Old Ruffian Barley Wine - Great Divide Brewing Company

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Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

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2,095 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,095
Reviews: 1,048
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 224
Gots: 308 | FT: 14
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: 2,095 | Reviews: 1,048 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of J_Dub
3/5  rDev -28.7%

Photo of Enola
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

*Well I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer*

8:30 in the morning is *not* too early for a beer like this, is it?
Anyways, The beer pours a cloudy rusty brownish red. But there is a creamy head atop and good lacing. The smell is sweet hops. The taste is sweet hops at first fading to a bitter lasting aftertaste. A little sweeter than I would prefer with the style. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. The abv does not provide a bite that would detract from the brew. A nice easy drinking brew that is sure to warm you up on a cold day.

Photo of kylemckinnis
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice color, sort of a summer sun tea type of color. Head was tight and subsided to leave a great lacing.

S- Fruity, hoppy, and malty. Smells of woods as well.

T- Nice thick hop character, lots of citrus tastes. Goes will with spicy brats.

M- The spice of the alcohol help bring out the spice of spicy food. Very think brew.

D- Easy to drink, nice hoppyness.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle at Total Wine and more in Tampa, Fl and poured it into two pint glasses.
Appearance: I poured a creamy or cloudy (I couldn't make up my mind so let's say a cleamy) brown body with orange tones. A nice large tan head that was a couple of fingers with tight retention and thick lacing from the millions of tiny bubbles.
Smell: Very sweet aroma with lots of citrusy hops and a bit heavy with the malt.
Taste: Very malty up front, giving me the shivers at first and then a very strong wave of tang from the hops. The malts were a bit roasty which suprised me, but not entirely unwelcomed.
Mouthfeel: Right down the middle of the road, if becomes crisper with the first few warming degrees, but then smooths out.
Drinkability: Pretty good.
Don't drink and review.

Photo of zhanson88
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov. 2010.

Appearance: Pours out a deep clear ruby color with 1/2" of off-white head. Head is very fizzy and doesn't last long, not surprising considering the ABV and style. Lacing and legs are decent.

Smell: Smells of sweet caramel, maybe a few dark fruits, and plenty of hops. A lot of citrus and pine hops are present.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Fairly malty up front with caramel, and a very hoppy finish. Still very hoppy after 1 year, I would be interested to see what 3-4 years does for it.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. A bit prickly. The beer definitely does drink to it's 10.2% mark, the alcohol is definitely noticeable. Overall, a pretty good barleywine. I tend to enjoy the malty barleywines more, so while I enjoyed this, I didn't love it. Still, have to recognize it for a solid beer of it's style. Would like to try one of these that's aged even more for comparison's sake.

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bottle; poured into a tulip pint.

A: Deep woody red and a two finger white head.

S: Sweet caramel and sticky, citruscy hops with a bit of heat.

T: Deliciously sweet, but not cloying. The hops are big and present, but not overbearing. Alcohol is present, but not heat.

D: This is very smooth for its size. The alcohol is smooth and contained. Mouthfeel is syrupy and slick. I finished the entire bottle and could have more.

Overall: A wonderful barleywine. This is an excellent example of the style. Drinkable, extremely flavourful and classy.

Photo of GeezLynn
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Big oatmeal colored head of foam over a reddish-brown hued body. Head is very well-retained.

S: Big punch of piney hops hits the nostrils first, followed by some brown sugar and toffee. Smells like a sweet roll glazed with sap.

T: Like the aroma, pine and brown sugar are immediately noticeable. Caramel/buttery flavors come through with time. Decent balance between sweetness and biting hop bitterness. Maybe a bit of overkill on the hops while young, but would love to see how this develops with age.

M: Smooth and creamy with fine carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden, however the heavy hop bitterness is a somewhat palate stripping.

Good beer for what it is supposed to be - an intense American style barleywine with a ton of hops. Would rate it higher, but the level of hops really detract from the overall drinkability and 22 oz is plenty.

Photo of gshak
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I continue to wind down my cellar collection, this one caught my eye: a 2010 vintage of Old Ruffian. Was hoping to cellar it for another 2 years, but what the heck, it's been a while since I enjoyed a solid American barley wine. Let's see how this one has held up in all these years.

A - A non-vigorous pour into my Chimay chalice produced about a half-inch width of head that dissipated quickly leaving minimal lacing. Reddish amber in color. This may not be the prettiest pour, but for a beer at over 10% ABV, it is acceptable. 3.5/5

S - Oh yes, brings back memories of the first time I had this beer back in 2011. Loads and loads of sweet caramel, toffee with an earthy, citrusy, perfumey hop kick. Smells almost like a hoppy, imperial red ale. 4.5/5

T - I can already tell from the smell, that this one is going to be one heck of beer. And the taste doesn't disappoint. Taste follows the nose - it is like a concoction of sweet caramel blended in with orange/grapefruit rind. Initial blast of sweetness, immediately checked by the bitterness from the hops (oh yes, the hops haven't died down yet in this one). The sweetness hits the tip and sides of the tongue, while the bitterness holds center stage in the middle of the tongue. The after-taste of grapefruit zest lingers, bringing back the memories of summer 2011 when a buddy and I shared a bottle on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The taste has everything one would expect from a bold American barleywine. This one does not pull any punches back. 4.5/5

M - Oh so lush and full. The middling carbonation plays oh so perfectly with the beer. The flavors pop open on your palate. It is not sticky or chewy, but makes its presence felt every moment. 4.5/5

O - For reasons beyond a review, this beer to me remains a personal favorite. The folks at Great Divide sure know how to create a great, cellarable brew. Between this and their Yeti offerings, I may safely say, they have quenched this reviewer's cravings for a masterfully crafted american barleywine and imperial stout. 4.5/5

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of acrawf6
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No freshness date, but roughly 5 months old

Pours out a dark ruby amber, pretty clear when put up to light, but the beer's color really blocks a good amount of light out. Nice tan head and great head retention. great lacing

Smell. Heavy earthy hops, heavy and creamy. Nice smalll caramel sweetness, and a piney hoppiness. Has a small lemon aroma to it as well.

Taste. It's quite similar to the taste. Seems very earthy with the hops (85-90 IBUs-says the bottle). But i get a great maltiness that really balances this- very malty and roasty. Small lemon tartness with the hops, goes good with the caramel sweetness. Aftertaste is warming with alcohol and slightly peppery.

Mouthfeel. Is great. Very creamy, full body. Nice amount of carbonation and great balance. Very nice

Overall this one is oh, so good. Very heavy on the hops, but still very, very drinkable (could be the age wearing on the hops). I love the amount of malt flavor i get in this. It doesnt rip my tongue clean of tastebuds after drinking, like others in its style. So complex, simply great.

Photo of hoppymeal
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark copper to ruddy in color with a tight tan head. Aroma is big, strongest smell is the hops, a citrusy sweetness, a little on the vitamin C / orange smarty side, some pineyness in the background of the hop smell as well. Behind the hops are the rich sugary caramel and malt aromas. The citrus hops keep it refreshing and finish with a pine bitterness, all the while the malt sweetness is there in the back balancing the hops and adding to the richness and the mouthfeel. Good size body, a little slickness but mainly creamy and smooth with a little bite at the end from the alcohol and a slight drying from the hops. Alcohol is very well hidden. Highly enjoyed.

Photo of HumphreyLee
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Shawner
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Michaeldmanley
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Jonada
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottled on 12/20/2012. Served in a DFH signature glass

Appearance: Pours hazy amber, brownish red color with 1 finger of a light tan head.

Smell: Caramel, dark fruit, vanilla, floral, pine, with some earthy and spicy hop character.

Taste: Sweet upfront with notes of caramel, toffee, toasted bready malt, and tropical fruit. Hop bitterness is minimal upfront, but builds throughout the sip eventually leading to a lingering bitter finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, not quite syrupy mouthfeel, with medium levels of carbonation.

Overall: Lots of malt and hop character that you'd expect in an American Barleywine. If you're a fan of the style, this is worth try.

Photo of CreekyJarls
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of drmcleod10
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle

P: Pours a clear ruby under about a half inch worth or white head. Good lace and very good retention.

S: Smells of sweet malts and candied citrus fruit, grapefruit, with some piney hop thrown in for good measure.

T: Tastes of citrus and piney hops, big caramel and toasted malt, finishing in a big hop bitterness. Sweetness is very nice and almost perfectly balanced by the bitterness, but to me, the bitterness is a bit much. A bit of drying alcohol and some warmth.

M/D: Full bodied but not too heavy, carbonation is high but the body is really smooth and creamy. Drinkability only really hurt by the 10.20%. This one drinks like a DIPA but with a huge malt backbone.

Photo of CreightonSM
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of heysuz
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of zenwatts
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of BierJager89
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Orangeish red/brown with a light brown ring of head.

S: Musk, malt, and a bit of orange in the nose, very pleasant, despite how that might sound.

T: More musk and malt, more orange, some funky Belgian fruitiness. Pretty good

M: Medium bodied, not very smooth.

O: Could have had a better mouthfeel and more fruit complexity. In a word, Overrated. Way overrated, but still good, and still worth a try. Recommended.

Photo of KiMiRaiK
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 2,095 ratings.