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RATINGS: 296   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.94   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
sebletitje (6624) - Enghien, BELGIUM - NOV 20, 2008
courtesy of gillard. What an excellent beer, you are the man Ryan, even in your speedo. Pours amber/brown. Aroma is oaked, and some lingering sweetness (vanilla) mixed with nice malts and light hops. Taste. Just have to love the mix of barrel aged beer with oak. Leaves a nice fruity (apple) mouthfeel and malts, coupled with the nice wod addition and sweetness of vanilla. I could drink this barley wine any day.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
after4ever (6108) - Brier, Washington, USA - NOV 16, 2008
750, capped and foiled. Thanks, acrdz! Great to finally meet you. Wow, wow, wow, this was a yummy beer. Pours cloudy medium amber with bright caramel highlights and a dense, creamy tan head. Big sweet vanilla-y bourbon nose. Amazingly, despite being rather out of balance, the tippage toward bourbon in the nose does not make it ungainly and certainly it loses nothing in attractiveness. Creamy medium body, a little low in carb due to time on that wood. Sweet and bourbony with plenty of deep toffee and caramel under. Again, the weirdly super-appealing imabalance toward bourbon persists on the mid-palate. Toffee, vanilla finish. Lovely stuff.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Ernest (6187) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - OCT 31, 2008
Bottle. Head is initially very small, mostly diminishing. Body is dark amber. Aroma is lightly to moderately malty (cookie, caramel), lightly hoppy (resin, apricot), with notes of cardboard, wood, alcohol. Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, syrupy texture, lively/soft carbonation, moderately to heavily alcoholic. Surprisingly unfulfilling and rough. Raw wood and oxidation dominate the aroma, and there’s not a ton of other stuff to pull it out of that rut. The wood returns on the tongue, and frankly I just can’t get into this.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
zathrus13 (1714) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - OCT 31, 2008
Bottle 176/461. Pours copper/brown, with a small, off white head. Aroma is dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, malt, and whiskey. Flavor is caramel, dark fruit, hops, vanilla, whiskey, malt, and alcohol. Much more subtle whisley presence than the BA Yeti. Should age nicely.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
hoppymeal (38) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - OCT 30, 2008
Pours a hazy copper in colr, a good sized light cream head very slowly recedes. Aroma is some nice citrus hoppiness, syrupy oranges, caramel, oakiness. Taste follows with a good shot of whiskey and some major wood flavor. Citrusy hops blend well with the dry and crisp woodiness, bth work to complement the sweet malts. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy in body, somewhat cloying sweetness is cut very well by the strong dose of dry oakiness, bitter hops and bite of alcohol. A very good beer that I think will improve over the next couple years. Cold, it was a little mixed up, but as it warmed, the hoppy notes and barrel ageing characteristics worked well together.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Ratman197 (9664) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - OCT 25, 2008
750 ml bottle poured a clear garnet with a small lingering ring of tan foam. Aromas of dark fruit, toffee, carmel, vanilla and light whiskey. Palate was medium bodied and smooth. Flavors of dark fruit, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, carmel and a hint of whiskey with a smooth warming lingering bittersweet finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
wetherel (1836) - Encinitas, California, USA - OCT 21, 2008
UPDATED: OCT 24, 2008 10th rating to make the beer official. Bottle from the brewery. Pours thick dark amber color. Lots of cardboard oxidized hops and booziness. I think it hasn’t aged well, or has been in the barrel too long. Reminds me a lot of Green Flash 2nd Anniversary barley wine consumed 4 yrs old. Low carbonation. Aroma get’s better after sitting a few minutes to a buttery malty oakiness.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
BlackForestCO (977) - Aurora, Colorado, USA - OCT 20, 2008
UPDATED: FEB 13, 2009 Bottle. Poured a clear, deep ruby-brown color with a thick beige head that slowly faded to a thick layer and left some spotty lacing. Aroma of spicy bourbon oak with some vanilla and a bit of caramel malt, some light plum, and a bit of earthy hops. Smooth, lightly spicy entry transitions into a sharp caramel maltiness with some light brown sugar and some spicy alcohol throughout leading into a sharp, abrasive earthy hoppiness and a lingering spicy bourbon finish. Low carbonation , slick but somewhat thin on the palate, especially the finish. Flavor is just too abrasive and a bit boozy, I didn’t want to finish my glass. Could be good in about a year, but at $25 there is no way I will find out.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
WeeHeavySD (3360) - San Diego (Hillcrest), Oregon, USA - OCT 17, 2008
750 Bottle 182/461. 8th rating, thank you kindly wetherel for bringing it back from Colorado. Pours orange brown with a tan head. Nose is oaky with a whiskey vanillahybred thing. Taste is sweet thick and viscous. Overall pretty nice. A big beer in many ways but not too hot at all. Fairly strange in some ways and awesome in others. I like, thanks John for brining this over.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
glkaiser (1214) - Seattle, Washington, USA - OCT 16, 2008
Bottle #223; big thanks to waolsen for sharing rating #1000 w/ me! Big fluffy head. Sugary, boozy aroma with some cinnamon and oak. Really f’n awesome. Lots of bourbon and oak, but alcohol is smooth and not sharp at all. Did a side by side with the regular, and the complete loss of hop character stuck out. Turned it into a very different beer; a better one if you ask me!

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