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

1,070 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

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Reviews: 1,070
Hads: 2,280
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 8.98%
Wants: 255
Gots: 379 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,070 | Hads: 2,280
Photo of pwsoldier
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'08 release

A - Pours cloudy mahogany with a rich tan head that shows great retention. Lacing is plentiful. This is a beautiful beer!

S - The nose is dominated by dark fruits and spicy hops. Plum, cherry, and raisin come through strongly with some wood notes complimenting the hops perfectly.

T - Lots of spicy hop bitterness up front, followed by the sweet notes of the fruits that were present on the nose. Wood notes enhance the spicy hop character. A strong malt backbone makes itself more assertive as it warms, creating a great balance between sweet and spicy/bitter. Alcohol is well-hidden throughout.

M - Full-bodied with a wet, smooth finish. Carbonation does a nice job of keeping this beer from being too rich.

D - Definitely one of my top 5 barleywines. This beer is immensely enjoyable and the complexity of it is a real treat. The abv makes it difficult to drink more than one, but that's okay. (913 characters)

Photo of AmitC
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This will probably taste much better right now than it probably is. Cause I am in the mood of celebrating. Ticking off one from the top 250 as well. This one a 2009 vintage - Dec 08 2009. At 8.99,i guess it is good. There was a 2011 sitting right next to it, but bought this instead.

Poured from the 22oz bomber into a large snifter. Freezer cooled for 30 minutes. Will pour half of it a bit later.

About one finger thick tan colored creamy head. Color is Brown with huge ruby highlights. Excellent lacing on the sides with each sip and the one left by the head. Surprised to see some bubbles rising up still, after over three years of bottling. There is tan colored layer that stays throughout. A bit dark and more cloudy and hazy. Almost opaque. Suspended hops or some white suspensions seen in the bottom.

Aroma is extremely boozy and malty for this old beer and at 10.2% it is not hiding it well. I will give it points for that. Hops have completely died out, I wasn't expecting either. Maltiness is fairly neutral and dominated more by alcohol. Smelled a lot like a boozy stout or American strong ale. Smelled some hops in the later stages, which is good. I guess i like the smell.

Taste is also full of booze. A good amount of bitterness as is expected. Probably a bit warm which is good as such, but i like it when drinks are colder. Hops are doing well to impart bitterness to the stuff that stays as an aftertaste. A very well constructed sweet bitter finish. Bitterness is what is lovely about this. I must try a fresher version of this. Alcohol is exceptional and in your face.

Mouth feel is more medium to very slightly full. Astringency - No - just a lot of booze. Smells as if it is 15%. Drinks rather well for me. No carbonation seen, but those bubbles might indicate a more stronger carbonation in the fresh ones.

Cold version drinks exceptionally well. I love this stuff.

Ticking off. And good luck to me.

Style rate: 4.5
Personal Rate: 4.5 (1,971 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The brown 22 oz. bomber yielded a chestnut red beer topped with a two finger beige head that lingered on, and left clumpy webs of lace. The look was classic barley wine, and the smell was as well. Hop aroma was piney, citric, bold, and refreshing. The malts were difficult to detect via the nose, but not so via the tongue. The initial taste was mellow and sweet revealing wave after wave of dried fruits like raisins, figs, and apricots. The hop assault followed shortly afterward with grapefruit, black pepper, and an assertive bitterness. Sticky coating on the tongue long after each sip was finished. And sip is about the best way you could enjoy this complex and powerful beer. A barleywine that is all together at the time of release. I suppose aging will only make things better still. (792 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rajendra82 for this anticipated brew.
Pours a dark ruby/brown color with very little light passing through.
1/4 finger of creamy tan head w/ clingy lace.
Stong aromas filled w/ floral hops, raisins, caramelized malts, vanilla and rum...one of the best smelling bw's to date.
Taste is an explosion of hops...the most intensely hopped up barleywine I have tried...yes, Big Foot included.
Lovely malt flavors as well, but the hops are what rule here. Served close to room temperature, this beer is pretty darn sweet. But it is a bittersweet, making this barleywine truly enjoyable/drinkable...even at 10.2%
Mouthfeel is a tad thin for its style...one of just a few things keeping this one from perfection. (718 characters)

Photo of DIPAbrewer
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle it cascaded into a goblet throwing up a huge brown head. The foam subsided eventually but left a layer of foam floating to the end.

The aroma was amazing. Resiny sweet citrus with light caramel notes. Much better hop aroma than many other barleywines, at least for a hophead like me.

The flavor was outrageous and abundant. Sweet dark malts and perfectly balanced fruity hop bitterness. Instantly it became a favorite.

The full bodied ale has a thinner mouth feel than some others but it still packs a punch. You can tell the alcohol is there but the great flavors compel you towards another sip.

Quite drinkable considering its strength.

I would definitely recommend this beer. After trying it with some traditional sharp cheddar I bought several more to cellar for awhile. (807 characters)

Photo of wr3ck00n
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled early December 2012, poured 11.30.13.

Poured a lovely rosey copper with a nice thick head. Very pretty lacing as I sip. Pleasantly sweet nose, malty with hints of caramel and maybe toffee. Taste follows right in line with the smell, just stronger. Nice and rich, bold even, but manages to do so without feeling the slightest bit heavy. Smooth and filling in the mouth, warms as it goes down. ..Everything I love about a barley wine, personally. I will note that I pulled it out to sit a good 30-40 minutes before I poured it, and I don't think it would have been nearly as good right out the fridge. Sipping slowly, it's only gotten better as it warms. Overall, this one is going straight to the top of my list. Great Divide has yet to disappoint me, and this is no exception. Wonderful brew. (801 characters)

Photo of jellikit
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (374 characters)

Photo of granger10
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a deep copper color, dark orange around the sides, with a medium sized super sticky white head. Very nice.

Aroma is really piney, juicy hops, there's a medicinal element. Alcohol esters are there but blend nicely with the hops. Caramelized dates are there along with toffee, butterscotch, and a sweet honey bread note. Great complex aroma.

Taste has dry malty notes upfront no real residual sugars are noted. Then a syrup texture takes the palate and brings some bitter hops in with it. Citric flavors become more prevalent. Soon, I'm eating whole grapefruits. A nice brandyish note comes into the mix. Acidity builds into the finish. Finish lingers with a dry alcohol warming feel.

The body is medium and every flavor in this beer lets itself be known yet does not overtake any other flavor. The dry malts, the sweet sugars, the bitter hops, the flavor hops, the alcohol esters, they all have their place here. This is simply a great barleywine, one I need to get many more of. (1,005 characters)

Photo of 99bottles
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Into a tulip, this beer has a beautiful garnet body, clear and tranquil. A soft pour still conjures a head of 1.5" of dense tan foam. Retention is unreal, and sticky lace clings to the glass forever.

Smell: This has a wonderful smell, with everything that constitutes an exceptional barleywine. Maple candy, brown sugar, and a sharp bite of hops make this irresistable, and if sniffed too hard almost painful.

Taste: WHEW!!!! This is a big mutha of a beer. One sip and you realize that the malts are slick and heavier than 10-40W. As they swirl across the tongue, something else entirely takes over. Bitter hops. The bottle says they're up about 90 IBU. They are not joking. This is a bitter b-wine if I've ever had one. Almost saponic in its bitterness, this has grapefruit and flavors of oily citurs rinds. The malts are big, heavy, carmel, sugar, even some vanilla/oak. The hops are just as big, and make for one heck of a bruiser. Slight whiskey burn in the nostrils. This is really good, but not for the meek.

Mouthfeel: Slippery and hoppy. Thick. It's not kind to the tongue, but it's not supposed to be. This is an assertive beer, and I like that about it. Subjective? Perhaps, but try it and you'll see what all the fuss is about.

Drinkability: I really enjoy this beer, right now. Think of Old Horizontal that was fed adrenaline. It's really quite complex, once you can let the harsh hops and malt reshape your palette. I am willing to bet that this will soon be in the top 100 beers on this site, especially if left to age. Wow. (1,562 characters)

Photo of IPAcraig
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Ruffian - 10.2% I had this bomber at the Leon Pub whilst studying for finals. I actually saw someone purchase a LP shirt. Not remarkable in itself, except for the fact that he felt compelled to try it on before he left the bar.

Damn this beer looks good. No small head on this BW. It has a fairly big, bubbly light brown head on top of a spectacularly dark red body that is mostly transparent. Lacing, check. Excellent.

Tobacco, massive musty hop goodness, big malty sweetness. This beer has it all.

This beer doesn't quite reach 100 IBU, but it still manages to have an awesome tongue smashing bitterness. A massive malt character, but with an odd dryness. Fruit, booze, hops, and malt in one big melting pot of a beer. To say the bitterness lingers is a bit of an understatement.

It has a nice tongue enveloping mouthfeel; though the finish of this beer is somewhat grainy. I was expecting this beer to feel overly carbonated after seeing the head, but it was not the case.

Big and bold. This beer reminds me why I became an American craft beer fan. It has a take no prisoners flavor. To hell with subtlety when you can be brash. (1,145 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Ruff is an enticingly deep-chestnut hued bier, with touches of garnet as well. It's a clear bier, with extremely fine carbonation heading topside, though it is few and far between. The head which tops things off starts at about 1/4" after a hard pour, then fades to a thin, covering layer of tan, creamy, compact little bubbles. Lacing is exquisite, too, as the pattern left in the glass is A-1! Aroma is easily evident, with malty notes oozing out of the goblet and into the surrounding atmosphere. Also has strong indicators of a large hop presence. Body is well above medium, and it is an exceedingly smooth, velvet-like bier. Nothing rough in this Ruff.

Caramel and toffee aspects are first evident in the heavy load of malt which hits the palate. Sweetness glides across the tongue and down the hatch. But the malt is matched in its strength by all those IBUs. Citrussy notes coat the mouth, and hide in all the nooks and crannies, allowing Ruffians hop-liciousness to linger long and hard. And this is a 10.20% abv bier? Where's it hiding? I don't feel it, and that could get scary! This is a wonderful offering from Great Divide!!

Prosit!!

overall: 4.6
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 5

855 (1,247 characters)

Photo of johnnybgood1999
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this bomber at a Hy-Vee grocery store in St. Joseph MO. I really love this beer. I haven't had too many of this style, but this is the best one I've had yet. The drink starts out mild and then explodes with falvor, which is probably my favorite part of this beer. Malty sweetness up front. Alcohol makes itself known at the front of the mouthful, but mixes well. I can't place the type of hops that come out once the drink's good and in your mouth. They're great though. (480 characters)

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruddy chestnut color with a tall, brown foamy head that lasts forever. Aroma is sweet and grassy, fruity like honeysuckle, macerated raisins or prunes. The aroma follows me as the glass is moved around. Sticky lacing all the way down the sides.

Taste is thick and sweet malt and a hop-load of bitterness at the same time. Up front, I get the sweet fruity bits of plum or dark grapes; on the back of the palate is the puckering bitterness of floral hops and orange rind that lounges around through the aftertaste. Sweet and bitter sides alternate throughout, fighting for my attention. Balance? Bah, more like an ongoing struggle, critical to the success of a good adventure/thriller/buddy-cop movie.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth without being thick or oily. Barely a trace of alcohol in the flavors, despite the ABV, and it certainly warms me up quickly. I'm tempted to age a few bottles but I'm afraid it would lose a lot of its hoppy aggressiveness. An excellent American-style barleywine. (1,007 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep crimson, though clear, coloration, and has an enormous head, huge, cocoa-colored, long-standing, lovely...and, would you believe, the bottleneck bubbled over, with bubbles after the pour! Tres amusant! Leaves considerable, and attractive, lacing, as it diminishes, as well...very much appreciated!
Aroma: huge, rich, full of flavor, a jar full of toffee with butterscotch dipped in for fun, with chocolate cherries on the side, and a snit of brandy waiting in the rafters...
Taste: big, bad, and booze-tastic! Huge, rich, and full, utterly dripping in dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and so much character that pretenders tremble in it's wake ...seriously, this is a true contender amongst the ranks of fine American barleywines...not too huge in Abv, an overwhelming fruity/hoppy characteristic. Damnably tasty...I must take another sip...dastardly delicious...yet nearly thick with flavor, ...yum, the intensity of flavor does not detract from the overall deliciousness...big, rich, and mighty...a damned good barleywine!
I've got to stick some away for a rainy day, that's for sure! (1,103 characters)

Photo of MrDerp
4.66/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Great dark amber coloring. Head leaves a light lace behind.
S - Caramel and hopps aroma
T - Taste starts and ends slightly hoppy. In between, is a bold caramel somewhat citrus-ish flavor. Very, very good.
M - Medium body, but stays with you. Seems to be more carbonated than others. Very good.

Overall a fantastic, great tasting beer. Its not extremely hoppy like you find with a lot of American Barleywines. Instead theres a great distinct flavoring between the hops. Very higly recommended. One of my favorites. (519 characters)

Photo of UncleFlip
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour....a deep copper to brown colour, very red and a little hazy when held tot he light. Very healthy tight, thick head that holds for along time, and leaves a good lace behind.

The first thing that hits me on the smell is the hops- lots of hops, carried on a somewhat light malt sweetness- a little lighter than the colour would imply.

The flavour is more in line with the colour. There's a rather pleasing bitterness that hits up front, and gives way to the hops just for a moment, then is back again, almost peppery to the finish. It rides on top of a thick, quite strong dark malty sweetness with hints of orange and banana.

The body is thick- but not quite syrupy, with a fizz that hits about halfway through.

When I first tasted this one, it was a bit intense, and I wasn't quite ready for it. However, as I go through the bomber (no one to share it with me, so it's good there's no heavy machienry nearby), it grows on me very quickly. Not a sessioner for the first-time drinker, but as you get used to this one, it could get you in a LOT of trouble. I could drink it all night, but then I'd have to hold on while lying down.

Be well
-UF (1,166 characters)

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Giant thick beautiful tan head erupts atop this deep rich perfect brown body. Leaves a lot of lace behind.

A very complex nose yields a variety of smells including rich fruit, honey, vanilla and cola like maltiness.

Bold zesty malt character enters the mouth. Slightly sweet long lasting burnt feel rounds out the palate. You get a hint of lichtly strong alchol at the finish. This is a king of barlywines. Great deep mouthfeel. A taste bud loveing experience. Yum! (471 characters)

Photo of irishkyle21
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Old Ruffian starts off with a creamy toffee colored head that slowly comes to rest leaving behind a intricate web of lacing above the murky copper red color.

The nose and taste reminds me of an ice cold Bud... NOT!! ( I know I'm a loser). Full of sweet caramel malt, piny resiny hops, raisins as well as other fruits and just the faintest trace of alcohol.

A hugely flavourful barley wine. Very well balanced between an onslaught of hops and malt. Notes of caramel, citrus, grapefruit the finishes bitter and warming. This is one beer that I will never pass up and if anyone does they are damned to hell for doing so. (619 characters)

Photo of gbontrag
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

44f
90 IBUs!
the color of walnut lumber finished with raspberry juice. It has a meringue head slightly toasted. Tip the glass and it looks like a sheared lamb.

That's funny, it says on the side of the bottle, "Seemingly mellow at the start with subtle..." Uh. Umm. A hop gnome snuck into my bottle, and stamped his little green boots all over my beer! Smells like marigold stems; like a Christmas wreath with fresh strung cranberries, and a copper kettle going on the stove with caramel. So enticing I'm physically involved.

Hop bitebitebitebitebite all over. It's like my mouth went to sleep and is tingling all over. The mouthfeel is sensational. This is so f*%#@ing creamy!! There's a chewy berrry granola bar in here. And a frothed malt syrup smoothie. So creammmy. So reminds me of fresh tart cranberries sweetened with clover honey, and flavored with rosemary. Wash it down with a malty egg cream. I really want to cellar some of this.

7-24: Celebrating life. New notes.
Smells like cherry toffee, oranges and creme de menthe. So beyond smelling "good" that I have to blow kisses towards Denver.

Shockingly hoppy with absinthe bite. Burnt sugar just about coats everything including my eyeballs that have rolled back; I'm glazed, and sugars are dripping off my tongue. This seems to have gotten drier and sharper with age, like cheddar. This is so f*%#@ing creamy!! This is one of those beers I always want to have at least one of in the cellar. (1,466 characters)

Photo of cameraman
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 22oz mug, a deep amber color that is slightly cloudy, with a 1/4 inch head, that laces down the mug slowly down the glass. The aroma comes with a floral and earthy onslaught, that is evident at a distance. As you get closer to the glass, the malt becomes more pronounced. The taste is excellent, starting with the sweet malt at the beginning and the mid-way the hops begin come forward and it gets stronger as it reaches the end of every taste. In the mouth, it be classified like a light-heavy weight in boxing. Heavy, but not overly heavy. It alao seems to be chewy towards the end. You have to drink this one slowly, the intense flavor and high alchol means this beer could knock you on your butt. (714 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW!!! A great tasting American Barleywine with an initial blast of hops bitterness and an equally strong, caramel tinged maltiness follow up. You could say "balanced" here but both the hops and the maltiness are strong "in your face" flavors. Pours a cloudy reddish color. An agressive pour gives you a big tannish head that dissipates to a small, "hang in there" head. Lacing is huge, thick ladder down the glass. The taste is a nice transition from strong hops bitterness to a somewhat sweet, but not cloying caramel/malt taste. There is no alcohol taste. Mouthfeel is rich and halfway through the bomber, the maltiness becomes predominant over the hops. Drinkability is very good. Anything more than the bomber would result in degraded/abnormal/not full mission capable performance, but I would never pass up 22 oz of this elixer. A really fine beer!!! (856 characters)

Photo of kagent777
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into my CCB snifter. This was bottled on Nov 8, 2010. I don't remember whether I traded for this one or got it while on my trip to Denver a year ago.

Appearance: A reddish brown that has a bit of haze and a wonderful whitish head that was one finger and settled to a film. Looks very nice. Gorgeous lacing all the way down.

Smell: Nothing smells better than a good barleywine. Rich malts with dried dark fruit, raisin and plum. I also get a bit of general bittering hops as well, subdued I am sure compared to what they were.

Taste: Really complex! I get rich nutty malts with those rich dark fruits, no sweetness goes into a long lasting bitter finish. I taste tobacco, leather notes, toffee, and caramel. The alcohol may be the bittering opposed to the residual hops, I am not sure. The alcohol is not solventy or hot, well hidden for such a big beer.

Mouthfeel: Not as thick as I was imagining. Huge flavors, my tongue cannot hide from them. Low carbonation, that gives a really velvety mouthfeel.

Overall: As awesome BW. This is why barleywines are probably my favorite style. I am jelous for the people that can get this regularly, especially on tap. I am sad to say that I do not have an un-aged bottle to compare to, at 2 1/4 years old, this one is amazing. (1,289 characters)

Photo of saintwarrick
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rusty red, very clear with a huge creamy sudsy white head like an IPA. If the look is like an IPA, the aroma clinches it: lots of piney hops in the smell like a pine forest or Christmas tree. Reminds a lot of the Bigfoot I had last year, or even a Dogfish Head brew. Taste is at first sweet like caramel and nougat dipped in whiskey, then a heavy bitterness takes over, piney hop oils that balance the brew. A wide range in the balance here, at first very sweet then hugely bitter.

A really drinkable and bitter barleywine that rivals Bigfoot in the hops department. (575 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
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! (1,406 characters)

Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Old Ruffian pours out a bright orange/amber with a 1/2" head of off-white foam that drops quickly to a cap, then a ring, for the duration of the drink. Good lacing.
The aroma of this brew is outstanding. There are nice hops up front and then a candy sweet smell hits the nose. Caramelized butter. Reminiscent of the smell of pecan pralines or "leche quemada" being made. Nice, nice smells!
The thing that struck me from the first sip was the complete balance of this beer. The hops and malt are both up-front but neither steals the show. The hops have a slight citrus tang (mild orange peel flavor) as the beer enters then a slightly sweet taste complemented by some fruitiness towards mid-mouth. The beer finishes up with a nice long, bitter, complex finish. All the flavors are blended together perfectly. Superb barleywine!
The mouthfeel seems semi-thick and chewy with some tongue-tingling hops and carbonation.
The beers' drinkability is out of this world, especially for being 10+%! Nice liquor-like warming effect. Complex, wonderful beer very worthy of its ratings. Highly recommended!! (1,102 characters)

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,070 ratings.