Barrel Aged Old Ruffian - Great Divide Brewing Company
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Ratings: 308 | Reviews: 131 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by SaintBenedict:
4.38/5 rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
2012 Vintage. 750ml bottle, #1538.
After peeling back the foil wrap from the cap, it looked as though the ol' man had grown a little anxious and began seeping out. There was also a fair amount of sticky residue, and what appeared to be a little rust on the cap. Alas, I feared that the bottle had likely gone flat—not a particularly encouraging prospect, especially considering the $26 price tag. However, instead of returning it, I decided to forge ahead.
Luckily, the risk proved well worth it as I was greeted by a reassuring release of CO2 and a thick, tall foamy off-white head. The beer pours a deep chestnut brown with a heart of vermillion and burnt tangerine edges.
The bready sweet malt-laden nose is predictably complex for the style, with plenty of dark juicy stone (think cherry and plum), as well as dried fruits like plump raisins, sticky dates and ripe figs. The barrel aging reveals notes of whiskey, wood, faint chocolate, molasses, black licorice, touches of star anise and notes of herbal black tea leaf.
On the palate, BA Ruffian is tangy, sweet and malty, with boozy flavors of macerated spice-studded orange citrus rind (or is that tangerine?), along with hints of dark chocolate liqueur, more black strap molasses, fleshy ripe dark stone fruit and moist rum-soaked fruitcake. The finish exhibits a final zesty touch of dry bitterness.
This particular variant of Old Ruffian is medium-bodied with a fair amount of fine, prickly carbonation—which is surprising considering the style and size, not to mention the aforementioned suspicious-looking cap.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more rich and flavorful barleywine than Barrel Aged Old Ruffian. Despite its earthy wood aroma and molasses-dominated stone fruit flavor, the beer's whiskey barrel-aging remains evident—if a little distant.
Overall, Barrel Aged Old Ruffian is clearly an outstanding rendition of the style, perhaps even exceptional. However, for my tastes, it would need a touch more complexity, a fuller synthesis of flavors and clearly notable bourbon to truly put it over the top. Nevertheless, despite the steep price tag, I might be tempted to grab this one again.
Serving type: bottle
10-06-2012 03:09:34 | More by SaintBenedict
More User Reviews:
4.03/5 rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Small head with scattered lace on a cloudy brown and copper body. Aroma of whiskey first and foremost with some apple, apricot, and caramel. Flavor sweet and tangy and although it is boozy in the way you can tell it has a high alcohol content it isn't in the way that makes it hard to drink. Red apple, fig and apricot for fruity notes. Thick body and light carbonation. Smooth for sure. I held onto this one for a year and a half. I like the whiskey quality. It's almost not very beer like but still glad I tried it.
Serving type: bottle
04-03-2014 02:27:26 | More by kylehay2004
Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.