Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,459 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:
2,459
Reviews:
1,109
Avg:
4.21
pDev:
9.98%
 
 
Wants:
296
Gots:
445
For Trade:
17
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,459 |  Reviews: 1,109
Photo of sendbeer
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of aasher
2.46/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This bottle was 2010 vintage. This beer poured a burnt amber in color with a one finger soapy looking off white head. The aromas were off. There were some dark fruits and a whole lot of malt. I think that this was possibly consumed a little too fresh and needed time to figure itself out. The flavors too were a mess. It was far too sweet and had a lot of molasses and candied sugars going on. The hops were still present but there was an onslaught of malt. This didn't really relate to any American Barleywines I've enjoyed in the past. It wasn't very good at all and left behind a bitter aftertaste. Like all of Great Divides beers it had the dry and sudsy mouthfeel, feeling like you had coated the inside of your mouth with soap. This has got to be one of the least enjoyable barleywines I've tired. I'd be willing to give an older bottle a try, but this '10 was just not my kind of barleywine.

 898 characters

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

2011 vintage in a Ommegang flute. Pours a deep red-orange amber. Thin persistent very light tan head fine and medium bubble head and light lacing. Aroma of spicy caramel malt, dark fruit, herbal hops and a hint of oxidation. Piney hops and sweet malt dominate the flavor with dark dried fruit and a light fruit or fruit esters component and light citrus. Nice medium mouth feel with some creaminess. The alcohol is still hot, but the pleasant combination of flavors keeps this tasty. A prototypical well made American barley wine. Tasted side by side with a 2009 in a Nostradamus flute. The 2009 has mellowed very nicely. A thicker, finer head with massive lacing. Aroma is more subdued, but still has the sweet malt, dark fruit and a hint of hops. Flavor is caramel malt, dark fruit and a hint of citrus, nicely integrated. Flavors have mellowed over time, but have combined very nicely. Body is incredibly heavy bodied and creamy. This has aged beautifully and is delicious.

 976 characters

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

A - Pours a dark brown in color, some carbonation, nice head which sticks around for a while, very nice sticky lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of sweet malts, hops, and caramel.

T - The taste is pretty sweet and hoppy, there's a little bitterness in the finish. Also a hint of alcohol.

M - Medium body. A very nice well rounded brew.

D - Very drinkable. This is a nice offering from GD, would buy again, and recommend to others.

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

The appearance was an dark amber to light brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute. A light film of lacing spider webs into the beer. The smell holds a nice bittersweet combination of sweet citrus hops running into a sticky yet somewhat toasty caramel malts. Light tropical fruits also display themselves delicately. The taste was bittersweet, taking the sweet citrus hops and running them into the toasted caramel malts. A sweet sticky citrus to malty aftertaste leads into a sticky finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a decent sipping quality about it. The carbonation seemed good for the style and for me. The bitterness is about a medium. Overall, what a wonderful American barleywine. Everything fits right, I would definitely have this again.

 828 characters

Photo of tone77
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark ruby color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of fruits, malts. Taste is hops, caramel, light fruits, bitter at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

 234 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear deep burgandy color with a two finger head that lasted quite a while, which usually doesn't happen with a barleywine.Some moderate lacing developed during the session.

Smell: caramel candy,alcohol, and strong bitterness are easily detectable.

Taste: tons of caramel and fruit sweetness nicely balanced with a strong pine bitterness, and wrapped in a soft layer of alcohol. This is surprising hoppy but it works well. Alcohol becomes more noticeable as it warms.

Mouthfeel: mostly smooth with a bit of light crispness at the start. The flavors last long into the aftertaste. Heavy bodied.

Drinkabililty: for a barleywine, quite good but it will sneek up on you. Slow sipper, but when the bottle was gone I could have had another glass. Simply a must buy.

 792 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great minds drink alike.

Poured from a bottle dated Dec. 4, 2009, into a Stone Arrogant Bastard glass. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a yellowish / brown head of small to medium bubbles. Head has some staying power but not really. Ends up broken and diffuse but leaves lacing on the glass.

The aroma is less than I expected but its fine. Caramel, a hint of hops, lots of malt.

Beer is well balanced. I can't drink a beer like this very quickly though. Full bodied, almost like I'm chewing it, a nice strong bitterness and a lot of malt character in the front. Caramel and a nice sweetness up front. Slightly bready overall great. I enjoyed it a lot.

 654 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +18.8%

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

Photo of Gobzilla
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured brown with ruby highlights that had a nice finger of head and did left some bubblt lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was quite hoppy with malts and caramel notes popping up alongside apple, slight citrus, and pine notes as well. Well this barelywine is really hoppy but rich in flavor from the caramel but it did have slight apple, citrus, pine, grassy, boozy, and sweet malts accents. The brew was medium to full in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, hoppy, slight boozy, and rich finish. It drank pretty good considering the ABV and hop punch but this type of character in a barelywine doesn't really tickle my pickle.

 656 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very vibrant off reddish/amber pour from a bomber bottle. 2 finger head that seemed to ooze aroma.
Aroma: I smell hops, some roasted malt, berries and alcohol, among other things.
This is a hop loaded barley wine. some herbs up front along with a touch of malt. the piney/citrus hops dominate this brew. some soft fruits like berries and plums are available, but not too widespread.
Crisp taste nips the alcohol in the bud, warming but not burning.
I could drink this one all night, and be completely smashed. Great beer.

 527 characters

Photo of tempest
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Maybe I'm missing something here, but this barley wine doesn't stand up to Bigfoot in my mind. I just don't find the taste or aroma here as complex and engaging. There's some very nice, long-lasting bitterness, but the citrus hops flavors weren't that crisp and the malt seemed a somewhat bland fruity biscuit taste. I do give this one credit for going own easily, but I expect more flavor from a big, bad barley wine.

 418 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of outoffocus
4/5  rDev -5%

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

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy cream colored head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a warm, rich malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a nice floral hop aroma. The taste is great also. It has a very smooth, rich malty flavor that goes down slow and easy and finishes with a warm, bitter hop taste. It is one of the smoothest barley wines I've tried. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great beer. It has tremendous flavor and aroma; a fine drinker.

 567 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm feeling cold tonight, so you know what that means...bring out the barleywine! The 22 ounce bottle, bottled on December 29, 2009, shall provide plenty of joy for the rest of the night. On to the beer:

A finger and a half worth of head lay on top this crimson colored beer. The head goes down slowly, giving a little lacing to stick.
Despite being only days shy of its first birthday, I can still smell some magic in the hops. Their tea-like aromas mixed with drippings of caramel are a great change of pace from the usual over resiny American barleywine.

For an American barleywine, it's rather sweet, but it still has some American character to it. The malt wastes no time greeting your palate with heavy carmelized malts and burnt sugar. Then suddenly some resin and tea leaf notes crop up. Gentle breezes of pine and pineapple add further complexity to this magnicifent beer. Speaking of magnificent, that mouthfeel is meaty and smooth; full bodied/grab your palate by the horns, all while the 10.2% ABV is buried like treasure.

I expected Old Ruffian to be good. I didn't expect it to be this good, considering that I am not as keen of American-style barleywines. Simply a magnificent beer to sip on throughout the night, and a slice of caramel cheesecake that the label recommends as a food pairing sounds dank.

 1,324 characters

Photo of tobelerone
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of dar482
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a deep dark copper crimson red with an light tan head.

The aroma has strong toffee, brown sugar, and caramel sweetness. There’s a deeply toasted malt aroma. The hops come through as dank resin, herbal, deep pine.

The flavor follows with bitterness in the front of herbal bitterness, tea, earthiness, and then onto a wonderful sweetness of caramel and toasted breadiness. The finish continues of earthiness, spicy hops, herbal bitterness, tea leaves, almost like vegetable kale bitterness.

Pairing this with stilton cheese is wonderful. The cheese cuts at the bitterness and accentuates the dark fruit and toffee sweetness.

A wonderful hoppy aggressive American barleywine that has sweetness to balance its big caramel sweetness.

(I had this at a share with over 5 years on it with the old, old label. The beer still drinks wonderfully as the dried fruits shine through along with the wonderful mouthfeel and toffee sweetness this beer has.)

 965 characters

Photo of Whiskeydeez
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle. I have tried it many times but this is the first time I have reviewed it.

Bottled 1/8/09 and drank 2/27/10.

Pours a hazy amber color with a large off-white head. The aroma is complex, with brown sugar, caramel and dark fruit. The flavor is brown sugar, hop bitterness, caramel, dark fruit and molasses. Medium, very smooth mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. Bottled 12/2/11, so it is basically un-aged, but I'm going to give it a try.

Appearance: rich amber hue with the tiniest touch of haze. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam with a hint of orange infused. Nice!

Smell: big sweet malt with a light fruitiness and a bit of that strong-ale prickliness. Good!

Taste: big malt and big alcohol. Sweet with some caramel notes with a bite of both bitterness and alcohol. The hops themselves don't come through very strongly other than in bitterness. Frankly, it's a bit over-alcoholic; the flavor doesn't stand up to the octane.

Mouthfeel: big body with a great carbonation and a great silkiness. Pretty awesome.

Overall: there's just too much strength here for the flavor profile. The flavor is good, but even for a barleywine it's got too much alcohol.

 842 characters

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