1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

308 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 131
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 12.29%
Wants: 253
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 308 | Reviews: 131 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brownbeer
brownbeer

Missouri

4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is from the second bottling.

Pours murky brown, very clear, with no head at all.

The nose is wonderful. Maple, brown sugar, vanilla, and really doesn't show much alcohol.

I didn't like the experience of drinking it as much as I enjoyed the aroma. Pretty sweet with caramelized brown sugar and what I thought was a pretty serious lack of hop flavor, considering the non-barrel-aged stays hoppy for years. It's thick and boozy, and prickly on the tongue and has next to no carbonation.

It's pretty hot right now, so I would say to hold on to it for now.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2010 22:23:44 | More by brownbeer
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage bottle 242 of 1188. Pours a translucent clouded caramel color with ruby hues. Even with an aggressive pour, there is negligible collar nor lacing.

The aroma is aggressive and classic caramel butterscotch with an overarching vanilla character from the barrel aging.

Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is medium bodied with a creamy character without the coating texture that might be expected. The barrel treatment adds a slight lingering complexity that adds nicely to the drinkability.

Taste is a reflection of the nose; a substantial bourbon structure with a relaxed malted earthy sweetness and a vanilla component that follows the barrel treatment.

You can tell that it's heavy, but the 12.7% is well integrated. Quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2010 01:10:09 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of wnh
wnh

Missouri

4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

Pours a clear, bright chestnut-mahogany with just a slight semblance of a head. Mostly flat.

Buttery caramel dominates the nose, alongside a fig-like fruitiness and faint resinous hops. Doesn't smell much like Old Ruffian, oddly, nor does it smell much like whiskey.

Big and rich on the palate, with vanilla, oak, earthy buttery caramel, but again not much discernible whiskey character. Barrel notes are evident, but this seems more like it's oak aged than spent-whiskey-barrel aged. Warming alcohol comes through as the beer warms, along with some bittering hops on the finish.

Medium to heavy bodied, thick-ish and viscous. Very low carbonation; were the brewers at Great Divide so concerned with getting Barrel Aged Yeti carbonated that they turned a blind eye to the Ruffian?

A tasty beer, but like the Barrel Aged Yeti not appreciably better than the original. I've tasted three-year-old Old Ruffian that was a lot hoppier than this interpretation; perhaps that's what happens when you put the beer in whiskey barrels.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 00:49:25 | More by wnh
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is from the 2009 release. I got a bottle from Bardwashrind. Thanks, Andre! And then, rather inexplicably, bottles showed up at my favorite bar on the east coast. And to further the twist in the tale, I didn't grab any, and John was kind enough to grab one to split with me this evening.

The pour is a practically still ruby red with a wispy off-white head that recedes to a few bubbles rather quick. The nose opens with big caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon and booze, this is what I'd expect a BBBW to smell like. Vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, candy syrup, this smells big and serious. Fruity with a little pine, the 9 months in the barrel have wiped out the hops for the most part; I still get some citrus,though, along with a mild floral character that's not unlike jasmine. Very complex, along with the spicy, minty alcohol, I'm enjoying smelling this 2 hours after pouring it.

The palate opens with plenty of barrel character, caramel, vanilla and oak tannins. Not as complex as the nose suggests, there's still plenty of nuance, though, with honey, brown sugar and caramel. Boozy heat appears mid-palate, lingering on into the finish. Vanilla is moderately noticeable as well. A touch tannic, this aspect helps balance out the mellow sweetness of the beer. Medium-high in body and quite low in carbonation, this feels great on the palate. Soft and lush until the tannins take a hold, the way this beer segues from a malt-forward experience to the oak finish is quite excellent. As I sip this alongside the BA Old Numbskull, I can only be thankful for both, the experience and the decadence of it all. I would love to try this with a few years on it.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 02:29:23 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet mother maria. It's coming across beers like this that make trying new beers fun.

At Dyan's tonight. Bottle number 906 of 1188.

The beer pours a tannish, toffee brown color with minimal head retention and lacing. This is the sort of thing I see in beers that have seen some serious barrel aging (which the label indicates this beer has seen). On the nose, this is one of the more exotic aroma profiles I've ever come across (I assume the 9 months in whiskey barrels had something to do with that). In any event, I get an exotic display of brown sugar, clove, light mint, pine, vanilla and even ginger. It doesn't entirely work, but it certainly keeps things interesting (something I always find fun). On the palate, this beer is dominated by milk chocolate and brown sugar, but with some pretty noticeable hoppy bitterness in the finish. However, unlike the regular ruffian, the barrel aging has really mellowed the hoppy bitterness, which imparts barely a kiss of bitterness and alcohol in the finish with this beer. Mouthfeel is probably this beer's best attribute, with the beer showing a soft, sweet, creamy and very long finish. The sweetness in this beer is countered very nicely by the underlying bitterness in this beer, and drinkability is not bad for the abv. (though it's clearly there, and does detract just a bit from this beer's drinkability). Still, this is very cleary a sizeable, rich, intensely flavored barleywine that would undoubtedly benefit from some considerable cellariing.

A very impressive effort from the folks at Great Divide.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 02:13:28 | More by John_M
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black foil wrapped and capped, 2009 Edition. Bottle number 515 of 1188.

A small pop when I removed the cap, it pours a hazy colour of amber brown with no apparent foam. Sitting in my glass, I see some foam start to form but just around the edge of the glass.

The smell is comparatively light for the style with some notes of dark fruits, caramel malt, and light whiskey. I said comparatively but to be more accurate...the nose is way light. Based on this nose, I can't expect much from the taste at all.

The taste...mmm....that's what I'm talking about! A very smooth taster and Very BWSA forward with well balanced flavours of caramel malts, chocolate, a bit of whiskey that's most noticeable in the finish but lingers unabtrusively throughout, and some bitter tones that also play around in the background and show up mostly in the finish. Holy heck the taste is so damn smooth and the alcohol, while substantial, only adds some warming during the swallow. Oh and now some of the woodiness is showing up. Very damn nice.

The mouthfeel is thinner than I expected but I'm cool with that. The carbonation is very very low, very close to nonexistant. It works for some other brews I've had...maybe by the end of the sitting I'll feel the same way about BA Old Ruffian.

Drinkability? For a big in alcohol bad boy, this drinks surprisingly easy. Btw, I'm using my Riedel glass from Samuel Adams for this review and I think it's the perfect glassware for this brew.

Bottom line: Great looking beer colourwise though the lack of any "real" foam hurts just a tad. Very weak smell but more than made up for by the taste, which is superb. Mouthfeel on the thin side and the carbonation or lack thereof, in my final analysis, works ok as it does in certain other brews. Drinkability is another very strong point for this brew. Overall...I'd have to say highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 17:30:58 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe1510 for sharing this one last night. I think we've meant to get to this bottle for about six months. Served in a pint-style tasting glass. Bottle #23/461 (this is the original Stranahan batch).

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that slowly settles to a thin cap and leaves a good amount of lacing. Pretty impressive for such a big barrel-aged barleywine. Bright red-orange body that is mostly opaque.

S - Raisins, dark fruits, caramel, burnt sugar, earthy barrel, boozy spirits. The Stranahan character is markedly different from the Kentucky bourbon barrels and it's not overpowering either - there's still a lot of aged (read: non-hoppy) Old Ruffian character shining through. I wish there was a little more sweet barrel and a little less earthiness to it.

T - The taste is more in line with what I was expecting. Coconut and vanilla flavors supplied by the barrel-aging, dark fruits, caramel, raisins, and significantly better hidden alcohol. This is what I expected when I heard the name Barrel-Aged Old Ruffian. It's quite good, but not in the upper echelon of barrel-aged barleywines.

M - Smooth, medium body, low carbonation, chewy with high residual stickiness. Not very tannic or woody though, which is a surprise considering how long this sat in barrels.

D - It's relatively easy to drink considering the heft to it, but it still took my a while to put down my 6oz or so. A very nice beer, but for the price I think there are better options available.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2010 16:20:51 | More by MasterSki
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into multiple glasses.

#555/1188

A: Pours a deep russet color with a sticky dark brown head. Some lace was left behind.

S: HUGE nose of whisky and/or bourbon. As it warmed, I also detected aromas of vanilla, toasted malt, and maybe a hint of coconut?

T: See above. Awesome boozy flavor that got a big assist from a cool, charred barrel flavor that really emerged the warmere it got.

D: Suprisingly good considering its' heft. This bottle is meant to be shared by many.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2010 15:01:10 | More by GbVDave
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #2, 483/1188, 750 mL bottle courtesy of waltonc. Part of the barrel-aged barleywine series. Poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours an alarmingly dark, nearly full-on dirt brown hued brew, thick and viscous out of the bottle, but with a fair amount of embedded carbonation slowly seething and churning beneath the surface. Exposure to light reveals flashes of garnet, ruby, mahogany, and other sundry "wooden" modifiers that seem to suggest barrel aging (on a purely visceral level) without actually being suggestive of barrel aging (on any level that would make sense). It's also a tad shade darker than I remember regular Old Ruffian being, and I should remember - I enjoyed one just the other day during Superbowl XLIV. The head forms slowly, or rather, the head would have formed slowly if what ultimately formed could really be described as a head - both by virtue of the wide mouth of the glass, the low level of carbonation, and the thickness of the beer, a soapy, foamy exterior necklace forms, as do patches of breezy interior surface dusting, though these things together shouldn't really be called a head. The lacing is similarly quasi-formed, glittery, ethereal, runny, spotty, definitely alcohol retarded. Surprisingly fast and erratic internal carbonation is visible, and a great deal of fine bubbles cling to the sides of the snifter throughout. The whole thing comes together nicely despite its flaws, however, though I find it difficult precisely to explain how it all works together.

Aroma: Whiskey and earthy notes are prominent here, intermingling with light hints of cherries and raisins, as well as tons of dark toffee and caramel. Earthy, spicy hops blend with a ton of whiskey - though it is somewhat shallow whiskey, I should note, sort of the estery remnants of a good whiskey - to make for a solid if not mindblowingly impressive aromatic profile.

Taste: Ah, how I love Old Ruffian. It's one of my favorite barleywines for a reason - it's malt foundation is one of the earthiest, richest, most wholesome malt bases you'll find in any American barleywine, and the way those malts interact with the hop profile and bitterness is both incredibly subtle and complex as well as tongue-bashingly in your face and bold. Adding another player to the mix here is nothing short of magical. Huge underlying malt sweetness - a little sweeter than the regular Old Ruffian, perhaps a result of barrel sugars - presents a caramel, toffee, raw sugar, brown sugar, and molasses smorgasbord to the tastebuds. Every malt element has that telltale OR kiss of dirt and earth, without any real individually identifiable toasty earth note coming through - it's just "everywhere" all at once. Now toss in those hops, incredibly herbal and piney, with overtones of spruce, leather, wintergreen, tobacco, some dark citrus and faintly tropical fruit notes, and a little less bitterness than I remember. Now, it could be that the hops have faded a little as they've sat and stewed in those Stranahan whiskey barrels, or it could be that the hop bitterness has been pretty thoroughly rendered subservient to the gloriously integrated whiskey notes present here. That final earthy element - those barrels - adds a few great flourishes, with tons of toasted coconut, vanilla, and woody notes melding with that spicy, warming, prickly whiskey. Everything works surprisingly well, and though the barrel aging doesn't launch the taste of the regular OR in to the stratosphere ... it does augment certain pleasing aspects and doesn't detract in any way other than the heat.

Mouthfeel: A bit of a step down. This beer is a little thinner than I'd like, I think - suggested earlier by the racing carbonation - or perhaps what I mean to say is less chewy. The carbonation is subsequently a little quicker to fade, a little softer, a little more subtle. And while it all works fairly well, I feel there's some room for improvement here, to make this one creamier, smoother, a little chewier and thicker and "bite"-ier. Still, it's solid.

Drinkability: BA OR is a good beer. It is not a great beer, and on the whole I find it lacking in many of the ways that makes Old Ruffian itself a truly great beer. I can't help but thinking that the barrel aging really adds as much to this beer as it takes away from it. While it augments the rough, harshly pleasant earthiness of this beer, it also thins if out. While it compliments the underlying sweetness with barrel sugars, it also kills the head and mutes the bitterness in the mouth and nose. And though the barrel aging may be - on the whole - a wash, the higher abv% does knock the drinkability down a little. So, definitely worth having if barrel aging (particularly whiskey barrel aging) is your thing, but - since most people won't get the chance to try it - don't feel bad if the plain ol' every day Old Ruffian is the only thing you have access to. You're more than breakin' even.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 04:56:16 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of afausser
afausser

Montana

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle split with crellmoset--Thanks Chris!

Appearance: Pours a thick , almost opaque (yet extremely bubbly) cherry and mahogany-toned dark brown. It's odd how the light carbonation bubbles really show through in this brew for how dark it is--the only other color evident is only seen when held up to the light. Little to no head is evident (no surprises) but there's a thin, creamy ring of large, creamy bubbles around the edge of the glass. Looks very woody, but it's hard to describe exactly what that means. Almost no lacing--there's a tiny bit of fizzy bubbles that slink down the side of the glass, but they disappear quicker than any I've seen before.

Smell: Smells predominantly of oak, cherries, and earth, in that order. Also evident are spiced and rum soaked dark fruits, particularly raisins. The alcohol doesn't make itself particularly apparent in the nose--there's a hint, but it comes across as a sweet, cinnamon spice. The scent, as a whole, comes across as very light, spicy, and nice, and not overwhelming in the slightest. After I've tasted it and go back to smell it again, there's a metallic note as well.

Taste: The taste is not particularly alcoholic, either--tastes of whiskey, earth, and oak, but is not in itself particularly hot. The fruit from the smell is not as apparent here--it's present, but in very small amounts in the background, and the cherries are not present--just raisins and prunes here. There's also an ever-so-faint hint of caramel there, as well as sweet, malty flavors. There's a slight hop aftertaste, but it's barely there. Overall, a bit watery for a brew that I would have expected to be much bigger. When I pair it with food a lot more tastes begin to come through (oddly enough), particularly the malt and sugar notes, as well as piney hop notes.

Mouthfeel: I can't say I'm a huge fan of the mouthfeel on this--it's pretty damn flat, which is odd considering all the initial bubbles that were present. However, the ABV is hidden very well, leaving you with a brew that is only slightly hot and has little to no aftertaste. That in itself is pretty remarkable, but I'd like to see some tiny carbonation bubbles here--otherwise, it goes down a bit like flavored water, though it is quite smooth. I think that even slightly more carbonation would bump up the score of taste and mouthfeel on this one quite significantly.

Drinkability: very drinkable--goes down smooth with almost no alcohol evident--which I think is spectacular given the high ABV. Nicely done here.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 04:02:25 | More by afausser
Photo of Lothore
Lothore

California

4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1 442/481

A- Pours a deep reddish brown hue with a massive frothy pecan colored head that leaves tons of lacing on the way down.

S- Berries, brown sugar, light caramel

T- Brown sugar, lots of bourbon notes, creamy all the way through with hints of alcohol toward the end.

M- Medium carbonation, thick and creamy.

D- Excellent beer but I think it loses a bit in the barrel.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 04:15:53 | More by Lothore
Photo of JoeMayo
JoeMayo

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep mahogony with a light tan head.

S- Malty with a distinct alcohol presence. Heavy bourbon influence on the nose with deep, sweet notes of citrus (orange in particular) and caramel.

T- Slightly more than I got in the nose. Still a huge orange and caramel presence, but the bourbon flavor is balanced by hints of maple syrup. Warming alcohol presence.

M- Mildly hot, but with a dry, yet sticky mouthfeel.

D- Definately a beer to be sipped!

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 14:39:49 | More by JoeMayo
Photo of drgonzo3705
drgonzo3705

Ohio

4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: A deep amber color with a thin white head that leaves thick sticky lacing in the glass.

S: Nice sweet barleywines with a sweet dose of Colorado Whiskey. Big big nose here guys!

T: Oak, whiskey, and sweet malts all meld nicely for a pleasant taste.

M: Thick and sticky. Low carbonation and minimal hops.

D: No problem drinking this one. The ABV will kick my ass in the end but I'll keep drinking until I can't!

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2009 03:58:59 | More by drgonzo3705
Photo of paco1029384756
paco1029384756

Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark burgundy color with one finger of creamy off white head.

Scent of oak, whiskey, vanilla, and caramel. The barrel characteristic is great here, the scent is just phenomenal.

Taste of wet oak, vanilla, some chocolate, caramel, and a bit of alcohol heat. More oak and vanilla flavors in the finish. Very tasty Barleywine, I hope this one gets even better with age.

Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth with low carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2009 23:41:03 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2009 01:16:39 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this thanks to RustyDiamond - thanks!

Pours a brownish-copper color with a 1.5-finger off-white head. The head sticks around for a while before receding into a thin pancake on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of bourbon and vanilla with good amounts of caramel malt and toffee lurking in the background.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Huge bourbon and vanilla flavors up front are backed by a strong caramel malt backbone. Near the end of the sip the caramel and toffee flavors come out a bit before a bitter ending. Piney hop flavors are present throughout but take a backseat to the aforementioned flavors, actually they're stuffed in the trunk.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass quickly and could easily finish the entire bomber.

Overall I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for bourbon in beer, and this one did not disappoint. Definitely worth a shot if you can get your hands on it.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2009 16:03:14 | More by glid02
Photo of Yesac
Yesac

Georgia

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy caramel brown. Thin layer of head. Nice lacing on the glass.

S- Umm oaked bourbon. Carmel notes, strong spice. Smells well balanced and mature. Boozy presence as well.

T- So smooth. Just enough bourbon blend and spice. The ABV really shines through which could be toned down a bit. Complex overall.

M- Medium bodied. Nice even coating on the palate that leaves a great after taste.

D- Awesome sipper. So smooth and mellow but slightly hot.. however a bourbon barreled barleywine has got to have some balls though right?

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 22:36:28 | More by Yesac
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Number 139/461

A - Dark amber brew. Looks like a dark wort or wet dark extract.
.5 inch off white head has pretty good staying power. Tons of clingy lacing.

S - A mule kick of malt. Vaporized malt up the nose. Faint boozy wood.

T - Yum. Big ass malt, booze, wood, and bittered with equal tenacity. Not for the weak.

M - Medium to heavy, perfect carb, great carmely bitter finish. Balance is really fun.

D - If not for the big flavors and the ABV, I would drink this all night.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2009 04:08:26 | More by srandycarter
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 18/461 pours a brown tinged chestnut with a finger of fluffy sand colored head. Very good lacing 7 good head retention

S: Bourbon notes & oak & more assertive booze as this warms.

T: Much dryness, breadyness, toffee, bourbon & leafy hops up front. Dryness & tobacco notes, brown sugar, as this warms, along with boozey warmth & raisins, plus figs. Finishes dry, with Bourbon, cherry oak & vanilla, plus leafy tobacco

MF: Chewy with fairly vigirous carbonation, a bit too much boozey dryness

Drinks easy enough for the style, not the best ABW I've had but pretty damn good. Way over priced at 25 dollars a 750 ml bottle IMHO

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 05:03:07 | More by russpowell
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #346/461 poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, clear copper with a one-finger rock off-white head that lingered a good while leaving very good lacing. A significant cap hangs out throughout the session.

The aroma is delicious with the normal caramel malts and toffee sweetness complemented nicely by the big bourbon and vanilla presence from the oak. Some dark fruit sweetness and a hint of hops are present, though the hops are definitely less pronounced than in the regular Ruffian.

The taste actually seems a bit boozier than the aroma with a huge bourbon kick up front that lingers all the way to the aftertaste with an alcohol burn. In between is plenty of vanilla and oak presence. The underlying Ruffian is also there but the caramel malts and toffee sweetnes are really subtle underneath the powerful barrel properties. I did get some citrus hops in the taste that I couldn't sense in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is plenty creamy with good carbonation. The barrel presence really makes itself felt on the palate with dry wood and booze all over the place.

This is a great beer but the bourbon in the taste might be a tad too much for me. Either way, I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 02:13:30 | More by gford217
Photo of abfraser
abfraser

California

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper brown with a nice smallish sized head. A good looking beer.

S: Vanilla bourbon hits pretty hard on first sniff. Beneath it are nice toffee and caramel notes. Definitely some hops on the end.

T/M: Pretty strong on the bourbon notes making it a little hot. The taste is pretty much the same as the smell, except the hops are a little more present leaving a slight bitterness on the end. Very tasty stuff, but I think it needs a little aging to let the wood notes mellow out a bit.

D: This one's pretty intense. Certainly wouldn't want to drink an entire bottle of this, but it's great for sharing

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 01:52:10 | More by abfraser
Photo of MPLS
MPLS

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 2nd beer of my New Years Eve night. After wiping off the dust that had accumulated on the top of the bottle I poured this into some a couple of snifters.

A: Looks like amberlicious, nice little pinky nail sized light head.

S: Alcohol, hops, and some faint fruits.

T: This thing has an awesome spectrum of tastes, the mouth of is slightly sweet, alcoholic, and vanilla tasting. The ass is where the hops shine, dryness that paints the back of the palate and invites another sip once you enjoy a nice warm stomach.

M: Nice body, good mouthful, possibley a little oily.

D: Great swing of flavors makes you want to keep drinking, it will keep you plenty warm

Another must for the winter beer flight.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 05:40:29 | More by MPLS
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a great ruby brown color with a big frothy head. The retention and lacing are both good. Some earthy hops and fruity esters in the aroma, as well as some whisky, oak, and vanilla. Flavor is very alcoholic and the whisky and oak are less apparent than in the nose. BA Ruffian is sweet with a low level of hoppiness. Finish is sweet alcohol. The beer is medium - full bodied with great carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 17:23:23 | More by HopHead84
Photo of MiguelMandingo
MiguelMandingo

Texas

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this courtesy of JonathanL7890. Thanks Jonathan!

Poured part of a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Bottle # 226/461

Appearance - This beer looks really good. It pours a hazy translucent garnet brown with copper hues. It produced a 1 finger head that dissipated at a moderate pace to leave a swirly crown across the surface of the glass. Extremely light lacing.

Smell - This smells pretty tasty. The beer is dominated by vanilla and oak, but the notes of toffee and caramel from the original Ruffian are still present. The hop note isn't as pronounced as the original, but when smelling from the top of the snifter gives a distant herbal hop character.

Taste - The flavor is pretty close to the scent. Whiskey notes of oak and vanilla booze intermingled with caramel and toffee. There is still a hop flavor, but it is really closely tied to the booze character. It literally tastes like Old Ruffian with a shot of whiskey. I enjoy that it isn't very sweet, and it easily could have gone that direction.

Mouthfeel - Medium/Full bodied. Decent carbonation level - just dynamic enough to keep the beer interesting. Slightly sticky and slick from the booze.

Drinkability - This is a great beer, and my favorite of the two BA beers Great Divide released. I am really glad I got to try this. Thanks again Jonathan.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 02:11:48 | More by MiguelMandingo
Photo of midaszero
midaszero

Washington

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JonathanL7890 for offering up this bottle for sharing. Bottle 226/461

A - Cloudy dark amber with a little bit of off white head and only a little bit of lacing

S - Whiskey and vanilla mixed extremely well and very pleasant

T - Whiskey, vanilla, and sweet malt. Nicely laced with oak. Died down hop flavor. A little bit of burn which is to be expected from 12.7 ABV but this is very mellow.

M - Medium thick body with medium carbonation

D - Very easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 02:01:39 | More by midaszero
Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.