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
2,470 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,470 |  Reviews: 1,113
Photo of nh2032
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of kevwcamp
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of projectflam86
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

A- Pours a murky orange/red color with a thick slightly off white head that leaves fantastic lacing. A bit more clarity and this would easily be a 4.5, but as it is a 4 will have to do.

S- Wow, this one is potent. Huge brash wave of sweet malt and dank pine hops. Some candied fruits, citrus, caramel, pine resin, and alcohol...lots of alcohol.

T- Very similar to the nose, this is one monster American Barleywine. All bitterness and pine hops initially with a lingering citrus undertone. The finish is all sweetness with loads of caramel and crystal malt leading the way with a massive amount of booze.

M- Big and bold with good carbonation. A tad hot from the alcohol, but some age would probably take the edge off.

O- Exactly what I was hoping for in an American Barleywine from a good brewery. Very tasty stuff...have to grab a few more bottles now!

 881 characters

Photo of Jstark5150
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Kinsman
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big foamy head with a pleasantly sticky lace sits nicely on top of a slightly hazed reddish copper color.

Big malty sweet aroma upfront before the citrusy and slightly herbal hop notes come in. Faint hint of alcohol in the background.

Well-hopped with some citrus fruitiness and good bitterness. Matched up with a strong malty backbone that gives of plenty of biscuity bread character and a healthy dose of caramel. Finishes a bit boozy.

Heavy mouthfeel with a creamy texture that helps it go down so well. Overall, Old Ruffian presents you with an excellent American Barleywine thats adds a little boost on a cold winters evening.

 636 characters

Photo of pjs234
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage poured into my Dogfish signature glass. Very happy to have found this, as Great Divide pulled out of our state last year.

The appearance is a very murky orange and its almost brown in the middle of the glass. Very little light is getting through this. The initial pour resulted in almost a full finger of head. There is also decent lacing as the head subsides.

The smell is good. Even being a year old, I smell a fair amount of hops. Also, the malts are noticeable as well.

The taste is very nice. Starts off with a bready/malty flavor. Maybe a touch of caramel. Then the hops come forward. I was kind of surprised by the hop kick on the back end of the sip. It ends a little bitter and a little spicy at the same time.

The mouth feel is smooth. Good amount of carbonation.

Would love to try this side by side with a fresh one, but alas, I will need to leave the state to find one.

 901 characters

Photo of qchic
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of towlea25
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of UnkleFester
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of kojevergas
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a snifter at Great Divide's tap room in high altitude Denver, Colorado. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a two finger head of good cream, fair thickness, and decent retention. Colour is a dark nontransparent ruby.

Sm: Toasted malts, caramel, pleasant cream, and light cherry fruit ester hops. A mild strength aroma.

T: Toasted caramelized malt comprises the backbone, with cream on the open and climax, alcohol (especially in the third act), and hints of cherry esters. Well balanced, with the alcohol generating a pleasant welcome warmth. Nicely built, with due complexity. Quite lovely all around, with depth and unobtrusive hops.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit too thick. Pleasant cream. Suits the flavours well.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the ABV, which is hidden well considering how high it is. I'd have this beer again. A nice barleywine from Great Divide.

This would likely age well. I'd like to try it with a few years on it out of a bottle.

 974 characters

Photo of josssmith
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of seanmugs
5/5  rDev +19%

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

Name: Old Ruffian
Brewery: The Great Divide
Bottled on: 12/02/11
Purchasing Date: 12/31/11
Purchased From: 101 Bottles (Kent, Ohio) [$8.99 a bottle]

Origin: 22oz bottle
Serving Glass: 22oz Snifter
Serving Temp: 60F

Appearance: 2" Fluffy white head. Beautiful ruby red body.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt backbone. Chocolate covered fruit (Figs, Dates, etc.), herbal hops. Sweet, sticky and mouthwatering.

Taste: Fruity, boozy and quite intense (yet balanced). Citral and piney hops make an appearance. Citrus peel, dark fruit, caramel and boozy finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and sticky. Medium amount of carbonation.

Overall: Fantastic, probably my favorite barleywine so far! Be careful though, at 10.20%, it is easy to go overboard with a bomber.

 746 characters

Photo of IdrinkGas
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

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.

 489 characters

Photo of CrazyOtto623
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of McLaughlin5350
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of 11millsown113
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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

It's Jan 1st so a pumped up barley wine will hedge against suseptible sadness to come from the cowboys game

A- can you say perfect ruby hue with a cutless red color richoscheing off the glass

S- fruit and caramel syrup are overly impressive on this brew. Some earthy components arise making this a balanced brew with different characteristics participating

T- amazing caramel flavors melding with earthy flavors completely coexist with hearty flavors of Maley earthiness. The brew is intense and hearty

M- thick and syrupy and full and very much bold with flavor

O- great hearty barleywine that is poisotioned as full of caramel flavor and musty earth aromas. Great brew

 675 characters

Photo of rdespain
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of xdefeatsy
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Marti403
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Retail1LO
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a 22 oz. CBS snifter. Pours a brilliant dark ruby red hue with a substantial two finger plus crown of foam. This is by FAR the most hop forward nose on any barleywine I've poured. If I'd been blindfolded on this, I'd have thought this a boozy IPA. The nose is riddled with hops and just the faintest hint of malt. It just doesn't have a nose that resembles what I've come to associate with a barleywine. The first sip and the hops jump right out at you. Some maltiness comes into the picture immediately after the hops depart. Again, there's a subtle woodiness to this, but it's not a mainstay. This is the most bizarre example of a barleywine I've had. At this point, nothing in either the nose or taste points to this being a barleywine. Granted, I don't mind it at all, and I find it enjoyable, but the grades are taking a bit of a hit as I'm grading this to style for a barleywine, and this thing is just...went rogue. The mouthfeel is boozy, with a high dose of bitterness. Again, I personally don't mind it, but I just don't expect this attribute from a barleywine. Overall, this is a solid beer, if it wasn't a barleywine. I feel it falls short of the style, however, and the experience is nothing like what I was looking forward to when I initially cracked the bottle. I can see myself coming back to this the next time I want a bold IPA.

 1,372 characters

Photo of buckyp
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 2,470 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.