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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian | Great Divide Brewing Company

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Barrel Aged Old RuffianBarrel Aged Old Ruffian

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ArrogantB on 10-08-2008

For Trade:
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Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 422
Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
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

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Photo of larryarms847
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of Pencible
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage
1 year since bottling

Appearance- Pours a murky mahogony color. Half finger thick, off white colored head, soapy / bubbly. Tons of sticky alcohol legs cling to glass.

Aroma- Caramel, toffee, burnt brown sugar, molasses. Strong bourbon notes, dry oak and spice, creamy vanilla. Subtle fruit notes and bready malts.

Taste- Sweet bourbon notes, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and rich malt. Dark fruit notes, raisins and figs. Dry oak and spice on the finish.

Feel- Medium feel, creamy and sweet. Lower carbonation.

Overall- Decadent and rich, wonderful barrel characteristics and bourbon presence. Usual hop presence on the base beer has long faded, and coming forward is the rich malts, toffee, and caramel, along with the barrel characteristics of vanilla and oak. An awesome barrel aged barleywine.

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Photo of superspak
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 3/27/2015. Pours hazy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, date, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, bourbon, brown bread, toasted oak, light citrus/pine, floral, grass, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light citrus/piney hop notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, plum, cherry, fig, date, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, bourbon, brown bread, toasted oak, light coconut, light citrus/pine, floral, grass, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate pine bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, date, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, bourbon, brown sugar, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light citrus/piney hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Some slight dryness from bitterness as well. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/silky, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged American barleywine. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light citrus/piney hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Chris_Huston
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Quite a splendid deep garnet with shades of bronze, light khaki head that falls quickly but not totally. Whisky smell is present but very sleepy, and there is a very slight skunkiness that seems misplaced. Immediate oakiness on the tongue, creaminess, with little enough of the hard liquor to make it unusually balanced. The barrel ageing seems to have tamed it, perhaps too much, but the mix of sweet and oak and subtle liquor makes for a pleasant drink.

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice but still a little too hoppy. Kinda masks the sought after barrel characters but not a bad beer by any means. This only solidifies my preference of english barleywines.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle with a Bottled On Date of Mar 26 3015. Pours a murky dark brown with virtually no head. The aroma is caramel malts, brown sugar, raisins, oak and some light hop notes. The taste is Woody with lots of malts. Caramel, raisins, oak, vanilla and earth. Pretty boozey, of course. Woody, earthy finish. Very sweet. Creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a great beer.

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Photo of timc100
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage

Rich nose of candied sugar, caramel, coconut, sweet pie crust, and faded hop citrus. Oak is present as well as whiskey however not overpowering. Palate carries through, loses some of the richness. More-so oak forwards, lesser intricate flavors.

This, a big American barleywine there is no doubt. Similar to BA Behemoth

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Photo of zac16125
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: March 27th, 2015

A: Dark mahogany with ruby hues when held to light, 2.5 fingers width of light tan head has good retention before dissipating down and leaves lots of lacing. 4.25

S: Lots of dark fruits, some caramel/toffee, tart like notes, oaky bourbon. 4

T: Good balance of hops and dark malt characters. Lots of caramel and toffee characters; barrel notes with charred oak; candied sugar; some booze. 4.25

M/D: Fuller side of medium bodied, carbonation on the higher end but appropriate, ABV is noticeable but not in a bad way, drinkability is good. 4.25

O: Really good beer. Barrel notes aren’t as prominent as I had hoped, but very enjoyable nonetheless. 4.25

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Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not your typical upfront bourbon barrel aged barley wine. Just as the base beer is hoppy, so is this one, almost like a refreshing ipa, lots of peach and mango, a little bit of vanilla, light but perfectly balanced bourbon kick. The perfect summer bba beer when most are too intense.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Deep creamy vanilla top, slightly faint beige with fine bubbles and a mix of swiss cheese. Body color is a milky reddish orange, slightly brackish looking and a bit cloudy. Settles quickly, big bubbled collar with little retention, a little bit of pill like lacing as well, and a slightly oily sheen.

Interesting aroma. Very light bodied smelling, but has real good toasted woody notes to it. Hints of splintered wood, a bit of pine bitterness, and toasty caramel syrup qualities. Large wood and earthy bent to this brew, but seems like the body is going to hint towards light character.

Palate is kind of surprising. Milky and light but with some depth, and giving to a very full mouthfeel with some easy drinkability. Peppery and slight bitterness in the mid palate. Caramel mixes with a nice woodsy tone, but almost some cola like sweetness is thrown in the mix. Milky finish if slightly chalky.

Overall interesting and comes off not even boozy or hinting of barrel aged, but tastes very different from most barrel aged barleywines I've had, but there is some degree of great barrel notes, and classic American hoppy barleywines cancelling each other out.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 3/2015:
Ruby brown, nice buildup of off-white (maybe lightly pink-tinted) that recedes to the edges in due time.
Nose does have a dark cherry note to it early, but the bourbon and a light oak note are also present. A warmer beer brings out brown sugar and dark fruit.

Cherry, wood, and some bourbon start the beer. Warmth brings a light candy sweetness to the mix. The later taste has an oaky woodiness outshines an earthy pine note that I recognize from the base beer. Feel is very light on carbonation, which yields a watery impression.

Like Old Ruffian, but feel the addition of barrel aging mellows the base beer a tad, but doesn't add enough to counter what is lost. Definitely not enough to justify the cost, for me.

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Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 03/15 pours a hazy ruby brown color with a tan 1 finger head , smells of raisin's,toffee caramel and vanilla, with a mellow BA smell, taste follows the nose toffee and malt up front hops are there but somewhat subdued nice wood and whiskey notes from the barrel vanilla and dark fruits in the finish, mouthfeel is smooth and on the sweet side carbonation is low medium the BA is in the background at all times but does not overpower, a nice BW its pricey worth a try but cost stopped from buying several

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Photo of Apellonious
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

1 pt 9.4 fl oz bomber dated...poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dense brown with ruby highlights. Half finger head that moves quickly to a thin lace.

S - Plum, dark fruit, fig, whiskey notes, and a smattering of heat and vanilla.

T- Impressive. Fig, molasses, and whisky. Some wood notes, pine, and vanilla as well.

M - Extremely smooth for an ABW at 3 months old. Full, but not sticky. Has enough carbonation to keep everything together.

O - This is how to enjoy 100 degree heat. Was a little pricey, but worth it.

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Photo of BenwayPHD
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It pours a deep copper brown, with two fingers of beige head. The nose bursts with bourbon, vanilla, toffee, molasses, booze, and a faint hop bitterness. The flavor is bitter, sweet, slightly smokey, and rich with bourbon. The mouthfeel is mildly thin foe this much alcohol, but i find the heftiness of this base beer really holds up quite well to the bourbon barrel aging. A superb beer.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: Deep Red-copper. Quite a big creamy tannish head on the pour. Messy lacing. Quite a looker.
smell: More malty, caramel and whisky notes. The hoppy bite of the base beer is muzzled. Rich.
Taste: Barrel aging has turned this into an English imo and not complaining. This is rich, full, loads of disparate but nicely blended flavors like vanilla, whiskey, malt, with a still a slight hoppy bite in the finish.
overall: Well done indeed.

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Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled March 26, 2015.

A: Dark brown pour with a very tall, very bubbly and frothy light brown head. Looks like soap bubbles. Great head retention and thick walls of lacing.

S: Very sweet and malty. Loads and loads of raisins and caramel. Heavy dark bread. Cannot overstate raisin aroma, it smells like pure raisin juice or maybe raisin bread.

T: Interesting. Initial bourbony caramel and oak that turns into heavy raisin and HEAVY, HEAVY bread. It's like bourbon-drizzled raisin bread. I feel like I'm drinking liquid raisin bread. Period. I can practically feel the texture of the bread with each sip. Light indistinct hop bitterness in the finish, combined with some bourbon and oak.

M: Fairly heavy bodied, bourbon cuts it a bit.

O: Not a huge bourbon presence in this one but it does add a nice layer of complexity. For the most part it tastes like normal old ruffian which is loads and loads of raisin and bread. A little less hoppy than I remember but I'm assuming the barrel aging has diminished that a bit.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice. Bottled on date of March 26, 2015.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head that settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: A rich, toasty, and boozy malt driven aroma with big hints of bourbon, caramel, and biscuit. Big upfront barrel presence with a scent of bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, and wood. Toasted barley malt with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, and butterscotch. Earthy hops with some hints of grass. Subtle dark fruit hints of fig and dates. Also some sweet hints of brown sugar. A very good complex aroma.

Taste: Like the nose hints at, a rich, boozy, and toasty malt forward taste with notes of bourbon, caramel, and biscuit. Upfront barrel taste with notes of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Toasted barley malt with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, and butterscotch. Sweet taste of brown sugar. Mild earthy and herbal hop presence with some grass and pine. Subtle dark fruit undertones of fig, cherry, and dates. A very nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a carbonation level on the lighter side of medium. Rich, creamy, chewy, and moderately syrupy. A little hot as expected but still smooth considering.

Overall: A very good Barrel Aged twist on a great base Barleywine. Good blend of bourbon and malt flavors.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: deep brown and opaque with a finger of tan head that receded into some bubbly froth along the sides

S: rich malts and whiskey barrels merge to conjure suggestions of dark caramel, soft fruits in booze, and airy oak barrels

T: chewy dark whiskey-soaked fruit and grains, hints of spice like nutmeg and cinnamon, flashes of vanilla and toffee; oaky wood aspects give it a lightness

M: medium-weight with a smooth caramel-esque coat, no palpable carbonation but a tingle of whiskey's touch, slight drying finish, mildly bitter and malty aftertaste

O: surprised at the mixed reviews - perhaps a matter of expectation and personal tastes - I love Old Ruffian and this barrel aged version did not disappoint - lots of malt and booze with deeper impressions of caramel and fruit. A pricey bottle, just under $30, but one I'd go back for if I've got the cash.

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Photo of Jjski
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2015,

Wow, what a hot mess for$30. Starts Carmel into buttery, but quickly falls. Sour and overly barrel tart in the middle. A stale faintness with hops which are blunted at the end. Bourbon? Nope, but plenty of hot alcohol

frankly: yuck. I ended up mixing 1/2 glass of this with Evil Twin Naked Lunch just to get it down. It's that wide sour spot in the middle of the taste

Better beers: Old Conundrum, Hammerhead, Arctic Devil, Joseph James Anniversary Rye Wine, BA Bigfoot, Oak Horizontal. All of these I have had in the last 6 week for direct comparison. With one caveat, this very well may do good with aging since it's so hot right now. I've recently been in the habit of drinking the barreled beers early to avoid infection, and this is real fresh. I try to read the reviews to see if "a hot beer", and if so I let it age. Last week I was thrown off by the BA Hibernation being so syrupy sweet, with poor age potential.

Last week, I ordered BA Hibernation, and BA Ruffian from a west coast mail order spot, because you can't get it in Upstate NY. Both were total disappointments . A let down.of $30 each. Wife wouldn't even drink hers more than one sip ( and she loves stuff like Scucaba and Conundrum). The year old Devil Dancer I had last night was more enjoyable, better and that costs @ $6.50 for 750 ml

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.76/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

April 3, 2015

750 ml bottle, snifter

A – Very rich, deep copper, mahogany, brown. Pours fairly thick. Foam of about a half inch is sudsy and light tan. Bubbles linger for a while.

S – Raisins, figs, cinnamon apples, tons of vanilla, perhaps some candied apricot. Rich, thick toffee and caramel, very juicy. Boozy and warm, with some very noticeable sherry notes. Incredible. If they made this in a candle, I’d buy a lifetime supply.

T – Caramel and toffee and lots of vanilla. Some tannins, and oaky, boozy flavors. Figs and raisins. A lot of very pleasant sherry, vinous flavor.

M – Medium-low carbonation and very full-bodied, thick. A lot of sugar present but not overly sweet. A somewhat bitter finish. Mildly tannic and acidic, but not at all astringent. A lot of boozy warmth, but very, very smooth.

O – Simply one of the best barrel aged beers I’ve ever had, and since I love those, one of the best beers overall I’ve ever had. It was the first bottle opened for my bachelor party in ’12, and is my celebratory beer passing the Certified Cicerone exam. It has proved its worthiness of the moment both times. Complex, incredible aroma and flavors, balanced and smooth. As close to a perfect beer as I’ve seen.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not sure if this is 2013 or 2011 vintage

Pours a murky walnut color, head is a small 1/4 inch and creme colored. Lacing is above average and head retention is average.

Smell is of rich toffee and caramel candy. Next is roasted malt, charred oak and whiskey with a hint of vanilla. Hops aren't present and alcohol is definitely there.

Taste is heavy on caramel, butterscotch, diacetyls, and charred oak. Some whiskey burn is also present on the back end. Weird vinegar/acidic finish

Mouthfeel is syrupy, not as viscous as maple syrup, more like cough syrup. Carbonation levels were par for style and age. Wish head was present to add some layers to beer.

Overall good beer but at 25 bucks a pop, not worth the price. There were some off flavors that detracted from the beer reaching elite status. Glad to have tried it and always intrigued to get my hands on anything Great Divide releases.

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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.11 out of 5 based on 422 ratings.
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