Old Ruffian - Barrel-Aged
Great Divide Brewing Company

Old Ruffian - Barrel-AgedOld Ruffian - Barrel-Aged
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #28
Ranked #2,200
4.19 | pDev: 10.74%
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Old Ruffian - Barrel-AgedOld Ruffian - Barrel-Aged
Reviews: 181 | Ratings: 488 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

2016 Vintage
Taken from notes on June 2017

Pours a amber brown in color with a one-finger foamy off-white head that has short retention. Smells of basement must, wet cardboard, caramel, old hops and an acidic fruity aroma. Tastes of malty sweet caramel with some fruity esters up front. mid-palate brings some tartness followed by red apple peel. The finish gives notes of tart apple cider and vinegar. medium body with moderate carbonation, foamy mouthfeel and finish. This one had some infection issues.

Oct 05, 2020
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Been waiting to crack this for quite a while, not sure on the vintage but must be quite a few years old, newer label than the picture, bottle 38/1188, 11.9%abv

No sound on cracking it, and pours with no head even aggressively, so there is no carb in this, a clear iced-tea mahogany color

Nose doesn't pop as much due to no carb but still great aromas as expected, lots of barrel, vanilla toasted oak, some whiskey, little buttery oak, big sweet malt, candy notes with caramel and toffee, mild dark fruits like fig date, and a touch of oxidation papery but soft malt

Taste hits flat again lack of carbonation, but nice barrel, big whiskey flavor, as well as some toasted and little buttery oak, big juicy malts, sweet with caramel, toffee, candy notes, more dark fruits fig raisin date but also candied molasses like dates, almost fig jam, light warming slight spicy alcohol, some nice barrel vanilla as well, bit of spicy hop bitterness late seems like it has died off, sticky sweet finish, but more alcohol warmth

Mouth is full bod, rich almost chewy, no carbonation unfortunately, with some warming alcohol

Overall this was quite nice aside from lack of carbonation, great malts, fruits, nice barrel, good alcohol level, but just the carbonation would have helped it pop nicely

May 05, 2019
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macrosmatic from Florida

4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from long-standing notes. Poured from the 750mL bottle into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass. 2015 vintage, consumed 9/2/17.

A: Rich toffee brown, quite hazy to nearly turbid. It forms a half-finger of cream-colored head that lasts decently well despite a fairly low amount of visible carbonation.

S: Whiskey and barrel, caramel and toffee. Toasted malts, some sticky dark fruit, but the toffee and brown sugar dominate here. Vanilla, and Werther’s hard candy, and sorghum.

T: Caramel and and burn from the whiskey. Vanilla and oak and sweet molasses. Brown sugar, toasted malts, dry woody tannins. Mild raisins and a touch of chocolate in the malts. More toffee at the swallow with whiskey heat, and the dry tannins linger after the swallow.

M: A nice heavy body but not syrupy, though the mouthfeel remains sticky. The alcohol, while obvious, is well-integrated. Low but as-expected carbonation sensation.

O: This isn’t a "best-in-class" barrel-aged barleywine by any stretch, but it’s not bad. For a beer this size, it stays quite drinkable with the base beer balanced with the barrel, and reasonably complex. Certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Mar 20, 2019
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear reddish copper color, minimal head. Aroma is boozy, sweet molasses, caramel. Great sweet malty flavor, molasses, caramel, toffee. Barrel presence is prominent but not dominant. Has quite a bitter finish. Thick and syrupy, quite full bodied. Overall a very nice BA Barleywine, great sipper.

12 oz bottle, 2017 vintage
4.25 rating

Jan 07, 2019
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stevoj from Idaho

3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle at barley wine share. Mahogany pour, tiny ring of beige head. Boozy, warm aroma, sweet malts, vanilla, barrel notes. Taste is up front caramely malts, plenty of alcohol warmth too. Syrupy, slick

Apr 02, 2018
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a murky reddish brown with a one finger creamy off white head. Heavy soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, toffee, oak and piney hops.

T - The taste is caramel, brow sugar, vanilla, whiskey, oak and piney hops.

M - Medium/full bodied with medium carbonation. Soft body with a crisp dry finish.

O - This is a nice whiskey aged Barleywine. The flavors are on the boozey side making this a slow sipper.

Mar 29, 2018
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beergoot from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brownish-orange body topped with a dense, stick head. Rich caramel and nougat smell; old-age sweetness; some nuttiness. The flavor mirrors the aroma along with some heavy-duty yet very approachable alcohol presence. Heavy body; chewy and oily with some counter-acting boozy dryness; warm and comforting.

Massive, bold, delicious. This monster brings on some deep and satisfying residual sugar sweetness offset with some massive yet balanced boozy presence. The deft of tongue may make note of some barrel woodiness, yet it is the malts and ABV that really make this beer standout. A fine, fine winter ale...

Dec 12, 2017
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Scott17Taylor from Iowa

4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep ruby reddish brown with a very large fluffy head.
The aroma is strong pine backed up with tons of carmelized malts, deep brown sugar toffee and a very nice vanilla oakiness from the bourbon.
The flavor is outstanding, it's sweet with tons of rich malty toffee sweetness. The barrel is pronounced, but blends well into the base beer before finishing with a very pleasant piney hop. There's a slight fruitiness that is definitely there, but isn't a dominant characteristic that just adds another layer to the beer.
Overall it's outstanding and another win by great divide!

Sep 28, 2017
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle, bottled-on date of 3/26/2015, into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a very nice blend of brown sugar, caramelized malts, oak, some fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of brown sugar, whiskey, oak-aging essence
and some fruit. Then a hearty malt character comes in. The hops presence is subdued but good for the style and helps to provide a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

Sep 10, 2017
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz Dream Divide Barrel Aged Series tulip glass at near room temperature bottled in April of 2017. Pours a very attractive dark almost mahogany, with a 2 finger off white head, that leaves little spots of lace.

Smell is oaked vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, toffee, and hints of hazelnut.

Taste follows biscuit, oaky with vanilla highlights, toffee, fig, and bourbon gets your attention in the warm finish.

Mouthfeel is a big medium, plenty of life, maybe a tad dry, and excellent drinkability for it girth.

Overall this is like its base beer, absolutely one of the best if not the best I have had. So balanced and complex.

Jul 26, 2017
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HopHunter19 from Missouri

4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice brownish red mahogany relatively clear beer with an off white head that sticks
S - big piney, caramel malt, vanilla, bourbon, sweet booze, molasses
T - big vanilla, caramel, sweet booze, oak, molasses, pine, brown sugar, toffee
M - medium heavy mouthfeel, alc present and burns in your chest a bit, aftertaste is pine, caramel malt, sweet booze
O - its... okay. I've had many a better barrel aged barleywine. But like the rest of the BA barleywines it's still an excellent beer.

Jul 19, 2017
Photo of Buck89
Buck89 from Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. A cola-brown color with a moderate haze. A one-finger tan head that slowly settled and left nice lacing. Aroma: caramel, toffee, vanilla, cherries, and a hint of whiskey and oak.
Taste was complex; rich sweet malty flavor with stone fruit notes, vanilla, and only faint whiskey. Full-bodied with a pleasing bitter finish with toffee and malt. Low-to-medium carbonation that fit for the style. I really enjoyed this - the whiskey barrel was there and complimented the beer without dominating the flavor.

Jun 18, 2017
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mothmanscott from Georgia

3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear beautiful mahogany on the first pour but becoming cloudy I on subsequent pours producing no more than 1/2-1 finger of frothy, somewhat (surprisingly) lasting, beige head that leaves some splotchy lacing. Aroma is wood, whiskey, burnt brown sugar, earthy piney hops & a spiciness I can't quite put my finger on. Taste is alcohol, brown sugar, apple cider, acetic & vinous, wood, whiskey, piney hops up front giving way to a middle that is heavy dark fruit malts & biscuity with maybe a touch of honey & a finish that brings back an overlay of the earthy, resinous hops & whiskey with alcohol detectable throughout the sip. Big alcohol, spice, acetic, earth, malt, whiskey & bitter aftertaste deepens for a brief time & then lingers. Alcohol??prominent even for this alcoholic style. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low moderate carbonation, tongue coating, wet & drawing in the aftertaste. This is not an improvement on the original in my limited opinion.

Apr 10, 2017
Photo of delta490
delta490 from Virginia

4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's a murky brown with just a faint whisp if head. The aroma is incredible with dark fruit and whiskey playing off each other, especially as it warms. The taste is much the same, with just a little earth added. It's full on the palate with a subtle carbonation throughout. Bottled 3/25/15

Mar 10, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

i have wanted to drink this beer since i first learned of its existence, which has been quite some time. i always seemed to miss it, or shy away from its price, but great divide was ahead of the curve on this one, both in terms of beer and price, and now to see bottles north of 20 dollars is not uncommon, but it sure used to be. this is without a doubt one of their best beers. a deep burnt amber color to this, plenty of viscosity evident, and more head than we usually see in american barleywine, especially barrel aged. crimson edges and pockets of thick foam. heavy caramel and toffee grain complexion greet the nostrils, sweet for sure, but with a wonderful woodiness, this is hearty beer obviously, but made almost cozy in the aroma with the warm whiskey notes from the barrel and the grain sweetness. the flavor is pretty true to style and balanced, that is, its not overly hoppy, its not too much whiskey or alcohol heat, not too sweet to drink, and without anything that really makes it weird or different, its just perfectly built. i get some dried fruit in here, maybe raisin, along with molasses and brown sugar, toasted bread, candied nuts, a little spice with the alcohol, and plenty of the oak vanilla complex from the barrel. this is a benchmark a lot of beers strive to reach, its a wonderful illustration of balance in the barrel ageing, it does not take over the base beer at all, but adds a wonderful depth to it. some of the very best great divide beer out there, worth the wait!

edit: neighbor brought over a 2012 edition (we think) for a little going away party, and man, does this one hold up well, the absolute reason you cellar beer like this, mellow alcohol, trace oxidation thats flattering in here, and a way more integrated and complex malt base than i recall, maple all over it, vanilla and oak, the bourbon holding up too, a light dried fruity tang to it, and all the body in the world. its magic now, warms up super well, and at this age, is as good as it gets in the style! a real special beer to go out with...

Jan 16, 2017
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.68/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in color and very hazy. There's a fingernail of brown around the rim and covering most of the top. The aroma is sweet bourbon and a heavy dose of malt. The taste is very sweet bourbon and malt. The mouth is thick,chewy,and warm with alcohol.

Dec 25, 2016
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a reddish brown color with 2 fingers of head that sticks around for a good while and leaves some good lacing

S: Lots of malt, bourbon, and oak up front along with caramel and some fruitiness. Vanilla also hidden in there amongst the barrel

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a big hit of the bourbon and picks up the sweet caramel maltiness, vanilla, and oak as it slowly wanders towards the alcohol, which is surprisingly well hidden for a tick under 13%. Some fruitiness wanes in and out as well. Finishes with lingering oak and bourbon

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth

O: A very nice BA barleywine that makes for a great sipper and cold weather treat. Sneakily drinkable for just under 13% too. Definitely worth checking out

Dec 15, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany color with a frothy ecru head that leaves splashy lacing all over the chalice

Smell: Charred oak and caramel, with piney tones

Taste: Charred oak and caramel tones, with piney bitterness building, through the middle; after the swallow, there is some earthy fruitiness but the finish leans piney, with a boozy character

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: This is the 2016 bottling and just a few months old, so perhaps this beer needs some time to settle down; still, I find that the beer is lacking the malty complexity that I seek in a really good barleywine

Dec 03, 2016
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larryarms847 from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a luscious and oily deep mahogany with a good amount of haze and a thin quarter finger of light rusty red foam.

Alcohol is noticeable at the first whiff, but this being a fresh bottle, I continue on with curiosity. Rich dark fruit notes of plum and raisin are apparent, but strong sweet notes of caramel, candied sugar, vanilla, and surprisingly chocolate add more complexity. Not much bourbon character aside from a bit a vanilla and spicy notes.

While strong in aroma, the alcohol is very well subdued in the sip. Flavors of vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramelized sugar, plum, and raisin wash over the palate in well balance and the high abv washes the palate dry.

Full-bodied, low-medium carbonation, chewy, warming, a bit hot.

Overall, while I haven't been blown away by Great Divide's barrel aged program, this is a home run. Fits the style perfectly and doesn't destroy the base beer. Very well done!

Nov 20, 2016
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Brown on color with a red-orange hues. Somewhat hazy. Off-white head settles after a time. Thin and wispy lacing.

S: Toasted crust, caramel, toffee, coffee cake. Earthy and piney hops. Booze-soaked raisins. undercurrents of oak, whiskey, and barrel char.

T: Burnt scones, toasted crust, and caramel chews up front. Toffee. Nutty. Subtle cocoa. Hints of red fruit. Earthy and spicy/piney hops have been rounded out a bit, but are still very noticeable. Deeply warming alcohol. Barrel char, oak, and whiskey make for a slightly drying finish.

M: Thick, rich, and full body. Chewy and a little viscous. Fine carbonation lifts just a bit. Warming alcohol is soothing.

O: Great beer. Everything you'd ever want from an American Barleywine. The barrel plays more of a supporting role, mellowing things a bit while adding complexity and a little bit of whiskey warmth. It's really hitting the spot on this first chilly Fall night.

Oct 23, 2016
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with streaks of crimson and a bubbly tan froth. Smells of brown bread, cherry, raisin and pine. Tastes of fresh from the oven brown bread, cherry, plum, faint pine and wood. Little to no alcohol is noticed and it's a bit thin, comparatively speaking of course. Regular Old Ruffian was one of my first favorite craft brews, and it still a staple, but this version (especially considering the hefty price tag) just doesn't hold a candle.

Oct 14, 2016
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Pencible from Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured an opaque mahogany with no head.
S: It smelled like toasted oak and earthy caramel, with some vanilla and brown sugar and dates, and a bit of apple cider vinegar.
T: It tasted like nutty toffee and earthy caramel, with some toasted oak and dates and vanilla and brown sugar, and a bit of apple cider vinegar. It had a clean mostly sweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with a little carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a very nice BBBW, with nice scent and excellent taste. It was complex and well balanced and delicious. The body was a little weak, but the finish was relatively smooth. So it was easy enough to drink, but should be sipped and savored. It would age great, but is still solid fresh. Not best in class, but still a great brew.

Sep 15, 2016
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gutbuster from Kentucky

4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very murky dirty pond water in color. (totally not a bad thing). The head is a light tan in color and dense. lacing is light on the glass but what little bit is there is persistent.

On the nose we have a strong dose of bourbon, earth, and some dark fruits.

The tastes mimics the nose quite well, with a caramel and toasted bread sweetness up front, moving to and showcasing the bourbon barrels in combination with some plum and dates mid palate. Finishes slightly sweet with just a hint of alcohol heat.

Heavy in body with surprisingly medium carbonation.

This was an awesome barleywine. I wish I had a few more laying around to cellar and see what happens in a couple years.

Jul 23, 2016
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jopezu from Georgia

4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

pours a heavily murky, caramel tan with a small head that poofs. nose; earthy hops, sweet bourbon oak, raisin, & booze. taste; caramel malt, heavy oak, fig, toffee (almost chocolate), chinook/centennial hops, light tobacco, raisin, vanilla, & lightly candied orange. oak, toffee & hops on the aftertaste. a touch hot, but pleasant with an overall vinous character. medium+ deep carbonation & slightly heavy mouthfeel. very hoppy for a barrel aged barleywine - the aging didn't mellow the hops out too much, and the beer is better for it. delicious!

Apr 02, 2016
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EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle. Wow, shocked at how well this held up. Cap was a bit rusty but hissed nicely upon opening and poured a cloudy ruby/brown with very little head. Great feel with the right amount of bitterness and tons of vanilla, dark fruits and just a nice touch of barrel. No need to rush on cracking this open, it seems to be holding up just fine.

Mar 21, 2016
Old Ruffian - Barrel-Aged from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 488 ratings