Serve in Snifter


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RATINGS: 293   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.95   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 381   ABV: 12.7%
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Barrel Aged Old Ruffian Barley Wine was aged for 20 months in Stranahan’s barrels. As it does for Yeti, the aging process mellows Old Ruffian’s edge while adding gentle notes of oak, whiskey and vanilla to the 12.7% ABV and 85 IBUs beer. (The original Old Ruffian won a Gold medal at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival and a Silver medal at the 2007 GABF.)

“Our intent,” says Great Divide founder Brian Dunn, “was to age each beer in the barrels for 9 months. But we got busy with other projects, primarily the addition of a new bottling line, and the beers ended up aging for more than a year and half.” While the labels on the bottles state that the beers were aged 9 months in barrels, both beers were in fact aged 20 months in barrels.

Release limited to 470 bottles.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
tennisjoel (1161) - Rochester, Minnesota, USA - JAN 14, 2009
Sampled at Skyview’s tavern. To me this didn’t have many of the qualities of regular Old Ruffian (which is one of my favorite barley wines), but that doesn’t mean it was bad. The barrel aging is very apparent and this baby is super complex with high notes of oak, whiskey, vanilla, light caramel, and subdued hops. It certainly is a challenging beer, and I was up for that challenge.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JAN 11, 2009
Bottle #346/461 poured into a snifter. Pours a deep, clear copper with a one-finger rock off-white head that lingered a good while leaving very good lacing. A significant cap hangs out throughout the session. The aroma is delicious with the normal caramel malts and toffee sweetness complemented nicely by the big bourbon and vanilla presence from the oak. Some dark fruit sweetness and a hint of hops are present, though the hops are definitely less pronounced than in the regular Ruffian. The taste actually seems a bit boozier than the aroma with a huge bourbon kick up front that lingers all the way to the aftertaste with an alcohol burn. In between is plenty of vanilla and oak presence. The underlying Ruffian is also there but the caramel malts and toffee sweetnes are really subtle underneath the powerful barrel properties. I did get some citrus hops in the taste that I couldn’t sense in the aroma. The mouthfeel is plenty creamy with good carbonation. The barrel presence really makes itself felt on the palate with dry wood and booze all over the place. This is a great beer but the bourbon in the taste might be a tad too much for me (and I love bourbon). Either way, I’m glad I got the opportunity to try it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Hophead22 (2880) - Redlands, by way of Wisconsin,, California, USA - JAN 11, 2009
750ml bottle #271/461, big thanks to BeerandBlues2, thanks Brad. Nice dark brown with and orange/red tinge too it. Nice clingy light tan head as well. Muted sweet aroma. Some hoppiness too this, slight sweetness and a decent alcohol kick in the finish. Pretty drinkable though, I like it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
beastiefan2k (2357) - Emerald City (formely NYC & KS), Washington, USA - JAN 11, 2009
750mL shared by BDR at Skyview’s The Thrilla in Bob’s Villa. Poured into a copita glass with no head and a thick, murky orange/brown body. Hey basically it was an all wood, all aggressive maltiness, alcohol, and lots of strong, nose piercing flavors and smells. If this was made 5 years ago it may have been more interesting, and if I disliked tasting my beer and wanted it to taste just like oak and whiskey then I may have enjoyed this more. Glad I tried it though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
RSRIZZO (1850) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - JAN 10, 2009
750 ml bottle # 77 / 461. Color is a deep amber with mellow carbonation and a small tight head. Aroma is rich and sweet with a nice oak scent. Taste is rich and oakey. Starting with a full body that goes down sharp with a rich feel. Finish is big with bold flavors of sweet caramel and vanilla then a coffee like bitterness followed by some oak and whisky. After taste is slightly dry with a whisky like feel and some alcohol. The first few sips are a little rough but it seems to mellow as you drink it. Overall this is a great Barley Wine, I think aging it in oak barrels mellows the hops and makes it a better and much more complex brew then the regular Ruffian.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
arrogantb (1402) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 10, 2009
750ml bottle $24.99. These expensive beers scare me. I was not disappointed that I bought this one. Nice dark brown color, darker than normal ruffian. Smells like whiskey, vanilla, hops? tastes like oak, vanilla, whiskey but subtle with hints of toffee that I get from regular ruffian. This is not just whiskey, you can actually taste the barleywine in this, nice. One small sip does warm the belly so you can feel the alcohol but it doesn’t play much of a factor in the taste. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 10-14-2008 02:22:39

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Enniskillen (2029) - Salinas, California, USA - DEC 25, 2008
Shared by IrishBoy. Foggy brown. Aroma is malty, toffee, alcohol, and oak. Taste is a light hoppiness, alcohol, toffee, caramel malt.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Odeed (1775) - Bakersfield, California, USA - DEC 23, 2008
(sample from irishboy)brown body with a light brown head.aroma is oak,vanilla,cotton candy,bourbon,hops,and caramel malts.flavor is much of the same with some slight alcohol heat.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
IrishBoy (3799) - Bakersfield, California, USA - DEC 22, 2008
750 ml bottle from ratman197. 220/461 Bottled 08/2008. Nose of vanilla, oak, dark fruit, caramel, and bourbon. Cloudy brown with a small offwhite, glass lacing head. Flavor of vanilla, golden raisins, bourbon, peppery spiciness, and light hop bitterness. finish was lightly hoppy and mild warmth.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
BeerandBlues2 (9355) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - DEC 22, 2008
Bottle. Pours brown with an average, fizzy, light brown head, somewhat lasting with good lacing. Aroma is heavy malt -cookie, caramel, toffee-, heavy hops -flowers, perfume-, average yeast -earth- with notes of heavy alcohol, dates, wood, brown sugar, and vanilla. Full bodied, alcoholic texture, average carbonation, and an astringent finish. Average duration, moderate sweetness, acidity, and bitterness.

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