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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barrel Aged Old RuffianBarrel Aged Old Ruffian

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

150 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 150
Hads: 386
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.22%
Wants: 259
Gots: 123 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ArrogantB on 10-08-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 150 | Hads: 386
Photo of timc100
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage

Rich nose of candied sugar, caramel, coconut, sweet pie crust, and faded hop citrus. Oak is present as well as whiskey however not overpowering. Palate carries through, loses some of the richness. More-so oak forwards, lesser intricate flavors.

This, a big American barleywine there is no doubt. Similar to BA Behemoth (339 characters)

Photo of zac16125
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: March 27th, 2015


A: Dark mahogany with ruby hues when held to light, 2.5 fingers width of light tan head has good retention before dissipating down and leaves lots of lacing. 4.25

S: Lots of dark fruits, some caramel/toffee, tart like notes, oaky bourbon. 4

T: Good balance of hops and dark malt characters. Lots of caramel and toffee characters; barrel notes with charred oak; candied sugar; some booze. 4.25

M/D: Fuller side of medium bodied, carbonation on the higher end but appropriate, ABV is noticeable but not in a bad way, drinkability is good. 4.25

O: Really good beer. Barrel notes aren’t as prominent as I had hoped, but very enjoyable nonetheless. 4.25 (719 characters)

Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not your typical upfront bourbon barrel aged barley wine. Just as the base beer is hoppy, so is this one, almost like a refreshing ipa, lots of peach and mango, a little bit of vanilla, light but perfectly balanced bourbon kick. The perfect summer bba beer when most are too intense. (283 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Deep creamy vanilla top, slightly faint beige with fine bubbles and a mix of swiss cheese. Body color is a milky reddish orange, slightly brackish looking and a bit cloudy. Settles quickly, big bubbled collar with little retention, a little bit of pill like lacing as well, and a slightly oily sheen.

Interesting aroma. Very light bodied smelling, but has real good toasted woody notes to it. Hints of splintered wood, a bit of pine bitterness, and toasty caramel syrup qualities. Large wood and earthy bent to this brew, but seems like the body is going to hint towards light character.

Palate is kind of surprising. Milky and light but with some depth, and giving to a very full mouthfeel with some easy drinkability. Peppery and slight bitterness in the mid palate. Caramel mixes with a nice woodsy tone, but almost some cola like sweetness is thrown in the mix. Milky finish if slightly chalky.

Overall interesting and comes off not even boozy or hinting of barrel aged, but tastes very different from most barrel aged barleywines I've had, but there is some degree of great barrel notes, and classic American hoppy barleywines cancelling each other out. (1,226 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 3/2015:
Ruby brown, nice buildup of off-white (maybe lightly pink-tinted) that recedes to the edges in due time.
Nose does have a dark cherry note to it early, but the bourbon and a light oak note are also present. A warmer beer brings out brown sugar and dark fruit.

Cherry, wood, and some bourbon start the beer. Warmth brings a light candy sweetness to the mix. The later taste has an oaky woodiness outshines an earthy pine note that I recognize from the base beer. Feel is very light on carbonation, which yields a watery impression.

Like Old Ruffian, but feel the addition of barrel aging mellows the base beer a tad, but doesn't add enough to counter what is lost. Definitely not enough to justify the cost, for me. (743 characters)

Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 03/15 pours a hazy ruby brown color with a tan 1 finger head , smells of raisin's,toffee caramel and vanilla, with a mellow BA smell, taste follows the nose toffee and malt up front hops are there but somewhat subdued nice wood and whiskey notes from the barrel vanilla and dark fruits in the finish, mouthfeel is smooth and on the sweet side carbonation is low medium the BA is in the background at all times but does not overpower, a nice BW its pricey worth a try but cost stopped from buying several (513 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

1 pt 9.4 fl oz bomber dated...poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dense brown with ruby highlights. Half finger head that moves quickly to a thin lace.

S - Plum, dark fruit, fig, whiskey notes, and a smattering of heat and vanilla.

T- Impressive. Fig, molasses, and whisky. Some wood notes, pine, and vanilla as well.

M - Extremely smooth for an ABW at 3 months old. Full, but not sticky. Has enough carbonation to keep everything together.

O - This is how to enjoy 100 degree heat. Was a little pricey, but worth it. (532 characters)

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It pours a deep copper brown, with two fingers of beige head. The nose bursts with bourbon, vanilla, toffee, molasses, booze, and a faint hop bitterness. The flavor is bitter, sweet, slightly smokey, and rich with bourbon. The mouthfeel is mildly thin foe this much alcohol, but i find the heftiness of this base beer really holds up quite well to the bourbon barrel aging. A superb beer. (388 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: Deep Red-copper. Quite a big creamy tannish head on the pour. Messy lacing. Quite a looker.
smell: More malty, caramel and whisky notes. The hoppy bite of the base beer is muzzled. Rich.
Taste: Barrel aging has turned this into an English imo and not complaining. This is rich, full, loads of disparate but nicely blended flavors like vanilla, whiskey, malt, with a still a slight hoppy bite in the finish.
overall: Well done indeed. (439 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled March 26, 2015.

A: Dark brown pour with a very tall, very bubbly and frothy light brown head. Looks like soap bubbles. Great head retention and thick walls of lacing.

S: Very sweet and malty. Loads and loads of raisins and caramel. Heavy dark bread. Cannot overstate raisin aroma, it smells like pure raisin juice or maybe raisin bread.

T: Interesting. Initial bourbony caramel and oak that turns into heavy raisin and HEAVY, HEAVY bread. It's like bourbon-drizzled raisin bread. I feel like I'm drinking liquid raisin bread. Period. I can practically feel the texture of the bread with each sip. Light indistinct hop bitterness in the finish, combined with some bourbon and oak.

M: Fairly heavy bodied, bourbon cuts it a bit.

O: Not a huge bourbon presence in this one but it does add a nice layer of complexity. For the most part it tastes like normal old ruffian which is loads and loads of raisin and bread. A little less hoppy than I remember but I'm assuming the barrel aging has diminished that a bit. (1,023 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.56/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice. Bottled on date of March 26, 2015.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: A rich, toasty, and boozy malt driven aroma with big hints of bourbon, caramel, and biscuit. Big upfront barrel presence with a scent of bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Toasted barley malt with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, and butterscotch. Earthy hops with some hints of grass. Subtle dark fruit hints of fig and dates. Also some sweet hints of brown sugar. A very good complex aroma.

Taste: Like the nose hints at, a rich, boozy, and toasty malt forward taste with notes of bourbon, caramel, and biscuit. Upfront barrel taste with notes of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Toasted barley malt with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, and butterscotch. Sweet taste of brown sugar. Mild earthy and herbal hop presence with some grass and pine. Subtle dark fruit undertones of fig, cherry, and dates. A very nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a carbonation level on the lighter side of medium. Rich, creamy, chewy, and moderately syrupy. A little hot as expected but still smooth considering.

Overall: A very good Barrel Aged twist on a great base Barleywine. Good blend of bourbon and malt flavors. (1,420 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: deep brown and opaque with a finger of tan head that receded into some bubbly froth along the sides

S: rich malts and whiskey barrels merge to conjure suggestions of dark caramel, soft fruits in booze, and airy oak barrels

T: chewy dark whiskey-soaked fruit and grains, hints of spice like nutmeg and cinnamon, flashes of vanilla and toffee; oaky wood aspects give it a lightness

M: medium-weight with a smooth caramel-esque coat, no palpable carbonation but a tingle of whiskey's touch, slight drying finish, mildly bitter and malty aftertaste

O: surprised at the mixed reviews - perhaps a matter of expectation and personal tastes - I love Old Ruffian and this barrel aged version did not disappoint - lots of malt and booze with deeper impressions of caramel and fruit. A pricey bottle, just under $30, but one I'd go back for if I've got the cash. (858 characters)

Photo of Jjski
3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2015,

Wow, what a hot mess for$30. Starts Carmel into buttery, but quickly falls. Sour and overly barrel tart in the middle. A stale faintness with hops which are blunted at the end. Bourbon? Nope, but plenty of hot alcohol

frankly: yuck. I ended up mixing 1/2 glass of this with Evil Twin Naked Lunch just to get it down. It's that wide sour spot in the middle of the taste

Better beers: Old Conundrum, Hammerhead, Arctic Devil, Joseph James Anniversary Rye Wine, BA Bigfoot, Oak Horizontal. All of these I have had in the last 6 week for direct comparison. With one caveat, this very well may do good with aging since it's so hot right now. I've recently been in the habit of drinking the barreled beers early to avoid infection, and this is real fresh. I try to read the reviews to see if "a hot beer", and if so I let it age. Last week I was thrown off by the BA Hibernation being so syrupy sweet, with poor age potential.

Last week, I ordered BA Hibernation, and BA Ruffian from a west coast mail order spot, because you can't get it in Upstate NY. Both were total disappointments . A let down.of $30 each. Wife wouldn't even drink hers more than one sip ( and she loves stuff like Scucaba and Conundrum). The year old Devil Dancer I had last night was more enjoyable, better and that costs @ $6.50 for 750 ml (1,335 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
4.76/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

April 3, 2015

750 ml bottle, snifter

A – Very rich, deep copper, mahogany, brown. Pours fairly thick. Foam of about a half inch is sudsy and light tan. Bubbles linger for a while.

S – Raisins, figs, cinnamon apples, tons of vanilla, perhaps some candied apricot. Rich, thick toffee and caramel, very juicy. Boozy and warm, with some very noticeable sherry notes. Incredible. If they made this in a candle, I’d buy a lifetime supply.

T – Caramel and toffee and lots of vanilla. Some tannins, and oaky, boozy flavors. Figs and raisins. A lot of very pleasant sherry, vinous flavor.

M – Medium-low carbonation and very full-bodied, thick. A lot of sugar present but not overly sweet. A somewhat bitter finish. Mildly tannic and acidic, but not at all astringent. A lot of boozy warmth, but very, very smooth.

O – Simply one of the best barrel aged beers I’ve ever had, and since I love those, one of the best beers overall I’ve ever had. It was the first bottle opened for my bachelor party in ’12, and is my celebratory beer passing the Certified Cicerone exam. It has proved its worthiness of the moment both times. Complex, incredible aroma and flavors, balanced and smooth. As close to a perfect beer as I’ve seen. (1,258 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not sure if this is 2013 or 2011 vintage

Pours a murky walnut color, head is a small 1/4 inch and creme colored. Lacing is above average and head retention is average.

Smell is of rich toffee and caramel candy. Next is roasted malt, charred oak and whiskey with a hint of vanilla. Hops aren't present and alcohol is definitely there.

Taste is heavy on caramel, butterscotch, diacetyls, and charred oak. Some whiskey burn is also present on the back end. Weird vinegar/acidic finish

Mouthfeel is syrupy, not as viscous as maple syrup, more like cough syrup. Carbonation levels were par for style and age. Wish head was present to add some layers to beer.

Overall good beer but at 25 bucks a pop, not worth the price. There were some off flavors that detracted from the beer reaching elite status. Glad to have tried it and always intrigued to get my hands on anything Great Divide releases. (894 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2012 vintage. Acquired at Davidson's Liquor in Colorado. Reviewed live as a barrel aged barleywine per the label. Served cold into an Odell stem-tulip at high altitude in Fort Collins, CO. Expectations are quite high; I'm a big fan of the regular Old Ruffian.

Allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Bottle is large format and features uninteresting label art.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Dark red with brown hues. Translucent. Nontransparent. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. Not a unique or special appearance for a barleywine, but generally appealing.

AROMA: Amber malts, caramel, bready malts, ample malt sweetness, and toffee. Maybe some treacle; it does have some unrefined characteristics. Aromatic intensity is moderate.

Where's the bourbon? It's sorely absent. It ultimately seems too sweet, but I'm optimistic.

Has no noticeable hop profile, detectable yeast character, or noticeable booziness.

TASTE: Where's the fucking bourbon? No vanilla, no barrel sugars, no oak, no toastiness...this has no bourbon presence whatsoever.

The backbone is caramalts, amber malts, breadiness, and caramel. It's shockingly simple for a barleywine, and lacks toastiness, marshmallow...any note that I look for in a barleywine is absent here. I even find myself wondering if Old Ruffian was the base for this.

Balance is decent. Build is okay. Average depth, duration, intensity and amplitude of flavour (for the style). It lacks adequate complexity, intricacy, subtlety, and nuance.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, overcarbonated, bread-like, aptly thick for the style, and chewy.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Suits the taste okay, but doesn't seem custom-tailored specifically to it. Fails to elevate the beer.

OVERALL: A sore absence of bourbon and a fundamentally lacking core build make this one hell of a disappointment - especially considering how much I enjoy regular Old Ruffian. Great Divide can do better, but then again I've yet to see them release a good barrel-aged beer. Maybe barrel aging just isn't in the cards for them. I wouldn't buy this again, and its high price point is very unreasonable given the quality.

High C+ (2,428 characters)

Photo of joe1510
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml

Bottle # 0731

A huge thanks goes out to the ever generous Oxymoron for this treat! Hugs and kisses, buddy..
The pour alone is dark and menacing. The body is that of a cloudy, muddy, tarnished penny, which in the case of a timely barrel aged barleywine works. The foam takes some force to produce but when it does it's beige and sits at a cap. Slow rising bubbles keep the head steady. This beer just looks like I'll be hungover in the morning.

I've had a couple of these in the past and loved them, the nose on this one meets the lofty expectations set by the previous incarnations. It's bold in the barrel department but smooth and not at all boozy. Humongous caramel, vanilla, and most importantly, toasted coconut leap from the glass. There's a good deal of candied citrus peel from the hopping way back when that makes this beer smell like dessert. Toffee and freshly made gooey caramels make up the remainder in luxurious fashion.

I believe these used to be aged in Stranahan's barrels and that's a smooth whiskey, but this batch tastes like it was aged in old barrels. I'm talking 18-20yr. The barrel characteristics I mentioned above are so seamless and well integrated yet bold. The noticeable alcohol is zero. Rich caramel, vanilla, coconut, and mild oak rule the roost but the underlying caramel maltiness and toffee add insane depth. This beer is layer on layer of richness without being overly sweet. Candied citrus wraps it up. Delicious and refined.

The body obviously leans toward the heavy side of the spectrum, as it should. It's rich, decadent, but never comes close to being sticky. The carbonation is bubbly enough to bring frothiness on the swallow that cleans up the sugars and actually dries up eventually. This beer is dangerous.

This is a snifter beer...like that Henn' ya'll like to drink. It's rich, luxurious, and a sipper. Too easy of a sipper I'm afraid. This beer is going to have me hurting later. The booze is so well hidden that it scares me a bit. Can't get enough of that wonderful Duff....er, Ruffian. Thanks a million Aaron! (2,074 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%

Bottle in trade from Adam. Big thanks for a big want to a great trader. Looks like an ’11 on the bottle so I am assuming this is a 2011 bottle, 750 ml, poured 8/17/14. Bottle #1113. Pours muddy brown with a creamy two finger off white head. Awesome aroma of whiskey, oak, vanilla, interestingly some chocolate here, toffee, and lots of figs and some brown sugar. Flavor is big time bourbon but super smooth, oak, massive vanilla tones, figs, brown sugar, some caramel, lingering vanilla oakiness. Medium to heavy bodied, medium plus carbonation, smooth finish with nearly no booze burn. Wow this is really nice. (613 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

The beer pours a creamy and foamy tan head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is an opaque dark ruby with purple notes. Essentially, the beer resembles a red wine grape but slightly redder. The beer smell has an exceptionally dark fruity and caramel smell. The beer has a slight musty smell alongside the oak and vanilla. The dark fruit notes are buried rather well but become more noticeable as the beer warms. The alcohol also has a slight yet elusive presence. The notes mix very well and give off a sweet with a bit of rustic smell to it even though the vanilla is fairly strong.

The beer taste is a bit different. The same notes in the smell are also in the taste but at different strengths. The beer taste is mainly sweet and tangy with the oak and vanilla. The dark fruits appear to be apricot and orange with a serious bit of tartness/sourness and a boozy taste that is strong enough to be tasted but not that i overwhelms the taste. The caramel and vanilla show up in the end.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick and viscous with very little carbonation, which is surprising given the head strength. The feel is very smooth with the heavy body.

Overall, a pretty unique taste but I had held on to this one for about nearly a year this fall so others' mileage may vary. (1,288 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (517 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Bottle 2889.

750 ml bottle with foil wrapped cap.

Seved at cellar temperature into a goblet.

Barrel aged Ruffian is similar in color to the base beer. It has a deep redish brown color with good clarity and thin white head.

Aroma is rich and boozy with a combination of sweet malty hoppiness and a bourbon barrel oakiness.

Flavor is pleasant but the hops have faded considerably. It's mostly sweet up front with plenty of caramel malts, bourbon, and vanilla. Then the bitterness from the hoppy barleywine comes through in the middle. It finishes somewhat dry as the alcohol is fairly high but it has mellowed nicely so there's no heat.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with great balance and nicely aged after two years in the cellar. Carbonation is low but I prefer it that way in a strong, dark, barrel aged ale.

Overall an excellent barrel aged beer and the Old Ruffian stands up well the the barrel treatment. (935 characters)

Photo of zhanson88
3.64/5  rDev -11%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage.

Appearance: I popped the cap on this beer, and if there was any CO2 release it was just the slightest hint. Not a good sign. It poured out a turbid mahogany color, and it became quickly apparent that it was completely flat as expected. Not the slightest hint of head on this. A bit disappointing.

Smell: The nose however was quite nice. Caramel, toffee, vanilla, whiskey, and a bit of oak presence. Well balanced and not overly oxidized, as I was fearing with a 4 year old BA barleywine.

Taste: Mirrors the smell closely. Rich toffee, muted whiskey, vanilla, and oak. There was however more than a hint of oxidation on the palate, which I did not catch on the nose. Good, but not quite as good as the smell mostly due to cardboard presence from oxidation.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Obviously this beer was completely flat, and medium bodied. Not good. Overall, this would have been a very fine example of a BA barleywine if it was not completely devoid of carbonation. Hard telling if it was always like this or if it just lost pressure while aging. Still the flavors are there, and I quite enjoyed the beer even without carbonation. I will re-review with a 2011 bottle I have around... (1,197 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL (bottled 2461, May 2012 I believe) into a snifter. Pours a crystal-clear ruby-brown mahogany w/ a nice khaki head that settles to a thin film, leaving some pretty nice lacing behind. Looks great.

Aroma is heavily laden w/ toffee, caramel, vanilla and, interestingly, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices. Whiskey character is blended really nicely.

Taste is smooth and buttery. Tons of gooey caramel and toffee, warm brown sugar, vanilla, oak and booze. Both sticky-sweet and almost bitter @ the same time, this beer almost attains a savory, umami quality I can't quite identify. Reminds me a little bit of really good maple syrup. Very nice.

As expected, mouthfeel is thick and coating, chewy and sticky. Lingering aftertaste like a fine liqueur. It's a real sipper of a beer to be sure.

Overall, I have to give this straight 4.5s. There's little fault to find in any aspect of this beer. Outstanding. (910 characters)

Photo of matttttYCE
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy to be having another of the Great Divide Barrel Aged series. If anyone sees this and would like to trade me a BA Hibernation let me know haha. Anyways, the color is the deepest darkest plum I might have ever seen. The head is a light tan, quite creamy, has decent lacing, and meanders for some time. The aroma is just a tad lighter than expected but not bad by any means. On the nose, sweetness, dark fruits, alcohol, and big malts are in the foreground. In the background, there's molasses and caramel, pleasant oak, smoke, hints at vanilla, and all around light barrel characteristics. The barrel presence increases quite a bit with warming, which is very welcomed. Taste mimics the aroma pretty closely. Very sweet, lots of dark fruits and malty goodness. Not as much alcohol heat on the taste, but also more barrel character/vanilla/oak than the nose. Not much in the way of hops whatsoever but this is a slightly older vintage. Barrel character becomes a bit more present as this warms, much like the nose. The mouthfeel is slippery, viscous, and bordering on full. Viscous consistency, creamy medium carbonation, medium-full body, and a light-medium, wet finish.

Overall this is wonderful for a two year old barrel aged barleywine. This definitely isn't the best barrel aged barleywine I've had but it is still a great offering if you're able to get your hands on it. And despite the usual ability to age barley wines and how well regular Old Ruffian ages, I'd suggest drinking this one sooner rather than later. (1,525 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ML bottle (bottle # 4004 of I believe 2011 vintage) poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Liquid comes out a nice looking color, somewhere between dark brick red and dark brown. Lighter brown highlights on the sides and the slightest bit of haze. Sort of a slightly darker than creamcycle colored head that comes out pretty big after a hard pour, lots of different sized bubbles but most of them are small. Pretty good lacing to it.

Smell is really, really, really good. The base of the beer has a lot going on. There is a huge amount of malt and huge amount of hops. Don't ask me the breakdown of them all, but whatever they are, they work together quite well. Sweet caramel and toffee combined with some strong hops as well a nice aroma of vanilla and whiskey. To quote my friend Rusty "I wish they'd make a scented candle that smells like this." Sort of tickles your nose a little.

Taste is exactly on par with the smell. Lots of huge malt backbone and a great amount of hops to complement it. Caremel, toffee, brown sugar, some candied dehydrated raisons and some sweeter dried fruit like cherries and hints of citrus peel. Nice vanilla flavors too, sort of an earthy vanilla, like a sweet smoked wood. I've aged the quite a bit, but still a nice piney hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is really good, nice for the style. Full bodied overall, a great carbonation level and super smooth. There's a nice sweet finish with a nice warm finish, slightly sharp at the end. Not too hot though and I actually would have predicted a lower ABV than 12.7%. Really a great beer, strong the whole way through but moderately gentle, super drinkable. Thanks Geoff for the recommendation and the trade. (1,689 characters)

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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.