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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,135 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,135
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 237
Gots: 315 | 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:
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: 2,135 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bfields4
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice pour on this one revealing a cloudy dark amber beer with a very tight head.

The smell is very appealing allowing strong notes of sweet malty caramel laced with citrus and maybe even a little hint of the alcohol in the pinyness.

The sweet fruit flavors accompanied by malt hits me right away. The caramel is savory in this beer.This beer leaves me with a piny hoppy aftertaste. Every sip seems to take me to another flavor of this beer. A very unique creation. My first barleywine and I have to admit I'm impressed.

Very easy to drink with a little alchy kick in the back. Smooth with a nice carbonation. Very nice.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours hazy deep orange with a medium large off-white head with a fast dissipation, little lacings.

S: Oaky notes together with rich sweet syrupy malt. Lots of dark dried fruits - rasins and figs. Floral, fruity hops.

T: Molasses, syrupy sweet rich caramell malt. Piney and citric notes from the floral hops balanced with a healty dose of bitter hops. Dark dried fruits - mostly raisins.

M: Long rich aftertaste with sweet bitterness. Body is full and carbonation is moderate.

D: A very nice American Barleywine that possibly could benefit from a couple of years in my beer-cellar - otherwise - a nice product.

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is heavy pine and grapefruit hops, with light caramel malts and a touch of doughy yeast. Pour yields a medium amber colored brew with a largish creamy off-white head that retains well and has pretty good lacing. Flavor is heavy hops, bitter and salty on the finish. A bit over carbonate. I would not want to drink too much of this stuff, as it is extremely hoppy, but it is still a decent brew.

Photo of dasenebler
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber lacking a bottling date, but that shouldn't be a problem with this big boy beer.

Pours a rich, slightly hazy brown with a nice dense head. Good lacing.

Aroma is big and complex with notes of dark fruit, molasses, rich dark malts and alcohol.

Flavor is quite good, if a bit overpowering-- maybe I haven't had enough experience with barleywines. I do like it though. A super rich malt backbone is balanced by a hefty bitterness that lingers and lingers. Pretty well-balanced but still potent. Flavors of anise, burnt caramel, roast, and vinous alcohol blend nicely. Mouthfeel is exquisite. Super resinous and velvety with just the right amount of carbonation to enhance the creaminess. Obviously a sipper at ten plus percent, but I am still very impressed with the quaff.

A big, bad barleywine that doesn't play nice.

Photo of GilGarp
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've just start to try barleywine-style ales and this is one I have been looking forward to.

Many of the Great Divide beers have switched over to new labels but this one still has the old style (as pictured here).

Pours from the bomber into the center of a globe-shaped glass. It has a striking red color but almost no head. I don't know if it's the hops or the high ABV but usually beers like this don't have much head to speak of.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with a definately hoppiness.

Flavor is intense with sour cherries, tart apples, and lots of hoppy bitterness. There's nothing small about it.

Mouthfeel is good but the strength of alcohol and bitterness is taxing. Drinkability is hinered for the same reasons.

A great example of the style and I'm glad I got to try it. Next time I might seek out a fresher bottle to see how hoppy it is when new.

Photo of dirtylou
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, cap says $5.89...i feel like i bought this in south bend, which means pre 8/1/05, been in the cellar fridge since

appearance: pours a rusty deep crimson colour into my chalice, foamy beige head, that leaves a heavy lace around the rim... a fine looking specimen indeed

smell: very rich and inviting...the first thing that hits my nose is a very heavy aroma of super-sweet caramel malt, very bready, big hop profile comes next...heavy citrus-grapefruit/orange, lots of other strong dark fruit coming through such as apple and grape. alcohol noticeable but not abrasive

taste: very tasty and very smooth...sweet and thick caramel-apple malt dominates the tongue, sweet and bready, very syrupy, twisted citrus hops with a strong pine sap presence, potent dark fruit, hop bitterness, alcohol present, caramel, toffee, a solid malt driven barleywine

mouthfeel: very smooth and creamy, slight alcohol burn, hop bitterness

drinkability: about right for the style

Photo of richj1970
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter glass.

A: Golden honey color tinted with auburn. Two to three finger fluffy white head with lots of lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and malts mixed with piney and earthy tones from the hops.

T: Slight sweetness with caramel, malts, dark fruits mixed with hoppy bitterness and floral notes.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Coats the palette nicely without being too thick.

O: Very nice. Perhaps a bit too hop forward for my taste, but a solid barley wine none the less.

Photo of cheers2beers
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wiezen

Apearance: As I poured this brew lots of caramel looking cascadeing took place.The head is off-white and rocky with lots of staying power.Plenty of laceing to linger.The liquid is a deep burnt orange and hazelnut.

Aroma: The nose is piney,candied hops,and caramel. Minimal alcohol is present as this beast warms.

Taste: Huge burst of candied orange peel,caramel,brown sugar,pine needles,and a slight estery fruitiness. Like the nose, alcohol flavors bite my tongue and throat as the beer warms to room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy,silky and oily. Slighty tingley on the sides of my tongue ,probably due to the hops.

Drinkability: This brew is easily drinkable,but due to the high abv one bomber of this masterpiece makes this a non-session beer.But, I would for sure buy this again.One of my favorite barely wines.

Overall: Huge beer, huge aromas, huge flavors, huge mouthfeel,huge alcohol and a huge buzz!! Death by Barley Wine.YUUUUMMM!

-Cheers2Beers

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown murky appearance that produces a rich ruby color when held up to light. Thin head with fairly good retention. Lacing comes in a delicate pattern with little gobs of bubbles.

S: Sweet, malty, and an aroma of piney hops. Not even a hint of alcohol heat after one year in the cellar.

T: Sticky malts and resinous piney hops. The initial flavor is sweet with notes of toffee malts. Fruity notes of dates and other dark fruits. Finish has a hint of residual hop bitterness among rich caramel malt.

M/D: Smoothly textured with a sticky malty finish. Far less heavy than the style and alcohol content lead on. Very drinkable, but the alcohol catches up quickly.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - deep red color, very hazy, large tan head with great retention, very good lacing as well

s - caramel maltiness dominates with notes of hops and alcohol

t - hop bitterness up front with lots of sweet maltiness in the middle, alcohol and bitterness dominate the long finish

m - fair amount of carbonation, medium-bodied, coats the mouth very well

d - great beer, but one bomber is plenty for me, the alcohol is definitely present in both taste and effect, but it definitely keeps me interested until the end of the bottle

Very impressed with this brew; it definitely lived up to its billing. Another wonderful beer from the folks at GD. My favorite American barleywine to date.

Photo of hiikeeba
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours up a ruby brown color with a creamy tan head. Crystal clear.

S - Aroma is a combination of roast malt and caramel malt with hops pushing through. A little alcohol detected, but very mild.

T - I am beginning to appreciate American barley wines after many years of avoidance. This has a nice malty background with hop accents on the side of the tongue. The hops linger a while, but are not overwhelming. Alcohol is warming, but overpowering

M - Full bodied, low carbonation on the tongue.

D - Even though it would be reckless of me, this is a very drinkable beer. The hops and the alcohol are subtle. Too much of this, and I would be calling in sick to work.

Photo of BostonHops
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter glass.

pours a deep amber tone with ruby red highlights... yields a solid finger and a half of a khaki colored head; solid retention and beautiful walls of lacing. pretty damn impressive presentation.

nose is led by sweet malts, followed by notes of citrus and a bit of pine. flavor follows the nose to a T; even exceeds it. caramel, bready maltiness with a strong ensuing citrus/pine presence - huge hops showing, even for an american barleywine - carrying through to a hoppy bitterness in the finish... very well-hidden 10.2% ABV.

nice full-bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. dangerously drinkable for such a big beer. while i prefer the english counterpart of the style, this is great rendition of the american version (which is growing on me).

originally reviewed: 01-09-2011

Photo of KarlHungus
4.23/5  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.

Photo of Strix
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a good head and nice lacing.

Piney and grapefruity hop in the aroma, backed by a sweet malty base.

A sweet fruity beginning, quickly followed by a piney hop burst, with a long lingering grapefruit finish. Nice.

Mouthfeel medium, not much carbonation.

This was a very nice Barleywine. Probably not as good as Bigfoot for me, but quite solid.

Photo of natelocc787
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel colored in appearance with a humongous tan head. Leaves sticky, chunky lacing all the way. Alcohol is well-hidden in this sweet beer. Toffee, caramel and red apple. Buttery toffee in the smell and taste. Big time taste of Sugar Babies candy. Great example.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A treat for all of the senses. Great Divide does it again. Aromas of molassas and hops jump out of the bottle even before the pour. The beer boldly plops into the glass with a dark ruby glow and a tan-yellow head that rises through the durration of the glass. Continues to release aromas of ripe and dehydrated dark fruits with cherries, plumbs, dates, figs... and big-time hop balance. Tastes very sweet and bold with the same fruits as in aroma. Throw in brown sugar, liqorice, raisons, U.S. hops for ultimate hop spiciness, boquet, and flavor. Hops rise up to keep the malts from becoming cloying or undrinkable. Alcohol flavors and feel comes on imediately and never dies, but never becomes too hot or too fusal. No flaws in this beer; if there were, they would become lost in the abundance of flavor. Finishes sweet, yeasty, and alcoholic. Though it's easy to be put in the top 100, it's similar to many other great big beers.

Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of buffettfan
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appeared a very pretty, dark brown with reddish ruby highlights when held to the light.

Smell was wild. A ton of aroma, a lot of hops, and malt, with a strong presence of alcohol.

Taste is crazy! Its almost over load. Lots of hops, with a nice malt flavor, some spice comes out and well, especially in the finish. Hints of caramel, pine, and an almost fruity taste. Very enjoyable.

Drinkable in small amounts. Its got some kick!

Very good beer, will be getting some and cellering it to see what time does to it.

Photo of perrymarcus
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter glass.

pours a deep amber tone with ruby red highlights... yields a solid finger and a half of a khaki colored head; solid retention and beautiful walls of lacing. pretty damn impressive presentation.

nose is led by sweet malts, followed by notes of citrus and a bit of pine.

flavor follows the nose to a T. caramel, bready maltiness with a strong ensuing citrus/pine presence - huge hops showing, even for an american barleywine - carrying through to a hoppy bitterness in the finish... very well-hidden 10.2% ABV.

nice full-bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. dangerously drinkable for such a big beer. while i prefer the english counterpart of the style, this is great rendition of the american version.

Photo of macster
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from bomber to snifter a slightly murky orange-burgundy color with a thick, dense beige head which shows superb durability. Heavy, almost continuous sheets of lacing coat the glass as it drains. Beautiful rich aromas of grapefruit and pine needles are apparent, backed by notes of caramel, malt, toasted bread and butterscotch. Mouthfeel is full, creamy and slightly syrupy with a perfect level of carbonation. Initial taste shows hints of caramel candy, crystal malt, brown sugar and toffee sweetness. However this quickly transforms into a very assertive and muscular hop presence with flavors of fresh cut grapefruit, pine and citrus rind along with an ample ethanol kick to amplify the whole experience. If you’re a fan of huge, hoppy BW’s (i.e. Bigfoot) you’ll love this baby. Great stuff!!

Photo of chalsk
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with an off white soapy head. It has an aroma of citrus, pine, and tons of caramel. Sweet caramel taste with some citrus notes on the bitter, pine finish. A very tasty barleywine. I love the mix of hops in this brew. May consider aging one.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, purchased in late july/early august 2008. brought back with me to beijing. kept in the fridge ever since. no bottle dating to be found, although the glass has an imprint of "01 07" on the bottom, whatever that means. poured into tulip.

very dark, amber brown/copper. slight haze. dark to the point of being translucent. great frothy head, slowly reduces to thin, puffy layer. very nice lacing.

hoppy nose, with fruity notes of citrusy grapefruit and apple underneath. then moves to mildly piney tones. a faint but distinctly caramelized, toasted maltiness is consistent throughout. finishes with more fruity tones, and some grassiness and a metallic whiff. all this takes some forceful sniffing however - despite warming up, it is a bit on the subdued side.

anyway, the palate gets a blast of hops too. bold, piney and grapefruity, with a strongly bitter, resinous finish - but, there is definitely that flash of sweet, caramel maltiness and fruity esters right in the middle. it even manages to cling on, lingering gently in the background into the otherwise hoppy, bitter and resinous finish.

not too thin, definitely has a smoothness to it at first, and then the resinous hops and mildly astringent characters come through, plus a moderate carbonation that gives some additional life. just a little more body would help though. some alcohol can be perceived upon warming.

not mindblowingly spectacular, but still a decent hophead's brew.

Photo of egajdzis
4.23/5  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.

Photo of GRPunk
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured a deep amber-brown color with a 1 finger tan head that was supported by light carbonation and fell to a good lace that left nice sticky spots on the side of the glass.

S- The aroma was great. There were lots of malt scents giving a caramel, raisin, and brandy aroma that met up nicely with some earthy hops.

T- There were more of the raisin tones balanced by earthy, perhaps citrus, hops and a warming alcohol flavor.

M- It had a nice tingle from the hops and high alcohol content and a thick, oily feel.

D- It's a definite sipper. The flavor was great, but there was a bit of a sting from the alcohol.

Overall- This is a really flavorful, cold weather or nightcap beer.

Photo of JasonA
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent carmel headless

Carmel, sweet, malt. Yummy. Dont get the hops as mentioned. Cant smell the ABV, but I can sense it :).

Sweet into hops. Wow. Lots of flavor, not mesing around. Alcohol present, might want to mask it some. Full bodied.

Little syrupy, staring to really enjoy this about the style. Little biting at the end, but overall sits well in the mouth.

Being an east coaster, Im starting to love Great Divide. Everything seems to be very full bodied. This beeris very drinkable and Im not sure what I would pass up of beers I have had to date for a Great Divide.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,135 ratings.