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Beer Information
Average Review High Score Low Score Reviews Tried Consumed
87 94 82 4 32 28
Old Ruffian Barley Wine by Great Divide Brewing Company
American Barleywine
10.20 % ABV

Review by everetends on 07/01/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
82 3 9 17 4 8 2010
Old Review
22 oz bottle I picked up from Green's about 4 or 5 months ago. My lady has been getting into Barleywines lately, which is awesome. When we were looking around for some good BWs, I realized that I had never had an Old Ruffian. Wierd, huh? Well, today is the day. Served up in a snifter.

A: Once I pop the cap, interestingly enough a bit of foam builds up almost immediately in the bottle. I take this as a warning and pour slowly, little did I know this was not necessary. Had to get a little mre aggressive at about halfway through the pour to build the finger and a half of off white/cream colored head that builds. After a few minutes that fall to about a finger or so of very long lasting foamy goodness. Foam is pretty tight. Has some really nice coating and sheeting on the glass, but it does slowly slide back into the top cap. Now on to the body. The body is a very nice lighter caramel brow with a really nice orangish/red hue pouring through. Actually when held to the light, the color doesn't change much at all, which is very interesting and something I don't see too often. Actually can't see through to the other side, although light gets through. You can also see a slow carbonation activity in here. Very . . . very nice.

S: Smell is nice. Getting some honey and floral aromas coming out first and foremost. Those smells are soaked in an alcohol, almost bourbon like aroma. Getting more hops than I expected, but reading the bottle I should have been aware. Little bit of floral and a good amount of citrus. Nice meaty orange and touch of lemon zest. Behind that is a really nice infusion of what appears to be pine and caramel. That combination is very aromatic and quite beautiful.

T: From the nose, I was expecting more of a boozy flavor to come through but it is pretty tame (which is a good thing). First and foremost you get the hops. Citrus first off with some orange and lemon. Behind that, you get that pine. Nice and resiny. Caramel malts come through along with some nuttiness coming out, but this is more hop forward. Little bit of honey and spice on the backend. There is a touch of booziness but it isn't as high as in the nose, and it doesn't have that bourbon presence in the flavor (which may be a bad thing). Still, very tasty.

M: Full bodied and creamy. Yes, has a rich creaminess. Carbonation is light to medium, throwing in just a touch of fizz to lighten it a bit. ABV is medium. Just enough heat on the throat and belly to warm you, but not enough to burn you out. Shocking since it sits over 10%. Aftertaste is a bit of honey and pine.

D: Very good beer if you ask me. I don't know if it absolutely crushes other American Barleywines out there. Still it is up there and is quite enjoyable. As the drinking experience goes on, getting through the bomber (my lady wasn't into this one due to the hops presence) was a bit of a chore. This beer does tend to wiegh heavir and heavier as the experience goes on. Still its damn good in the other arenas.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-23-2009 05:57:46

Served In: Snifter

Review by Oxymoron on 01/30/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 3 10 17 5 8 0
The more I try Great Divide beers, the more I am impressed. Old Ruffian pours a darker amber color with definite red hues. The beer is mostly murky and has a great head retention that remains throughout. Decent lacing but becomes nonexistent over time.

The smell is rich in sweet malt. A prolific aroma with great hints of plums and raisins. For the malt a stronger caramel hint comes to mind, but other tones are present as well. Such as butterscotch and dry cherry flavor.

The taste is warm. A sweet and very complex malt is noticeable. With strong tastes of brown sugar and molasses. The malt does really well backing up the hop aroma behind it. The hops are not overpowering and I am impressed on how well the compliment each other.

The mouthfeel is one of the drawbacks on this beer. I feel that the stronger phenols make it a "hot" beer taste. Understandably on its high ABV, but I would like this to be a little bit smoother. Although I bet if I were to age this a year or two, it would be outstanding

Overall a great barelywine. A little hot in the taste but a beer I would like to get more of.

Served In: Bottle

Review by tavernjef on 10/14/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 3 11 18 5 10 2009
Husky hazen, darkened burnt orange edges with a rusty brown centering color and one immensely bubbled and compactly built inch high head of softly foamed dark ivory. It sits and sits and sits before finally subsiding to a thickly set skim of milky ivory froth and big bubbled peaks. Lacing coats the glass much like a fine morning frost.

Aroma is quite juicy with a largely present display of caramel all the while a leafy woodish hoppyness fully escapes, persists, and evolves, over and beyond the caramels' capabilities. Mirroring a Stone Old Guardian and Double Bastard-type nose with just a bit less malt but still has all the hops. Quite....nice...Hints of grapefruit and tangerine zip and pop to the surface as it warms along with some peculiar tin-ish notes.

Taste is a hop laden twisted treat of sweet pine, parching grapefruit in the middle, caramel drenched biscuits balance out a fair portion of its body along the way, yet leafy/woody and dry in all parts, finishing strong with scorched bits of pineapple and tangerine. Somehow always dry, leafy, and resin coated; powdery and charred cedar is left on the lips. A majorly charred/roasted sense caps off the end with a bit of hopified pulpy heat mixing with a smoldering hop spice of cinnamon, vanilla bean, wood, and roastafied malts. Great hop profile here with leafy wood, scorched fruits, drying stuff, parching stuff, roasty stuff, and an evenly leveled bitterness that seems to never end! What a "Ruffian" of a hop ride this stuff is, wow!

Feel is quite hoppy and thick, above a medium body that builds as it sits with a bit more smoothness then you'd think, yet trys very hard to conquer over the dry, charring woody hops, but never quite makes it there. Oh it trys and trys and trys, but those hops dominate with a mighty heavy-handedness. The hops are nearly overbearing as far as its overall consumption is concerned, yet calls to those who conjure up the Hop Gods to satisfy a quick urge. This is no quick urge though, the 22oz bomber stares at you, daring you to continue to empty its contents 'til you no longer can tell time.
Mercy me this is historic hop potion. Old Ruffian can ruff me up any Ol' time!

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by seaoflament on 04/11/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 3 10 18 4 8 2009
*Uploading my old reviews, this one has a review date of: 2-05-08. If I can acquire the beer again I will re-review it*

Thanks to Joey (KingG) for the bottle.

A fiery sunset in a glass. Pours a mix of red and orange with an inch of tanned foam. Very good retention and some lacing on the glass.

Lots of citrus hops, orange, tangerine, ripe grapefruit, peaches, a whole mix of fruits. Huge malt background; toasted bread, caramel, pale malts, and fruity alcohol.

Taste if very much the same, lots of ripe citrus fruits along with toasted and caramel malts. A little warming alcohol in the back of the throat.

Very smooth on the palate, just a bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's a very good beer to sip. Big beer for sure. There's enough carbonation to keep this one from being too syrupy, yet it's still creamy. I'm not really a big fan of barley wines, this one is actually quite tasty but it's still a little hard for me to drink a whole bomber by myself.

Served In: Pint Glass

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