Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
2,468 Ratings
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
greatdivide.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Ruffian is a hefty, hop-forward Barley Wine. Seemingly mellow at the start with subtle fruit aromas and complex caramel sweetness, it quickly becomes aggressive with its bold hop flavors and huge hop bitterness. Ultimately, the big body, succulent sweetness and massive hop character come together to work wonders on your palate.

Added by gbontrag on 11-28-2004

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,092
Reviews:
1,113
Ratings:
2,468
pDev:
10%
Bros Score:
4.49
 
 
Wants:
295
Gots:
448
Trade:
17
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 2,468 |  Reviews: 1,113
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Comes in a slightly hazy, but mostly translucent and transparent dark amber, almost brown color. The head produced is massive, much bigger than expected, and beige. Retention is very long, and sheets of lacing are left.

The aroma is massive dark fruits; cherry, plum, raisin, date, fig; molasses, tobacco, beef jerky, licorice, gingerbread, pumpernickel bread, orange marmalade, candied orange and grapefruit peels, pine needles, black tea.

The palate follows, huge amounts of cherry, date, fig, prune, and raisin balanced against molasses, toffee, licorice, star anise, and tobacco. There's a huge malt backbone of pumpernickel bread, toastiness, nuttiness, caramel, and fruity, light-roast coffee. The finish brings more spice, such as cinnamon, clove, and star anise; along with fennel, and pine sap. The aftertaste is intensely bitter, pine sap with clove/fennel spice, as well as lingering dried grapefruit peel.

The mouthfeel is medium-full instead of full-bodied, but what it lacks in chewiness or creaminess it makes up for sheer oiliness; with a brisk carbonation that movies it dangerously fast across the palate. It's slick and oozing without being heavy. An awesome greasy bready sensation, with bitter and balancing finish.

Overall, this is a great barleywine. It's nineteen months old, so the hop flavors have faded and oxidation has increased the dark fruits, I'm sure, but, reviewed for what it is, I like this a lot. An excellent sipper for cold nights!

 1,487 characters

Photo of SierraFlight
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

(12 oz bottle, 10.2% abv, bottled on: Jan 18 2016, purchased dusty 4-pack this past weekend... poured into my Chouffe tulip)

L: rather clear, burnt-sienna-red liquid... puts up a tall stand of tan foam that recedes slowly... leaves quite a bit of lace, but foam thins out to a messy collar

S: med-dark caramel, hint of fig; caramelized grainy bread crust, almost pretzel-like... not really any bold 'hoppy' qualities left; alcohol is pretty mellow... overall decent potency

T: beefy caramel jerky and heavily dark-bready malty; mummified, grapefruity hops that play nicely with notes of sultana from the malt/booze; still quite a punchy, powerful, herbal bitterness that lingers long, exposing little residual sweetness; mellow spice in aftertaste... very much an American profile for the style

F: kinda plumpy plush and foamy - no real curvy definition in its body... low-volume heat in the finish... thin, soft blanket of residual gummy resins left behind... wish it had a little more snap-off in the finish, but this otherwise feels cozy and comforting - great for its age

O: pretty much what I look for in an American barleywine - reminds me a bit of Victory Old Ho, in this state... glad this seemed to have held up very well, not knowing what conditions in which this had been kept at the store (bought this at a store I hadn't been to in maybe as much as 5 years) - probably ought to go back and by the last 4-pack... shame if they are discontinuing this

 1,466 characters

Photo of steverx8
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DMcGirr
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Holderness
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted with 2.5 years of age on this one

L -- Pours a very dark filtered amber with a two-finger light tan head produced with aerated pour. Surprisingly good retention and lacing given the ABV and age
S -- Molasses, barley, oats, brown sugar, maple, booze, dark fruit, and caramel
T -- Good amount of molasses/caramel tasting malts. Decent tea-like hop bitterness in the background, alongside bourbon, berry, and grass
F -- Big mouthfeel, medium- carb. Fairly silky with a long-lasting, bitter finish
O -- An excellent candidate for aging. The hops mellow wonderfully and continue to complement the malt character

86/100

 667 characters

Photo of BEER88
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yumm bozzy bourbony raisin juice.

33 characters

Photo of briancathy
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Eddiehop
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The appearance was an dark amber to light brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute. A light film of lacing spider webs into the beer. The smell holds a nice bittersweet combination of sweet citrus hops running into a sticky yet somewhat toasty caramel malts. Light tropical fruits also display themselves delicately. The taste was bittersweet, taking the sweet citrus hops and running them into the toasted caramel malts. A sweet sticky citrus to malty aftertaste leads into a sticky finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a decent sipping quality about it. The carbonation seemed good for the style and for me. The bitterness is about a medium. Overall, what a wonderful American barleywine. Everything fits right, I would definitely have this again.

 828 characters

Photo of EmeraldMist
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Look - Pours a hazy deep amber color with ruby along the edges, a thin cap of off white foam, no lacing.
Aroma - Hop forward, pine needle, resinous, cherry, light alcohol.
Taste - Candied fruit up front, cherry and sweet raisin, hops come in with huge bitterness, leafy and pine hop notes, the finish is sugary, bitter and has notes of caramel.
Feel - Sticky at first, fine carbonation quickly dries things out, creamy on the finish, alcohol has little warmth.

Overall - A very in your face barley wine. Tastes like an imperial IPA crossed with a barley wine at times.

 569 characters

Photo of VABA
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ajm5108
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Medium wood tan color, silk lacing. Aroma has some dry grain, wood and hop. Chewy caramel malt, leather, but ends with a big hop bite. Just a tad too much for my liking. Otherwise solid.

 186 characters

Photo of tvenne
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sir_Goatman
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BdM
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Satorn
2.89/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of DrDemento456
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Been meaning to try this ever since they put it in 12 oz bottles still paid the premium at almost 4 bucks a single. Pours a very hazy amber brown with a 1/4 inch of opaque colored head that settles to a very smooth ring. Smell is excellent very malty with some brown sugar and toffee rounded with some dark fruits and some herbal hops twang. No ethanol in the nose. Taste is a bit more hoppier than I expected with some herbal cone bitterness in the front and finish. Some caramel and fig flavors but this is a bitter aggressive ale through and through that uses it to cover the ABV nicely. Drinks medium to heavy still more of a sipper but still an enjoyable ale.

Overall a Barleywine for hop heads this ale is good and I would like to try it again with age since Hibernation ale with 2-3 years on it is subline and that beer is full of hop cone!

 848 characters

Photo of Soulbill
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent barley wine. I love hops, but its not hop-forward, and the hoppiness of this one sneaks up on me. It starts kind of sweet and mellow, and then the alcohol content, complex but full flavor, and hop content start kicking in. I think it pours better into a mug than a pint bottle. Well-named beer and totally enjoyable from first to last taste. One is not enough, three is too many.

 394 characters

Photo of chitownfanatic21
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ManBearPat
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of soundaurora
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Harrison8
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky rustic bronze color with a finger of khaki head on top. Lacing is strewn about tightly at the start of the glass, but disappears as the beer warms. Aroma is features barleywine-esque notes of raisins, fig, and caramel with an underlying hop profile that contorts the aroma and gives it a distinct American fingerprint. Hop notes include herbal and resin. Flavor profile opens with a smooth, sugary sweet induction of raisins, fig, and caramel before the hops take precedence in form of herbal and resin notes. The resin hop notes stick all the way to the toffee finish. Together the resin and toffee form a sort of bittersweet ending. Mouth feel has a medium thickness with a filling, sort of grainy texture. Overall, while certainly a barleywine style with all its malty goodness, the hop presence could make this a little polarizing for some. It keeps each sip interesting as the malts and hops work to reverse the work of each other.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 977 characters

Photo of Griphon
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of kotzbauerm
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 2,468 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.