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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

150 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 150
Hads: 386
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.22%
Wants: 259
Gots: 123 | FT: 15
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 150 | Hads: 386
Photo of cosmicevan
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to great divide for stepping up to the plate and sending this one to me after i had the unfortunate experience of opening a badly infected BA Yeti...great divide is a class act. shared this one at a BA Barley tasting on 7/28 (alongside wooden hell, great, king henry, BA HiFi, etc etc...)

a - really attractive maroonish brown with a creamy head. nice lacing. streaky and big and present...in a tasting where most beers looked pretty awful, this one is a stunner.

s - subdued barleywine. good caramel and vanilla, but soft.

t - phenomenal. great english barleywine with great barrel integration. the whiskey really compliments everything wonderfully. toffee soaked whiskey.

m - thick, rich, and full.

o - overall a winner. seek this one out. whiskey is a great match for this barleywine and a nice change from all the bourbon barrel aged barleywines these days. (877 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.72/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage poured from a 750ml bottle into my Devil's Backbone tulip. It poured kind of a murky looking dull brown color. A thin lacing was concentrated around the edges of the glass, where it left some modest lacing.

The aroma shows a pretty big dark fruit presence to it with some notes of plum and fig really coming out. The barrel and bourbon really shows through as well with a strong oak, vanilla, bourbon and slight brown sugar flavor to it. The flavors individually seem pretty good, but it just doesn't seem to come together as well as I would have liked.

The bourbon has a little more influence in the taste. Lots of woody oak up front along with some of the sweeter, brown sugar flavors coming out of the bourbon. It's got a little bourbon heat in the back end. The dark fruits come out a little more towards the finish as well. Things come together much better in the taste for me.

The mouthfeel is leaning towards the heavier side with carbonation being a little below average. Overall, it was a pretty good barrel aged beer but not one that really can hang with the top of the style. Things just didn't seem to come together all that well for it at times. While it was a pretty nice beer to sip on this evening, there is better out there for the price. (1,274 characters)

Photo of RuckusDu
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this once at the brewery and loved it. Tried to remember the notes for a review, but that was useless. Let's do this again with the beer and computer in one place.

A - There is a little over a finger of very light tan head. Body is clear but a super dark amber with a lot of red.

S - Tons of booze, not what I remember. Very sweet vanilla and malt. Whiskey and oak is strong.

T - Very sweet up front with maybe a hint of dark fruits. Otherwise, tons of whiskey and oak. Cinnamon and booze. It finishes with a little hops.

M - It's very nice. Strong carbonation and full bodied. Well put together.

O - An all around well balanced beer. Nice on all fronts, but not way up there. (687 characters)

Photo of marvin213
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky mud with a creme, bubbly beard, it looks like slop in whic a pig would play! It smells like sweet, creamy butter. And toffee. Some caramel sweets sway through and, as it warms, sweet, sweet whiskey. Perhaps the best nose on any barleywine I've encountered (Cabernet barrel-aging with others offering a considerably distant second).

It tastes strong and smooth. Tough with purpose, I respect it like the old carpenter who wears too much Brut or the immigrant barber with heavy aftershave, huge hands, and an eastern European accent (no homo). I mean it's a manly beer!

The beard is thick, and it leaves its marks everywhere it swirls. There's a butterscotch sweetness that's seductive and alluring, while all the while a leathery malt burn reminds you that this pour has power. I feel like my granddaddy would be proud of me for drinking this!

I imagine the whiskey will wait to impart its influence until after it warms up a bit--too subtle an influence there might provide for my biggest criticism. So mellow and smooth a taste for such a powerful beer, I eagerly await it taking me over (no homo--too much shades of grey in the collective consciousness right now). This is undoubtedly a propulsion into classy tastiness for the Ol Old Ruffian.... (1,258 characters)

Photo of mmapes
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage from a bomber. Figgy fruit smell followed quickly by the alcohol and whiskey. Dark dried fruit, carmel. Cloudy brown liquid under a decent creamy foam. Very mellow, round, smooth in the mouth followed by a brightness. Mellow malty character, sweet, Carmel. Tastes of whiskey and barrel don't overwhelm, are balanced. Pricey at $25 but very very good. (363 characters)

Photo of Phelps
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, bottle 1360. This is Old Ruffian, put to sleep for nine months in barrels that once held Stranahan’s whiskey.

Very dark, murky maroon. Just a half-finger of silky light tan bubbles. The head quickly fizzles to a medium-sized ring.

Sweet and sugary aroma. Maple, vinous oak, orange peel, toasted coconut, chocolate. Some dark cherries as well. The bourbon here is in perfect proportion with the barleywine, which is still displaying an impressive amount of citrus.

The cherry and toffee flavor is big, but what I like is that instead of being overly sweet and cloying, a fair amount of bitter chocolate and toast roll in to balance. Bourbon is hinted at, contributing less to the beer than do the barrels, which impart a nice woody, roasty, chocolatey character. Impressively smooth.

Velvety medium body has just a little bit of gentle fizz. Alcohol is unavoidable, blazing through the nose and numbing the tongue, but the big flavor is distracting enough that I couldn’t care less. Slight bitterness on the sides of the tongue.

This is barrel-aging done right. I can’t tell where the beer stops and the whiskey begins. Great flavor. (1,159 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release, 750ml, bottle # 2706. Purchased at Argonaut Liquors in Denver, CO. Into a Deschutes snifter.

A: Pours a deep ruddy brown, slightly hazy, not much of a head, just a few light brown bubbles that slowly fades to an island of bubbles in the middle of the glass. No lacing but definitely has some legs.

S: Lots of mellow whiskey, toffee, caramel, vanilla, and a touch of oak. Smells incredibly sweet and rich. As it continues to warm, there is a lot more vanilla and oak and whiskey. Can definitely pick out the Stranahans whiskey notes that blend really nicely with the base beer.

T: Follows the nose nicely, tons of caramel malt, a light toffee flavor, followed by an ever so slight note of lightly roasted coffee. Mix those flavors with a nice, but not overbearing whiskey profile and some definite oak. Absolutely spot on.

M: Medium thickness, lighter carbonation, zero alcohol heat and a sticky sweet finish.

O: Definitely up there in my favorite barrel aged barleywines, very enjoyable beer. (1,016 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jerz for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

2012 vintage. Bottle # 2695.

Pours a slightly murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, wood, and bourbon/whiskey. Taste is much the same and quite sweet with an alcohol kick and woody finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is is a very good beer with a great barrel aged presence in the aroma and taste. (595 characters)

Photo of harrymel
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2011
Thanks Pixieskid

Pours nice dark amber with fleeting yellow foam. Nose is bourbon barrels, vitamins, burnt caramel. As it warms, it's like cinnamon toast crunch - hella cool. Flavor is like a cinnamon bun - rich and sweet with caramel, dark malts and herbal/spice qualities. Really not doing justice with that sentence. Medium bodied with a simple syrup tone and reserved carb. Good beer, wish I would have bought some when I had the chance a couple years ago. (474 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.47/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008

A: Poured a thin, tannish color with no head, undercarbonated with no lacing

S: Stinging booze, Earthy and old wood notes with some brown sugar

T: Faded hops, booze, brown sugar, toffee and remnants of old wood, Earth and dark fruits

M: Way to thin, flat, boozey and sweet

O: Not to much to say here.Wow. What a letdown.
////
2009

Not as thin or hot oddly enough but still thin, a bit more carbonation (412 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a tulip - 2012 Vintage bottle #3149

A: Pours a dark red with brown highlights and a nice dark tan head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose starts with an earthy hop aroma that gives way to toffee and vanilla in the background. Not much whiskey in the aroma here.

T: The taste is considerably better than the nose though. There is a beautiful vanilla and whiskey flavor as soon as you take a sip which is followed by nice caramel and toffee notes. The hops are not there but in an earthy form in the background. The finish is where the vanilla and whiskey really shine.

M: The feel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: I was a bit worried after smelling it but the taste is great on this one. The base beer has been toned down by the barrel and the vanilla and whiskey flavors really play well with this one. My bottle says 11.1% so it must have gone down compared to previous years. (945 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle generously shared by jdiddy. Pours slightly darker than unpasteurized cider with no head. Not much happening in the nose I have to say - a suggestion of dark sugars. It's shocking how little is revealed in the nose, but how robust the flavors are - malty, whiskey notes, wood, sweet and just a kiss of bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium-light with no carbonation and a slightly oily texture. This beer has been on my 'want's list for quite some time and I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to try it. A very solid BA Barleywine, although not as mindblowing as I anticipated given how much I enjoy the standard offering.. (643 characters)

Photo of FishPondManager
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 release, bottle 3139. Poured Into a snifter

Pours a deep ruby red. Soapy head forms on the first pour and thins to a fine film around the edge. Thin lines of lace form as I finish the first pour. Second pour has a fine, creamy head. Very nice

Smells of fine vanilla and caramel. Deep cherry and raisin notes play on the nose and complement the earthy, leather, smokey, bourbon notes. Somewhat one note, but overall pretty good.

Taste is simply divine. Sweet, smokey, raisin notes at first. Vanilla creaminess. Gets even sweeter as the finish culminates in a bit of bourbon bite. Not so much boozy as the full Stranahans bourbon flavor comes through. So incredibly smooth and drinkable for 12%.

Creamy, fine bubble coat the entire mouth covering the palate in sweet, sweet deliciousness. Probably my favorite aspect of this beer. The viscosity is perfect and helps balance all the deep favors.

Overall, the best BBBW I've had this year. Incredibly balanced and complex. This is one to share as I was really feeling the three glasses I had! I don't know if it's the Stranahans barrels or not. I hope it's not because I don't know if Great Divide will have them available anymore after the deal with Breckenridge. Seek this beer out as it is fantastic. (1,259 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle #1009/1188. Reviewed from recorded voice notes.

A: Very murky brown. No head or lacing what so ever. A few bubbles.

S: Oak. Stranahan's whiskey is huge. Leather, tobacco. Some light caramel and hops. Pretty hot smelling.

T: Stranahan's whiskey is very upfront but tasting amazing. Toffee, caramel, butterscotch, and vanilla come through lightly but really shine in the aftertaste.

M: Medium body, a touch watery. Low carbonation. Creamy.

O: Very drinkable. Stranahan's whiskey is amazing. Alcohol is hidden very well. (565 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
3.56/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ML bottle 333/1188
Last of my 09 BA Great Divide beers
Thanks to Andre for the bottle and shared with Spicelab and MrKennedy

A-- Poured a dark, murky, orange brown color. Muddy would be the best way to describe this beer. One finger tan head that settled to a solid tan film through drinking. Good spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Barrel is noticeable in the nose. Oak, leather and whisky. Solid stuff. Underneath the barrel notes got stewed plumbs, some Graham Cracker and a solid hop presence still. ABV is well masked for a near 13% beer.

T-- Was quite unhappy with the first half of my glass as it was quite thin and watery. Once it got air it picked up in a big way. Very earthy, grainy, Carmel strawberry jam and hearty bread. Just flashes of oak and touches of whisky to round out the jam notes.

M-- Decent amount of tannins left on gums. Left them numb for a few minutes. Still has the ABV punch. Low carbonation and not all that heavy until the end. Slightly slick and oily due to the hops.

O-- Conflicted as liked the beer but in reality prefer regular Ruffian more. Might be showing it's age a bit as was thin in spots and needed a lot of air to open this up. Decent enough stuff but not on par with other BA barleywines out there. Not as much substance to the body as others out there. (1,322 characters)

Photo of glazeman
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage, bottle 843, courtesy of airohead2001

A: Medium brown with some dark amber. No head to speak of, just a faint ring of bubbles around the outside of my snifter.

S: Some plums and caramel with a little bit of apple cider. There was a hint of whisky, but not much.

T: There's caramel and toffee up front followed by some whisky. Not as robust or interesting as I had hoped for, but in no way off putting. The lack of carbonation negatively effects the overall flavor profile.

M: Appropriate body, but no carbonation.

O: Overall, a pretty good beer, but nothing too exciting. Definitely not on the top tier level, but slightly above average for the style. (669 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.36/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008, Bottle 100/461; Sampled October 2011
An aggressive pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a fat, finger thick, amber tinged full tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber / brown that shows a murky, dark amber color when held up to the light. The aroma smells strongly of bourbon, alcohol, toasted coconut, big vanillin notes, tart whiskey notes, whiskey soaked caramel, perhaps a touch of salty smokiness and a bit of sherry; these last two notes are definitely the effect of some oxidation. The biggest notes by far in the aroma are sweetened, almost caramelized, toasted coconut and vanillin, which is followed closely by a general whiskey character; the base beer plays a distant role in the nose, which is great if you really like whiskey, but if you were looking for a Barleywine then you might be a bit disappointed (which I am a bit). As the beer warms up, the caramelized malt portion of the aroma starts to pick up a bit; when combined with the barrel notes it almost reminds me a bit of cotton candy at times, in some weird way. Some toasted, whole grain character also becomes a bit more noticeable in the aroma.

Bitter, slightly herbal hop flavors are anchored by a toasted and richly caramelized malt character that is enhanced by flavors of toasted coconut and vanillin. The finish dries out with a big hop bitterness that provides quite a bite as well as some green hop astringency; this is accentuated by some woody spiciness and some warming, sometimes hot, whiskey flavors and alcohol. The body of this beer is fairly luscious, though it has certainly significantly thinned from the base beer; the body along with the spiciness from the oak makes this a definite sipping brew though. The hop flavor has significantly faded in this brew, but it is still a bit harsh & it makes me wonder how this was drinking when it was a much younger beer. Towards the middle and more towards the finish there is a slightly nutty flavor that shows the touch of oxidation and there is also a touch of sherry or even wet cardboard perhaps.

This is another barrel aged beer that spent way too much time in the barrel, alternatively this should have been blended with some fresh Old Ruffian as I am really wishing the base beer came through in some way. As it is this is purely a vehicle for the Stranahan barrels, if that is your thing then you will enjoy this beer, but if you are looking for beer then you might be a bit disappointed. I am enjoying this beer a little bit, so it is not a complete loss, but not enough to remotely want to finish this bottle by myself (I might finish my glass). (2,623 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

986th Review on BA
Bottle to snifter
750 ml

2009 vintage
Bottle 122/1188

Thanks to Smokepot23 for sharing

*Shared by those in attendance at MrHirschybars*

App- A smaller cordial pour which was a bit amber and caramel brown but bright in the glass. 0 head or lace. Very smooth in the glass.

Smell- Really didnt retain the freshness of the standard bottle, but more of a smoothness from the whiskey and a little grainy. Oak, caramel and that whiskey burn.

Taste- A good tasting treatment. The regular ruffian was very good when I had it last year. This treatment with the whiskey is a bit unique and I liked it better than when I had the Yeti. It had a good earthy richness to it with some grainy toffee and a touch of bitter.

Mouth- Sweet medium bodied with a good bit of caramel and whiskey resiual flavors with a good bit of medium carbonation levels.

Drink- Thanks Joe! This was a long time want of mine and with the first beer of the night being this. I knew it was gonna be a good tasting. A great beer with large flavors. (1,034 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. Thanks to FeDUBBELFIST for sharing.

Pours a dark amber/chestnut brown color with mahogany edges and a half finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Sporadic spots of lace left behind.

Earthy, slightly boozy aroma with a good balance of barrel, leathery malt and sweetness. Hints of toasted oak and a prominent vanilla character as well as some bourbon followed by leathery malts.

Thinner bodied than expected with a slick mouthfeel that gibes way toward the end of the palate to a dry, slightly hot finish. Well balanced with a decent barrel character that doesn't overpower/overwhelm the other flavors. Dry toasted oak flavor along with some sweet bourbon and a strong vanilla character. This is countered mid-palate by some earthy malt and hints of caramel, toffee and hazelnut. There is a decent amount of booze but the high ABV is well masked resulting in one of the most quaffable barrel aged beers I've had in a while. Thanks again Kiel! (979 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
2.38/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Enjoyed at tonight's NoVA tasting. Bottle 57/1188

A: Pours like an under carbonated old ale, absolutely no head. Nothing, no pop of the bottle, no head at all.

S: The smell is nice. Whiskey, booze, malts, molasses, really deep and balanced.

T: Wow this is not great. Tastes like a watered down whiskey. A malt character, but the barleywine base is gone. Disappointing.

MF: Flat, stale, boozy, bad.

O: Huge disappointment. Wish I could have had this a bit younger, hope my BA yeti doesn't do this. (501 characters)

Photo of hippityhops85
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My contribution to the 'Sons of Westy' event at the Blue Dog in Chalfont, PA. Poured into a small tasting glass. Bottle 910/1188 2009 edition.

Pours an opaque ruby with slight off-white head that quickly dissipated.

The nose has lots of caramel, vanilla, bourbon and aged/dried orange peel.

The taste follows suit with the addition of a nice bourbon soaked nuttiness. Lots of caramel. Perhaps caramel covered apples? Nice.

Very very smooth. Goes down easy but I definitely wouldn't want more than a few oz's.

I would definitely taste this again but would not go out of my way to trade for it. Recommended. (612 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Cheers! (803 characters)

Photo of Retsinis
3.47/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (629 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (747 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (565 characters)

Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.