Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

2,459 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,459 |  Reviews: 1,109
Photo of doughanson78
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of codynevels
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of hyuga
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of IpeeA
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of hannydawg
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Elfastball7
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of JRod1969
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Jspriest
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Travisnin
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of EgadBananas
4/5  rDev -5%

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

Bottled on Nov 08 2010.

A- Nice garnet slightly hazy. Some orange around the edges. Thick off-white head leaves some lacing on the glass.

S- Hops and sweetness from the malt. Slight smell of alcohol and breadiness.

T- Very smooth balance of hops and malts. I imagine when fresh it was much more hop-forward. I can hardly taste the alcohol. Slightly sweet and spicy with nice bitterness coming through.

M- Pretty thick and chewy with good carbonation.

O- Delicious barley wine and my first beer from Great Divide. Would love to try this barrel-aged.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Dark amber with a 2 finger tan head. Lots of lacing splotches all over the glass.

S- Sweet malts, cinnamon, some oak character.

T- Sweet, lightly toasted barley, spices, nice hop bitterness to balance this beer.

M- Full body. Alcohol is there but is hidden fairly well. Smooth and easy to drink for 10%.

O- Excellent barleywine. One of the better standard barleywines that I have had. Will enjoy this again sometime soon!

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

A - Thick dark caramel. Not much head nor lace.

S - BIG TIME CARAMEL. Sweet malt. Small bitter in behind.

T - Sweet caramel center. Nice cotton candy aspect. Surprising hop challenge at the end.

D - I could get hurt on this one. Too tasty. The length of these reviews really sucks.

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Photo of gtermi
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours a dark gold, with a very thin head.

S: There is a lot going on in this beer. I am picking up a lot of hops, some fruitiness, a bit of alcohol and atiny bit of sweetness.

T: The first drink I took, I picked up slight chocolate, some woodiness, a lot of hops and some caramel.

M: The beer leaves a weird coating and is relatively smooth. Has a nice crispness to it also.

Overall it hit the spot and was exactly what I expected. It is delicious and easy to drink. I am glad I grabbed the last bottle before it was gone.

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Photo of jeranbrews
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very finely bubbled beige head. Thick and foamy like shaving cream. Strong lacing like sediment lines in a canyon. Loving it. Cloudy cedar brown body.

S - Sweet apricots and hoppy lemon peel. Dried figs and jujubees. Creamy buttered rum. So many great smells. Mellow caramel bourbon and sweetly scented pipe tobacco.

T - Initial tastes are quite hoppy. Better than many similar American Barleywines but not as sexy as some of it's English counterparts. Smell and taste don't quite match. Not even a tiny hint of the ABV. Totally hidden.

M - Smooth buttery and frothy. Like the last sip of a milkshake. Well done. If it wasn't so bitter it'd be a 5. Oh and the 10+ abv is invisible. You can't see feel hear or smell it.

D - Although hoppiness of this level is not unusual for American barleywine and they manage it well. I do feel it covers up a lot of the inherent complexity. Like printing Shakespeare on toilet paper, or listening to Mozart on an 8-track, or having silk bed sheets and wool pillow cases. You take something of the greatness away. You still see the greatness but it's muffled.

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Photo of BBP
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a ruby walnut hue. Head is on par for the style, and lacing is slightly above.

The aroma has bitter hops, spicy hops, a fair amount of peat, and liberal amounts of malt.

The taste is very smooth, yet considerably intense as well. After a year of age, it still drinks somewhat like a fresh barleywine. The IBUs seem to have dissipated a little, but the hops are still plenty to provide a foundation for the beer.

While the combination of malt and hops takes the initial taste and works nicely, the aftertaste plays on the hops by dropping off immense amounts of pine. Everything really comes together with this.

The body is beyond creamy, and has a medium full body. The finish is medium for dryness, and slightly sticky.

Drinkability is incredible and poor at the same time. It's something that I'm glad I shared, as the flavor would have been too much for me in the end. The alcohol was hidden quite well due to the excess of malt and hops. After a year, it still seems young, although I haven't had it enough to say whether it's best fresh or not.

 1,070 characters

Photo of chugalug06
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a brew I found on the shelves of one my local beer stores... It has the old style label, but no indication of date anywhere on the bottle... The brew was refrigerated, i would assume for the duration of it's life...???

A - Nice thick foamy cream colored head, it pours generously a top the outstanding looking brew. Beer is nice, dark, and clear amber color. Nice lacing too.

S - WOW! yum. Lots of huge caramel. Some great vanilla too.

T - GREAT BEER!!! Slight milk chocolate subtly runs down your throat. So smooth, there's faint hints of hops, which are all-but-gone... This is one piney-vanilla beer. Not a sugar bomb.

M - AMAZING! Zero bitterness and no heat... Carbonation was a little high, but that's a good problem to have for a brew of this vintage.

O - Highly recommended to age this one... I will be buying 2/year and sitting on both drink one after one year, and let the other rest for an unknown timeline... Great beer!

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Photo of alexipa
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I heard great things and thought I should finally try this beer out tonight.

It's a dark brown with a surprisingly thick head. The head stuck around a while and contributed to its delicious caramel and hoppy scent.

The taste was much more than I had expected. Caramel came through as well as some malts and hops. This proved to be a more complex beer than I was prepared for; which was a great thing! I thoroughly enjoyed every sip as I devoured the bottle far too fast.

I'm now going to go search for this on tap... it was excellent!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/8/10.

Pours a slightly hazy honey-brown with a 2 inch foamy bone color head that settles to an island of foam. Random thick clumps of lace stick to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt, brown sugar, caramel, and some citrus zest and pine hops. Alcohol aromas come out as the beer warms. Taste is of sweet malt, slight brown sugar, and some zesty herbal and pine hop flavors. A slightly assertive hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that has some strong hop aromas and flavors even after being bottled almost a year ago.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm going to guess this is from 2008 or so. It is the old style label and has been sitting in my cellar for a few years now.

A - Hazy, ruddy brown in color with a nice foam cap sitting on top. Head is a good two fingers after a gentle pour and settles to about an inch of solid foam. Carbonation has held up real well in this one.

S - Sweet malts and a bit of caramel initially. Some fruity notes come through as well with a touch of citrus fruit. As the beer warms I get some floral aromas as well. Sweetness carries throughout.

T - Sweet malts and a sharp bitterness full of citrus notes. Despite a few years on it the hoppiness has certainly help up. The tastes are a bit disjointed but they are still good. They just dont meld very well. Caramel and a little burnt sugar come through in the finish. Alcohol is certainly noticeable but not overwhelming.

M - Medium bodied with an oily feel to it. Carbonation is present but not overdone.

O - A classic American bwine. Hops are still a big player despite the years and the malt backbone is pretty solid. Booze is there but not too overdone for 10+%.

 1,107 characters

Photo of mulder1010
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at Argonaut Liquors in November 2010, on a trip back home.
Poured into a Bruery Tulip

A-- Poured a deep, dark amber color with hints of orange here and there. More carbonated than I thought. Good one finger off white head that slowly went to film but left nice sticky lacing on sides of the glass.

S-- Burnt sugar, toffee, bits of rum and candied orange and grapefruit.

T-- Hop forward. Lots of pine, orange and grapefruit, with sweet malts as the backbone.

M-- More barley wine in the mouth. Rich, thick and sticky toffee taste with bread and hops to smooth things out. Hops have not faded yet so still close to a DIPA still but the barley wine qualities are there. Carbonation still a bit high and feel is heavy.

O-- Good American barley wine. I prefer the English style more but this is top notch. Alcohol is still there but was slowly turning into a big sticky mess that is worth having. Seriously worth cellaring to get the faded hop part.

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Photo of gueuzer
3.26/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery

App- A reddish brown with a clinging lace. Quite nice.

S- Strong bittering hops with a sticky bun notes in the back. A little booze burn.

Ta- Upfront hops. Very bitter. The sweet caramel malt back it up but not quite enough to balance out.

Ov- Border between a double IPA and barley wine. Need to tone down the hops to let everything play out a bit more.

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Photo of jmunsters
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a pair of snifters.

A- Moderate pour yields about a 2 finger head to a brilliant amber body. Dissipates very slowly, clinging to glass.

S- Immediately filled the room. Burnt sugar, molasses, caramel, rum. A really nice and heavy hop aroma.

T- Hops. Glorious candied hops. A molasses syrup wrapped around a solid set of hops with a nice boozey warmth to fill your stomach.

M- Thick and sticky mouth with a decent amount of carbonation. Fantastic sipping.

O- Top of the line barley wine.

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 2,459 ratings.
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