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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.

1,080 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,080
Hads: 2,346
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 14.45%
Wants: 280
Gots: 409 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Ruffian Barley Wine Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,080 | Hads: 2,346
Photo of meathookjones
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a thick dark brownish red with a tall light tan pillowy head. Plenty of sticky lace and good head retention. Big hoppy nose with plenty of citric and piney hops over a great solid malt base. Some caramel, fruits and a bit of toastiness round out the aroma. Toasted malts with a big dark fruit sweetness and a touch of caramel start off the taste. Plenty of hoppiness mixing about here with grapefruit and pine notes over the sweetness. Both the malt and the hops come on strong. A bit of a bittersweet bite to the finish. Sticky sweet feel with a plenty thick body. Somewhat dry as well. Excellent drinkability here for a brew with so much alcohol and complexity. So much going on and a great mix of big hops and big malt.

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Photo of bditty187
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark gold in hue, bronze influenced as well with coppery-amber highlights. Hazy. The liquid is darker than I was expecting, lovelier as well. The head was faint beige in color; at the apex the foam was two-fingers in height. Head retention was excellent; the foamy mass of bubbles just sat on top of the beer like it was protecting it. Teflon. Impenetrable. A tight cap did last the entire consumption and I took my damn time drinking this! The subsequent lacing was thick and coating, oh so impressive! Beer porn.

The nose mumbles a bit, plus it talks in a low, but sexy, voice. Regardless, it clearly states this beer is an American Barleywine. Hoppy? Yes, but not as aromatic of Bigfoot. Malty? Yes, but not as rich as Old Backus. Fruity? Yes… but the aromas are hidden, somewhat, they are dark and mildly tropical. Raisins. Figs coated in chocolate. Spicy pine. Citrus. The alcohol is also in play. Caramel. Spruce. Okay, screw my lame comparisons; the nose is great, simple as that. It is rich; it has tremendous depth. There is the right amount of aggression and the ideal amount of compassion. There is an angry hoppy side and a loving malty side to cuddle up with. I wish this beer screamed at me. No matter the tone, this beer is very inviting. Oh, hell yeah…

The palate is… delicious. NFM. Okay, I’ll go on. It is rich and alcoholic. I adore the malty sweet throughout, the caramel and toffee notes suits me just fine. The light chocolate notes are graceful. Playful candied fruits are a lovely addition. It is spicy and hot with prickly citrus zest, some spruce and pine needles. Grapefruit flesh. Moderate bitterness but it is very firm and it stands up well to the malt. Raisins. Figs. Tropical melons. Is yummy a taste or a feeling? Because this beer tastes yummy! In a nutshell, this beer is a “Top 3” American Barleywine. It isn’t the loudest or angriest or the most articulate but it scores very high in every attribute and thus it really kicks ass. There is plenty of depth; I love what I taste. I am savoring every drop.

Rich, creamy mouthfeel, the low carbonation is so damn fitting! The mouthfeel is smooth; it is velvet in liquid form. Long, malty sweet but bitter aftertaste... this a reward, plus it doesn’t let me forget what I just swallowed. It begs to be paired with cheese and meat and rich fruit. It begs to be paired with a glass. This beer can fly solo. The mouthfeel is so damn relaxing without being lazy or monotonous. In fact, I can’t think of a Barleywine with a better mouthfeel. Perfect.

Dangerously drinkable, it is a flawless beauty in this regard. The palate wasn’t “perfect” but my yearning for another ten bombers is through the roof! I really want more of this beer. I would spoil myself silly if I could drink this everyday. WTF… would I ever be sober? Big beer. Big flavors. Big kudos to Great Divide, this is awesome stuff. I purchased my bomber in Boulder, CO. I highly recommended it.

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Photo of lostbearbrew
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep burgundy's and mahogany's in the pour, with a resemblance to nothing else I've seen. The hues of reds and scarlets in this brew are amazing under a halogen light.

The smell on this baby is quite fine - a rush of piney hops, malt, fruit (plums, I think, predominantly) and a little alchohol...

As you take your first sip - be aware - this is a complex beer. The layers seem to change on almost every sip, where you often taste something new each time you swallow. Although the overlaying tastes are the same as the smells, there is also a hint of roasted grains, and some chocolate, perhaps. As the glass warms, it seems to gain even more character, adding not flavors, but seemingly layers to the complexity.

Up until recently, I didn't really "get" barleywines, but I must admit this is one that I am fully latched on to and enjoy tremendously.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.42/5  rDev -19%
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.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with very little light penetration, and a thick frothy tan head that retains well for such a high abv brew. Aroma packs a huge hop punch, with big citrus and floral scents and a strong caramely/molasses like malt backbone. Wow, they werent kidding when they said "Hop Forward". Taste begins with a big hop wallop, huge citrus, pine resin, floral and earthy hops followed by a nice but not quite as big malt profile. The malt side of the equation is bready, lightly toasted, caramely, and molasses like with a nice sweetness to compensate for the overwhelming hops presence. The finish is bitter, and drying with a mild biting alcohol presence that is not unpleasant. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a big body. Drinkability is good, but this is a barleywine so you should really take it slow. Another great offering from great divide, definately something to seek out if you like big beers (especially hoppy ones).

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber

brilliant red with hints of orange along the edges.. creamy tan head that shrinks down to something very substantial for a barleywine.. like the head on an espresso! lacing forms quickly. big carbonation. aroma is absolutely perfect. sweet maple and brown sugar mouth-watering goodness with fresh cannabanoid hop perfume. slight hint of alcohol in the nose, deep breaths let me feel it in my throat. powerful. first sip presents an overwhelming bitterness that fades fast... light body and mouthfeel peppered with carbonation helps this beer go down easy. flavor oozes roasted malts and waxy bitterness is so aggravatingly dominant. wish there was more of the sweetness in the body, but less is usually the preferred style. this beer screams west coast and i could spend hours with my nose buried in the opening of my tulip glass. warmth evokes more layers of bitterness.. some salty bread and raw hop oils. an excellent exercise in barleywine mastery. yet another good beer from the G-to-the-D.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Phenomenal beer. Very nice appearance; appears to be filtered. A brilliant mahogany pour reveals a deep caramel indication... massive, pillowy head forms above.

Subtle fruit aromas hint at softness. Taste reveals otherwise. This beer has a massive hop whallop that punches your palate in the gut. You get the wind knocked out of you but you come back for more. It's some weird sort of sadist enterprise. I love it.

Mouthfeel is quite creamy for a barley wine. Quite unique. Overall, one of the most complex, subtle, and interesting American Barley Wines I've ever had. Bravo.

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Photo of Morris729
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and murky reddish brown color with a tall frothy tan head that sticks to the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes. Fresh pine and cedar dominate the nose with some fainter aromas of cocoa and freshly baked cinnamon cookies in the background. This is a very flavorful beer with candied sugar and sweet malt up front quickly followed by lots of dark fruit and chewy caramel. Next up are acidic bitter raw hop flavors, rum-soaked raisins, a rather pronounced spiciness (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and white pepper) and a bit of brandy towards the finish. A sticky hop resin aftertaste remains on the lips and tongue until the next sip. Very nice—a thoroughly enjoyable barley wine.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1 1/4" of dense tan head over the deeply orangey amber brew. Head just sits there, and lacing is nice. Aroma is sweetly of malts, with tinges of fruit, hops, and alcohol. Taste begins with smooth sweet grains, then the hops, fruitiness, and alcohol all hit at once. Kind of overpowers the palate, and then departs with a strong alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel and drinkability are not bad for the style, but it is certainly an acquired taste, even compared to others in the style.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not sure what they hype about this one is about. I find it to be akin to a sub-par bigfoot. Oh well here we go. Pop the top in Philly, and another time in Denver. They were both the same so freshness is not the problem here. Dark ruddy amber/red, bordering on caramel with a small slightly off-white head of foam that does not last too long and provides the glass with only a minute amount of lace. Aromas are fresh citrusy, grapefruity hops, and a bit of booze, and some hearty malts. A bit complex and balanced, but not really for a barleywine. Seems a bit one-dimensional and semi-bland for a barleywine. Taste is similar. The poerful citrusy hops blend pretty well with the big bolshy amounts of caramel-flavor-infused malts that I sense in this one, a little bit of a dirty/earthy flavor comes into play as well to make it a bit more interesting. Sticky finish, begs me to take another sip of brew. Mouthfeel is thick, bit on for the style, and drinkability is pretty good as well. Nothing wrong with this one, just seems like a kinda bland bigfoot clone that is not as good...

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Photo of Domingo
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Absolutely terrific. Tied atop my favorite barleywine list with the Full Sail.
Pours an beautiful cherry wood color with a head that's perfect and doesn't dissipate.
Smells of bourbon, sweet fruits, alcohol, and finished with a hoppy edge.
Flavors are similar, but I'm surprised how sweet everything turned out (even for a barleywine) but without making you ever think that it's too much. Of note, I've noticed that this beer has a little bit of an iced tea flavor finish. I think it's the mix of the hops and alcohol but after thinking about it I find it to unmistakable now.
For a brew over 10%, you can certainly tell it's alcoholic, but it's not overpowering like some can be.
Definitely a great choice for all lovers of barleywine, which is one of my favorite styles.

NOTE: Recent tastings have been more heavily hopped and I think some of the malty and tea nuances have gone down a bit. It's still good, but it's not as I remember it.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a vitreous amber brown hue with a topped off tan sticky meringue bubbly uneven head leaving a thick lace. Second pour created a statuesque two inch head cap, that leaves a painted inner glass. This is pure perfection.

Aggressive fruity scents of berries and a powerful nose of pine syrup hops. Well balanced oaky malt balance.

First swigs: Sticky sweet malty bubble gum barleywine. Almost like a triple IPA. Blistering grapefruit slices of citrous hoppy sizzle. Sugar Daddy caramel candy in there somewhere. Dry woody lingering aftertaste. Slightly detectable booziness in the warming sips.

As full as full bodied gets, folks. Thick, sticky, sugary syrup, and sizzlin’ which leads to a total sipper! Can't get enough of this magical Duff. Smooth as silk.

Last swigs: Citrous lemony grapefruit thick strong ale.
Reminiscent of SNBF but sweeter with a nod towards Double Bastard.

***Re-review of a two year old bottle***

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
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

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Photo of RoyalT
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - When I started softly pouring this I saw that it was flat so I worked the pour a little more. Boy was I mistaken. The head came up a full inch and a half and almost overflowed my Chimay glass.

The body was a solid orangish-brown and just gorgeous. The afore-mentioned head was light brown and showed great retention, leaving tons of lacing as it slowly went down. I can't believe that this is a 10% ABW.

Smell - There's a good malty winey aroma here, but the hops really rule the roost. They are very complex and seem to favor pine resin, which is something for a BW. There are a lot of sugars in here, too.

Taste - Man, this has some big flavors. The hops are gigantic, almost like an ADIPA, but the malt flavors are so strong that it's somewhat balanced. The sugars are raw table and grapes. The wine is more cab than anything else. The ale just explodes with flavors.

Mouthfeel - This one is borderline full in the body but not quite. The body goes perfectly with the flavor profile. There's a slight sense of carbonation in the mouth. The show here though is the roller coaster that your tongue gets on with all of the dynamic flavors. You have big hops, chewy malts, and candy-sweet sugars all driving you wild. The huge dryness will have you lapping your lips.

Drinkability - I'd have to do a few side-by-sides to say that this is the best American Barley Wine that I've ever had, but it has to be in the running. It's such an easy drinker and just epitomizes the style as I've imagined it to be.

Update - I originally drank this in 2005 so thought I'd take another shot in 2010. This is an exceptional BW by any measure and certatinly represents the best of the best by any stretch of the imagination.

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Photo of phishgator
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The best barleywine that I have had to date! The deep ruby color pours into a snifter with a nice head that thins and then dissipates. You can smell the hops so present that they smack you into the face. And the bitterness in the thick malty sweetiness samcks you in the tongue and the back of your throat. As far as the flavor all I can say is that as this brew warms is becomes intensely delicious. After one bomber you feel just fine!

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Photo of nomad
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep red with a seemingly brown hue, possibly from the off-white head. Great retention with a nice clarity underneath. Solid appearance.

Smell is a forward trio of moderate caramel, doughy bread, and toasted nuts. A few fruity esters and faint floral/pine hops accents abound, but the overwhelming scent is a full maltiness eerily reminiscent to the wee-ist of the Wee Heavies or the burliest of vintage Thomas Hardy ales. I was highly impressed by the malt use in this one, at least to my nose.

Almost-dark caramel is first and foremost through out the glass, sizable in sweetness with bready and nutty accents to a much less degree than in the smell department. The back end has a calm sheen of floral and piney flavor bordering on spicy and creating a perfect slaking slide through the finish. Fruity esters grow with air exposure as does a meal of melanoidin chewy maltiness. Mouth is full but not filling and smooth with being slick, accenting the slide from malt to hops.

Impressive to say the least and nowhere near as hoppy in flavor or mouth-raping bitterness as advertised - and I appreciate that. The malt plays first fiddle in scent and flavor with hops providing a proper vegetal balance of flavor and wonderful dryness. Couldn't believe how fast I finished a bottle.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass at room temp, this pours a cranberry color; clean appearance, lots of light gets through my glass, and a hefty, 3 in" head keeps me from pouring more than 6 oz. into my glass at once. the head is a cream color, very spongy and very clingy to my glass.

A lot of hops rear their heads when smelling this one. A bit of sweet caramel and fruit also pop through, but the floral hops are the distinguishing ingredient. A little grapefruit is scented as well.

Taking a sip, a bit of fruit jumps out right away, but the hops soon, bite hard on my palete and take over with a huge bitterness I can't explain! Some slight caramel is tasted as well, but that is soon taken over by the hops and some sugary sweetness, until the alcohol kicks in on the swallow. Decent burn. Quite good!

Carbonation is not much of a factor in this full bodied ale. Lots of hoppy bitterness and a strong alcohol burn that warms my belly. Not too shabby!

I definitely recommend this little treasure to try or use as a session brew...good luck though...you may drink it under the table...or it may drink YOU under! ;)

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Photo of MarkBlackout
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Good lord what a great beer!

Old Ruffian rivals Duvel in terms of the pour: A voluminous, pockmarked, frothy head tops this rich amber brew. I am impressed right off the bat.

The nose and flavor follow suit, this almost resembles (to me) a really strong Wee Heavy. The malt character is similar. Hops balance it all out beautifully. The slightly syrupy mouthfeel and high alcohol detract little from the overall drinkability (and enjoyability) of this great beer. Thank you to all who have reviewed this beer (thus giving it the high rating that demanded my attention!). I've had other Great Divide bombers and really enjoyed the Yeti, but was underwhelmed by the Hercules. This takes the cake!

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4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
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!!

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark brown, complimented heavily by a deep, burnt orange color. There is a solid quarter inch of foam despite a gentle pour and the ABV. The smell is of sweet malt, followed by heavy hops. The taste follows the smell, consisting of caramel malt followed by piney, citrus infused hops. The mouthfeel is nice, with proper carbonation. I find the drinkability of this beer to be strangely low for me. I can usually drink big beers all night, but one bomber is enough of this in one night for me.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 ounce Bomber, my bottle looks exactly like the one in the BA Database. No strength or freshness listed, but it proudly states that this one is 85-90 IBU’s.

Appearance: Lovely soft luscious pour into the glass goblet. A rusty sunset red mixes with a dark russet brown body. Fabulous refraction when back lit reveals a rainbow of scarlet reds and rocky browns with some dark oranges on occasion. Thick resilient tan colored head leaves a vanilla lacing that sticks well to the glass sides. Light swirls exhibit the finely dissolved carbonation which supports the ½” head throughout. Top drawer sexy looks.

Nose: Lots of floral hops, toasted malts, caramel and soft Devon toffee set against a rather heavy alcohol soaked malt backdrop. Thick juicy hop odors as they travel up the nostrils, deeply inhaled, the alcohol vapors warm the nasal cavity…..oh this one is a beauty…..I could drink this just by inhaling it.

Taste: A little too sweet in the start for me, but this is short lived, a mere blip and well worth putting up with because what follows is a fantastic hop-burp inducing Barley Wine bomb. Scorching hop-laden caramel toasties fill the middle, whilst the finish has a middling anise skid-mark on the tongue and some mild liquorice teeth tingling astringently. Super hop bite, the acidic tones blend well with the caramel malts and balance nicely, but make no mistake, this one has a hoppy-jalopy character that is very attractive.

Mouthfeel: Big ass bold and punching at times! Deciduous green hop oils slide and coat the tongue whilst the acidic hope bite pulls the cheeks, all the while the large alcohol kick warms the gullet and leaves an anise trail down the throat.

Drinkability: I know it’s above 10% but I still don’t care, an alcoholic hop buzz simmers as the end of the Bomber, the whole bottle was utterly quaffable and dangerously addictive once the lingering hop kick decayed and the alcohol warmth rescinded to a cool finish. F**king Dangerous.

Overall: An utterly fine example of a “hop-forward Barley Wine Style Ale” (as the label describes this one). Actually, this is a bloody great example.

Superb and well worth seeking out if you get chance. Highly Recommended!

Thanks to the Old Ruffian for the Big Huge Barley Wine……erm, I mean, oh heck….I guess this is 10.20%!!

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Photo of mntlover
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep red with a big tanish head that rises up like a big thunderhead. Lasts for a while and deposits lots of sticky lace.

Aroma is rich caramel malt that is lightly sweet deep intense hop aromas fruity citrus in nature. Nice smelling beer that keeps on smelling the hops don't give up on this one.

Taste is wow a big barley wine dose of malt that is soon assaulted by huge amount of hops. Citrus flavors are all over the place mingle with the caramel malt and coat your tounge with bitterness. Malt makes a feeble attempt to hold on and meekly survives. A prime example of a great style.

Mouthfeel is big a full bodied beerwith lots of malt covered with bushels of hops.

Drinkability is great this is what a Barley Wine should be. Hope I can get someone local to get some of this.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a deep, dark mahogany with a very solid head of yellowish foam. Nose is full of wheat-bread malt aroma and spicy hop scent. First taste, one is hit by a huge amount of malt character, full of toffee and caramel, and sweet fruit, like gently caramalized orange. Hop bitterness quickly becomes apparent, balancing but not eliminating the malt, and in fact, despite the high IBU's, it finishes on the sweet side. Alcohol is noticible at the end, and quite warming after a few sips. Full bodied but not "heavy", it has a soft, creamy texture.

Very nice! Great Divide, after making fairly uninteresting beers for several years, has lately come out with one after another really supurb "Big" beers. This is one of their best.

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Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle pours a clear copperish mahogany body with a tightly knit beige head that rises two to three fingers in height. Excellent head retention and delicate chains of island lace are left on the tulip glass.

Aroma is enticing, featuring succulent fruit aromas and notes of caramel, just as the label proclaims. Pink grapefruit and orange provide a sweet fruit bouquet that is outstanding, and there is an assertive caramel maltiness just behind.

Mouthfeel is rich and full bodied. Hops make their grand entrance here, with some resin and oiliness that give a significant hops bite.

Taste is creamy and coating, with assertive bitter hops. Pine and grapefruit rind lead an overwhelming hops bitterness. Some notes of orange and caramel try to emerge, but are viciously beaten aside by the hops. Slight burn of alcohol is noticable, but not distracting. This one's heat comes from the hops, and it intensifies as it reaches room temperature. Some barleywine malt syrupiness is present, but any sweetness is negated by the massive hops bitterness. Finish is dry, hop bitter, and hot.

This one is quite a hop monster, overly warm and burning for my tastes. Appearance and aroma are excellent, but taste is skewed toward an out of control hops assault.

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,080 ratings.