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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

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2,173 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,173
Reviews: 1,067
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 237
Gots: 334 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,173 | Reviews: 1,067
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4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark copper colored and clear liquid. A massive creamy and
off-white head forms and stays for long. Nice lacings on the glass.

S: Lots of caramel malts up front. I can also find maple syrup, candy sugar, bananas, orange peel and honeydew melon. Some earthy tones and alchohol at the end. The alcohol smell is very mellow for a beer of 10.2% ABV.

T: Starts with a distinct malty flavour and then continues with maple syrup, burnt sugar, and honeydew melons. Very sweet. The alcohol is distinct and most noticeable at the end. It leaves a long and clean bitter grapefruit peel aftertaste.

M: Full bodied with a nice and oily texture. The alcohol burns a little. Low to medium carbonation.

O: Hands down one of my favorite Barley Wine style beers. Fantastic!

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4/5  rDev -5%

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3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ever since I fell in love with Great Divide, I desperately wanted to try their barleywine. Thankfully, there was a store that wasn’t sold out in Indianapolis come five months or so after it was released – only place in town where I found a bottle. Lucky me – cheers!

Brewed a little over eight months before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED ON: DEC 02 2011”).

A: A truly gorgeous beer, especially in the body: it’s a wondrously-bright and powerful red, exposing rich color from the glass at every angle. The head is none too forgettable, too, forming slow enough to make me almost overfill my glass. Its chunky foam texture marks a truly thick beer, settling so very slowly that it leaves silky, light tan lacing everywhere.

S: Extremely potent malt scents: bubblegum, fresh-cut red apples, and the leafy sweetness of dark grains. Has quite a bit of fig character underneath, too, while also boasting moderate tones of walnut and black cherry. Finishes with a familiar touch of toffee and port, as the style goes. Unfortunately, though, it is a little medicinal on the back end. Could be the age, but it’s out of place and unsatisfying; its stale scent greatly diminishes what could be a wonderful nose. Also, with all the talk of hops on the label, you’d expect some shred of bitterness in the nose (even after eight months). No can do, apparently…

T: Damn, these guys got the slow burn of a high-alcohol beer just right. Flavors of dark fruits and subtly-sweet malts come in first, opening the palate to a cascade of raisin, apple chutney, chocolate-toffee, and grainy bread. Slowly, then, with a transitional smoky taste, come those hops: spicy and herbal, lemony with hints of mango. In a moment’s time, the predominantly light hops fall into darkness, bringing the bitters more into the territory of resins and slick alcohol. The palate is rounded out by nutty, woody tastes, with chopped walnut, oak, and smooth Scotch flavors in the aftertaste – though some prickly hop oils end up lingering.

M: This beer is easy to finish quickly: it has a slight viscosity to it, but the hop presence lends a ton of lightness to the palate, drawing attention away from the thicker textures of the body. Barrel-aged might be too much for this beer; this is just right.

O: One of those rare beers where I liked the taste, but was just alright with the nose. Maybe that says something about the age of the beer; looking into the bottom of the bottle, I can see that this beer was not bottle-conditioned. It’s a possibility, so I’ll be looking out for fresh bottles this December.

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look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The final beer we tasted, which was my wife’s favorite, was the Old Ruffian by Great Divide, an American style Barleywine. I want to emphasize here two things. First, we ate palate foods, but ate similar food while drinking (the cheese plate) and secondly, we drank these over time, I was not drunk on the floor giggling. This beer surprised me, though. The flavor popped, but was well balanced. The alcohol led to high sweetness, but this was balanced by the hops. I immediately tasted it and loved it, but was concerned that my wife would find it too hoppy, not at all, she loved it and I did as well. This beer is phenomenal and one of my favorite American Barleywines.


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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,173 ratings.