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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.

333 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 333
Reviews: 135
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 255
Gots: 102 | 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:
Beer added by: ArrogantB on 10-08-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 333 | Reviews: 135
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jfstilling
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of pathman
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ldhughes3
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -21.3%
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+

Photo of nathanmiller
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.13/5  rDev 0%

Photo of claspada
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of joe1510
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


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!

Photo of quine
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of McNazz
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of greenspointexas
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of MikeCactusGordon
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Sanderson
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of tuka
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Beerandboards
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of BMMillsy
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of HattedClassic
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

Photo of zachattack555
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 333 ratings.