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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,882 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1882
Reviews: 1030
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.69%


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:
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 added by: gbontrag on 11-28-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,882 | Reviews: 1,030 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Its a barley wine and its an IPA and its rounded off and balanced. The aroma is grapefruit from C hops. Its a nice drink, I have had worse barleywines, gives a pineapple, some sugary sweetness not cloying. Must put a bottle down for a couple of years. Big, big white head, lace.
Same rating 1.5 years later with good lace, malting, and fuller mouthfeel.
4.5 years later had a three-year aged and good orange taste.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2005 05:08:23 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/8/10.

Pours a slightly hazy honey-brown with a 2 inch foamy bone color head that settles to an island of foam. Random thick clumps of lace stick to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt, brown sugar, caramel, and some citrus zest and pine hops. Alcohol aromas come out as the beer warms. Taste is of sweet malt, slight brown sugar, and some zesty herbal and pine hop flavors. A slightly assertive hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that has some strong hop aromas and flavors even after being bottled almost a year ago.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 03:53:04 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.9/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Warmly glowing tawny with an infusion of candied cherry. I don't know if I've ever seen a larger or more spectacular looking head on a barleywine. The color is equal parts pastel orange and golden beige, a beautiful complement to the beer on which it sits. I love its rich, thick, marshmallow-like creaminess and the fact that it leaves more lace than any beer with an ABV higher than 10% has a right to.

Old Ruffian's nose defines the American barleywine style for me. It's so hugely powerful that one doesn't need to get within a foot of the glass to appreciate its wonderousness. Even a passing sniff causes melted caramel, candied citrus fruit and pine sap to enter the nose and impact the brain's olfactory center with megaton force. I'm not kidding, I haven't smelled a more explosively aromatic beer in a long, long time.

I wondered if this Great Divide offering could possibly live up to the Top 100 Beers hype. One glorious mouthful is all it took to tell me that Old Ruffian is the single best version of the style that has ever crossed my lips. Like the nose, this is exactly what I expect when I pop the cap on an American barleywine... and what I've almost never gotten. Make that never gotten. Until now.

It's tempting to think that any old brewer could recreate the magic that's in every drop of this magical elixir simply by dumping massive quantities of caramel malt and American hops into the kettle. Obviously that isn't true because only the brewers at Great Divide have managed to do it this well. My hat is off to them, as much for this beer as for the rest of the big beer they grace us with.

The caramel malt backbone is huger than huge and is easily the equal of the roasted malt backbones on the biggest Russian Imperial Stouts. Torrents of sticky, melted caramel flow across my tongue with each upending of the glass. If you have a beer sweet tooth (it's okay to admit it), then Old Ruffian will do you right. There's something else present, though, that keeps the sweetness at bay and keeps it from gumming up the works. And that is...

... a barrage of citric hoppiness that is greater than anything I've tasted in a beer of this style, no matter the age. My best guess is that this bomber is at least a year old. When fresh it must have been a masochist's delight, but then most hopheads have something of a masochistic streak anyway. Massively bitter hops of the candied grapefruit, orange and pineapple variety sink in and never really fade after the swallow. Maybe a little, but then it's time for another mouthful.

The glass couldn't possibly be more covered with lace than it is at present. I have no choice but to bump the appearance score a half point. While alcohol is clearly noted, there's so much maltiness and so much hoppiness running interference that I don't mind a bit. In fact, it gives the beer a certain raw power that further adds to its appeal. You want 'over the top', you've got it.

I can't begin to adequately describe the luxuriousness of the mouthfeel. Partly because I've run out of synonyms for f***ing amazing and partly because the ABV has begun to blanket my brain with a fantastic fog that is making the imaginative use of adjectives increasingly difficult. Simply put, it's hard for me to conceive of a more full, more velvety smooth, more heavily silky mouthfeel than the one that has been provided.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine is the American barleywine of my dreams. It does everything I want a beer of this style to do and then some. Every other brewer in America had better stay up nights if they hope to match the brilliance of Great Divide when it comes to this particular offering. This is the new gold standard as far as I'm concerned and is one of the best beers ever created.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 23:16:56 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, hazy brownish, copper with a huge creamy head that just stayed and stayed and stayed. Smell was incredibly hopped and fruity. Overwhelming citrus all over, wonderful on the nose. Taste is wooo, strong, this one grabs you. Incredible bitterness, and the alcohol will warm you on the way down. Very dry finish. Did I mention hops?!?! Wow, a great sipping beer(power to you if you can do anything else) Perfect for a cold winter night, this was a treat I will be sure to return too.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2006 01:43:19 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff for this vintage bottle (2008 or 2009, can't remember).

A: The beer pours a very hazy amber color with about a finger's worth of off-white/khaki colored head.

S: Quite heavy on the caramel, as you might anticipate, with a surprisingly strong citrus aroma. I get a lot of oranges out of the beer along with some brown sugar, toffee, and molasses. A decent amount of bread, and no real booze to speak of.

T: Really sweet and pleasant overall. Toffee, caramel, and brown sugar provide a really nice sweetness. Some candied orange peel flavor adds a bit of citrus and bitterness. A touch of bread on the back end and a little bit of bitterness lingers on the finish.

M: The body is medium to full with a low-medium level of carbonation.

D: Damn, that was good. I'm glad I can now go down to any decent beer store and buy this.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 06:21:41 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful specimen - pours a cloudy amber color with a robust head that persists exceptionally well and leaves sheets of lace as if it were a stout on nitro

Smell: Sweet caramel and golden delicious apples; could a toffee apple smell any better?

Taste: Starts with a sweet caramel flavor that tastes more and more like a toffee apple just before the hops arrive at mid-palate; after the swallow, a blast of piney bitterness balances out the sweetness that lingers on the tip of the tongue; grainy tobacco aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, almost syrupy, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Among the very best examples of the American Barleywine style

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 00:36:12 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Daalamar: Poured a burgundy color ale with a small off-white foamy head with average retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some noticeable bitter hops. Taste is a well enough balanced mix between sweet caramel malt and bitter hops. Body is above average but could have been more full and alcohol was well hidden which is great. Overall, this was quite enjoyable and would love to have more in order to aged some of it.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2006 19:36:07 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2005 23:12:10 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a tawny, rustic mahogany with a creamy off-white head.

S: Lots of alcohol heat followed up by sweet malts, caramel, some hops, and some more alcohol.

T: Again, lots of alcohol atop some sweet malt and same fading--though still present--hops. Some woodiness creeps in as well.

M: Fairly thick without too much carbonation and a whole lot of alcohol kick.

D: Not too drinkable given the high octane character of the beer. Maybe if I'd waited a little bit longer the alcohol would have mellowed out, or had it a bit earlier and allowed the hops to mask some of the alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 14:56:43 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very hazy amber brown in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high beige head that gradually died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of malty sweetness and caramel but this is well balanced by a light to moderate amount of bitterness from the hops, which help to prevent the malts from becoming sticky or having cloying sweetness. There are also some notes of pine resin, oak and vanilla flavors (only some faint hints of alcohol are noticeable).
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol.
O: This barleywine is quite easy to drink considering its strength because any traces of alcohol are well hidden from the taste. It is also very well balanced between the malts and hops.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 03:16:29 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.18/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A gorgeously intense brown/amber color with a tremendously dense tan head that lasts and lasts and lasts.

Smell: Very intense piney hops blended with burnt caramel and punctuated by a spicy alcohol aroma.

Taste: Starts with an explosion of hoppiness, followed by a quick burst of sickly sweetness. Much of the maltiness is lost when the dryness and bitterness takes over. The level of hops is what I have a problem with. It seems overhopped and overbitter for a potentially smooth brew that you could just soak in for a while.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but a little too oily and syrupy for me.

Drinkability: Quite the Hop Monster, here, and one I lost the battle with. My senses are left singed. "Hop-forward" is an understatement. While others seem to really love this one, I'd prefer something a little more "malt-forward" without being so cloyingly sweet.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2005 07:51:40 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first carack at this bad boy its nice to see it here in Greensboro,pours a deep amber with a creamy like head that leaves a nice amount of lace behind as it slowly settles.Big fruit in the aroma upfront along with some raisin and caramel very vibrant in color and aroma it really jumps out at ya.Like the aroma the flavors of this are very fruity up front very ripe peaches and brown suger,there is a real hop presence even more as it warms in the finish keeping it balanced.Wow this is a dangerous brew intense and flavorful this is one I'll be grabbing alot of now that its local.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2005 23:29:38 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a GameWorks shaker pint glass.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

Let the Hallowe'en mini-tasting begin! This offering pours a seemingly cloudy amber-brown topped by a finger of light tan froth. The nose comprises biscuits, orange peel, rye bread, milk chocolate, toffee, and a light bunch o' flowers. The taste pummels the tongue with a strong citrus-hop-based bitterness, with leather, figs, rubber, light cocoa, tobacco, spinach stems, and a vodka-like character all aiding and abetting in this assault. It's all a bit much, frankly. The body is pretty hefty, with a light carbonation and a fairly chewy feel. Overall, this is a beast that must be sipped carefully, lest the fury truly be unleashed. Again, I feel everything is a bit overdone, making the experience a bit less than really enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 00:43:43 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, late December 2012 production date, and another of this brewery's foil-ensconced offerings, one which I have had many opportunities in the past to purchase, but never at the beginning of a stateside trip, so, here we finally are, on a company venture to Denver.

This beer pours a hazy, dark bronzed amber hue, with a whole handful of puffy, rather bubbly off-white head, which leaves a decent array of cob-webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel and toffee malts, black raisins, thin, astringent black cherries, a bit of hollow licorice, leafy, weedy hops, and more than a hint or two of warming, slightly metallic alcohol. The taste is heady caramel malt, but not so much as to not acknowledge the musty, dank basement character therein, pungently restrained drupe and mixed berry fruit, middling anise notes, equally blended citrus, leafy, and earthy hops, and a hard to ignore edgy booziness.

The bubbles are generally well sublimated, the body a more than sturdy medium-heavy weight, mostly smooth, and even a tad creamy, with a certain boozy uplift. It finishes rather off-dry, the bready, biscuity caramel malt still loud and very proud, as are the now piney, citrusy hop esters, all in deference to the rising, plundering heat of a bursting at the seams ABV.

A pretty heady and uncompromising instance of the style, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose. Big caramel variances, bludgeoned hops up the yin-yang, and boozy orchard fruit notes to match. Good stuff, overall, I cannot deny, as all that sturm und drang seems to wash out well enough, in a self-flagellating sense of the term.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 09:02:33 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2005 07:48:41 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright coppery red color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, floral hops, brown sugar, citrus and other fruits, plus a whiff of alcohol.

T: The taste is starts with a strong burst of hops bitterness despite this bottle having around two years on it. There's a hearty malt character that follows along with sweet flavors of caramel, fruit and brown sugar. There's little bit of an alcohol sting but that is expected from a barleywine and any beer with a 10.20% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very good stronger beer that worth either sipping on for a while or trying to pound down for as long as you can handle it.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2009 01:52:18 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark caramel with a huge 2" plus tan frothy head. Crazy lacing & head retnetion

Smell; Sweet malt, piney hops, alcohol & fruticake

Taste: Huge fruitty malts, piney hops & oaky wooden taste. dryness and alcohol on the finish

MF Chewy & well balanced. More like a port or maderia (sp)

Not too too drinkable, this is just too much!

If you want big beer, can't beat this. Great when you are ready to take a snooze or get a straight jacket on...yummy

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2006 06:37:16 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy cream colored head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a warm, rich malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a nice floral hop aroma. The taste is great also. It has a very smooth, rich malty flavor that goes down slow and easy and finishes with a warm, bitter hop taste. It is one of the smoothest barley wines I've tried. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great beer. It has tremendous flavor and aroma; a fine drinker.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2005 22:48:33 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great minds drink alike.

Poured from a bottle dated Dec. 4, 2009, into a Stone Arrogant Bastard glass. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a yellowish / brown head of small to medium bubbles. Head has some staying power but not really. Ends up broken and diffuse but leaves lacing on the glass.

The aroma is less than I expected but its fine. Caramel, a hint of hops, lots of malt.

Beer is well balanced. I can't drink a beer like this very quickly though. Full bodied, almost like I'm chewing it, a nice strong bitterness and a lot of malt character in the front. Caramel and a nice sweetness up front. Slightly bready overall great. I enjoyed it a lot.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 17:35:59 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle. I have tried it many times but this is the first time I have reviewed it.

Bottled 1/8/09 and drank 2/27/10.

Pours a hazy amber color with a large off-white head. The aroma is complex, with brown sugar, caramel and dark fruit. The flavor is brown sugar, hop bitterness, caramel, dark fruit and molasses. Medium, very smooth mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 05:10:18 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a copper/burgandy color with a pillowy, tan/caramel, one-finger head. Left a thick heavy lace.

S - It smelled of hops, fruit and malt.

T - It tasted of nut and caramel and some subtle hops. The malt flavor is understated and there is an oat-like flavor. Also, the alcohol presence is there.

M - It was warm and bready. A heavy-bodied beer.

D - Good flavor but possibly too heavy and too much alcohol taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2007 04:36:56 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had as part of the Central New England BA Meetup #2.

A: Light creamy white head fades as a slower but not too slow rate, over a hazy brownish kinda purple colored muddy looking liquid.

N: Sweet creamy malts hits quite a bit, very malty. Some hops and spicy hop characteristics. With that comes some brown sugar and molasses, and overall sweetness. A nice hop presence blended pretty well with a sweet malty tone.

T: Some sweet malts hit first, lots of chewy thick malts that is. Then comes some bitterness, with spicy hops and some chewy hop tastes. More chewy malts come in layers and add a touch of boozy taste. Some fruity flavors, dried figs, dates, raisins, and all dark dried fruits really. A slight creamy malt flavor. We compared it to an older one (no dates or vintages printed) but by the time it was purchased and look and taste if it we could tell it was older. The older one seemed to dull quite a bit on all accounts, and just meld to a consistent muddy sweet malty beverage.

M: Semi thick with decent carbonation.

F: Lingering bitterness which is pretty nice, and adds a slightly spicy hoppy bitter hop flavor. Some sweetness but still dries well, a strange description I know but its hard to really get the taste right. The maltiness lingers a bit with some added molasses flavor and dried fruits lingering. The bitterness comes through nicely at this point too. The booze doesn't seem @ 10%, but definitely seems more than 8% so hidden but not completely.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 03:03:43 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a dense, three finger thick, tightly beaded amber-tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear deep reddish amber color (it is dark enough that you have to hold it up to the light to see through it), that viscously slows an ample carbonation that rises up slowly up fron the bottom. The aroma is sweet, almost sticky with a solid mix between malt and hops. Most of the aromatic notes are that of malt, expecially of the caramel variety: I get rich notes of toffee, caramel, hints of rich fruit like cherry, raisins and prunes. There is also a fair amount hop character, it is definitely in the background, but I get some lightly astringent herbal note as well as some citrus aromatics. The aroma is quite rich and satisfying, definitely appropriate for a cold evenings sampling.

The beer is quite thick and viscous with a creamy start to this beer. It then morphs to a sweet crystal malt driven beer that finishes with a strong, astringent, grippingly bitter finish. This beer is definitely a sipper, it is so thick and rich that you need to savor each sip. The astringent finish seems to also be derived from a hint of dark malt character that manifests itself as a bit of roast coffee. Other than the ample bitterness there seems to be a ton of flavor hops in this beer as well, it is just that the ample, thick, sweet malt character seems to drown out most of the hop character. The hop flavors that are in here remind me most of pine, but there are some herbal notes and some menthol like character here as well.

I don't know how I am going to finish a 22oz bottle of this, very slowly I guesss. It is just so rich and thick, but it is still enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2006 04:33:41 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazed caramel-colored with a towering off-white head that grows then slowly descends to a lasting cover, leaving lacing on the glass. Awesome head-retention for abv and style.

The smell is of citric fruitiness and caramel. Cherry-like fruitiness enters as it warms. Wonderfully aromatic.

The taste is hoppy for the style - certainly American there. Aggressively citric, though caramelish sweetness does come through to balance it out. There is a slight metallic tinge. The alcohol is warming in the finish.

Full-bodied, leaning towards syrupy. It is smooth for the alcohol presence, though it is a sipper for sure. It's a good one - strong hop presence, but balanced enough - though not quite as stellar as I expected. This one has been aging for a year. I'll try it again this winter to see if it is even better fresh.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2007 14:24:54 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, this one pours beautifully I think. A robust and slightly cloudy red with a strong hint of brown. Two finger head. Smell is powerfully sweet. My first taste was so thick with alcohol that I thought I was heading for a major disappointment. But after that initial draw, the alcohol seemed less in your face...err...mouth, though it was still strong through the remainder.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 02:40:30 | More by RblWthACoz
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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,882 ratings.