Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

Old Ruffian Barley WineOld Ruffian Barley Wine
2,464 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
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Ratings: 2,464 |  Reviews: 1,111
Photo of Joecaddie
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of touchmeimsac
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of dnb128
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of rsquared59
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled this at an epic tasting hosted by EinWeizenbitte. Thanks a ton Todd!

Roughly six-month-old bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Huge, fluffy, tan-peach head surges up from a hazy, autumn red-brown body. Top-notch retention and tons of sticky lace. Consistent streams of carbonation feed the head throughout the session. Looks fantastic!

Smell: Tons of caramel and honey, with a solid dosage of hop resin to boot. Smells sweet and syrupy with a touch of pine in the back. Not too complex, but smooth and spot-on.

Taste: Maple syrup, wood, some butter and bready doughy malt, and, oh yeah, TONS of piney hops. I can't imagine what this would taste like fresh. Conversely, I'd love to taste one that's got a few years on it. A very, very, hop-forward barleywine. Yum. EDIT (06-07-09): drinking it fresh right now, and damn it is awesome!

Mouthfeel: Resinous, syrupy, and very warm. Medium carbonation. Pretty thick body. I think this one needs a little time to cool off. EDIT (06-07-09): Fuck that - totally hittin' the spot right now.

Drinkability: Again, a little time would do this one good. This was very bitter and very hot; very delicious, but very bitter and very hot. Can't wait to get my hands on a bottle or two of my own! EDIT (06-07-09): Just depends on the mood you're in. This is disappearing quick tonight!

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Photo of KG710
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of aforbes10
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

well, ive had this bottle for a couple of months and i was going to wait a year to drink it but all the reviews suggest that it doesnt really need to age very much and that its basically good to go right away. so here goes...

pours a deep majestic red like liquid mahogany. densely packed, short head. syrupy looking lacing hugs the glass. massive hops nose with more than a hint of ethanol. obviously a lot of malt in the nose too. not exactly how i think of a barleywine smelling....more like a super malty double IPA. But hey, wow, the taste is something else. this IS a good beer. initially there's a very bitter hoppy taste with little hints of breadiness and fruitiness and the malt really just acting as a kind of delivery system for tons of hops. Then, as it warms and your mouth becomes acclimated to it, there's some orange zest and maybe even some grapefruit that becomes more noticeable. by the end it really is like a good well aged barleywine...nice and sweet and fruity and great. The mouthfeel is appropriately thick and syrupy. its overall not terrifically well balanced, but i wonder if it should be? Lastly, its maybe a bit too much to drink a whole bomber in one sitting....i did, of course, and i kind of regret it because its one of those beer that i know will give me a swirly feeling in the morning (it did). but, yeah, ill buy some more.

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Photo of LarryMyers
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of carolinabeerguy
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a Duvel tulip. Bottled on: Dec 10 2009 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights and a 3 finger fluffy light tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Sweet floral hops, caramel malt, candied fruit and citrus.

Taste: Caramel malt up front followed by sweet citrus in the middle then ending with a blast of bitter grapefruit and pine at the finish. Alcohol is evident but not overpowering. Aftertaste is bitter and earthy. This is one hoppy barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a fairly low amount of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy. Alcohol warmth comes through on the way down.

Drinkability: High drinkability. This is obviously a sipper but one you'll enjoy the whole way through.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. Old Ruffian is a very good barleywine that I'd highly recommend, especially if you are a hop lover.

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Photo of birdsellam
1.5/5  rDev -64.3%

Photo of Techichi
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of jewellrunner
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a dense tan head. lots of thick lace. Smells of hops, tangerine, grapefruit and smoky malt.

Taste is surprisingly hoppy and citrusy. Bitter hops permeate the rich malt. Big carame-like malt. Big body with a sweet and lightly sticky finish. Very long hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. Pretty drinkable. I like a hoppy barleywine but this one might have been too much. Might need some age to take that edge off. Still, a stellar and tasty barleywine.

 480 characters

Photo of webmanspidey
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a chalice. Dark brown with the perfect amount of fizzy head. This looks perfect. Smell is a nice combination of sweet honey, hops, grain, molassses/syrup. Taste is bitingly bitter at first but heavy and malty. There is a strong alcohol content but it is very smooth and drinkable, not having any problem with it. Thick and creamy mouthfeel.

This is a really great beer. I'm going to seek it out again. It is actually not as bitter and extreme as others in the style I've had but it is probably one of the best.

 530 characters

Photo of Stigs
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle bated 12/09

served in a chalice

A - pours with a hort-lived layer of sudsy, light tan foam, settling to a thin ring and few floating patches of bubbles. the beer is a beautiful, clear, ruby grapefruit color.

S - classic american barleywine scents: robust caramel malts, tobacco, notes of dark fruits, vanilla and rum, abundant booze, oxidized hops.

T - bold sweet caramel, dark fruits, biting alcohol, and hop bitterness all battle each other for the top billing. definite this beauty within chaos, as each flavor plays off another. hops are slightly grapefruit forward, the years have not completely devoid them of taste. alcohol cleans it all up with a hint of rum and tobacco.

M - medium body yet on the chewy side, lifted slightly by moderate tight carbonation. welcome and warming alcohol heat clean up most of the (good) mess itself. lingering hop bitterness. perfect.

O - a stellar beer, great fresh or with some years on it. this one even at the "awkward" 2-3 year mark for a barleywine still delivers. mental note, get more of this, enjoy a few now and lay some down for the future.

 1,111 characters

Photo of HappyHourHero
4/5  rDev -4.8%
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 bort11
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip wine glass. Off white fluffy head stands a finger thick drops down to a sticky lace. An absolutely gorgeous lace ring sticks to the glass and stays there to the end. Color is a beautiful ruby red.
Smell is not very pronounced. Notes of hops and some caramel malts. Taste really comes through though. The first sip, when held on the tongue, has a brief flash of fruitiness. The hops then comes through in the finish. The hops are very mellow, not trying to stab you in the tongue. Slightly smokey.
Mouthfeel is a little thin, but that's OK. Still very smooth.
What a great sipper. Now that this is available local I can stock up and see how it ages.

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Photo of KeefD
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep rich amber color with a huge khaki colored head that left some gorgeous fat rings of lacing down the pint glass. Yep, hop-forward indeed. The initial nose on this one is all hops, mostly the American varieties which impart the standard grapefruit and pine notes, but there is some caramel buried deep down, maybe some fruitiness, but as far as I can tell, this is all hops. Flavor changes the mood. Delicious, deeply caramelized sugars, molasses, and dark fruit reminiscent of plum and raisin make up a bulk of the malt profile, but it's extremely well balanced by the bitter, pithy, grapefruit rind hop flavor. I was expecting this to be hoppier than it is, but it was brewed in December of 09, so it's had the chance to fade a bit, which I think has done this beer some justice. I don't think I could handle anymore bitterness as I like my barleywines to be malt-forward. There's a touch of chocolaty flavor in there as well, but it's hard to tell with everything else going on. Body is thick an creamy, light carbonation, with the hop bite detracting from this quality only minimally. A great tasting beer, but the alcohol makes itself known and one bomber is more than enough for me. Great brewskie here and will enjoy sipping on it over the course of the next hour. Not my favorite ABW, but a damn good one.

 1,325 characters

Photo of Rborre321
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of zoso1967
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A very attractive amber mahogany color. The aroma is malty and sweet. I can detect a bit of alcohol and what smells like mandarin orange. I was quite taken aback by the flavor. Unlike other barley wines I have had, this one seems to have a bit more going on than just malt. It is a little boozy tasting with plenty of caramel and bready malt sweetness, but it also has a nice amount of citrus hop flavor. Full body for sure but it is so smooth. Definitely a sipper and not the kind of beer you would want to have more than one of in a sitting.

 543 characters

Photo of k47k
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Benesi88
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BMoney575
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-13-07

Pours a fantastic deep red color, with a huge, foamy tan head, that settles to a think, craggy layer.

Smell is very strong and fruity, big alcohol, and big hops.

Taste is huge. Tons of roasty malt, and gigantic fruity hops. Super smooth and bitter on the finish, with a definite hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel is very good, slick and creamy without building too much.

Drinkability is surprisingly good, super sweet, but well balanced.

Overall, a monster of a beer. Thicker and meatier than other barleywines, it coats you throat with bitterness and sets your mind at ease.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer even *looks* like it is going to be insane. The thick and sticky beer pours into the glass to a hazed nutty amber color with a nice thick collar of everlasting head. The lacing seems to stick fairly well.

The smell is great. Thick with sweet caramel malts with hints of earthy raisins and plums. A ton of hops dominate the aroma, however. The bouquet is heavy on the grapefruity and pine resiny hops.

The first sip provides a nice and big well-rounded bitterness accompanied by a very complex and seamless array of sweet malts. First the bitterness, then the sweet caramel, plum and fig, followed by some piney, grapefruity hop flavors with a bitter finish. Has lots of residual sugars that layer up in the mouth for added complexity as the glass finishes.

The body is huge! Thick and chewy, only a little bit syrupy and juicy. Very creamy with a light carbonation. As I said, the residuals coat the mouth for long after the last drink, and the overall taste perception seems to accumulate on the palate as you drink.

This is a perfect drinker for the barleywine season, even though it is starting to warm up a bit around here. It's one of the strongest barleywines I've had this season, but still one of the smoothest and most well rounded. Very similar to a DIPA, though the intense malt flavor tips it back to the barleywine side of the thin line.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Teas colored cloudy brew with a small head with short life and copious streaks of lacing.

S - Caramel, vanilla, pine, bourbon, molasses, oak, toffee and alcohol. Fantastic aroma. What an American barleywine is meant to smell like!

T - A bit of a sweet maltiness that quickly shifts to an intense crisp pine flavor. The aftertaste is a powerful pine bitterness with some faint grassy notes and a lot of lingering sweet molasses malt underneath. A pleasant barleywine for certain.

M - Thick with minute bubbles that tingle the tounge and gums, but i wouldn't say it feels highly carbonated. There is a bit of a film left in the mouth fromt he beer being so thick, so the refreshment is about neutral.

D - Good. I will have this again. One of the best barleywines I have had the pleasure of tasting, great work Great Divide!

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 2,464 ratings
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