Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,463 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
Ratings:
2,463
Reviews:
1,111
Avg:
4.21
pDev:
9.98%
 
 
Wants:
297
Gots:
446
For Trade:
17
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,463 |  Reviews: 1,111
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Daalamar: Poured a burgundy color ale with a small off-white foamy head with average retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some noticeable bitter hops. Taste is a well enough balanced mix between sweet caramel malt and bitter hops. Body is above average but could have been more full and alcohol was well hidden which is great. Overall, this was quite enjoyable and would love to have more in order to aged some of it.

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Photo of largadeer
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Muddy, murky amber in color. The head on this brew is outstanding; it lasted for the entire hour that I sipped on the glass.

Smell: A huge blast of caramel followed by a bit of dried apricot and the faintest hint of alcohol. Citrus is present at first, but disappears as the beer warms.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet and rich; caramel sweetness is balanced by earthy, bitter hops. Thick and oily on the tongue. A bit of heat appears in the middle, but it's quickly replaced by a sharp resiny bitterness. This is an nicely balanced barleywine - the sugary sweetness never becomes cloying, and the presence of alcohol never overwhelms the more subtle flavors.

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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of superspak
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/19/2012. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red/copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, light pine, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, leather, herbal, floral, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus hops and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, leather, grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, pine, herbal, floral, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, leather, grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops and dark/bready malt flavors; with a fantastic malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding American barleywine at this age. All around awesome complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. Nearly perfectly balanced between hop and malt flavors right now. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into one of my goblets.

Pours 1/2 finger of slight tan head. Not the best retention, but it does leave some splattered lace. Color is a burnt caramel ruby. Very hazed.

Aroma: big hop profile with a very sweet malt style represented. Also has some caramel with some fresh fruits.

Taste: Huge floral hop taste with a big amount of caramel malts. This is a big beer with a ton of flavor. A lot of fruits blend into the caramel.

Mouthfeel: Quite bitter and crisp. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. A little booze shows. Ends with a fruity hoppy aftertaste that is slightly dry.

Overall, not a bad barlywine but to me it is nothing too special. I'd easily drink it again, but nothing I would go crazy for. I think trying this fresh would be a fun experience.

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Photo of olradetbalder
4.04/5  rDev -4%

Photo of chinchill
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle with a bottling date of 24 Feb. 2015.

Look: Cloudy brown-copper colored body. Some sediment in the bottle even after a full pour.

Aroma: Ripe and dried fruits, yeasty baked bread.

Flavor: Toffee, alcohol esters, ripe and dried fruits, hops, baked bread. Slightly boozy (low for style). Mildly bitter.

Overall: a good example of the style with relatively well hidden alcohol.

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Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had as part of the Central New England BA Meetup #2.

A: Light creamy white head fades as a slower but not too slow rate, over a hazy brownish kinda purple colored muddy looking liquid.

N: Sweet creamy malts hits quite a bit, very malty. Some hops and spicy hop characteristics. With that comes some brown sugar and molasses, and overall sweetness. A nice hop presence blended pretty well with a sweet malty tone.

T: Some sweet malts hit first, lots of chewy thick malts that is. Then comes some bitterness, with spicy hops and some chewy hop tastes. More chewy malts come in layers and add a touch of boozy taste. Some fruity flavors, dried figs, dates, raisins, and all dark dried fruits really. A slight creamy malt flavor. We compared it to an older one (no dates or vintages printed) but by the time it was purchased and look and taste if it we could tell it was older. The older one seemed to dull quite a bit on all accounts, and just meld to a consistent muddy sweet malty beverage.

M: Semi thick with decent carbonation.

F: Lingering bitterness which is pretty nice, and adds a slightly spicy hoppy bitter hop flavor. Some sweetness but still dries well, a strange description I know but its hard to really get the taste right. The maltiness lingers a bit with some added molasses flavor and dried fruits lingering. The bitterness comes through nicely at this point too. The booze doesn't seem @ 10%, but definitely seems more than 8% so hidden but not completely.

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Photo of oberon
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first carack at this bad boy its nice to see it here in Greensboro,pours a deep amber with a creamy like head that leaves a nice amount of lace behind as it slowly settles.Big fruit in the aroma upfront along with some raisin and caramel very vibrant in color and aroma it really jumps out at ya.Like the aroma the flavors of this are very fruity up front very ripe peaches and brown suger,there is a real hop presence even more as it warms in the finish keeping it balanced.Wow this is a dangerous brew intense and flavorful this is one I'll be grabbing alot of now that its local.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a tawny, rustic mahogany with a creamy off-white head.

S: Lots of alcohol heat followed up by sweet malts, caramel, some hops, and some more alcohol.

T: Again, lots of alcohol atop some sweet malt and same fading--though still present--hops. Some woodiness creeps in as well.

M: Fairly thick without too much carbonation and a whole lot of alcohol kick.

D: Not too drinkable given the high octane character of the beer. Maybe if I'd waited a little bit longer the alcohol would have mellowed out, or had it a bit earlier and allowed the hops to mask some of the alcohol.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright coppery red color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, floral hops, brown sugar, citrus and other fruits, plus a whiff of alcohol.

T: The taste is starts with a strong burst of hops bitterness despite this bottle having around two years on it. There's a hearty malt character that follows along with sweet flavors of caramel, fruit and brown sugar. There's little bit of an alcohol sting but that is expected from a barleywine and any beer with a 10.20% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very good stronger beer that worth either sipping on for a while or trying to pound down for as long as you can handle it.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of toffee brown head on a clear, reddish brown body. Good retention and lace.

S - Peppery, citrus hops with significant malt in the background. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, tobacco, and black pepper.

T - Thick, sugary malt with lots of spicy hop flavor up front. Bitterness peaks in the middle with emerging pine flavors. The pine lingers in the finish and becomes more resinous as the hop flavors combine with caramel and molasses malt character to create notes of tobacco and roasted red peppers.

M - Thick, chewy body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - A thick, heavy, complex barleywine. The flavors come together to create a beer fits the style profile perfectly. The hops work very well with the malt and create a lot of complexity in the finish.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottling date of 12/29/10 on the label. I got into this one in early March, so I was psyched to be able to get into a fairly fresh bottle of this.

Pours a beautiful looking crystal clear deep ruby, topped with 2 tight fingers of smooth off-white head. This retains with a near 1/2 finger of rich foam that throws a big frothy cascade of thick sticky lacing up on the sides of the glass. Those fresh American hops just seem to blow up in the nose, with peppery floral notes, pine, and herbal accents all being fairly strong here. Ripe tropical fruits spread out across the back, mingling with the bread and caramel of the malts to give this a deep juicy tang in the back of the nose.

The hops are equally aggressive in the taste, with a sharp bite of resinous pine and an intense deep spiciness. Those juicy citric notes really add some fruity sweetness to this as well. I'm pleased to find that the malt backbone is more than up to the taste as well, with a thick balancing backing of roasted graininess and sticky caramel sweetness. The hops remind me of who's in charge though, finishing this herbal and very spicy, while remnants of that fruity and maltt mixture coasting the mouth with a sticky tang. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big hefty creaminess that intertwines with a much sharper carbonation up front. A deep oily slickness from the hops also adds a certain amount of slickness to the body and keeps all of those big flavors moving. The alcohol presence here is hefty and a does get a touch sharp towards the end of the each swallow but this remains nicely drinkable for the most part.
Very warming overall.

This seems to have gained a reputation as the benchmark for nationally available American Barleywines over the last several years and there's really no question why. The fresh hops here were just explosive yet this still remained balanced and drinkable for such a big beer. I definitely sensed a little more complexity to the malts and I'm interested in checking this out in a few years from now when those hops subside and some new flavors emerge. This was some great stuff and a go-to in the style for me.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a polished dark wood color under a 1" thick off-white head which leaves good lace. Aroma is dominated by caramel, toasted malts, and somewhat fruity. Taste follows smell with a hoppy bitterness. Good balance. Slightly boozy.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is a dark ruby with a large, light brown head. Aroma is packed with hop smells, citrusy and piney hops duke it out for domination. An underlying rich malt is noted underneath the thick hop smell. Taste is equally hoppy, with a long hoppy finish. A rich underlying malt body is also a treat to taste. Dark fruit flavor is also in the mix, with just a hint of alcohol (I'm really surprised this is 10.4%). Anyway, this beer is a hop head's dream and another one of those beers that can get you in trouble with it's deceptive lack of alcohol flavor.

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Photo of billab914
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish head snifter. Pours a dark amber, slightly brown color with a thin bubbly white covering on top. It has a very nice head on it compared to other similar strength Barley wines, and it left excellent lacing as well.

Aroma big on both malt and hops. There is a good amount of caramel and toffee coming from the malts, which is very appealing. The taste is malty as well with a lot of caramel malt. It has a pretty strong bitterness from the hops that helps balance it out.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side and slightly creamy, the carbonation is relatively low giving it a very nice mouthfeel for the style. Drinkability is good considering the abv %, and I really enjoyed this on a cold winter night. This is a very nicely made and delicious straight forward Barley wine. It was very tasty but it also scored major points with me in the look and mouthfeel categories especially.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of smithj4
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of vfgccp
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottled Nov 2010, opened Dec 2013

A - Gorgeous mahogany, burnt siena body. Creamy, off-white head has great retention and nice lace.

S - Caramel, cognac, raw wood, figs, tobacco, tart cherry, raisin.

T - White wood, booze, raisin, touch of cold coffee, bitter dandelion.

M - Surprisingly light, thin body. Way under par for a barley wine imho.

O - A little disappointing. The flavor could use a little more depth and complexity, and the body was surprisingly thin. It's possible the bottle didn't age well, so I will definitely be trying a fresh bottle of this beer as soon as I can.

 588 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of russpowell
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark caramel with a huge 2" plus tan frothy head. Crazy lacing & head retnetion

Smell; Sweet malt, piney hops, alcohol & fruticake

Taste: Huge fruitty malts, piney hops & oaky wooden taste. dryness and alcohol on the finish

MF Chewy & well balanced. More like a port or maderia (sp)

Not too too drinkable, this is just too much!

If you want big beer, can't beat this. Great when you are ready to take a snooze or get a straight jacket on...yummy

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Photo of smcolw
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slight haze to the light ruby, dark amber color. Moderate and rocky chalk white head. Ring lace throughout.

Lots of caramel, sugary aroma. Some floral, but subtle, hop in the background.

Surprisingly strong hop flavor that really dominates the swallow and aftertaste. The malt is fleeting in the initial taste, but it shows very little of the sweetness that is present in the smell. The body is as expected--extremely full but without being syrupy. The aftertaste is all bitter hop. There is no evidence of the alcohol content...so beware.

This is a BIG beer--full of flavor, aroma and body. If the ABV is accurate, this is a very deceptive brew because there is no "feel" of alcohol content. With the level of hoppiness, this could also be categorized as a double (triple?) IPA.

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 2,463 ratings.
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