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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 champ103
3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy deep orange/reddish color. At first pour, a large white head forms, but recedes to a ring and leaves some sticky and patchy lace.
S: This is great. Hops and malt are balanced perfectly. Fruity citrus aromas (lemon, grapefruit, lime) with sweet candy malt aromas. A lot is going on in the nose.
T: The flavor seems a bit muted. Plenty of hop bitterness and malt flavors to balance out, but not as rounded as the nose. Almost a cloying sweetness. Not that it is bad by any means, just not a knock out.
M/D: Creamy, smooth, and well carbonated. Lots of alcohol, and the sweetness makes this a sipping beer. One is more than plenty.

A good American barlywine that I enjoy. Nothing outstanding, but a well balanced beer. Something I would recommend to lovers of the style.

champ103, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of hardy008
3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper color with a 1 - 2 finger light tan head, with good retention and lacing. The aroma has pine hops and caramel malt. Seems to be a pretty even balance between hop and malt aroma.

The taste of this beer has a pretty even balance between pine hops and caramel malt. I believe the best Barleywines have more malt, and fewer hops, which is only my preference for Barleywines.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation, hoppy and oily. This is a decent beer, but is too hoppy for a Barleywine.

hardy008, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of yourchoice
3.4/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Catching up on some notes from the last couple weeks...

A - Muddy brownish red, like stained mahogany. Very little light tan head, quckly dissipating.

S - Raisins, sweet cranberries...very raisiny and sweet.

T - Not detecting it in the smell, I was surprised to find it a little smokey, but still very sweet. Still raisins and figs. Pronounced alcohol (not a "hidden" 10 ABV).

M - Little carbonation, good body.

O - I can't honestly say I was longing for my next sip. I'll have to revisit in the future to see if I may have missed something or my palate was off...

yourchoice, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of GehenHerzog
3.4/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 2009 Vintage 22oz bomber, purchased from Brawley's (Charlotte) poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter.

A- Pours a a red to burnt red color with almost no head. .

S- Smells of dark fruits, caramel and a extremely small hint of hops. Not much here other than the dark fruit.

T- Again...Dark fruits, caramel and and earth hops (again, not much hops present). It is slightly bitter but the dark fruits really shine.

M- Medium bodied with almost no carbonation.

D- This is a strong beer. You can tell this beer is strong and it burns going down.

I'll end this by saying I am not a big barleywine fan but I was definitely not a fan of this beer. It was too strong for me and the flavors didn't suit my palate.

GehenHerzog, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of popery
3.41/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, 10/28/10. ~11 month old bottle. This beer could use some more time. Right now, it’s sticky, kinda boozy and harsh. There are some nice caramel notes lurking in there, but it’s just not all that enjoyable right now. Aroma is caramel malt and citric hops. Sweet sugar cane, apricots and an acetone/metal note also show up. The taste is sweet leading to harsh. Lots of caramel malt flavor is packed into this beer. Mouthfeel is fairly sticky. Appearance is a darkened amber with an off-white to beige head. At any rate, I imagine a vintage bottle would get higher marks. Also, I’m sorta down on barleywines, right now, so I’ll give this one another try in the future.

popery, Jan 27, 2013
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 jeffthecheff
3.43/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice dark copper color, very cloudy. Great sticky lacing.

Smell is very caramelly, thick hops and strong fruits.

Bitter taste comes through the most, along with syrupy like toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel on this is great. Swirl this over your tongue for a bit and it literally nubs your tongue. Very thick all around from body to resiny hop bitterness.

Drinkability on this is tough. I'd imagine finishing a bomber by yourself would be pretty difficult. It's certainly a sipper.

jeffthecheff, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of MarkSCCOT
3.45/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wow, I really hope I got a bad bottle or that with aging the other bottle I bought will change in character

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber (no discernable bottle dating) into a snifter.

A. Pours a crystal clear ice tea color with a healthy 2 finger head that slowly settles. Classic lacing.

S. Heavy malt booziness with a following of floral hops. Some toffee and just a hint of dark fruits.

T. The hops are up front and overwhelming. I sense there is a complicated backbone to this that the hops are steamrolling over.

M. Alcohol warmness with a thick finish.

D. If this hop profile were in an IPA or DIPA I would be impressed. However, the hops are a bit one dimensional and the backbone is screaming to get out. Hard to finish.

This will be a cellaring beer for me. Will re-review in 24 months.

MarkSCCOT, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of irishevans
3.45/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

looks much like sockeye red, and the nose to match. i'm 100% expecting an IPA. flowery mildly hoppy taste with a good bite on the finish, and a crisp mouthfeel. this is also very "downable", if you will, extremely easy to drink. everything I want out of an IPA, not what I expect from a barley wine. but being what it is, it is good. so if you want an IPA with a lot of a.b.v. this is it.

irishevans, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a tawny, rustic mahogany with a creamy off-white head.

S: Lots of alcohol heat followed up by sweet malts, caramel, some hops, and some more alcohol.

T: Again, lots of alcohol atop some sweet malt and same fading--though still present--hops. Some woodiness creeps in as well.

M: Fairly thick without too much carbonation and a whole lot of alcohol kick.

D: Not too drinkable given the high octane character of the beer. Maybe if I'd waited a little bit longer the alcohol would have mellowed out, or had it a bit earlier and allowed the hops to mask some of the alcohol.

Thorpe429, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of Wisconsinality
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage poured into standard pint.

A- Pours a blood orange with a finger worth of head. The head leaves a nice cap on the beer and leaves good, soapy lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Pretty hoppy for the style, with some malts in there as well. I pick up some black cherries, currants and caramel. Just a hint of alcohol peaks through.

T- Like the nose, very hoppy on the forefront. There is also a little soapiness going on as well which is a little off putting. The malt is pretty well hidden but there are decent notes of brown sugar and caramel.

M- Medium bodied with some good bitter notes. A little dry on the finish and a little lighter than what I expected.

D- I think this is a little too hoppy for my liking. Not bad flavor wise but there is just something missing from this one.

Wisconsinality, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

t2grogan, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of Triklino
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Triklino, May 03, 2014
Photo of DCgolfpro
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

DCgolfpro, May 13, 2013
Photo of cfrobrew
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

cfrobrew, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of spark3148857
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

spark3148857, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of IdrinkGas
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

IdrinkGas, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of jerefreakinmiah
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

jerefreakinmiah, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber of the 2008 vintage. Pours a crystal clear, ruby-copper color with a creamy, dark beige cap of head. Decent retention for the age and ABV, leaves an impressive sheet of lace on the glass. Doesn't get much better looking than this.

Nose is caramely and sugary oxidized malts, not quite to the malted milk ball stage though. Most of the hops are gone with just a bit of grassiness lingering on.

Taste still has a massive bitterness with a thinned-out malt backing. Tons of alcohol heat and some raisiny fruitiness. Carbonation is low and fits an aged barleywine well. Malts are smooth going down, but the biting bitterness and heavy alcohol make this a slow sipper. I think this is actually better when fresh, or is in an awkward middle phase of aging...hard to tell which. Needs some hop flavor in the middle palate and some varying malts throughout. I will be getting a fresh version of this and give it a re-review at some point.

twiggamortis420, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of BWarrington
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

BWarrington, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of ssimpson89
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

ssimpson89, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of Matagal
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Matagal, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of cofeeguru
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

cofeeguru, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of thebigbambino
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

thebigbambino, Jan 06, 2013
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.