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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 Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

01-23-2011 00:31:23 | More by Sammy
Photo of scottfrie


3.93/5  rDev -5.3%

750ml bottle shared by ipa247. Thanks a lot for sharing this one Jeff. Bottle 260/461, bottled April 2008. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours an extremely dark blood red with a thick dark tan head that receded into a thick film that left soapy, wispy lacing.
S: Rich caramel malt, slight hops still, very sweet overall. Some vanilla and maybe oak, caramel and sweet malt.
T: Sweet malts overall, similar to the non-barrel aged version but with notes of whisky in the finish. Alcohol is fairly muted at this point though. Notes of tobacco and vanilla in the aftertaste.
M: Creamy rich full body, low carbonation and a syrupy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol warmth is still present.
D: Goes down easy enough but I wouldn't want a ton of this. I was happy with the pour I got. Love the regular version, and this is definitely a delicious brew. Thanks again Jeff for your generosity!

01-18-2011 05:31:58 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Thorpe429


4.15/5  rDev 0%

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.

12-19-2010 02:50:18 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev -6.5%

Bottle shared by Lunch, who loves all that is barrel-aged. Thanks Paul!

Bottle 792 / 1188

A: The beer appears a murky / hazy mahogany brown hue, with a decent sized head that leaves virtually no lacing.

S: Aromas include caramels, toffee, alcohol, oak, ripe dark fruits, malt.

T: The flavor is of everything found in the aroma, especially toffee, caramels, and alcohol. There is a subtle hop showing, but this barleywine is much more about a powerful malt presence and toffee candy sweetness.

M: Low carbonation and high alcohol. Smooth and creamy feel, with a pronounced sweetness throughout.

D: I was very excited to sample this limited release, and would definitely have it again. Best enjoyed in small quantities, this beer is ideal for sharing a few ways.

12-17-2010 03:55:40 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.3/5  rDev +3.6%

From 12/12/10 notes. Got to try at a local tasting thanks to Lunch; was very excited to see it. Thanks Paul!

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with an inch of fluffy off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, dark fruit, toffee, bourbon, oak, bready malts, and molasses. Smells great.

t - Tastes of bourbon, caramel malts, oak, dark fruits, toffee, bready malts, sweet fruity malts, sugar, and alcohol. Again, very nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, so incredibly smooth. Perfect mouthfeel.

d - I thought this was a really good barrel aged barleywine. I enjoyed MoaS more, but was very glad to try this one. Would love to try again.

EDIT: Had this again on 2/13/11 at Max's in Baltimore, MD thanks to jslot38. Enjoyed it even more the second time around and added a few notes.

12-16-2010 03:28:27 | More by mdfb79
Photo of portia99


3.33/5  rDev -19.8%

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...

12-12-2010 04:14:21 | More by portia99
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.88/5  rDev -6.5%

Pours a small layer of beige head. Color is a murky caramel brown.

Aroma: A lot of toffee, caramel, and malt. The barrel aging doesn't show very much. It has vanilla and oak with a touch of whiskey flavors. It has some sweet dried fruits.

Taste: Much better than the nose. I get more barrel aging notes. It has a lot of whiskey flavors, vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak, dried fruits, plums, and raisins.

Mouthfeel: Warming, smooth, and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends a little bit hot.

Overall, it is a pretty decent beer, but I expected more. The nose was a bit muted, but the taste got better. Decent drinkability.

11-09-2010 00:29:23 | More by mothman
Photo of Kaiser81


4.15/5  rDev 0%

Thanks to rye726 for this bottle. 09 vintage. Bottle 131/1188

A - very hazy. A murky, muddy, brownish plum color.there is some head on it, though not much. It leaves some ok lacing.

S - nose is more muted than reg ruffian. Some sweet dark fruits and toffee. whiffs of bourbon linger on the back end.

T - dark fruits are there. Some candied sweetness and caramel. This is following the nose. Bourbon lingers on the finish as well.

M - minimal carbonation with a heavy body. Maybe a touch more carb would be great.

D - its a good beer. Easily drinking my glass. But its a big beer. Sharing with 2 others is great.

11-08-2010 03:01:38 | More by Kaiser81
Photo of emmasdad


3.93/5  rDev -5.3%

Earlier this year, I picked up a bottle of this one for a trade. Seeing it sitting in my cellar for a few days, I decided to grab another for myself to celebrate passing the bar exam. Upon returning to the store where I had purchased the other one, I discovered much to my dismay, that the remaining stock was depleted. Fast forward a couple months; opening my birthday beer box, I discovered a bottle of 2008 BA Old Ruffian amongst the bottles my wife had purchased. WOW!
First, I love Old Ruffian, and look forward to its release every year, so I was very excited to finally try this one. Pours a dark mahogany color, with ruby edges and a light brown head that hangs around for quite a while. On the nose, I picked up a little oxidation, some grassy hops and a little bourbon. On the palate, medium bodied, rich, alcoholic, with a little bourbon and branch, oak, milk chocolate, dark fruits and caramel. The Stranahans barrels add a nice complexity to an otherwise hoppy barley wine, but I would love to try this one fresh, and eagerly anticipate the arrival of the 2010 version.

11-04-2010 03:23:11 | More by emmasdad
Photo of kbutler1


3.78/5  rDev -8.9%

Bottle. Pours a murky orange color with a slight white head. The aroma is farily fruity to me with notes of apples and pears mixed with some barrel notes. The taste is very similiar to the aroma. Sweet fruit flavors up front that is very easy to drink, almost too easy. No real hop characteristics. Very smooth. Medium mouthfeel. Slight warming effect from the alcohol.

10-29-2010 19:47:33 | More by kbutler1
Photo of Arbitrator


2.95/5  rDev -28.9%

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.

10-10-2010 21:15:11 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of DavoleBomb


4.72/5  rDev +13.7%

2008 Vintage (bottle #332 of 461) poured into a Stone Levitation flute. Review from notes. Big thanks to Stigs for sharing this.

4.0 A: Murky medium brown color. Two fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and some spotty lacing.

5.0 S: Absolutely wonderful! Bourbon is in perfect proportion and smells great. Leather, light oakiness. Almost tangy (in a spicy way) malty sweetness. Lots of toffee. Moderately boozy, which works really well in this instance.

4.5 T: Oak is a lot stronger in taste. Bourbon again is complementary, with moderate leather, vanilla, and mild citrus. Underlying barleywine is slightly doughy with lots of toffee and caramel and a mild spiciness. This is much less bitter than the regular fresh. Also, much of the hoppiness is gone, but a mild herbalness still lingers.

5.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess and super smooth. Not too thick or sweet like some barleywines.

5.0 D: Awesome brew. This demonstrates bourbon barrel aging at its finest. Bourbon complements a very solid barleywine. Highly recommended though I heard the second batch of this isn't as good.

09-25-2010 19:17:49 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Stigs


4.68/5  rDev +12.8%

750ml bottle - marked #332/461 dated 8/2008

split with a local BA'er, served in Stone Levitation flute glasses

A - pours with a little over half an inch of very frothy, medium tan colored foam which settles to a thin film and large ring within a couple minutes. the beer is very murky/muddy, brown in color with some small visible bubbles.

S - bourbon right off the bat, though not overpowering or stale...very nice sour mash comes through before sweet notes of toffee, caramel, milk chocolate, raisins, before finishes with some mild oak and an awakening whiff of alcohol. simply divine.

T - sweetness kicks in immediately with dominating toffee and caramel, some twinges of dark fruits, and licorice. bourbon slowly creeps in bringing along some oak, vanilla, and cola flavors. sweetness balanced nicely by an assertive earthy and slightly citrus hop profile before booze wipes it clean.

M - medum to thick body with a creamy texture. subtle prickly carbonation cuts through the massive flavors yet delicious sweetness clings to all corners of the mouth. slightly burning alcohol (pleasant) finish with lingering oak and bourbon flavors.

D - ill admit, liked this more than I expected to. up there on the list of my favorite smelling beers, this is a wonderful example of bourbon-aging done well with balance, control, and complexity.

thanks to koopa for the trade

09-24-2010 14:58:45 | More by Stigs
Photo of jrallen34


3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

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.

09-19-2010 20:03:23 | More by jrallen34
Photo of illidurit


3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

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.

09-19-2010 08:42:12 | More by illidurit
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

HUGE thanks to ritzkiss for sharing this rarity. 2009 Vintage, bottle # 603 of 1188.

Pours a very hazy dark red, almost purple, slightly muddy looking, thin and big bubbled tan head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, few spots stick.

Smell is neat, very boozy, caramel and toffee, quite fruity, some raisin, whiskey/bourbon, vanilla, big biscuit, lightly buttery, solid oak character, more booze and fruit.

Taste is similar, a ton of booze and whiskey up front, light bourbon sweetness, toffee, dark fruit and raisin, brown sugar, vanilla, oaky, dates, very rich and decadent, balanced finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Very neat and the potential is there but I think we all agreed some more time would tame this beast. Thanks Eric!!

09-09-2010 04:17:47 | More by Viggo
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.45/5  rDev +7.2%

Bottle #338 of 461, generously shared by Lance. Thanks! Pours dark amber with a nice tight head. Smells wonderfully sweet and whiskeyish, with notes of coconut, whiskey, and light grain, with some spicebox aromas on the finish. Seamlessly integrated, and very nice. The taste is a little hotter, and a little more overtly oaky, but luckily the oak doesn't dominate. Still has nice notes of coconut and whiskey along with the wood notes and the heat. A bit hot in the mouth, but smooth. Very nice indeed.

09-02-2010 02:12:35 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of billshmeinke


3.68/5  rDev -11.3%

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.

08-27-2010 02:17:26 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of nickd717


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

Bottle shared at a tasting awhile back. Not sure who I owe this pleasure to. Realized this had been a lost tick that I'd forgotten to record. 'Tis nothing so sad as a lost tick.

Slightly hazy medium brown color with a small light tan head leaving a ring.

Aroma is great - hoppy with great barrel notes and caramel. Lots going on.

Flavor is caramel, toffee, oak, whiskey, and piney hops. Like Old Ruffian gone -bals to the wall. Drier than the original. Man I love -bal aged barleywines.

Smooth, subtle, and hoppy with medium-full body and medium-low carbonation.

Awesome beer overall. Great even for the style of -bal aged awesomebeer.

08-20-2010 15:58:28 | More by nickd717
Photo of mentor


4.03/5  rDev -2.9%

Original Batch (2008), bottle #225/461. Cellared for the two years in my cool dark basement at excellent cellaring conditions. Pours a heavy two finger tan fluffy head over a clear rich mahogeny liquid. Smells strawberry fruity and bourbon oaky during the pour. To the nose, rich strawberry vanilla, licorice, playful oak, bourbon char, sweet caramel, cherry, clean alcohol, pineapple, lavender, and more. Wow, just amazing, I hope the flavor is a match.

Tastes strong wood waxiness with bourbon, caramel, and cherry beneath. Clean alcohol is present and cooperates with the well-fermented beer to give a dry finish leading to a peppery aftertaste. Beneath alot of tannin, I get some raisin and some basil (may sound awful, but it actually fits pretty well). Md-light body with some dextrins and a nice creaminess. I wish this were a bit heavier for a more enjoyable mouthfeel, plus it would make the beer stick and the finish would be not quite as dry. Too hot and dry going down, similar in many ways to the Anniversary Ale made by Shorts Brewing, I think in 2006 or 2007 (check my reviews).

Needs at least two more years, probably five, for the oak and peppery sting to settle. No sign of the sherry-like (I describe it as soured caramel-like) oxidation that would so enrich the flavor of this beer.

08-17-2010 04:13:35 | More by mentor
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

ritzkiss shared this one. thanks eric!

750ml bottle topped with black foil. 2009 vintage, bottle 603/1188. sampled aug 10/2010.

pours hazy reddish brown with a thin ring of fat bubbles that drop quickly and leave only a few spots of lace.

aroma is great. vanilla and caramel. barrel. bit of toffee. whole wheat bread. biscuit. touch of cracker. bourbon. hints of citrus, cherry, and other dark fruit.

taste is good. caramel and vanilla. raw oak and barrel. light toffee. whole wheat bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. hint of fruit. good, but a bit muddy. light alcohol. medium-low bitterness level. the barrel comes across more as whiskey than bourbon.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. low carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nice balance. good barrel character. overall it's a bit muddy and i think that with another year or so in the cellar this one will be amazing. now to find another somewhere...

08-13-2010 17:52:24 | More by grub
Photo of ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%

Received in a trade with cschmidt87, thanks man! Bottle #603/1188, 09 vintage.

Pours a hazy burnt caramel color with hints that almost lean to purple, just a few big bubbles on the pour, very lightly carbonated.

Rich brew that feels a little young still. Burnt caramel, wood, loads of whiskey, spices, toffee, nuts, toast, vanilla, a light bitter finish which is in contrast to regular Ruffian where hops are much more of a component, a little hot still, especially noticeable in the finish. Moderately sweet, full body but light carbonation could be upped a touch IMO.

This is a well made brew that feels a little unintegrated at this point, I imagine with some more age on it, it would be amazing and one of the best.

08-13-2010 14:05:23 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of womencantsail


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

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...

07-20-2010 06:39:18 | More by womencantsail
Photo of drabmuh


3.93/5  rDev -5.3%

Last beer cracked by Lunch and I at his place. Long time desire to try this, sampled side by side with Ruffian. I don't know if the Ruffian vintage was similar to the BA Ruffian, I drank mostly the BA Ruffian but preferred the regular Ruffian to the BA version somewhat. All the oak-a-philes will come after me with a stick.

Bottle 361 / 2188 - I believe. Beer has no head, no lacing, carbonation is really low. Its brown and kind of cloudy. Looks OK I guess.

Aroma is malty with a mild oak running through it and some old hop character, almost lauric acid in aroma. Odd.

Beer seems heavy, very malty, sweet up front, finishes slightly dry overall. Mouthfeel is good, no carbonation in mouth unfortunately but its still good. Overall a smooth mouthfeel. There is some bitterness in the back of the mouth. I'm glad I got to try it. Thanks Lunch.

07-13-2010 21:54:22 | More by drabmuh
Photo of pwoods


3.15/5  rDev -24.1%

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....

06-26-2010 20:55:36 | More by pwoods
Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.