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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
-
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 hopsbreath
1/5  rDev -75.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Had a little barrel aged barleywine tasting at MADhombrewer and Witchsbrew's residence last night. Filet mignon's were provided by our host's for TulipSnifter and I. Thanks guys!

In the lineup were Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Hellshire I, BA Hi-Fi Rye, BA Old Ruffian, Abacus, and Alpine Great. Our intention was to also open up Perfect Storm '09, Mother of all Storms '10, Kuhnhenn BBBW, and Arctic Devil but we agreed it best to hold off on those beers for another day due to palate fatigue. Small two ounce samples of the six beers from last night were first tasted and notes were taken before returning to the bottles for more tastes and refined notes.

Thanks to jophish17 for supplying me with a bottle. 2009 batch.

I don’t have my typical review lined up for this beer because I fear it may have been an off bottle. I’m giving it all 1.0’s to reflect exactly how bad I felt this particular bottle was. No “pfft” on the cap-crack had me thinking that this was simply low on the carbonation. Pouring the beer as hard as possible revealed zilch in the way of carbonation in the puce colored beer. The body was thin and watery to boot which has me thinking something was just flat out wrong here. Smelled like generic malt and tasted like watered malt that had wet whiskey barrel dunked in it. Some slight sourness and acetone suggests a possible infection. I can’t give the standard smells and flavors that I usually report because it was so off and weird. If I was guessing, 600 of the 750ml’s ended up going down the drain. I’ll try this again if the opportunity presents itself but no way am I going to trade for another. (1,660 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
2.38/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Enjoyed at tonight's NoVA tasting. Bottle 57/1188

A: Pours like an under carbonated old ale, absolutely no head. Nothing, no pop of the bottle, no head at all.

S: The smell is nice. Whiskey, booze, malts, molasses, really deep and balanced.

T: Wow this is not great. Tastes like a watered down whiskey. A malt character, but the barleywine base is gone. Disappointing.

MF: Flat, stale, boozy, bad.

O: Huge disappointment. Wish I could have had this a bit younger, hope my BA yeti doesn't do this. (501 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.47/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008

A: Poured a thin, tannish color with no head, undercarbonated with no lacing

S: Stinging booze, Earthy and old wood notes with some brown sugar

T: Faded hops, booze, brown sugar, toffee and remnants of old wood, Earth and dark fruits

M: Way to thin, flat, boozey and sweet

O: Not to much to say here.Wow. What a letdown.
////
2009

Not as thin or hot oddly enough but still thin, a bit more carbonation (412 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
2.94/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage. Bottle #535/1188

(A)- Pours quite flat sadly. Some tan bubbles, but kind of murky too overall. Poured a murky and muddy mahogany color.

(S)- Subtle hints at booze soaked raisin and caramel. Bits of oak and subtle spice, but otherwise is very muted due to how flat this really is.

(T)- Disappointing due to its complete lack of carbonation, but its saving grace is that it does have some nice oak and caramel in the aftertaste.

(M)- Flat as a pancake carbonation-wise. It does have some nice oak and sweetness to it, but overall becomes so muted due to its lack of carbonation. I have had my share of flat beers, but in this instance, it really killed this beer; needed it badly.

(O)- A rather large disappointment for me especially since I was looking forward to trying this one for quite a few years now since its base beer was one of my first favorite barleywines as I was getting into the beer scene.
Again, there are some nice qualities about it that are just unfortunately lost in is flat, murky depths. (1,064 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
2.97/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Batch 2. Shared at a tasting... I don't remember who brought it. Thanks!

A: Pours a light brown body without much pop to it. It's turbid and dirty-looking, with very little head and no retention. I'll give it somewhat of a pass since it's so high in ABV, but it was pretty unattractive.

S: An old/stale hop aroma. Vanilla, wood, light bourbon, some caramel, toffee. Aside from the stale hop note, it's fairly nice.

T: Among pretty much everyone I compared notes with, the common note seemed to be that it doesn't taste bad, or good; it's not offensive, but it's not outstanding. It's smack in the middle. Some muddled hop bitterness, a light barrel character of bourbon, vanilla, oak. Some base beer sweetness in toffee, brown sugar. But mostly unremarkable. The Perfect Storm that came later blew this out of the water, and I'm not even a huge fan of TPS.

M: Medium-bodied, with low carbonation. Muddled flavors.

D: Nothing offensive; nothing great. Just very middle-of-the-road as far as a barrel-aged barleywine goes. I wonder if it was just a bad bottle. (1,068 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.02/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Got this one from BOLTZ9555 in a trade a while back. Cheers for the fun box of beer man!

From a 750ml into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
Bottle 1,574
IBU: 85-90
Aged 9 months in Stranahan whisky barrels

Note: Drank this one right after the base beer. Comparisons drawn.

APPEARANCE: Pours a looser, two finger, off-white or cream colored head with decent retention. A little too loose really, much like the base beer. Body is darker in color, looking more deep mahogony or maroon red, and is clear with higher levels of carbonation. Head slowsly fades to a good foam cap and sticks to the sides, but only a splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves no real lacing down the glass. Darker in color than the base.

SMELL: Lots of whisky, toffee and caramel on the nose intially, with plenty of oak, vanilla and whisky barrel for sure. Light milk chocolate and a slight tatness with dark fruits actually. This is quite big and barrel heavy, though the barrel is quite nice.

TASTE: Very flavorful for sure. Toffee and caramel with dark fruits up front. Lots of whisky and oak, with a hefty dose of alcohol at the swallow. Huge, boozy and lingering finish of barrel and oak, toffee sweetness, milk chocolate notes and a touch of bitterness as well. Barrel flavors are pretty big, but the toffee and light bitter notes from the base beer still show through. The booze is a little much, however.

PALATE: Lighter and thinner body, especially when compared to the base beer. Light on the palate, somewhat fizzy and not creamy enough either. Goes down with a burn and finishes slightly sticky. Lots of heat lingers. This is quite challenging and much harsher than the base beer. Disappointing here.

OVERALL: This is big, complex and interesting, though the heavy booze quality and the thin, harsh feel make it quite challengind. Although Great Divide is an excellent brewery and their regular Old Ruffian is good stuff, I'd seek a different barrel aged barleywine if I were looking for this style. I'd gladly try an older bottle or a new vintage of this when it comes out, but I didn't find the 2011 is not enjoyable enough at this point to go looking for another one. Cheers again for the trade BOLTZ9555. Always a pleasure. (2,224 characters)

Photo of pwoods
3.14/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

750ml brown bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a dirty, murky brown with damn near no carbonation. No head on the pour with no lacing.

S: Sweet yet rich malts with a light bourbon aroma but a good barrel nose.

T/M: No carbonation. Some citrus but more of the rich but sweet malts. Bourbon comes out as it warms but not very bit. Lots of barrel. No carbonation is very dissapointing.

D: drinks easy for as big as it is bit no carbo.... (440 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.21/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 bottle poured into a tasting snifter.

Pours a red amber color with hardly any head at all. The smell is sweet and malty with just a touch of hops and alcohol. This definitely tastes like it has some age on it. The barrel characteristics have smoothed, but the bitterness level is still quite high. The sweet malt overtakes the bitter in the beginning of the sip, but the bitterness crushes the finish. The body is too thin with no carbonation. (449 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 jrallen34
3.31/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Nate for bringing this, bottle into a Bells tulip...Pours an ugly light brown, muddled, with no carbonation at all...The aroma is awesome, lots of vanilla, really nice wood notes, a little bourbon, caramel, and a touch of hops...As great as the aroma is the tasting is as outstandingly awful. The sweetness is gone, all you get is rotten wood, lots of chalk, and a little alcohol. A weird wood finish just dooms this. This was undrinkable, could only get through half a glass. (486 characters)

Photo of portia99
3.34/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

750ml bottle (427 of 1188) poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Bottle opens without the slightest whoosh of carbonation...uh oh. Seems like this one might be flat. An aggressive pour only creates a loose bubbley ring around the glass. All appearances lead me to believe this one is still.

S - Boozy, lots of alcohol present here. Overall sweetness is present with caramel, booze and oak.

T - Boozy, malty, some hops, lots of caramel. Tons of bourbon flavor.

M - Thinner than I expected, but still what I'd call medium bodied. Totally still, no carbonation at all.

D - Pretty low...lack of carbonation hurts tremendously. Flavors are good, but the non-existent carbonation is a real problem. This is a bit rough...I had very high expectations that sadly are not even close to being realized... (793 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.36/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008, Bottle 100/461; Sampled October 2011
An aggressive pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a fat, finger thick, amber tinged full tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber / brown that shows a murky, dark amber color when held up to the light. The aroma smells strongly of bourbon, alcohol, toasted coconut, big vanillin notes, tart whiskey notes, whiskey soaked caramel, perhaps a touch of salty smokiness and a bit of sherry; these last two notes are definitely the effect of some oxidation. The biggest notes by far in the aroma are sweetened, almost caramelized, toasted coconut and vanillin, which is followed closely by a general whiskey character; the base beer plays a distant role in the nose, which is great if you really like whiskey, but if you were looking for a Barleywine then you might be a bit disappointed (which I am a bit). As the beer warms up, the caramelized malt portion of the aroma starts to pick up a bit; when combined with the barrel notes it almost reminds me a bit of cotton candy at times, in some weird way. Some toasted, whole grain character also becomes a bit more noticeable in the aroma.

Bitter, slightly herbal hop flavors are anchored by a toasted and richly caramelized malt character that is enhanced by flavors of toasted coconut and vanillin. The finish dries out with a big hop bitterness that provides quite a bite as well as some green hop astringency; this is accentuated by some woody spiciness and some warming, sometimes hot, whiskey flavors and alcohol. The body of this beer is fairly luscious, though it has certainly significantly thinned from the base beer; the body along with the spiciness from the oak makes this a definite sipping brew though. The hop flavor has significantly faded in this brew, but it is still a bit harsh & it makes me wonder how this was drinking when it was a much younger beer. Towards the middle and more towards the finish there is a slightly nutty flavor that shows the touch of oxidation and there is also a touch of sherry or even wet cardboard perhaps.

This is another barrel aged beer that spent way too much time in the barrel, alternatively this should have been blended with some fresh Old Ruffian as I am really wishing the base beer came through in some way. As it is this is purely a vehicle for the Stranahan barrels, if that is your thing then you will enjoy this beer, but if you are looking for beer then you might be a bit disappointed. I am enjoying this beer a little bit, so it is not a complete loss, but not enough to remotely want to finish this bottle by myself (I might finish my glass). (2,623 characters)

Photo of glazeman
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage, bottle 843, courtesy of airohead2001

A: Medium brown with some dark amber. No head to speak of, just a faint ring of bubbles around the outside of my snifter.

S: Some plums and caramel with a little bit of apple cider. There was a hint of whisky, but not much.

T: There's caramel and toffee up front followed by some whisky. Not as robust or interesting as I had hoped for, but in no way off putting. The lack of carbonation negatively effects the overall flavor profile.

M: Appropriate body, but no carbonation.

O: Overall, a pretty good beer, but nothing too exciting. Definitely not on the top tier level, but slightly above average for the style. (669 characters)

Photo of Retsinis
3.47/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage.

Review From notes

Had this at a tasting about 2 months ago, just getting around to adding this. Real treat to try, since this was the first tasting I'd seen it.

A: Cloudy rust color, dull ruby hue, minimal head, no lacing.

S: Light cinamon, touch of caramel apple, and light toffee.

T: Stiill boozy, surprisingly for a 3 year old bottle. Lots of candied sugars upfront, layers of toffee & carmel, and mostly mirrors the nose.

M: Light carbonation, mildly sticky & syrupy.

O: Decent, but not great frankly. Might pass if offered again, but would like to try a fresh or 1 year aged bottle for comparison. (629 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
3.56/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ML bottle 333/1188
Last of my 09 BA Great Divide beers
Thanks to Andre for the bottle and shared with Spicelab and MrKennedy

A-- Poured a dark, murky, orange brown color. Muddy would be the best way to describe this beer. One finger tan head that settled to a solid tan film through drinking. Good spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Barrel is noticeable in the nose. Oak, leather and whisky. Solid stuff. Underneath the barrel notes got stewed plumbs, some Graham Cracker and a solid hop presence still. ABV is well masked for a near 13% beer.

T-- Was quite unhappy with the first half of my glass as it was quite thin and watery. Once it got air it picked up in a big way. Very earthy, grainy, Carmel strawberry jam and hearty bread. Just flashes of oak and touches of whisky to round out the jam notes.

M-- Decent amount of tannins left on gums. Left them numb for a few minutes. Still has the ABV punch. Low carbonation and not all that heavy until the end. Slightly slick and oily due to the hops.

O-- Conflicted as liked the beer but in reality prefer regular Ruffian more. Might be showing it's age a bit as was thin in spots and needed a lot of air to open this up. Decent enough stuff but not on par with other BA barleywines out there. Not as much substance to the body as others out there. (1,322 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #2374. 2012 vintage. 750ml bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

.5 finger fine, light brown head with little retention. Beer is a cloudy, dark brown. Lacing is stringy and spotty with good cling. Thin oily legs round this one out nicely.

Nose is boozy. Hints of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and green raisins. Solid.

Opens sweet, boozy and sappy. Caramel, brown sugar, anise, and green raisins. Warm boozy overtones throughout. End is brown sugar and molasses with a very sweet aftertaste. Still a bit hot at this point, hiding some nice nuances in this one. Still decent though.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and warm in the mouth and goes down boozy and hot. Finishes messy with a long, lingering finish. Very good.

A decent beer overall but at this point, this one still needs a bit of time. Nice complexities lurk underneath the booze but the barrel presence covers a lot right now. I'd love to revisit this one in a year or so. (970 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Gillard. Thanks Ryan, you of course ROCK!!!

Pours amber to garnet with mild haze and off white head. The aroma is full of oakiness and vanilla followed by almost no base beer notes whatsoever. The taste is much the same with big sweet vanilla notes with ribbons of oak and alcohol. Deep into the finish hints of the base beer show up if I really concentrate. I really prefer more balance in a beer. Hopefully some age will bring this together and even it out.

But right now it really isn't anything special.

That said I'm really glad I had a chance to try it. Thanks again Ryan. (603 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 Florida9
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009; bottle #627

A: Ruby red to brown in color. Absolutely flat. Forms a few large sticky bubbles. Becomes increasingly cloudier on subsequent pours.

S: Predominantly oak and vanilla.

T: Stewed tea with a stewed tea astringency. Oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Some alcohol, but not boozy.

M: Thinnish and totally flat. Mildly bitter.

O: Apparently flat bitter bourbon isn't my thing. (390 characters)

Photo of billshmeinke
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

2009 bottle, 787/1188. Poured into a Bruery tulip. Had this side by side with the regular Old Ruffian for comparison. Review from notes.

Very dark brown, almost black, murky body with ruby highlights. Bubbly foam that's gone in an instant and doesn't even manage to cover the entire surface of the brew. A tiny trace of foam clinging to the side of the glass. Oily legs, but no lace.

Smells of apple pie, raisins, apricots, oak, a touch of whiskey and alcohol.

Tastes of rum raisin ice cream, green apples, apricots, caramel and raisins. Some oak and vanilla. Only a hint of bourbon. Some piney and bitter resin clean out the back end.

Full and heavy with almost zero carbonation. A bit of heat.

Would have been better (especially in terms of looks and mouthfeel) if it had some more carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste however.

There may have been a problem with the bottle I got judging by the issues with carbonation. (943 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 TurdFurgison
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Someone brought this to a tasting at Jackie O's, not sure who but they have my gratitude.

It poured a dark brownish red with a tan foam, wet looking with threads of lace. The hops come through strong, along with a nice bourbon character, plenty of caramel malt too. Definitely a lot going on here. It tastes sweet up front, with a lingering liquor aftertaste, plenty of bitterness in the aftertaste too.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, this gets a stamp of approval, even though I'm not a fan of American barleywines. (521 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.72/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage poured from a 750ml bottle into my Devil's Backbone tulip. It poured kind of a murky looking dull brown color. A thin lacing was concentrated around the edges of the glass, where it left some modest lacing.

The aroma shows a pretty big dark fruit presence to it with some notes of plum and fig really coming out. The barrel and bourbon really shows through as well with a strong oak, vanilla, bourbon and slight brown sugar flavor to it. The flavors individually seem pretty good, but it just doesn't seem to come together as well as I would have liked.

The bourbon has a little more influence in the taste. Lots of woody oak up front along with some of the sweeter, brown sugar flavors coming out of the bourbon. It's got a little bourbon heat in the back end. The dark fruits come out a little more towards the finish as well. Things come together much better in the taste for me.

The mouthfeel is leaning towards the heavier side with carbonation being a little below average. Overall, it was a pretty good barrel aged beer but not one that really can hang with the top of the style. Things just didn't seem to come together all that well for it at times. While it was a pretty nice beer to sip on this evening, there is better out there for the price. (1,274 characters)

Photo of illidurit
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle courtesy photomike. Pours a brownish gold color with a khaki head. Big whiskey notes alongside the usual caramel and toffee, partially damped by a mild woodiness. Vanilla, caramel, and coconut are the predominant flavors with a slight astringency that could be from the wood or the hops. Markedly less hoppy/bitter than the standard version. Not a huge fan of barrel aging a hoppy BW. (398 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Review #2000! The last of the surviving beers from my accident! Bottle #592 of 1188! Served from bottle into New Belgium globe. Poured a deep red brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, vanilla, sweet alcohol, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, vanilla, wood, earth, caramel, brown sugar, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. Still a nice touch of booze going on in this one with a nice touch of vanilla to bring the barrel to life. The touch of vanilla really helped this beer out as without it, it could have been a complete disaster without it. Worth your time trying if you get the opportunity. (773 characters)

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