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Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,098 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,098
Ratings:
2,425
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
14.45%
 
 
Wants:
295
Gots:
441
For Trade:
21
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,098 | Ratings: 2,425
Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly clear, deep red/brown with a hint of orange highlights. Dense tan head with great lacing and retention. Malty aroma with intense hoppiness, some pine, orange citrus, and faint alcohol. Piney hop bitterness is way out front, but is balanced well by caramel and toffee. Juicy orange kicks in midway, and it ends with nuts and warm alcohol. The finish is dry and bitter with a caramel/orange combination. Moderately low carbonation, perfect in conjunction with the creamy texture. Overall it's a bit dry, but balanced well with malty sweetness. This is an awesome barleywine, highly recommended.

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Photo of walleye
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the bottle. poured a deep copper with a bid tan head. aroma hops fruity, caramel, malts, alcohol, caramel. flavor malts, caramel, alcohol, fruits, citrus, grapefruit, pine, and hops. I am really getting into barley wines like the fullness of the mouthfeel and the higher than normal alcohol. this was a good beer

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Photo of klewis
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a mahoghany with a rapidly rising head (watch out!) with huge bubbles (still nice and thick though).

S: Aromas of cotton candy, lots of sweet malt, vanilla, and lots of other stuff that I can't even begin to describe. Slight alcoholic smell. Very complex, very good.

T: Hidden from me in the smell, the hops character comes to life here. Lots of hops presence from the minute it hit my lips to well after I swallowed, but not overpowering. Some sweetness to the taste too, but I can't quite figure out what it tastes like. It would be nice if the alcohol was better hidden, but for the style, its alcoholic character is appropriate.

M: This one poured with lots of bubbly fanfare, but it is not overcarbonated as expected. Very thick, heavy, and chewy.

D: Very heavy, potnet, and delicious. I wouldn't even think about drinking this beer everyday, but I'll definitely reach for this again when I'm up for a challenge or need to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment.

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Its a barley wine and its an IPA and its rounded off and balanced. The aroma is grapefruit from C hops. Its a nice drink, I have had worse barleywines, gives a pineapple, some sugary sweetness not cloying. Must put a bottle down for a couple of years. Big, big white head, lace.
Same rating 1.5 years later with good lace, malting, and fuller mouthfeel.
4.5 years later had a three-year aged and good orange taste.

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Photo of lou91
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No Vintage. A great looking beer poured into a tulip glass. Dark brown/amber color with a big rich head. It also smelled great with hops and malt balanced in a big way. This tastes like a vintage Bigfoot BW – Rich and maple syrup sweet with hints of caramel apples. Long dry-hopped bitterness leaves you wanting more. This is an excellent example of a balanced BW – easy to drink despite the overdone sweetness.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
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 Bierman9
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Ruff is an enticingly deep-chestnut hued bier, with touches of garnet as well. It's a clear bier, with extremely fine carbonation heading topside, though it is few and far between. The head which tops things off starts at about 1/4" after a hard pour, then fades to a thin, covering layer of tan, creamy, compact little bubbles. Lacing is exquisite, too, as the pattern left in the glass is A-1! Aroma is easily evident, with malty notes oozing out of the goblet and into the surrounding atmosphere. Also has strong indicators of a large hop presence. Body is well above medium, and it is an exceedingly smooth, velvet-like bier. Nothing rough in this Ruff.

Caramel and toffee aspects are first evident in the heavy load of malt which hits the palate. Sweetness glides across the tongue and down the hatch. But the malt is matched in its strength by all those IBUs. Citrussy notes coat the mouth, and hide in all the nooks and crannies, allowing Ruffians hop-liciousness to linger long and hard. And this is a 10.20% abv bier? Where's it hiding? I don't feel it, and that could get scary! This is a wonderful offering from Great Divide!!

Prosit!!

overall: 4.6
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 5

855

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Photo of Boto
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber: This one pours a cloudy brown color, with a fairly good amount of an almost tan head. The aroma is quite nice. A fairly potent wiff of caramel malts, with maybe a hint of pineapple, along with some other mixed fruits. You taste some sweetness, but it is up against some strong hops here. Caramel malts with hints of fruits, spiciness, and a somewhat thicker, silky mouthfeel. This would probably age very well, but it is quite good now!

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The more I try Great Divide beers, the more I am impressed. Old Ruffian pours a darker amber color with definite red hues. The beer is mostly murky and has a great head retention that remains throughout. Decent lacing but becomes nonexistent over time.

The smell is rich in sweet malt. A prolific aroma with great hints of plums and raisins. For the malt a stronger caramel hint comes to mind, but other tones are present as well. Such as butterscotch and dry cherry flavor.

The taste is warm. A sweet and very complex malt is noticeable. With strong tastes of brown sugar and molasses. The malt does really well backing up the hop aroma behind it. The hops are not overpowering and I am impressed on how well the compliment each other.

The mouthfeel is one of the drawbacks on this beer. I feel that the stronger phenols make it a "hot" beer taste. Understandably on its high ABV, but I would like this to be a little bit smoother. Although I bet if I were to age this a year or two, it would be outstanding

Overall a great barelywine. A little hot in the taste but a beer I would like to get more of.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a perfect looking Barley wine. A cloudy brown/maroon color with an extraordinary head; about 1 inch thick and stays for years it seems, leaving lacing all the way down the glass until the last sip. I can barely see through the glass.

Very fruity aroma. Raisins and pineapples with molasses and figs. Strong hop up front as well. A heavy yeast smell is also present. Terrific bouquet of fruits. Sweet and syrupy smell. Very complex.

There are a lot of hops in here but I absolutely love every last ounce of hops added to this baby. The hops dont overpower the wonderful fruity smell. The hops and malt are in perfect unison. The alcohol is present at first and warms as it goes down. Not too overpowering and quite good alcohol flavor. Molasses and brown sugar with caramel are the flavors up front. Citrus fruits, predominately grapefruit and a sweet syrupy flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth and damn near perfect. Plenty of malt in the backbone that makes this a smooth drinker.

My favorite barleywine I have access to. A great winter warmer beer that would be terrific on a cold rainy day. Hell, I could drink this any day of the year.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mid September 2005. Received via trade with Lostbearbrew.

Presentation- 22oz bomber with no visibile dating. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky Chestnut color. 3/4 inch head. Almost milkshake like in head appearance. Decent lacing.

Smell- Sweeter caramel scents. Hints of butterscotch and powdered sugar..

Taste- Not as in your face as Old Gaurdian. The hops are definitely present though. Nice sweet thickness too it. Plenty of dark fruits to go around. Mostly raisins and maybe some dates. Huge caramel background as well as some alcohol soaked cherry flavor. Brown sugar comes through as well.

Mouthfeel- Warming, a bit sryupy and super smooth. Very low carbonation. Thick as viscous.

Drinkability- One of the better BW's I have had. Not my favorite, but one I would have down the line again for sure. Good after dinner warmer.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This poured out the color and consistency of motor oil (in a good way). No head and minimal lace. I have never seen bubbles move so slowly in a beer.

Smell: Tons of floral hop and booze aroma with sweet preserved figs in there somewhere.

Taste: Incredible. This is most definately the most interesting and best barleywine I've ever tasted. Lots of sweet dried fruit and hops with a little booze mixed in. Very chaotic on my first few sips, but as I progress, they all seem to intertwine perfectly, not one flavor dominates the others.

Mouthfeel: Very thick with hardly-there carbonation. Like drinking cough syrup (in a good way).

Drinkability: Definately drinkable enough to finish a bomber all by myself. The only thing preventing me from popping another is the high alcohol content.

I have come across some American barleywines that have almost turned me off from from the style by completely overhopping it to the point of nudging out the malt character. This is one beast of a beer, and it is as close to perfection as I have ever tasted in a barleywine.

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Photo of oberon
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
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 Higravity
2.82/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well this BW is not for me. Thick syrup of crystal malt with extra sugar added in. A nice red brown color and a good head, but I could tell from the color it was going to be syrupy. Smell was pretty damn fine and the best thing about this one. Full of hoppy pine and earthy digs, sharp distinct citrus that fold with the sweetness of berry fruit all of it sitting on top of a caramel and a hint of roastedness punched with alcohol. The taste was like a big hop bomb that someone had but too much sugar into like the kool-aid that kids will make when their Mom isn't watching. The beautiful floral hops are awash in the sugar and alcohol, the malt flavors are stunted by all the sweetness. Thank god I was sharing this with two other people.

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Photo of texashammer
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red-orange color and hazy; appropriate for the style from what I know. Beautiful, fine head. Nose is sweet floral spicy hops, and honey. Very smooth mouthfeel, body, flavor, finish. Overwhelming smooth for being so hoppy. Bready, toasty, nutty malt flavors and huge hops! Finish is bready, yeasty, bitter. Drinkability is hurt by alcohol, but a really great beer.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber is a lot of barley wine - a style for me where a little ususally goes a long way. Fortunately, for all the heft of this beer, it does manage to pull off a reasonable degree of drinkability. Poured an amber walnut. Sweet malt in the aroma. A big whack of sweet malt and hops land up front, the sweetness well balanced by the hops bittering. Caramel flavor predominates, thinning out at the end to what reminded me of Cracker Jacks. Sweetness hangs on throughout, but not cloying or tongue-coating. Long finish of caramel, with a little alchohol peaking through.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a dark reddish-brown color. The big, creamy head is tan with light tan speckles. The aroma is a battle between citric hops and sweet malt. The winner of the battle seems to be my nose. The taste is big and bold. The sip is very bitter, while the aftertaste, alought still bitter, is quite sweet. The inside of my mouth is actually tingling long after the beer has pass though it. Beside the tingling the mouthfeel is full bodied and lively carbonated. Overall, this is a really good beer, but I would like to see the malt a little more. Perhaf, the malt would show more if I had aged this brew longer than six months.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dense, cream colored head that fades slowly leaving a nice coat of lace. Inviting, thick aroma of chewy candied grapefruit hops and butterscotch. Transparent dark mahogany colored head with a ruby hue and streams of large bubble rising slowly to the top. Moderately sweet, chewy pine and grapefruit hops on a big malt base. A hint of bitterness fades in midway through is joined by some cotton candy. Finish is flavorfull and quite warming, but not distracting. A full bodied beer that remains just short of slick. Big, tasty, sweet beer that verges on all 4.5's and manages to push the bounds of big beer without taking it too far.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a thick dark brownish red with a tall light tan pillowy head. Plenty of sticky lace and good head retention. Big hoppy nose with plenty of citric and piney hops over a great solid malt base. Some caramel, fruits and a bit of toastiness round out the aroma. Toasted malts with a big dark fruit sweetness and a touch of caramel start off the taste. Plenty of hoppiness mixing about here with grapefruit and pine notes over the sweetness. Both the malt and the hops come on strong. A bit of a bittersweet bite to the finish. Sticky sweet feel with a plenty thick body. Somewhat dry as well. Excellent drinkability here for a brew with so much alcohol and complexity. So much going on and a great mix of big hops and big malt.

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Photo of bditty187
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark gold in hue, bronze influenced as well with coppery-amber highlights. Hazy. The liquid is darker than I was expecting, lovelier as well. The head was faint beige in color; at the apex the foam was two-fingers in height. Head retention was excellent; the foamy mass of bubbles just sat on top of the beer like it was protecting it. Teflon. Impenetrable. A tight cap did last the entire consumption and I took my damn time drinking this! The subsequent lacing was thick and coating, oh so impressive! Beer porn.

The nose mumbles a bit, plus it talks in a low, but sexy, voice. Regardless, it clearly states this beer is an American Barleywine. Hoppy? Yes, but not as aromatic of Bigfoot. Malty? Yes, but not as rich as Old Backus. Fruity? Yes… but the aromas are hidden, somewhat, they are dark and mildly tropical. Raisins. Figs coated in chocolate. Spicy pine. Citrus. The alcohol is also in play. Caramel. Spruce. Okay, screw my lame comparisons; the nose is great, simple as that. It is rich; it has tremendous depth. There is the right amount of aggression and the ideal amount of compassion. There is an angry hoppy side and a loving malty side to cuddle up with. I wish this beer screamed at me. No matter the tone, this beer is very inviting. Oh, hell yeah…

The palate is… delicious. NFM. Okay, I’ll go on. It is rich and alcoholic. I adore the malty sweet throughout, the caramel and toffee notes suits me just fine. The light chocolate notes are graceful. Playful candied fruits are a lovely addition. It is spicy and hot with prickly citrus zest, some spruce and pine needles. Grapefruit flesh. Moderate bitterness but it is very firm and it stands up well to the malt. Raisins. Figs. Tropical melons. Is yummy a taste or a feeling? Because this beer tastes yummy! In a nutshell, this beer is a “Top 3” American Barleywine. It isn’t the loudest or angriest or the most articulate but it scores very high in every attribute and thus it really kicks ass. There is plenty of depth; I love what I taste. I am savoring every drop.

Rich, creamy mouthfeel, the low carbonation is so damn fitting! The mouthfeel is smooth; it is velvet in liquid form. Long, malty sweet but bitter aftertaste... this a reward, plus it doesn’t let me forget what I just swallowed. It begs to be paired with cheese and meat and rich fruit. It begs to be paired with a glass. This beer can fly solo. The mouthfeel is so damn relaxing without being lazy or monotonous. In fact, I can’t think of a Barleywine with a better mouthfeel. Perfect.

Dangerously drinkable, it is a flawless beauty in this regard. The palate wasn’t “perfect” but my yearning for another ten bombers is through the roof! I really want more of this beer. I would spoil myself silly if I could drink this everyday. WTF… would I ever be sober? Big beer. Big flavors. Big kudos to Great Divide, this is awesome stuff. I purchased my bomber in Boulder, CO. I highly recommended it.

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Photo of lostbearbrew
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep burgundy's and mahogany's in the pour, with a resemblance to nothing else I've seen. The hues of reds and scarlets in this brew are amazing under a halogen light.

The smell on this baby is quite fine - a rush of piney hops, malt, fruit (plums, I think, predominantly) and a little alchohol...

As you take your first sip - be aware - this is a complex beer. The layers seem to change on almost every sip, where you often taste something new each time you swallow. Although the overlaying tastes are the same as the smells, there is also a hint of roasted grains, and some chocolate, perhaps. As the glass warms, it seems to gain even more character, adding not flavors, but seemingly layers to the complexity.

Up until recently, I didn't really "get" barleywines, but I must admit this is one that I am fully latched on to and enjoy tremendously.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber. Pour a beautiful clear garnet/mahogany red. A creamy whipped head forms that lasts the entire pint. Notes of caramel/toffee, cooked brown sugar, and ton of hops rush right to the nose. You can taste all 90 IBUs in the beer. Almost to a fault. There is an alcohol burn that I can do without also. There is some big hop flavor with enough malt sweetness to keep this beer from crossing into the Imperial IPA catagory. Quite full bodied and mouthfilling. Everything clings to your tounge for a while. I think it might hang on too long. Old Ruffian is worth the 6 buck I paid for it. I just think it might be a bit too over the top.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with very little light penetration, and a thick frothy tan head that retains well for such a high abv brew. Aroma packs a huge hop punch, with big citrus and floral scents and a strong caramely/molasses like malt backbone. Wow, they werent kidding when they said "Hop Forward". Taste begins with a big hop wallop, huge citrus, pine resin, floral and earthy hops followed by a nice but not quite as big malt profile. The malt side of the equation is bready, lightly toasted, caramely, and molasses like with a nice sweetness to compensate for the overwhelming hops presence. The finish is bitter, and drying with a mild biting alcohol presence that is not unpleasant. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a big body. Drinkability is good, but this is a barleywine so you should really take it slow. Another great offering from great divide, definately something to seek out if you like big beers (especially hoppy ones).

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber

brilliant red with hints of orange along the edges.. creamy tan head that shrinks down to something very substantial for a barleywine.. like the head on an espresso! lacing forms quickly. big carbonation. aroma is absolutely perfect. sweet maple and brown sugar mouth-watering goodness with fresh cannabanoid hop perfume. slight hint of alcohol in the nose, deep breaths let me feel it in my throat. powerful. first sip presents an overwhelming bitterness that fades fast... light body and mouthfeel peppered with carbonation helps this beer go down easy. flavor oozes roasted malts and waxy bitterness is so aggravatingly dominant. wish there was more of the sweetness in the body, but less is usually the preferred style. this beer screams west coast and i could spend hours with my nose buried in the opening of my tulip glass. warmth evokes more layers of bitterness.. some salty bread and raw hop oils. an excellent exercise in barleywine mastery. yet another good beer from the G-to-the-D.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby red / dark gold color with a medium sized light tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was hoppy, sweet caramel, lots of malts and fruits, and light alcohol. Very complex aroma. Sweet malts, citrus fruits, strawberries, lots of hops, and strong alcohol finish. Very young, but should age with the best of them.

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.22 out of 5 based on 2,425 ratings.
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