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

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Ratings: 444 |  Reviews: 167
Photo of Phelps
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, bottle 1360. This is Old Ruffian, put to sleep for nine months in barrels that once held Stranahan’s whiskey.

Very dark, murky maroon. Just a half-finger of silky light tan bubbles. The head quickly fizzles to a medium-sized ring.

Sweet and sugary aroma. Maple, vinous oak, orange peel, toasted coconut, chocolate. Some dark cherries as well. The bourbon here is in perfect proportion with the barleywine, which is still displaying an impressive amount of citrus.

The cherry and toffee flavor is big, but what I like is that instead of being overly sweet and cloying, a fair amount of bitter chocolate and toast roll in to balance. Bourbon is hinted at, contributing less to the beer than do the barrels, which impart a nice woody, roasty, chocolatey character. Impressively smooth.

Velvety medium body has just a little bit of gentle fizz. Alcohol is unavoidable, blazing through the nose and numbing the tongue, but the big flavor is distracting enough that I couldn’t care less. Slight bitterness on the sides of the tongue.

This is barrel-aging done right. I can’t tell where the beer stops and the whiskey begins. Great flavor.

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Photo of PthPndr
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jimmy82063
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release, 750ml, bottle # 2706. Purchased at Argonaut Liquors in Denver, CO. Into a Deschutes snifter.

A: Pours a deep ruddy brown, slightly hazy, not much of a head, just a few light brown bubbles that slowly fades to an island of bubbles in the middle of the glass. No lacing but definitely has some legs.

S: Lots of mellow whiskey, toffee, caramel, vanilla, and a touch of oak. Smells incredibly sweet and rich. As it continues to warm, there is a lot more vanilla and oak and whiskey. Can definitely pick out the Stranahans whiskey notes that blend really nicely with the base beer.

T: Follows the nose nicely, tons of caramel malt, a light toffee flavor, followed by an ever so slight note of lightly roasted coffee. Mix those flavors with a nice, but not overbearing whiskey profile and some definite oak. Absolutely spot on.

M: Medium thickness, lighter carbonation, zero alcohol heat and a sticky sweet finish.

O: Definitely up there in my favorite barrel aged barleywines, very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jerz for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

2012 vintage. Bottle # 2695.

Pours a slightly murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, wood, and bourbon/whiskey. Taste is much the same and quite sweet with an alcohol kick and woody finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is is a very good beer with a great barrel aged presence in the aroma and taste.

 595 characters

Photo of chrispoint
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of pixieskid
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of harrymel
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2011
Thanks Pixieskid

Pours nice dark amber with fleeting yellow foam. Nose is bourbon barrels, vitamins, burnt caramel. As it warms, it's like cinnamon toast crunch - hella cool. Flavor is like a cinnamon bun - rich and sweet with caramel, dark malts and herbal/spice qualities. Really not doing justice with that sentence. Medium bodied with a simple syrup tone and reserved carb. Good beer, wish I would have bought some when I had the chance a couple years ago.

 474 characters

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of ucsbmullet
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.47/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5


A: Poured a thin, tannish color with no head, undercarbonated with no lacing

S: Stinging booze, Earthy and old wood notes with some brown sugar

T: Faded hops, booze, brown sugar, toffee and remnants of old wood, Earth and dark fruits

M: Way to thin, flat, boozey and sweet

O: Not to much to say here.Wow. What a letdown.

Not as thin or hot oddly enough but still thin, a bit more carbonation

 412 characters

Photo of DNICE555
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of GregSVT
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a tulip - 2012 Vintage bottle #3149

A: Pours a dark red with brown highlights and a nice dark tan head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose starts with an earthy hop aroma that gives way to toffee and vanilla in the background. Not much whiskey in the aroma here.

T: The taste is considerably better than the nose though. There is a beautiful vanilla and whiskey flavor as soon as you take a sip which is followed by nice caramel and toffee notes. The hops are not there but in an earthy form in the background. The finish is where the vanilla and whiskey really shine.

M: The feel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: I was a bit worried after smelling it but the taste is great on this one. The base beer has been toned down by the barrel and the vanilla and whiskey flavors really play well with this one. My bottle says 11.1% so it must have gone down compared to previous years.

 945 characters

Photo of Exiled
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of scray24
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Jwale73
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle generously shared by jdiddy. Pours slightly darker than unpasteurized cider with no head. Not much happening in the nose I have to say - a suggestion of dark sugars. It's shocking how little is revealed in the nose, but how robust the flavors are - malty, whiskey notes, wood, sweet and just a kiss of bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium-light with no carbonation and a slightly oily texture. This beer has been on my 'want's list for quite some time and I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to try it. A very solid BA Barleywine, although not as mindblowing as I anticipated given how much I enjoy the standard offering..

 643 characters

Photo of Mnewcomer1219
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of FishPondManager
4.73/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 release, bottle 3139. Poured Into a snifter

Pours a deep ruby red. Soapy head forms on the first pour and thins to a fine film around the edge. Thin lines of lace form as I finish the first pour. Second pour has a fine, creamy head. Very nice

Smells of fine vanilla and caramel. Deep cherry and raisin notes play on the nose and complement the earthy, leather, smokey, bourbon notes. Somewhat one note, but overall pretty good.

Taste is simply divine. Sweet, smokey, raisin notes at first. Vanilla creaminess. Gets even sweeter as the finish culminates in a bit of bourbon bite. Not so much boozy as the full Stranahans bourbon flavor comes through. So incredibly smooth and drinkable for 12%.

Creamy, fine bubble coat the entire mouth covering the palate in sweet, sweet deliciousness. Probably my favorite aspect of this beer. The viscosity is perfect and helps balance all the deep favors.

Overall, the best BBBW I've had this year. Incredibly balanced and complex. This is one to share as I was really feeling the three glasses I had! I don't know if it's the Stranahans barrels or not. I hope it's not because I don't know if Great Divide will have them available anymore after the deal with Breckenridge. Seek this beer out as it is fantastic.

 1,259 characters

Photo of Prospero
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of hiphopj5
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of BraatenBrew
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of doughanson78
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle #1009/1188. Reviewed from recorded voice notes.

A: Very murky brown. No head or lacing what so ever. A few bubbles.

S: Oak. Stranahan's whiskey is huge. Leather, tobacco. Some light caramel and hops. Pretty hot smelling.

T: Stranahan's whiskey is very upfront but tasting amazing. Toffee, caramel, butterscotch, and vanilla come through lightly but really shine in the aftertaste.

M: Medium body, a touch watery. Low carbonation. Creamy.

O: Very drinkable. Stranahan's whiskey is amazing. Alcohol is hidden very well.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ML bottle 333/1188
Last of my 09 BA Great Divide beers
Thanks to Andre for the bottle and shared with Spicelab and MrKennedy

A-- Poured a dark, murky, orange brown color. Muddy would be the best way to describe this beer. One finger tan head that settled to a solid tan film through drinking. Good spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Barrel is noticeable in the nose. Oak, leather and whisky. Solid stuff. Underneath the barrel notes got stewed plumbs, some Graham Cracker and a solid hop presence still. ABV is well masked for a near 13% beer.

T-- Was quite unhappy with the first half of my glass as it was quite thin and watery. Once it got air it picked up in a big way. Very earthy, grainy, Carmel strawberry jam and hearty bread. Just flashes of oak and touches of whisky to round out the jam notes.

M-- Decent amount of tannins left on gums. Left them numb for a few minutes. Still has the ABV punch. Low carbonation and not all that heavy until the end. Slightly slick and oily due to the hops.

O-- Conflicted as liked the beer but in reality prefer regular Ruffian more. Might be showing it's age a bit as was thin in spots and needed a lot of air to open this up. Decent enough stuff but not on par with other BA barleywines out there. Not as much substance to the body as others out there.

 1,322 characters

Barrel Aged Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.11 out of 5 based on 444 ratings.
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