer I have yet reviewed.

Big flavors of bready malt hit your palate with caramel and candied fruit sweetness just before a hop wallop takes command of your taste buds. No part of your mouth is left without tastes of pine, grapefruit, malty backbone, and warming alcohol. Each drink becomes better than the last drink. The beer provides the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness, but challenges the palate every single step of the way.

Even at 10.2% the drinkability is so high on this beer. I finished my bomber and wanted another one. ing.

Photo of etaggie09
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance was much better this time around. Looked the same, but had a larger head with greater retention. Much better lacing too. Aroma was wonderful, as usual. This time I noticed apple and a bit of cranberry in addition to the tangerine and spice. The flavor, mouthfeel, and drinkability remain flawless. This is my favorite beer- period.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very nice deep orange color-almost a coppery red. Nice hop aroma with an underlying caramel sweetness. Flavor can only be described as "wow"! Huge hop flavor. Citrusy and very floral. Theres a wonderful caramel sweetness that is just great. The balance between the sweetness and the hop explosion is perfect. It gets better and more enjoyable the more you consume. The label says "...mellow at the start with subtle fruit aromas and complex caramel sweetness...ultimately the big body,succulent sweetness and massive hop character come together to work wonders on your palate." Really an amazing thing I cant get enough. Perfect body-velvety smooth and not a trace of alcohol hashness @ 10.2%.

A freakin great beer. I honestly think I have found a new "favorite" barleywine. As a huge Bigfoot fan Id like to see the 2 of these wrestle it out. Shit-theres no point in my # 2 fav Old Foghorn even showing up. Really a great all around experience. Got this in Florida I need to find it closer to home.GET SOME. In fact-GET A LOT!!!

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured amber/copper with off-white frothy head.

Toffee, maple syrup, buttery caramel at first in the nose, then pine, grapefruit.

Big time hops start off the show, pine and grapefruit again. Smooth, full body. Huge malts in balance with the hops. Nice sweetness, never over the top with the alcohol flavors. Great carbonation for the style.

I'm really impressed with this barley wine. Seems like most examples of the style seem to emphasize either hops or malt and miss the mark. Old Ruffian roughs your ass up in a very cool way, with a 2 sledgehammer attack. Make that 3 with the high ABV.
This beer is both balanced and massive. My favorite barley wine.

Photo of Bighuge
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
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 Stoutfan23DJ
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Vintage
650ML bottle – 10.2% ABV – 90IBU’s - Bottled Dec. 05, 2011
Poured down the center of a large brandy snifter at 60 Degrees.

Appearance: Poured a very murky brown body with a 1 finger brown dank color head. Pours really thick, sticky and leaves a oily looking film on the sides of the glass along with some alcohol legs.

Aroma: The caramel, toffee, and the dark fruit come to the forefront. Dry fruit, black cherry, port wine, sherry and raisin. Bold and sweet caramel and toffee, brown sugar, bitter earthy hops, touch of cocoa, leather, slight licorice and wood characteristics. After a year, the hops have really taken a backseat while everything else came to the forefront.

Taste: This is big, sweet and robust! There’s 2X more complexity in the taste than in the aroma. Loads of sweet caramel, toffee, and molasses absolutely dominating here. The big fruit flavors like dark cherry, wine grapes, fig, pear, raisin, and other dry fruits are boldly displayed. Other flavors like port wine, old leather, sherry, wood tannins and cocoa nibs are also present. The earthy, floral and slightly pungent hops are still present after a full year in the cellar but are balanced out pretty well with malt and fruit characteristics. A full year of aging really improved this barley wine from being very hop dominant with the dark fruit and malt in the background to a barley wine with all of those characteristics standing out together with exceptional balance.

Mouth feel: Full bodied, intense, thick, viscous and almost chewy mouth feel with a nice carbonation that is minimal but sticks around to the very last ounce. The alcohol is also very minimal here. This was most enjoyable at 65 degrees, everything really opened up in the aroma and in the taste.

Overall: Right away I have to say that I enjoyed this much more with a year on this than fresh a year ago. Don’t get me wrong, this a great barley wine when it is fresh but I believe that this is much more enjoyable when the fruit, malt, and hops are equal to each other, the rough-edged characteristics smooth out and round-off, the overall complexities increase and the alcohol nearly disappears. This is a top-notch barley wine that I will recommend to anybody that is a fan of the style. Add a couple bottles to your cellar and be amazed at what a year or more can do to a barley wine!

Photo of MSchae1017
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was tated in a snifter from a 650mL bottle.

It pours a deep burgandy in color with a huge frothy head that holds and laces fantastically. It smells hoppy surrounded by subtle fruity aromas. Hops are the first thing I notice on my tongue as I continue to drink I sense cherry and citrus flavors that blend well with the hops. This beer has a full thickness and fantastic carbonation. Overall, I would love to have this beer again.

Photo of jpd026
4.87/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of UTCengOwl
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm a huge fan of this beer and I was glad to see bombers back on the shelf at my local Central Market. Served in a Great Divide balloon glass.

The look of this beer is probably its least impressive quality. It pours a mix of burnt orange and brown with surprising clarity for how dark it is. There is a muddled light tan head on top of the beer that starts at around a finger and dissipates quickly. The head does leave some nice laces on the side of my glass, though.

The smell is doubly sticky. The malt backbone calls forth similar depth as any barleywine. Sweet, bready and sticky malt. Good caramel depth. However, there is a significant American hop presence, too. Sticky, piney hops. These two kinds of stickiness come together to present a great unified front in my nose. However, the hops aren't quite dynamic enough to give this a perfect rating.

The taste has distinct layers that come forth. The initial taste has some aroma hop presence, but is dominated by the big malt backbone. However, this eventually blends and then gives way to the American hop taste. This, combined with the hit of booze at the back end gives it a distinct difference from the beginning and middle taste. The finish is strong, but ends clean. This invites me to keep imbibing and finish the 22 oz far too quickly. The weight of the beer in my mouth is significant, but not stickily overwhelming. This is exactly what I want from my barleywines.

I love Old Ruffian and it's not hard to see why as I work my way through the bottle. This is my favorite Barleywine and the standard upon which I judge all other barleywines that I consume.

Photo of MarkBlackout
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Good lord what a great beer!

Old Ruffian rivals Duvel in terms of the pour: A voluminous, pockmarked, frothy head tops this rich amber brew. I am impressed right off the bat.

The nose and flavor follow suit, this almost resembles (to me) a really strong Wee Heavy. The malt character is similar. Hops balance it all out beautifully. The slightly syrupy mouthfeel and high alcohol detract little from the overall drinkability (and enjoyability) of this great beer. Thank you to all who have reviewed this beer (thus giving it the high rating that demanded my attention!). I've had other Great Divide bombers and really enjoyed the Yeti, but was underwhelmed by the Hercules. This takes the cake!

Photo of Flashsp2
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Ruffian into snifter (not sure of age on this bottle)

Pours with a three finger head of creamy little orange/tan bubbles on a exquisite ruby body that is intensely deep and dark. Super long retention and great sticky lacing. A big chunk of head that looks like a root beer floats stays for the ride.

Nose is bright citrus, pine resin, sweet caramels drizzled over dessert breads. Smells prickly and sticky with residual malts and herbal/leafy hops. Spicy, dark fruits.

This beer has such a superb flavor profile, and it keeps coming in waves. The initial hit is entirely malt based, with lots of sweet gourmet breads and caramels of different varieties. Then, when you think it's about to subside, the hops come rushing in with a big salty, citrus, tangerine, pine sap, and grapefruit assault. Earthy and leafy, the hops don't pummel but provide immaculate balance to the huge malt profile, and give a crisp bitterness at the finish.

The mouthfeel is spot on for this style. Dense, chewy, syrup-like, then a struggle of very fine bubbles try to break free from this ominous liquid.

The best balanced barleywine ever, ever. So intricately balanced, just when you think the flavors are finished, the wave of hops come rolling in and keep everything in check. It takes a good 30 seconds after the swallow for all the flavors to do their amazing dance. Easy to drink despite it's heavy alcohol presence (well, there is a lot of booze, but you can't taste any of it).

Photo of atsprings
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

Photo of davidchollar
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This has to be the closest to perfect I've had in ages. It looks amazing. Dark and auburn with a light beige, neverending head. Wall-to-wall lacing. The smell is outstanding and unique. Giant caramelly maltiness with a huge piny hop presence.

Taste is exceptional. Perfect. Un-fucking-believable. This is easily the best beer I've had this year. Full-bodied and strong, the alcohol is present but not distracting. Highly drinkable. I could totally go for another.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,095 ratings.