Old Ruffian Barley Wine | Great Divide Brewing Company

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,106 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:
1,106
Ratings:
2,455
Avg:
4.21
pDev:
9.98%
 
 
Wants:
296
Gots:
446
For Trade:
20
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,106 | Ratings: 2,455
Photo of markman
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Ruffian Barleywine:

Quite possibly the perfect barleywine…big-time hops, wicked-large bodied, and de-freakin’-liceous. Beautiful deep crystal-clear garnet pour under a head as thick a whipped cream. As hoppy as this is (85-90 IBU), somehow it manages to drive home a caramelly malt presence that is out of this world…possibly my favorite of the style to date, near perfection in an American Barelywine; maybe it’s my mood, but maybe, just maybe, this is the perfect nightcap…and at 22oz, good-night bro.

Cheers...

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Photo of unclederby
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This old ruffian pours beautifully, a murky dark amber topped off by a creamy, frothy tan head. Lots of bubbles work their way up from the bottom of the pour. The head doesn't stay too long but bits of sticky lacing coat the glass.

Lots of good stuff on the nose: caramel, raisins, wood, chocolate.

Flavours of caramel, honey, raisins and chocolate present themselves upon sipping. Sweet up front, it all smooths out nicely in the middle and then the piney, sappy hops kick in and assert their presence on the finish. We're left with a bittersweet aftertaste.

Alcohol is noticeable more by it's warming effect than in the taste.

Mouthfeel is full and viscous: slick and oily with good carbonation. It lingers...

Well let me tell you i am torn on it's drinkabilty. I could sip a bomber say over a period of a couple of hours... but i think that's about it. With it's nice hop character this barleywine is a bit of a palate wrecker. Definitely screams "nightcap", and one to share too...

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Photo of ohmybock
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one in the past, but for the most part it's been a year or more. However, I finally had this one again last month on tap at the Barley's in Greenville, SC and loved it. With that being said, this rating is from a new bottle.

This fresh bottle came unexpectedly from a friend. It pours a clear, dark-ish, amber color with a mild head. It certainly looks inviting. The aroma isn't great, but it's not bad either. I was expecting more hops in the aroma (which I seem to remember from the tap version), but this bottle leans a bit more toward the malty side in the aroma. The taste surprised me after first experiencing the aroma. The taste is malty, but with a nice blast of hop flavor and decent bitterness too...nice! This is way too drinkable for a beer of this strength. Actually, it got better and better as it warmed. I think I liked the draft version slightly better, but this is really good too. This bottle has completely restored my faith in the bottled version of this brew. The last bottle I had was a total disappointment. To be fair, thinking back now...I'm sure that last bottle had been aged...which I don't normally like in my hoppy, American-style brews. In my opinion, drink this brew fresh or not at all.

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Photo of KyleVick4
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber

A: Pours a clear ruby red with a massive head and wonderful lacing. Looks like a superbly brewed beer.

S: Wow, I can smell this beer without bringing it to my nose. When I do, I catch thick citrusy hoppiness with a sweet malt smell. Virtually no alcohol smell for 10% I am impressed. Rich bisuit malt can already be smelled and the caramel is present as well.

T: Mmmmm this is a thick chewy heavy heavenly beer. Lots of bisuit malt up front with caramel in the background. Normally that order is reversed but Im a huge fan of biscuit so naturally this works out well for me. Hints of chocolate malt come through as it warms. The hopiness is nicely done and does not overpower the heavy malt flavors. Damn I hate to do it, but this may be worthy one of the few 5 taste ratings I will ever give out...

M: As I stated earlier, it is very thick and chewy. Which is expected for this style of beer. The carbonation is right on par and the feel is warming to the taste buds. What I like about the feel is it is not creamy like other 'barleywines' its thick heavy and rich.

D: For a barleywine I have been continuously sipping this bad boy, the beer does seem to whisper to me while I am typing, which may be a good thing. Or a terrible thing...

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Photo of AMo
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine Style Ale pours a brilliant orangish amber with a huge froathy multi inch head. The smell is moderate in strength of hops with a mild fruit aroma that settles in the background. Taste is huge on hops with a touch of sweetness coming from a caramel like note, and then followed by an ever so slight touch of bitterness to balance the sweet. Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth with an initial moderate amount of carbonation. This fades into a lighter carbonation feel at about half glass. Overall drinkability is just fantastic, offering multiple great traits from every aspect of this brew. This was an absolute pleasure to drink, and even with its 10.2 ABV it drinks easier than most 3.2 ABV beers, but with a huge kick of course.

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

A: Dark copper colored and clear liquid. A massive creamy and
off-white head forms and stays for long. Nice lacings on the glass.

S: Lots of caramel malts up front. I can also find maple syrup, candy sugar, bananas, orange peel and honeydew melon. Some earthy tones and alchohol at the end. The alcohol smell is very mellow for a beer of 10.2% ABV.

T: Starts with a distinct malty flavour and then continues with maple syrup, burnt sugar, and honeydew melons. Very sweet. The alcohol is distinct and most noticeable at the end. It leaves a long and clean bitter grapefruit peel aftertaste.

M: Full bodied with a nice and oily texture. The alcohol burns a little. Low to medium carbonation.

O: Hands down one of my favorite Barley Wine style beers. Fantastic!

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Photo of otto251068
3.02/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 1 pt 6 fl oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice. "Bottled on Nov 29, 2011" printed on the label, making this beer about seven months old.

Appearance: Pours an amber, reddish dark brown color. Transparent, clean, and no bubbles present. After the pour a lively tan head rises to a quarter inch, then fades. The remaining bubbles are small and dense, with a few larger bubbles lingering. All that is left after a few seconds is some wispy thin remnants and a ring hugging the glass.

Smell: Extremely malty right out front, very intense. Brown sugar, molasses, and dark caramel are there as well. The 10% ABV is fairly evident, and comes out strong in the aroma.

Taste: Burnt caramel up front, some charred oak as well. The 10.2% ABV is very present in the taste. Tons of bitterness on the back end, with soapy, piney hops lingering. The aftertaste is all bitterness and char.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and medium carbonation. Thick, chewy, and syrupy are a few words to describe the body. The carbonation level is just on the edge of being on the low side. The bubbles are a nice contrast to the heavy flavors.

Overall: A little too hop forward. It is really hard to distinguish any other flavors besides the bitter hops, burnt flavors, and high alcohol. Otherwise mouthfeel, appearance, and smell all fit in with the style. Fairly hard to finish this one, not easily drinkable.

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Photo of BigB415
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on November 20th, 2010. Pours light red into my Bruery tulip with small head. Smells of pine, hops and alcohol. Tastes of more pine, bitter hops and alcohol. I also get some "smooth" notes that makes it go down easy. Something like butter, I know it sounds weird but it's hard to explain. My only complaint is the bitter hops but it's a barleywine so it goes along with the style. I have had some barleywines though where the bitter hops weren't as upfront. A very solid beer from a great brewery that hasn't failed to disappoint me yet.

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

22oz brown bottle, no freshness date. Pours a dark reddish brown, cloudy with no head. Aroma is bready and sweet, lots of sweet malt, and some citrus hops and fruit to balance it out.

Taste is first a sweet barley with somewhat tannic yeast in the background, followed by a mouthful of some fruity and citrus hops. The hops and fruit flavors balance out the malt quite well, but the taste is still very characteristic of a strong barley wine. Aftertaste is an astringent and tannic wine-like yeast feel combined with the presence of tangy hops. Mouthfeel is very smooth with mild carbonation and quite a bit of yeast flavor, contrasting with the very strong taste.

Very smooth and drinkable for a strong barley wine, very savory with a pleasant aftertaste.

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Photo of yeastsipper
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice copper color with big fluffy head. A very good looking beer.

Smell is of sweet malt which is overshadowed by a bitter and citrus - some lemon, lime and grapefruit aromas.

Taste is much the same. Great balance, yet big, bold flavors. The beer is alternately sweet and bitter. Hops play a huge role, but there is always a malt backbone. As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes very evident.

This is a great beer. Tons of bold flavor. A huge alcohol kick as well. Seek this out....

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

2005 bottle ~ thanks Dan ~ . There are no markings or dates on the bottle . Dan told me that it is a 2005 though . When poured into my Spaten beer mug it has a a huge 2 finger head . The head had the smallest bubbles and it look like vanillla ice cream . Dark ruby / brown color is very inviting . The head has reduced and there is nice lacing with the head no at one finger . The Smell is of raisins , dates and figs . It is sweet tasting but slick too . 2/3 through this bottle and the heat is feeling good . I am a fan of Hog Heaven, Olde School & Killer Penguin but this might be my fav .

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Photo of boston2bburg
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky fig color with a couple fingers of creamy khaki head that leaves strong layers of lacing down the snifter. It hangs around in a clump at one side and a ring around the glass.

Caramel malts hit the nose first, then dark chocolate, toffee, and roasted malts. The fruit talked about on the label begins to shine with warmth - mostly of the dark variety like fig and prune. Some earthy hops round things out.

Flavor is far more bitter than the nose lets on, a great swath of which expands across all corners of the palate with the first sip. Again, these hops are earthy and woody, developing some floral and slight grapefruit character as it warms. Caramel and chocolate are still prevalent all along. Five degrees or so of warmth makes all the difference. With the second pour out of the bomber, you're now drinking a vanilla caramel praline ice cream cone with chocolate sauce, albeit still with a bitter backbone, but more subdued.

The mouthfeel is massive and robust, and the hop bitterness is relentless. I'd recommend cellaring this one for a while. Alcohol only shows up both in nose and on tongue towards the final 20% of the beer, but it's so full-bodied, it's one and done per sitting for this one. It's a great version of the style but a bit too bitter for me at least at this age.

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Photo of wescj
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

Color is a very deep ruby red, and the body is so clear it almost shines. Very thick head, and lace is pretty good for a barly wine.

Aroma is very prominant, and should be a benchmark for the style. The hops are all orange and pine, the malts are sweet and caramel.

I don't know if I've ever had a better barly wine. There are some good dark fruits and a nice presense of alcohol. Some hops and malts as in the nose, and the sweetness is exactly what it should be.

Mouthfeel is perfect, and this one's fairly drinkable, if there is such a thing for huge barly wines. Excellent, all around.

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Photo of Stonebreaker
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This is perhaps the reddest barleywine I've seen, a hypnotizing vampirish red. The head is healthy along with the lacing, no doubt a product of a hefty hop addition.

Smell: Again the strongest hop aroma on a barleywine that I've had, mixed with that particular, not quite caramel, signature barleywine smell I know and love.

Taste and Mouthfeel: A creamy, hoppy, warming creation, very similar to a dogfish head 90 min. IPA with an extra helping of the hops or perhaps simply an earlier addition to the boil. A wee bit of chocolate and caramel in the front smooth and creamy on the palate and a hop wallop in the back. Very good.

Drinkability: I have to be in the mood for lots of hops, not to mention barleywine. The IBU's, alcohol, and price on this one make it an occasional sipping brew, but nonetheless a treat.

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Photo of humulus
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: reddish, chocolate with a beige head.

S: malt, chocolate, syrup, leather, red berries and dark fruits.

T: very well balanced. Dried fruit, chocolate, pomerans, orange zest, bit of oak, bitterness that is very well balanced against the fruity chocolate sweetness.

M: creamy, smooth, elegant.

O: World class. This is incredibly good. Just a shame I only got one bottle and it's out of stock in Sweden.

Drank from snifter.

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Photo of goethean
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Two conflicting impluses I feel.

One: 6.99 for a beer?! what a rip off!

Two: oh, this is so, so good.

My personal standard for a balanced barleywine is Anchor Old Foghorn. What we have before us here is a bigger, badder, meaner, darker, more complex Old Foghorn. Updated for the 21st century, you might say.

Duvel glass. Massively malty nose. Great big flavor profile from tiny sips, big burnt English toffee sweetness and an immediate streak of bitter flavor hops that blends right into the mouth-coating Chinook finish. Really a strongly, almost irritatingly hoppy aftertaste. We're in IIPA territory here.

I marked it down on the drinkability because a 22 oz bottle is like 5 servings. Also, you should be a fan of big big beers in order to enjoy this one.

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Photo of chalsk
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with an off white soapy head. It has an aroma of citrus, pine, and tons of caramel. Sweet caramel taste with some citrus notes on the bitter, pine finish. A very tasty barleywine. I love the mix of hops in this brew. May consider aging one.

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Photo of wd40
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown appearance with lots of sediment, making it very cloudy. Interestingly herbal aroma with sweet maple syrup undertones. Very bitter hoppy flavor. Herbal hops left lots of hops. Linger bitterness hurts drinkability a little, but still great. Were the finish a little drier, I think the overall taste and drinkability would be enhanced. Still a good brew, and worth having.

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Photo of johnnybgood1999
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this bomber at a Hy-Vee grocery store in St. Joseph MO. I really love this beer. I haven't had too many of this style, but this is the best one I've had yet. The drink starts out mild and then explodes with falvor, which is probably my favorite part of this beer. Malty sweetness up front. Alcohol makes itself known at the front of the mouthful, but mixes well. I can't place the type of hops that come out once the drink's good and in your mouth. They're great though.

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Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- An off white head that seems to last forever, gently going down to a finger, pours a dark ruby red, and very clear.

S- Complex might be an understatement, a Little woody/piney, with some nice hops, a bit of alcohol and some sweet cherry or prunes. Yum.

T- Super Smooth, zero rough edges, very well rounded for a barley wine, upfront flavors of dark carmel, wood, rich chocolate, and a good amount of grapefruit bitterness. Also some Alcohol as well.

M- Great carbonation level, nothing spectacular here

D- Overall a great barley wine, definitely a sipper but if you are a fan of Barley wines you must try this beer.

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Photo of Acoke
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle Poured into a tulip glass.

A- Two fingers worth of head. Gorgeous blood orange caramel color. Great looking beer

S- Lots of hops up front with a sweet caramel background.

T- Huge hop presence with substantial bitterness. Definitely taste the alcohol in it. Not getting much other flavors out of this, maybe just a tiny hint of caramel.

M- Smooth beer but a little light on the tongue. Every sip I was trying to make an assessment, but the flavors(or lack there of) vanished before I could get a grip on it.

O- Good beer, just not what I was expecting. Kinda new to Barley wines so I may be off on this one but I'm told this is better with age.

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Photo of ryantho00
3.79/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass....pours to a deep ruby/amber/orange color that leaves a nice 1.5 finger and great lacing.

This beer has a weird smell to me, kind of like a very earthy smell, which doesn't appeal to me at all, but the taste fixes all of that.

I have to say, this is only the second barleywine I've had, but from beginning to end, this is great. It has a full bodied, chewy mouthfeel that gives way to a slightly fruity, apple and grapey taste, that is killed off instantly with a hoppy bitterness that is then killed with an almost toasted taste. It has a smoothness throughout and a subtle sweetness underneath the entire beer. Very smooth and good balance through the whole drink. I do taste hops in the aftertaste and a nice alcohol warming that isn't overpowering at all.

I wouldn't be able to drink this all night but it is very flavorful and smooth with a nice complexity that is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of misinformed
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottled 12/29/09. Pint glass.

A- Nice deep, cherry brown beer poured with 1" light tan head that quickly receded to a dusting. Last glass was hazy with a bit of sediment. No lacing.

S- Not particularly strong. The first scent I get is hops. Piney and bitter citrus. Some faint fruity sweetness and caramel malts. Traces of alcohol as it warms.

T- Starts off with a mellow caramel malt sweetness followed by a strong dose of bitter citrus and faintly pine hops. Long bitter finish. Some alcohol present as well.

M- Medium bodied, slightly syrupy but smooth still smooth. Subtle alcohol warmth is present in the back of my throat.

D- Hmmm. I didn't really taste any of the "subtle fruit aromas" the label mentions, but it was a darn good barleywine. Good warmth. Nice caramel sweetness followed the strong bitter hops and long finish. Balance leans towards hops for sure. The caramel and bitter citrus hoppiness worked for me, but I tend to prefer a slightly fruiter barleywine. I would drink this again though.

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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 jkendrick
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very nice and clear amber color with a thick light tan head. Light is visible through this. In fact, the clarity is such that you can read through the glass. The head recedes moderately fast, but seems to hang around quite a bit longer than most barleywines. Thick, clumpy lacing clings to the side of the glass.

Aroma: Floral with a some caramel maltiness. It is sweet in the nose though and the alcohol isn't obvious.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, medium-bodied with mild carbonation.

Taste: Wow, very hoppy for a barleywine. The malty sweetness is there, but doesn't quite have enough to balance out the bitter. The alcohol is very present in the finish and after the swallow. Flavors are caramel and some pine, but it is tough to distinguish much over the intense bitterness and heavy alcohol.

Overall impression: Overall, this is just too bitter for me, especially for the style. I love hops, but want to taste the flavors not just the crushing bitterness. About halfway through I pulled out some almonds and that pairing really helped. This is a young bottle, just over a month old. I really think this would be better served after aging.

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Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 2,455 ratings.
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