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Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,976 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,976
Reviews: 1,038
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 207
Gots: 278 | FT: 12
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Ruffian Barley Wine Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,976 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oldedog


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

02-28-2013 00:35:26 | More by oldedog
Photo of Higravity


2.75/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well this BW is not for me. Thick syrup of crystal malt with extra sugar added in. A nice red brown color and a good head, but I could tell from the color it was going to be syrupy. Smell was pretty damn fine and the best thing about this one. Full of hoppy pine and earthy digs, sharp distinct citrus that fold with the sweetness of berry fruit all of it sitting on top of a caramel and a hint of roastedness punched with alcohol. The taste was like a big hop bomb that someone had but too much sugar into like the kool-aid that kids will make when their Mom isn't watching. The beautiful floral hops are awash in the sugar and alcohol, the malt flavors are stunted by all the sweetness. Thank god I was sharing this with two other people.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2005 17:31:57 | More by Higravity
Photo of Crimsontider22


4/5  rDev -5.2%

07-13-2014 22:50:43 | More by Crimsontider22
Photo of Peyton5410

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

03-10-2013 00:41:50 | More by Peyton5410
Photo of Flabbyjandro


3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

11-18-2013 00:32:40 | More by Flabbyjandro
Photo of In_Control_Mike


4/5  rDev -5.2%

12-29-2013 20:17:08 | More by In_Control_Mike
Photo of Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark cola brown with reddish hues when looked through the light. Barely a crown of lace.

Smell: Quite interesting...Catty, for one thing. I have an uncle that worked in a Mink farm, and it smelled just like that. Is this from the Chinook hops? Beyond that first whiff that sort of took me aback at first, some mild passionfruit, pineapple and even lychee started to poke at my nose.

Taste: The first sip felt like putting a burlap sack full of hop pellets in a super-duper press, squeezing out that single drop of pure alpha acid right on your tongue. 90 IBUs it says on the label, I would have guessed more. It mellowed out somewhat as my sample went down my gullet and the malt actually started to show up on the radar, making the mouthfeel firm, but not intolerable.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2005 22:45:52 | More by Goldorak
Photo of dhbiker0889


4/5  rDev -5.2%

06-10-2013 20:00:25 | More by dhbiker0889
Photo of StlHopHead77


3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a mahogany/amber with a very,very slight haze.An aggressive pour yielded three fingers of dense tawny foam that settled to reveal concentric rings of lacing.Really nice head retention.

S-Sweet citric hops,caramel corn,fresh pine and brown bread.

T-Hop flavors of pine and pith upfront give way to toffee,roasted nut and sweet alcohol.Some notes of rum soaked raisin.

M-Full,complex and balanced.Good use of carbonation.

D-Fairly good drinkability here despite the ABV.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 04:16:23 | More by StlHopHead77
Photo of bconsidine


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

12-19-2011 17:57:55 | More by bconsidine
Photo of DenverHopHead


4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 12/12/13; into a pint glass.
Appearance - crimson in color with a thick, cream colored head! Nice mild carbonation and lacing is superb!
Smell - fruity hops in the nose, with some sweet cereal malts!
Taste - powerful beer with loads of flavor! Excellent arrangement of bitter hops, calming malts and warming alcohol!
Feel - complex, flavorful brew and not as heavy as I initially suspected!
Overall - I don't usually seek out barley wines, but this one will open my eyes to the style!

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 02:07:30 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of Truh

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Visited the milk bar after a bit of the ultra-violence with this one on 5/4/2005. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Mercury bead coating, very tight to start, with a fair amount of stick, not laughable. Thick orange, almost red, hue with a lot of haze but still a generous amount of go speed racer action discernible. Fruity malt big on nose with frankenberry sweetness and some mossy earthiness; hop presence can’t be ignored. Sweaty malt turns over an almost chocolate/toffee flavor and then a seething warmth flows down the core of the tongue and into the throat; hoppy raspberry juice mixes with the malt and a candy cane sugariness.

Slightly overpowering at first, with a lot going on, this one grew on me exponentially.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2005 03:35:06 | More by Truh
Photo of CHSLBrew


4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into stemless wine glasses, shared with a friend after work on a rainy afternoon.

A- Dark copper-brown beer, opaque and dull, murky. Tan head, fluffy and thick off the pour, sustained nicely for a short bit.

S-Semi-sweet malts, toffees and a breadiness. An assertive resiny hop aroma takes center stage.

T-Thick with hoppiness! Bitterness comes through prominent and doesn't want to let go. Malts are semi-sweet with a nutty, bready character. Hop character is earthy, herbal. Some slight fruitiness. Finishes bitter, resiny.

M-I can feel the immense hoppiness, thick and viscous in the full, chewey body. Carbonation is medium-low.

D-Moderate drinkability. An appropriate American barleywine, with a strong hop emphasis. Good, but not the best.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 21:20:24 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of richj1970


4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter glass.

A: Golden honey color tinted with auburn. Two to three finger fluffy white head with lots of lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and malts mixed with piney and earthy tones from the hops.

T: Slight sweetness with caramel, malts, dark fruits mixed with hoppy bitterness and floral notes.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Coats the palette nicely without being too thick.

O: Very nice. Perhaps a bit too hop forward for my taste, but a solid barley wine none the less.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2013 00:11:20 | More by richj1970
Photo of kylemckinnis


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

07-07-2013 21:50:36 | More by kylemckinnis
Photo of WolfsbaneBloom


3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

02-09-2014 03:15:38 | More by WolfsbaneBloom
Photo of TheQuietMan22


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

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is a thick amber-honey. Three fingers of off-white, maybe tan, head developed and dissipated slowly. Very thick head.

Smell: Hoppy grapefruit citrus. There's also a little bit of orange.

Taste: Major hoppiness. Really aggressive hoppy. Grapefruit citrus is most prominent, but, strangely, the aftertaste is very malty. Toffee malts and perhaps some caramel malts as well. It's pretty complex for a hop bomb, but the hops really drown out any other flavors.

Drinkability: Tasty stuff, but way too hoppy for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2010 05:02:05 | More by TheQuietMan22
Photo of ColoradoBobs


4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22ounce bomber. No freshness date, but doesn't need one!!

Huge rocky off-white head over a clear red-amber body with apparent fine streams of carbonation. Sticky, thicky lacing. Head is fully lasting.

Smell of malt, cherry, clove, green apple, grapefruit and pine. There is clearly a lot to this thing!

Wow. What a taste. Malt presence is there, but it's at war with the hops! Chocolate goes best three out of five with pine; grapefruit is kicking the butts of the toasted malts. What complexity! Mmmm. Warming. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering on the palate. This is the way to have hops -- balanced with intense maltiness.

Really great mouthfeel. Nice and round, with the malt stickiness very evident, and the alcohol very warming. This feels good: swirl before swallowing.

The only drawback is the alcohol, which renders it less drinkable.

Overall, a great beer, and worthy of its many accolades. Never thought I'd be saying that about something with 90 IBU's, but the bitterness is so balanced by the malt sweetness that it's really fine and complex.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2006 03:25:42 | More by ColoradoBobs
Photo of EigenBeer


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

03-07-2013 04:15:37 | More by EigenBeer
Photo of rhinos00


3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- Pours a cloudy, murky tan-brown, sort of has an apple cider complexion, except a little darker. Gives off a solid 3 fingers width of head that dissipates over consumption.

S- Nice aroma of caramel, malts, honey, and some hops. Wish it was a little more distinct or pungent than it actually was.

T- From beginning to midway through it was pretty enjoyable. Had a nice caramel, dark fruit flavor with a great malt back bone. Just when I thought the taste would go up a notch as it finished, the bitter hop oils killed it all. All the taste I enjoyed and expected to savor as the beer went down were erased with one foul swoop.

M- Medium bodied with some carbonation. The viscosity wasn't as thick as I would have hoped and the beer finished with a much dryer mouth feel than I cared for.

D- As the beer reached room temperature, the hops infusion became less intense and made the beer much more drinkable. The 10% will kick your ass.

Overall, please take this review with a grain of salt. I love hops and I love barleywines. However, after many attempts, I just don't seem to be a big fan of mixing the two together. I bet this one would be awesome if it were layed down for a few years.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2009 15:00:54 | More by rhinos00
Photo of pottergator

New York

4/5  rDev -5.2%

03-09-2014 05:14:41 | More by pottergator
Photo of CCutch


4/5  rDev -5.2%

06-05-2013 23:25:20 | More by CCutch
Photo of hansgruber


4/5  rDev -5.2%

01-29-2013 04:10:06 | More by hansgruber
Photo of Anthony1


4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was deep amber, clear, with a half finger head in my sample glass.

Aroma said malt bomb. Rich, strong malts, no trace of the mustiness that often accompanies a barleywine. Hints of hops, but malt was king.

Taste was definitely a malt masterpiece. Strong, rich, and firm malts with a hint of caramel. No trace of hops evident, but the alcohol was.

Mouthfeel was nothing but smoooth. This was one slick beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 14:27:13 | More by Anthony1
Photo of danielharper


4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First beer review while living in Kalamazoo!

Appearance: Dark orange, almost red. Some effervescence from bottom of glass. Thick head that dissipates quickly but leaves significant lacing. Very impressive head considering the abv on this one.

Smell: Strong hoppiness, intense sweet malts. Notes of caramel, a touch of corn. A very strong barleywine, enticing.

Taste: Crisp hops up front, very "hot" with alcohol. Very sweet caramel malts in the middle, with a dry but somehow refreshing finish. The hops and alcohol can be a bit overpowering, but overall this is an amazing example of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Thick, low carbonation, heavy on the hops. Coats the mouth admirably. Smooth and clean.

Drinkability: Considering the alcohol, an amazingly drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 01:12:28 | More by danielharper
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,976 ratings.