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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.

322 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 322
Reviews: 134
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 12.08%
Wants: 251
Gots: 103 | FT: 8
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: 322 | Reviews: 134 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JoeMayo
4/5  rDev -3.4%
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!

JoeMayo, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
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!

drgonzo3705, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

paco1029384756, Jun 20, 2009
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 glid02
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

glid02, May 11, 2009
Photo of Yesac
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
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?

Yesac, May 09, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

srandycarter, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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

russpowell, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

gford217, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of abfraser
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
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

abfraser, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of MPLS
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

MPLS, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

HopHead84, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

MiguelMandingo, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of midaszero
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

midaszero, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of Goliath
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to EmperorStan for sharing this bad boy.

Pours a dark amber/ruby color with a one inch light tan head. Nice retention and some great lacing.

The aroma is awesome. A big shot of whiskey, with some vanilla, oak, fruit, and sweet malt.

the taste is just as awesome. Some notes of vanilla, oak, sweet malt, caramel, and I want to say licorice (?), and even a light coconut. Just really tasty, and you gotta love all the whiskey!

Mouthfeel is full bodied with a light carbonation presence which achieves one of the more ideal mouthfeels for me.

Drinkability was pretty high for such a huge beer. All the extra time spent in barrels really smoothed out the edges on this beer mellowing out the booziness and adding to the complexity. I am pretty pleased with the final product.

Goliath, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Gillard. Thanks Ryan, you of course ROCK!!!

Pours amber to garnet with mild haze and off white head. The aroma is full of oakiness and vanilla followed by almost no base beer notes whatsoever. The taste is much the same with big sweet vanilla notes with ribbons of oak and alcohol. Deep into the finish hints of the base beer show up if I really concentrate. I really prefer more balance in a beer. Hopefully some age will bring this together and even it out.

But right now it really isn't anything special.

That said I'm really glad I had a chance to try it. Thanks again Ryan.

BigMcLargeHuge, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to bwyker for bringing this

A:Deep brown color that poured with about a finger of white head.

S: A really nice smell of whiskey. Some nice sweetness from the malt to sort of balance things out. The barrel won the battle though.

T: Vanilla is huge in the taste. Whiskey itself is right up there as well. Amazing complexity. This is right up there and possibly surpasses angels share for me. One of the best beers I have had in a while.

M: Very smooth and creamy which is amazing given the style and ABV.

D: World class. Simply put this is an amazing beer.

aerozeppl, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of drseamus
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Incredible thanks to bwyker for providing this beer.

A: Dark red with a thin off white head. Good looking, but not amazing.

S: Sweet whiskey and malt. The aroma leads me to believe it could possibly be overpowering with whiskey in the flavor also.

T: Orgasmic!! Seriously, this is amazing. It is super smooth with an almost brandy character. It compares nicely to Brandy Angel's Share. The barrel aging on this beer completely transforms it. Hops are almost an afterthought in this which stands in stark difference to the non BA version.

M: Medium body but with a heaviness from the whiskey burn.

D: Amazing. I definitely need to try the whiskey from next door they use.

drseamus, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of rye726
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This pours a glowing, hazy cedar and has a silky tan head. The nose has a complex blend of oak and whiskey up front with sweet candy malts, ripe fruit, and subtle hops through the finish. The barrel aging compliments this ale very well. It creates a super complex flavor profile with perfect balance. Delicate yet full body suits the style. The best beer Great Divide has ever brewed.

rye726, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of waltonc
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky to pick up a couple bottles of the BA Great Divides while in Colorado last week. I love the regular Old Ruffian, and some time spent aging in whiskey barrels only improved upon what is already a great beer.

A: Amber/brown/carmel in color.

Smell and taste: Overwhelming amounts of whiskey in the noise and taste. Rich flavors including carmel, vanilla, oak, whiskey, and, of course, significant hoppiness. These components were all also present in the smell. Quite sugary as well.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with medium carbonation.

Drinkability? I would have guessed it wouldn't be great, but I had no difficulty polishing off the entire bottle minus the small amount my wife had. Overall, an outstanding beverage. Though I will wait a while to open my other bottle, as I suspect this will get better with additional age.

By the way, open this carefully. My bottle overflowed a little bit.

waltonc, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of Crosling
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking brew, a deep burgundy color that has lasted the entire session so far, at least 30 minutes. Fairly nice nose has some complexity from the barrel (vanilla, whiskey, newer oak) as well as some notes from the original beer (caramel, fruit.) Flavor is nicely balanced between original beer and oak elements. Bold flavors of whiskey, caramel, toffee and vanilla. Very tasty and impressive in every way. A good beer now, but being that it is properly bottle conditioned, this ale has excellent potential.

Crosling, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of ArrogantB
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle $24.99. These expensive beers scare me. I was not disappointed that I bought this one. Nice dark brown color, darker than normal ruffian. Smells like whiskey, vanilla, hops? tastes like oak, vanilla, whiskey but subtle with hints of toffee that I get from regular ruffian. This is not just whiskey, you can actually taste the barleywine in this, nice. One small sip does warm the belly so you can feel the alcohol but it doesn't play much of a factor in the taste.

ArrogantB, Oct 14, 2008
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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 322 ratings.