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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barrel Aged Old RuffianBarrel Aged Old Ruffian

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

318 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 318
Reviews: 133
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 12.08%
Wants: 252
Gots: 103 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ArrogantB on 10-08-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 318 | Reviews: 133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 303, and thanks I believe to Jason B. Having this was like having an old friend over after several years, wiser and more interesting. At serious wine booziness, it was a major challenge to conduct intellectual exercises. Great looks with a to-inch head. Boozy but also woody aromas. Mellow, hoppy, oaky, full mouthfeel, it was very satisfying. The bourbon, Thank G-d, was minor, as we Canadians are not such big corn whiskey fans. I was getting more excellent oak. A great blending, and something I wanted to share, and is meant to share, but could not on the coldest night of the year.

Sammy, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

t0rin0, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jerz for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

2012 vintage. Bottle # 2695.

Pours a slightly murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, wood, and bourbon/whiskey. Taste is much the same and quite sweet with an alcohol kick and woody finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is is a very good beer with a great barrel aged presence in the aroma and taste.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

djrn2, Sep 08, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

zestar, May 31, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

spycow, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Lunch for pulling out this bottle at a recent tasting. Longtime want for me. Served in a snifter.

Pours a nice ruby-garnet color with a thin off-white head and a light color made up of fairly-large bubbles. The nose brings a mild barrel character as well as some dark fruits and a bit of caramel. Hops are certainly noticeable. Bit of booze.

Taste is really quite nice with the booze mingling with the dark fruits and sweetness in a really fantastic way. Good barrel character with some nice toffee and caramel. A bit hoppy as well. Mouthfeel melds the barrel character, some sweetness, booze, and a bit of bitterness quite well. Definitely a well made brew. Not quite as good as the BA Yeti, but quite good and I'm really glad I got to try this. Thanks again, Paul.

Thorpe429, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

acurtis, Sep 09, 2012
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

nmann08, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Texasfan549, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #233/461. Bottled August 2008. Midway between brick red and burnt orange with a gem-like glow and diamond clarity. The upper third of the chalice is filled with a luscious crown of buttered wheat toast colored cream. How can a barrel-aged ale with an ABV this high generate so much outstanding looking lace?

The nose is beautifully balanced between barleywine and whiskey. Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey (aged 9 months) to be exact. Each sniff delivers melted caramel, all sorts of liquor macerated fruits, a mild oakiness and a bit too much ethanol to be granted a perfect score.

Great Divide Old Ruffian (along with Midnight Sun Arctic Devil) is my favorite barleywine of all-time. A large part of that love is due to the perfect combination of huge malt and huge hops. This bottle of Barrel Aged Old Ruffian, now 46 months old, is too long in the tooth to still be a hop monster. Granted, that's my fault for aging it this long.

It's still incredibly beautiful beer, but it's an entirely different beast. Whiskey barrel aging will do that. GDBC nails it *much* more often than not. Such is the case with the amount and quality of the whiskey influence in this Limited Edition brew. As an aficionado of both big beer and America's finest spirit, I hereby pronounce the balance to be... dead... solid... perfect.

As expected, the various flavors are becoming bolder and deeper and more complex as the starting chill seeps away. The rundown includes gooey toffee pudding, golden brown sugar, candied cherries and sugared orange peel, vanilla-soaked oak, and a small shot of Stolichnaya. It has to be extremely difficult to completely bury 12.7%. That said, it does put the score ceiling at 4.5 for taste and drinkability.

The mouthfeel is a little more chewiness away from being outfreakingstanding. Inventing words is fun, and is easier once the alcohol begins to take hold. Each sip is pure pleasure. The carbonation is understated, yet still committed to the cause.

While BA Old Ruffian isn't as mind-blowing as BA Yeti, it's still a remarkable ale that I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced. Thanks to JMBSH for both bottles. I would still take the original over this beer (and 99.9% of all beer on Earth), but BAOR is definitely one of the best of 2010 so far.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a bright copper color ale with a medium size head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of whiskey is nice end very enticing with nice balanced sweet malt notes. Taste is a great balance between some whiskey notes with dry grain notes and a solid malt backbone with sweet caramel and light toffee notes. Body is quite full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I really enjoyed this one which I find had great balance between whisky and malt.

Phyl21ca, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

kjkinsey, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

GRG1313, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Mr Ford for getting me this one to try on my bday.I decided to use it as my nightcap to seal off a veryintresting and long beer day.Served chilled and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 06/11/2009.

The pour was very nice. Rich dark brown in color with a light tan head on top that hung around for a good few minutes before settling down into a thin layer on top. One of the best aromas I have ever come across. Rich bourbon notes just rippling across the nose. Lots of toffee and vanilla, light touchs of oak and a piney hop presence as well. So immacualtly complex. Nothing subtle about this beast at all. Rich toffee and oak flavors are all over the place. Huge hop notes coming through with a nice alcohol hotness that is really well placed. A very tight flavor here with a long lingering vanilla flavor that lasted long after my last sip. Rich medium body with a big alcohol note that you know is there.

Overall this was about as solid as could be. One of the biggest, baddest, barrel aged beers I have ever had. I would have no issue at all with trying this one again any day!

mikesgroove, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

jaydoc, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jerz for sharing this one at Sour Fest.

A: The pour is a dark amber color, bordering on brown with a thin ring of foam.

S: The nose is certainly reminiscent of a barleywine, with good caramel and toffee notes providing sweetness. There is, however, a very surprising amount of piney and resinous hop character to this beer.

T: The bitterness that this beer retained is quite surprising. Lots of resinous bitterness, toffee, a subtle sweetness of caramel, and some oak, tobacco, and bourbon.

M: The body is medium with a fairly low level of carbonation to it, which is fine for a beer like this.

D: I was really shocked by the amount of bitterness this beer still had. A nice beer all around...

womencantsail, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

kylehay2004, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of largadeer
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bifrostguard shared this one last night. Thanks, Cameron. The beer is a murky and opaque dark amber with a thin off white cap.

The aroma has a surprisingly robust hop character to it, noticeably faded but pine-like in character. It's moderately oxidized with a good balance of bourbon, tobacco and earthiness. It smells fairly dry and nuanced rather than sweet and rich.

It has flavors of pine and earth, leather and tobacco, some whiskey sweetness that balances the oak and hops. Sherry-like oxidation contributes depth. Full-bodied with a boozy, oaky, caramel finish and lingering resiny hops. This is pretty dry and hoppy for a bourbon barrel barleywine, a nice change of pace for the style.

largadeer, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to Homebrew311 for sharing this bottle!

2009 edition, bottle #627/1188. I'm very curious to see how the Ruffian takes to the barrel-aging. It pours a slightly murky garnet-amber topped by a very minor bit of dirty white foam. The nose comprises bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla, toffee, grapefruit, and orange peel. The taste holds notes of orange peel, bourbon, oak, vanilla, light cocoa, ruby red grapefruit, and, near the finish, a light and vague semi-astringency. Luckily, that last bit ain't enough to really mess with things. The body is a hefty-ish medium, with a very light carbonation and a kinda oily feel. Overall, a very nice bit o' barrel-aged b-wine goodness. 'Nuff said.

TMoney2591, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -3.4%

SocalKicks, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of biboergosum
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml, heavy black foil-capped bottle, number 0132, and 11.8% ABV. Thanks evermore to doktorzee for bearing the obviously sturdy luggage back from Colorado.

This beer pours a hazy, murky dark orange brickish hue, with three fingers of finely foamy, even a bit creamy beige head, which leaves some nicely thorough cascading cloud layer lace around the glass as things sink away - purdy, indeed.

It smells of sweet, musty caramel/toffee malt, a mildly astringent grainy woodiness, soft boozy bourbon vanilla, and quite evident resinous leafy, herbal, and piney hops. The taste is rather sugary caramel, toffee, and alcohol, a bit of further simple syrup sweetness, soft vanilla and spicy rye whiskey soaked wood, a tame earthy, tobacco ash mustiness, and more somewhat citrusy, but mostly pine needle and herbal tea-esque bitter hops.

The carbonation is weakly fizzy, but broad enough to count, the body medium-heavy in weight (the boozy wood quotient always seems to take a toll there), mostly smooth, with a hint or two of oppressed creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, no surprise, but now more than a bit tempered, as the hops, wood, and general old basement mustiness come into their collective own. The big booze still seems to have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque, or something.

I've not yet had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the base Old Ruffian, so I can only surmise as to the mollifying effect that the Colorado whiskey barrel has had here, though I will say that the understated effects have a seemingly positive spin. More relevant, supposedly, are the big and brash hops, which do well here to preserve the American status of this tasty barleywine, even as the the wood is equally Yankee in nature.

biboergosum, Jun 20, 2013
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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 318 ratings.