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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.

313 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 313
Reviews: 133
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 251
Gots: 104 | FT: 10
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: 313 | Reviews: 133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brandoman63


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

11-20-2011 04:04:39 | More by brandoman63
Photo of cpinto6


4/5  rDev -3.6%

11-18-2011 15:33:54 | More by cpinto6
Photo of Photekut


5/5  rDev +20.5%

11-18-2011 02:51:33 | More by Photekut
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

11-18-2011 00:39:09 | More by nmann08
Photo of JMBSH


5/5  rDev +20.5%

11-16-2011 03:17:56 | More by JMBSH
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr


4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

11-15-2011 18:21:47 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of seeswo


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

11-15-2011 02:14:46 | More by seeswo
Photo of kkrez


5/5  rDev +20.5%

11-14-2011 23:45:13 | More by kkrez
Photo of writerLJBerg


2/5  rDev -51.8%

11-14-2011 17:29:50 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of woosterbill


3.9/5  rDev -6%

Bottle # 509/1188 of the '09 vintage, poured into a Weyerbacher tulip. Huge thanks to Tony for sharing this, a long-time want.

A: Hazy ruby body; totally flat. Way too flat for a relatively non-ancient Barleywine.

S: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, tobacco, earthy hops, and caramel. Boozy, oaky, spiritous, sweet, complex, and great.

T: Mmm. RIch vanilla, oak, bourbon, toffee, tobacco, and booze. A bit hot and bitter, but still strong.

M: Slick medium body, totally flat. A bit sticky, but not terrible.

O: This was exciting, but not as excellent as I'd hoped. While thoroughly enjoyable, it lacked the smoothness and balance of some of the better BA Barleywines out there, and wound up being a bit off-putting with its intense booziness. I think some carbonation would have helped it immensely.


11-07-2011 03:42:11 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Retsinis


3.48/5  rDev -16.1%

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.

11-02-2011 23:21:48 | More by Retsinis
Photo of Chriscrundwell12


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

750 ml bottle poured into a tasting glass. Thanks pmccallum86 for sharing this at Kevins Tasting.

2009 Bottle

A- Pours a dark brown amber color, absolutely no head from the pour, no lacing, clear, looks really under carbonated.
S- The aroma is very nice, big whisky aroma, vanilla, caramel, toffee, malt sweetness, slight oak presence.
T- ABV is present in the taste, nice heat present as it goes down, big beer, toffee, caramel, vanilla, whisky, oak, interesting, the hope profile from the base beer is nowhere to be seen.
M- Big mouth feel, no carbonation but does not detract from the beer too much, dry finish.
O- This beer is pretty complex, it’s definitely enjoyable but I had higher expectations for it, tasty and enjoyable otherwise.

10-03-2011 03:46:06 | More by Chriscrundwell12
Photo of AgentZero


4/5  rDev -3.6%

A - Dark amber colored beer with a bit of brown head on top that faded to a ring.

S - Smells like a barleywine with toffee, burnt caramel, slight oak, bourbon, brown sugar, and a little bit of hop presence that was unexpected.

T - Nice combination of sweet and bitter. Some burnt caramel and coffee with dark fruits and pine-resin hops. The bourbon is helping to mellow out the bitterness from what I can tell.

M - Medium bodied with lower carbonation.

O - Like this beer, although for more bitter things I'd generally prefer a DIPA. This is a nice beer though.

07-18-2011 15:32:29 | More by AgentZero
Photo of hopsbreath


1/5  rDev -75.9%

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.

05-30-2011 04:26:27 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of coldmeat23


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared at approx 45 degrees
I was saving this bottle to share with ElJoebo, on his birthday this year. Since that isn't going to happen now, I drink this tonight, in his honor. RIP, brother. I miss you already.

This pours up a dark amber color, with a nice golden tint to it, and a light hint of ruby. The head is loose and full of big bubbles, which don't stay around too long. The lacing is somewhat minimal, although it does leave a slightly impressive filminess.

This smells incredible. I don't know what it is about Stranahan's barrels, but they produce some of my favorite beer smells.
Tons of buttery vanilla and caramel. Lots of oak. A good amount of toasted coconut. A good dose of sweet, rich, maltiness comes through, from underneath the whiskey notes. Good hints of dark fruits. A touch of molasses. There is still a lightly noticed touch of earthy hops.

Follows the nose, very well. Lots of caramel notes, rich and buttery, mingle with vanilla and toasted coconut. Big maltiness comes through. A good showing of dark fruits. Big, boozy, whiskey presence, which is impressive, since it's well over a year old now.
I like this one a lot. Joe would have, also.

This is full bodied and has a light level of carbonation. The lack of carbo detracts a slight bit, I think. It is extremely smooth, yet lacks the creaminess that would put it over the top. The finish is very warm and somewhat vinous.

This is very tasty. It's not a 'session' beer, for sure....but it is delicious! I hope to get to taste this again, someday.

05-09-2011 04:49:01 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of abraxel


4.7/5  rDev +13.3%

Bottle #471/1188, thanks to holden303! Poured into a Great Divide tulip.

A - Deep, complex, murky reddish-brown, with a finger or so of off-white head. Quite attractive.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, caramel. Very rich, tasty, and balanced. The slightest bit of alcohol.

T - Wow, this is good. Lots of buttery almond and hazelnut (similar to the regular Old Ruffian, but more so), plus loads of smooth bourbon, vanilla, caramel. Very delicious. The slightest bit of alcohol in the finish.

M - Velvety smooth, nice and thick. Not much carbonation, but that doesn't detract at all.

Overall, this is great! I was expecting a good beer, but ended up being blown away. This is one of the very best examples of bourbon-barrel aging I've ever tasted (up there with bourbon-barrel Fourth Dementia). Damn.

This is going right back on my want list.

04-30-2011 03:37:42 | More by abraxel
Photo of Vdubb86


4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

Served in a snifter

Thanks to homebrew311 for this bottle

Bottle #627/1188

This is barleywine number four for those of you keeping track at home. Compared side by side with the non-BA version this beer was rather interesting. The first thing that can be said about it is that this beer is devoid of bubbles, totally flat, carbonation kaput, etc. Though its reddish amber color is still rather inviting. The aromatics of this beer are a good deal of mellow bourbon characteristics. There is a lot more vanilla on the nose of this barrel than on previously smelled BA beers. There are lots of good and subtle flavors. Aside from the vanilla, oak and bourbon, which have mellowed to a really nice point, the main flavors are a rum raisin, butterscotch, and strong notes of fig. It's rather tasty stuff, if only it wasn't a flat syrup it might be even better. Overall this was tasty and I am loving this series of barleywines, because there's not been a bad one amongst them.

04-21-2011 00:42:21 | More by Vdubb86
Photo of Florida9


3.6/5  rDev -13.3%

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.

04-20-2011 02:13:18 | More by Florida9
Photo of TMoney2591


4.08/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

04-18-2011 20:07:50 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of philbe311


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

2009 Edition - Bottle 631/1188 - A huge belated thanks to Doodler for this one... I've been sitting on it for a while...

A - No head... Just a couple of large chunky tan colored bubbles that quickly dissipate... The coloring is a beautifully rich medium brown caramel... Ultra still, with no discernible carbonation... The appearance exudes sophistication and potency...

S - Absolutely exquisite... Raisins... Brown sugar... Let's just call it liquid sticky bun... Dark fruits... Fig... Candied sugars... The booziness of the barrel aging lies beneath the sweet surface and adds loads of depth and complexity...

T - The barrel aging rises to the forefront as the palette is greeted with a warming booze component right of the bat... A lot of the great Old Ruffian characteristics that I expect get either muted or down right hidden by the alcohol... Some brown sugar and vanilla survive, but the rest of the palette is filled with the barrel aging... Still, this is a tasty offering... Just not quite what I was hoping for or expecting...

M -Surprisingly light as this one doesn't get past the medium bodied marker... Sleek and slightly sticky... Perhaps even a bit thin... Loads of alcohol burn on the finish...

D - A definite sipper... Sophisticated... Worldly... Unfortunately, the best barrel aged beers are those that add depth and complexity to the base beer... Unfortunately, in this case the barrel aging takes away from the Old Ruffian components... While the alcohol component is nice, overall this one is a slight disappointment...

04-03-2011 01:45:29 | More by philbe311
Photo of TurdFurgison


3.68/5  rDev -11.3%

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.

03-26-2011 22:13:33 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of brew3crew


3.88/5  rDev -6.5%

Bottle # 82/1188
Thanks BA website for making me do it twice

Part of an epic tasting at jackie o's with brad and Co.

A-muddy and amber in color
S-nice roastianess to it. Actually has some hops to it
T-alot like I tastes. Nice mellowness to it
M-medium bodied and smooth. Very dinkable
O-glsd I got to try it. More'age would have done it favors....

03-19-2011 22:04:59 | More by brew3crew
Photo of BeerAndBourbon


4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

A. Pours a hazy brown with amber edges with a bit of foam on top.

S. Nice bourbon character with a bit of hoppiness and a nice sweet malt character.

T. Dark malt sweetness with bourbon and a slight hoppy bitterness that barely reflects the american barleywine influence.

M. Thin to medium body with fairly low carbonation.

D. As always, I'd rather an English barleywine with barrel aging, but I like this.

03-19-2011 22:04:23 | More by BeerAndBourbon
Photo of Urbancaver


3.98/5  rDev -4.1%

Pours a murky amber brown. Not really an attractive looking beer. A bit of white head that dissipates quickly. Smells phenomenal. The nose is awesome tastes heavily of bourbon with a touch of hops but not very bitter. Vry dry on the pallette but the bourbon character is the only thing that carries it...

03-19-2011 21:50:10 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of maximum12


4.3/5  rDev +3.6%

Many thanks to the madman known as wyoming, who has sent me great beers for a song on the wind. Considering how much I enjoyed the BA Yeti, also aged in Stranahan barrels, I'm getting pretty worked up for this one. Split with my wife, who immediately proclaimed the smell awe-inspiring. '09 Vintage, bottle 322/1188.

Big, heavy, lovely bottle. Pours spring creek muddy; nothing trout stream about this brew. Dark brown/tan/red, with enough particulate matter to get it declared an imparied waterway by the EPA. With all due respect to my wife, the nose isn't terribly different than the regular version, malts, faint oxidation. Not getting much.

Barrel Aged Old Ruffian lays a thick, heavy layer of whiskey sediment over the base barleywine. Clenched fist of caramel is wrapped up in a glove of Stranahan's, which is interesting in it's own right. The whiskey isn't overpowering the base beer, but lays down a track of its own, coating the back of the throat with subtle, sultry whiskey. Almost like two beers in one, complementing one another like salesmen at a conference. Other than those two, minor players come & go without acclaim: toffee, brown sugar, tons of sly, sweet malts, good amounts of booziness. The bourbon & a powerful drying oakiness finish up, wiping away the base beer that hung around so admirably.

No hops were harmed in the creation of this beer (that I can tell, anyways). It's heavy & still, but feels right with the presence of booze & riot of the barrel. Regardless, I'd be happy to have had this bomber to myself.

It should be obvious, but this one needs a while to warm. My first sips didn't impress, but the more it warmed, the happier I was. Not quite the supremely world-class beer that BA Yeti is (but how many are there, really?), but damn excellent in its own right. I'd be willing to drink this any/every night of the week.

02-10-2011 03:40:08 | More by maximum12
Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.