1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,117 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,117
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 227
Gots: 310 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Ruffian Barley Wine Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,117 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AlexChillton
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of wilkinswesley
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Onenote81
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Went to a friend’s house and he pulled this one out of the fridge. Surprised I’ve never had this one before. Poured my allotment into a pint glass. Pours a dark amber with a thin beige head on top. Notes of herbs, hops, citrus, toffee. The mouth is creamy and smooth, slightly syrupy feel on the back end. Semi-sweet syrup, molasses, mild bittering hops, bitter citrus rind. Really a good beer. Definitely an evening sipper.

4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of beergorrilla
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of calcnerd
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of vrbulldog22
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of BlakeL
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of heygeebee
3.13/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on [illegible] 2010

Pours a wonderful hazy deep gold/copper. One finger head stays. Good lace.

Aromas of hops, toffee, malts.

Taste is a let down. One dimensional and thin, hop driven with little malt to support. Alcohol burn. Astringent. Bitter. Skunked.

Mouthfeel good, medium to full bodied, low carbonation.

Overall, not a good example. Given 2010 bottling, even more of a let down.

Photo of TheRicker
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of KajII
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

[Best served in a Snifter]

The pour was a clear dark mahogany red with a large (2-3 finger) light tan pillowy head that was mostly lasting, receding down to a large puddle and collar with excellent sheeting of lace.

The aroma was of a sweet toasted biscuit malt, pine hops and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of toffee, citrus (grapefruit), caramel and some dark fruit (plums and raisons).

The taste was sweet and rather malty with hints of toffee and dark fruit at first and then became slightly hoppy with a really nice bitter citrus note and a decent alcohol warming sensation at the end. The flavor hung around for a long while with a bitter sweet citrus flavor left to lie on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was just below medium in body with a dry oily texture and a prickly carbonation.

Overall a sensationally tasting Barleywine with just the right blending of sweet malts and bitter hops...

Photo of neckbracesub
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of elec
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of wvsabbath
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Tan/brown, ruby hue, 1/2 creamy, foamy head and lots of lacing.

Smell - Lots of fruits, grapefruit, orange, pear, grapefruit, pineapple, grapes, some sugars. Has everything, hops, malts, caramel, even some alcohol comes at the finsh, wow im ready to taste this!

Taste - Huge fruity bite with a mix of sugars and caramal malts. Plenty of sugars mixed with the fruits to make this very flavorful. Pineapple, grapefruit and orange hop kick add even more to this brew. Alcohol comes at the end to finish this off.

Mouthfeel - Thick, chewy and lots of flavor. Tounge gets the malt/hop kick with lots of sugars and a little booze. Palate gets more malt/hop kick with some added sugars, a nice bitterness mixed with sweetness. Afertaste is bold sugars, caramel malts and spices.

Overall - Really big, lots of flavors, and a big more hoppy then most. It takes you on a ride of flavors, malty, hoppy, sugary, bitter hoppy, alcoholish, yet balanced and fun to drink. Excellent example of a well done american barleywine. Great to enjoy fresh, would love to try aged, worthy a drink for sure.

Photo of ChrisKuhns
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of sjverla
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose: Dark cherry and molasses. Deep, woodsy earthiness. Slightly solvent. Mild hints of vanilla. Overall I would have expected a it to be a little more pungent.

Appearance: Gorgeous ruby/mahogany. Vanilla skim of head grabs the glass.

Sweet and bitter. Hints of vanilla. Very woody - almost overpowering. No shortage on grains here.

Overall: Very good, but a little disappointing. It's complex, but doesn't seem to play well with itself. Some of the flavors just compete.

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 Immortale25
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Florida Beer Co. tapered glass. Label says Bottled on: DEC 02 2011.

A- Pours a medium copper color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that does a good job retention-wise before slowly declining to an 1/8 inch head and leaving a full ring of lacing behind it.

S- Sweet malt nose upfront with notes of caramel. Hops linger in the back and are more herbal than grassy. Slight whiff of alcohol.

T- Intimidating bitterness along with powerful pangs of booze. Things mellow out in the finish but every sip is a plunge back into a not-so-pleasant intensity of flavor. The malt is still there but not as sweet and balanced as in the aroma. Sipping will definitely be the best approach. Once the palate finally reaches an equilibrium, things start to make sense. While the hops still are over-the-top, the alcohol burn subsides and the malt can begin to express itself adequately bringing with it a cereal graininess. Hints of oak and bourbon

M- Somewhat creamy with a full-ish body and medium carbonation.

O-Could be a bit better if the flavors didn't clash so much initially. Probably just needs more age.

Photo of thewimperoo
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating(but presumed to be Dec 2009 bottling). Pours fairly hazy brick red color with a nice 1 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some pretty nice lacing on the glass. Aromas of huge caramel, raisin, biscuit, toast, molasses, honey, pine, grapefruit, earth, herbal, toffee, and light spiciness. Fantastic and well balanced aromas with big complexity. Taste of huge caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, biscuit, herbal, grapefruit, earth, and light pine resin spiciness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toast, raisin, biscuit, grapefruit, herbal, earth, and light spiciness on the finish for a while. Fantastic flavor balance and complexity; with no cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a nice creamy, slick, and thick mouthfeel. Quite smooth to sip on; with only an moderate alcohol warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely fantastic barely wine with the age on it. The hoppy flavors smoothed out into perfect balance; with great complexity. Magnificent.

Photo of PhatAtUT
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of TimH
3/5  rDev -28.7%

Photo of Gatch
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Taste of Tops in Tempe, AZ.

A: Beautiful amber color with an off-white, fluffy head that fades quickly.

S: Sweet, toasted malt and faint hops. Some booze.

T: Boozy, hoppy, sugary, malty sweetness. Molasses and tasty American hops.

M: Smooth, sweet, delicious.

O: Fantastic American Barleywine.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,117 ratings.