Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine
2,464 Ratings
Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,464 |  Reviews: 1,111
Photo of NiceTaps
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle shared with a friend, tulip glass.

The hop-forward character set this apart. It smells and tastes fruity with caramel malty sweets. The bitterness keeps the sugar and booze in check. Nice hoppy finish.

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Photo of aslamm75
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of jmdrpi
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, dated Jan 07 2010.

hazy dark amber color with orange highlights. 1/2" cream colored head, good lacing and retention. aroma is a great balance of caramely sweetness and hops. same with the taste. big bold flavors, yet not over the top.

no alcohol taste, smooth mouthfeel, a bit sticky of an aftertaste. fairly thick.

overall, a solid barleywine. a year old seems to be a good age for this brew.

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Photo of jhammel01
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark dark ruby red into glass mug with a great sticky thick head. The head sticks around forever. Its a bit off white and very dense. Tons of lacing..

Smells of ALCOHOL! tons of it...also a bit of hoppiness that seems the most prominent. Some caramel and citrus from the hops as well.

The taste up front is bittering hops. Not much other than the bitterness of the hops, not oily but alot of some citrus, almost "soapy". Also heavy amounts of malt. Tastes like roasted malts to be honest. A good mix of two bittering things.

The mouthfeel is tingly, a bit thick-full bodied. Its very good.

Definitely, a great beer for a cold night. I'm enjoying this one quite a bit.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a beautiful clear mahogany color. There isn't much head retention but it leaves lots of sticky lacing. The color is amazing though almost like a light red wine.

S - Bittersweet grapefruit, sweet caramel, sour grapes and faint alcohol. Extremely aromatic. All the smells jump out.

T - Very sweet. Maybe a little too sweet. Could use a little more balance. Still you get the grapefruit rind bitterness in there and this time around sweet apples come into play. Finish is bitter and alcohol is surprisingly well hidden considering the abv.

M - Soft, oily/slick. Carbonation is low.

O - I love beers like this. This whole bomber is going to last a really long time. Worth the 8 dollars in my honest opinion. Its a little malt forward but if you like that sort of thing and are expecting it than your in for a treat.

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Photo of BarrelO
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a goblet. I poured this for myself as a reward for finishing my student note. Never go to law school, kids.

A: Ruby red in the glass. A vigorous pour creates a ginormous Duvel-like head (albeit one that doesn't last nearly as long). Plenty of lacing.

S: A Hopslam-esque bouquet of pineapple and grapefruit hops mixed with caramel malt. Very appealing.

T: Whoa. Hops overload. The malt meekly asserts itself in the middle, but the beginning and the end are all hops, all the time. I left the bottle on the counter for half an hour to bring out the flavor and it's still a hop overload. Odd, I remember it being more balanced before. Oh, well. Time to pour the rest of the bomber into my glass...

Now this is more like it. I guess it needs to be close to room temperature for its true flavor profile to emerge. The hops are still huge, but now the malt has a fighting chance. The two come together for a nice balance. Toward the end, notes of cherry and wood become more apparent.

M: Thick and syrupy, all the more incentive to sip it like you should.

D: A fine brew, but not one to be gulped down recklessly. This is a beer that demands to be sipped and contemplated. Split a bomber with a friend after dinner.

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Photo of Dope
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12/02/2011 bottling date. Coming up on 2 years old.

A: Pours a nice dark mahogany. Big dense tan head. Head fades super slowly with fantastic retention. Thin but widespread walls of lacing. Great island of foam sticks around forever.

S: Sticky caramel and toffee. Pretty mellow, probably due to the age.

T: Yup, lots of sticky caramel and toffee just like the nose. Surprising decent bit of hoppiness sticking around. Mainly a piney, resinous hop. Hints of raisin and fig, mainly in the finish and the aftertaste oddly enough. Lingering resin in the aftertaste with just a hint of toffee.

M: Third time I'm going to use the term sticky. It truly does stick to your mouth like drinking caramel (not that I've ever tried that). Or maybe it's hop oils. Who knows. Nice heavy body to go with it.

O: Hmph, interesting. I wonder how hoppy this is when fresh. It's got plenty of hop flavor even after 2 years, which is saying something. Nice hoppy barleywine balanced with quite a malt wallop. Honestly reminds me of Bigfoot a lot. Big, belly warming and tasty. One of the best.

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Photo of Nunya
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kendo
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Sam Smith's nonic. The result -- an amber body with orange hues and a 1/2-finger tannish head that settles quickly, leaving nice rings and splotches of lacing on the way down. It looks nice.

S: First impression is of grapefruity hops, but there's also plenty of sweetness there as well -- fruity sweetness that reminds me of berries and cherries and more sugary sweetness that seems more like caramel or toffee. Finally, there's an alcoholic spice in the nose as well, that blended with everything else reminds me of brandy or cognac.

T: The first thing I noted was that it was "definitely hot" with the alcohol spice prevalent right away. Sweet malt up front -- dark fruits and lots of berries; and then a dry, bitter, tangy finish at first, though the finish becomes a little sweeter as it warms and as my tastebuds adjust to that bitterness. There's plenty of malt supporting this one.

M: Medium-full in heft and more carbonated than I had expected. It does become a bit smoother as it warms. Alcohol is felt in the belly.

D: Good. A little bit too "hot" to be a quaffing beer, but not in an off-putting way; it'll just slow you down a bit.

Notes: At times I really thought this was very close to a DIPA in taste, style and feel. An enjoyable barleywine that I would definitely have again.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Standard dark copper body. Massive off-white head that quickly receded. Notable lacing.

S: Dank, resinous hops. Heaps of caramel malt goodness.

T: A terrific balance of hops and malts... unlike some double ipas that end up barleywine-ish... this is an american barleywine through and through... as in the nose, the hops are dank, heavy and seriously resinous... taking on a pine/forest like character... the caramel malts are ever present and tasty.... boozey indeed.

M: A little undercarbonated for my liking... but other wise nice... nice bite at the end.

D: Solid at 10+... a tad boozey to drink more than a bomber.

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Photo of boudreaux
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: pours a clear dark amber color; 2 finger head, extremely creamy and beige; head keeps good retention with tons of lacing

S: tons of caramel malts and sweet toffee; candied fruits; plum, prune, raisin, and dates; hop notes also present, producing citrus flavors, especially orange; also a touch of pine; very bold and strong aromas

T: surprisingly bitter, accompanied by citrusy and piney hop flavor; crystal malts are very present, but are dominated by the bitterness somewhat; dark fruits also make an appearance

M: medium-heavy body; carbonation adds to the overall mouthfeel; creamy; overall smooth, save for a touch of hoppy bitterness

D: as far as Barleywines go, I'm not sure you want one with easy drinkability; so I give this a pretty good rating, considering that I'm only going to have 1 at a time; it does go down fairly smooth, but is way to rich and strong for multiple servings in one sitting

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Photo of Holland
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown/reddish-orange color with a one inch off-white head that becomes thin lacing for the rest of the glass. Sticks nicely to the sides.

S: citrus, darker fruits, malty sweetness. Very pleasant smelling with a hop kick.

T: first comes raisin, then bitter hops, apple, brown sugar, and some malt. The malt takes a back seat to every other flavor in this, making it very tasty. Alcohol becomes more present as it warms, but does not significantly detract from the taste. The only downside to the taste is a slight nutty flavor I get.

M: medium carbonation and a medium-heavy body on this beer creates a crisp feeling along with the mouth-coating goodness of the barley. As it warms the alcohol feels warm and the body gets much thinner.

O: it's big, so sips are required for me. Excellent beer, especially at $6 for a 22 oz. I'll have to try this again to see if the nutty flavor is still there.

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Photo of Onibubba
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle was going on 2 years. Cracked it open last night to celebrate completion of a project. Strong aroma of toffee and caramel as soon as it opened. Poured a thick hazy dark caramel into a tulip glass with a nice frothy head. The head subsides, but leaves a nice lacing. Looks as good as it smells.

Mouthfeel is good - thick and creamy. A year plus has done wonders for this beer. I recall it having a heavier hop bitterness, but that bitterness is now only present in an aftertaste. Initial taste is a malty sweet backbone of toffee. The taste is actually similar to Stone OG, but a bit more pronounced. Also like the OG, alcohol is not detectable in the least. All in all, I prefer the OG, but this one is mighty tasty too.

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Photo of ale1
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great barley wine/ale
can't contribute much more than previous reviewer, served cool medium head ,good hops/malt nose with malt finish , like the Talon barley wine, top shelf barley wine style.
Other that fall in this category that are quite good seirra nevada big foot ale

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a rusty hazy copper color supporting a thick off white head that dissapates slowly leaving a sticky clingy lace. Smell of thick caramel, light chocolate and some darker fruits. taste is as stated hefty and hoppy having the big citrus grapefruit thats grainy with the caramel in the big malt backbone. Mouthfeel is full and chewy with a good amount of carbonation. Not as rich as some, but then again it does express it's hefty and hoppy and still a good example of the style.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark copper to ruddy in color with a tight tan head. Aroma is big, strongest smell is the hops, a citrusy sweetness, a little on the vitamin C / orange smarty side, some pineyness in the background of the hop smell as well. Behind the hops are the rich sugary caramel and malt aromas. The citrus hops keep it refreshing and finish with a pine bitterness, all the while the malt sweetness is there in the back balancing the hops and adding to the richness and the mouthfeel. Good size body, a little slickness but mainly creamy and smooth with a little bite at the end from the alcohol and a slight drying from the hops. Alcohol is very well hidden. Highly enjoyed.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well done once again brewers at Great Divide. A wonderful charismatic Barley Wine. Deep red in color, hazy un-filtration. Lacing literally reminds me of galaxy of stars from the lip of the glass all the way through. I rarely give "5"s, but this one earns it in the appearance category. Beer is absolutely loaded with hops. Says 85-90 on the IBU scale, they should put a 1 in front of those numbers. Also blast you with a bouquet of citrus fruits- orange, berries, and cherries.

Simply put an amazing beer. Loaded with alcohol, easy to put down. Get it!

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Photo of chrismattlin
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep dark amber color with some red hues. Provides a one finger off white foam head with tons of lacing.

S: A little mild on the nose. Some scents of caramel and bready malt with some citrus hops.

T: Taste is much more potent then the smell. The malt character, mostly rich caramel and some toasted bread are present up front. The citrus hop bitterness comes through in the middle and lasts the rest of the way.

M: Leaves a dryer feel yet creamy at the same time...very nice full body

D: A big ABV makes this a nice sipper. A really nice barley wine that you should seek out. I know I will for sure.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 pt 6 fl oz from FMcD's poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 12/20/2012.

A - cloudy brown with orange and amber highlights. One finger head that disapates quickly.

S - dark fruit, fig, plum

T - fig and dark fruits, malts, mild heat. Getting some back end hop bitterness.

M- carbonation is low, heft is solid. Mildly sticky.

O - I am drinking a fig newton soaked in booze. Excellent barley wine.

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Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber. Pours a clear brick red, with a big thick tan head. Aroma is woody, hoppy, fruity, with a hint of alcohol. Flavor is heavy with sharp hops, but balanced nicely with carmel malt sweetness. Hops linger on the palate as the sticky sweet malt fades. This is a nice barleywine, and one that will age rather well.

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Photo of Jsonta
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of biboergosum
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, late December 2012 production date, and another of this brewery's foil-ensconced offerings, one which I have had many opportunities in the past to purchase, but never at the beginning of a stateside trip, so, here we finally are, on a company venture to Denver.

This beer pours a hazy, dark bronzed amber hue, with a whole handful of puffy, rather bubbly off-white head, which leaves a decent array of cob-webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel and toffee malts, black raisins, thin, astringent black cherries, a bit of hollow licorice, leafy, weedy hops, and more than a hint or two of warming, slightly metallic alcohol. The taste is heady caramel malt, but not so much as to not acknowledge the musty, dank basement character therein, pungently restrained drupe and mixed berry fruit, middling anise notes, equally blended citrus, leafy, and earthy hops, and a hard to ignore edgy booziness.

The bubbles are generally well sublimated, the body a more than sturdy medium-heavy weight, mostly smooth, and even a tad creamy, with a certain boozy uplift. It finishes rather off-dry, the bready, biscuity caramel malt still loud and very proud, as are the now piney, citrusy hop esters, all in deference to the rising, plundering heat of a bursting at the seams ABV.

A pretty heady and uncompromising instance of the style, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose. Big caramel variances, bludgeoned hops up the yin-yang, and boozy orchard fruit notes to match. Good stuff, overall, I cannot deny, as all that sturm und drang seems to wash out well enough, in a self-flagellating sense of the term.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bottle; poured into a tulip pint.

A: Deep woody red and a two finger white head.

S: Sweet caramel and sticky, citruscy hops with a bit of heat.

T: Deliciously sweet, but not cloying. The hops are big and present, but not overbearing. Alcohol is present, but not heat.

D: This is very smooth for its size. The alcohol is smooth and contained. Mouthfeel is syrupy and slick. I finished the entire bottle and could have more.

Overall: A wonderful barleywine. This is an excellent example of the style. Drinkable, extremely flavourful and classy.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bomber received in trade with iguenard - 2010 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some really good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, leather, anise, caramel/butterscotch

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch/caramel, and raisins. There is also some anise, cherry, and a decent amount of hops.

Overall - Wow, holding up incredibly well. This tastes fantastic! Wish I had a few more bottles from 2010 (or from any year)

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 2,464 ratings
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