phikus (96) - syracuse, New York, USA - OCT 28, 2014
I recently scored two of these bottled December 2012. I wanted to save one but didnít. The hops still had their teeth but had softened into the malt a bit. Nice resinous pine hops with a well bslanced toffee malt fruitiness. I do not like when the malt of barleywine gives way to fruitiness instead of caramal toffee, but here they all come together. MetalNHopHead (1910) - Lincoln, Nebraska, USA - SEP 10, 2015
Barleywines can get a little rich for me, so Iím definitely partial to the well-hopped variety. With 90 IBUís I think itís safe to say Old Ruffian falls into that category.Yet, Great Divideís brew tastes mostly rich and malty to me. Maybe itís the big grain bill and 10.2% ABV. Maybe it was the 9 months of age my bottle had. Whatever the reason, notes of molasses, dark fruit, and toffee stood out most clearly to me. Some resinous, citrusy hop notes show up in the aroma, but I didnít notice them in the flavor profile as much until I paired Old Ruffian with a Butterfinger. (Butterfinger and Barleywine is one of my olí reliables when it comes to pairing.) Reminding me of Averyís Hog Heaven, Old Ruffian shows that big hops and big malts can share the same hallowed space. And the warm booze... I thought Old Ruffian was going to put me to sleep before I was half-finished with the damn thing. ElGaucho (2401) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - FEB 8, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 20, 2007 12/20/07: Bottle. Malty sweet syrupy aroma. Relatively clear dark red body with a smallish light tan head and good lace. Flavor is incredible. Perfumy hop beautifully offsets the malt and considerable alcohol strength. A little surprised that a 3.92 brew is only an 88.9 percentile b-wine. Not sure that that 1 out of every 10 b-wines is better than this one. My last rating is pretty much right on so Iím not changing it. 2/8/05: Bottle. Malty, aroma with hints of hops and molasses. Beautiful red body with a light tan head. Yellow hues on sides of bottle. Beautiful head and lace. Very peppery, strong and rich. Very nice! Lovely. I liked it better than the Stone Old Guardian 2005. aussie12 (14) - rochester, New York, USA - SEP 16, 2005
Pow, this stuff assaults your senses from the start all the way through. The flavours compete for your attention, burnt, sweet, hoppy, caramel, toasted, alcohol burn. Somehow it all balances out, this has to be due to the huge malt bill balanced by the huge hop bill. I love this brewery. Good stuff. wilkie (1208) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - DEC 13, 2005
Bottle. Reddish-brown color, hazy. Medium off-white head. Malty aroma, very caramel, with a nice citrus hop smell. Flavor is very full. VInuous, caramel (almost doppelbock quality) with a rich finish of well-blended hops--grapefruit and grass. The hops take effect at different moments creating a multi-layered bitterness that starts with the citrus and ends with a piney, nose tingle. Alcohol very prevalent in first few sips, and then when the hops get into full effect, subsides some. Excellent beer.
Braudog (6678) - Yorktown, Virginia, USA - JUL 3, 2006
22 oz bottle of 10.2% goodness ...Poured a dark leather brown with a 2-inch solid head. Solid and bountiful aroma of wood chip and hops. All-the-way good flavors of creamy caramel, hoppiness (different for a barley wine) and the syrupy alcohol tone youíd expect. Iím not usually a barley wine fan, but this is a delicious (albeit strong) brew of quality goodness. Excellent. pilsnerrogge (2935) - FinspŚng, SWEDEN - JUL 30, 2006
[Bottle] Dark redish amber with a firm head. Dried fruits, orange peels and hops on the nose. Thick and sweet mouth feel. Flavour is lots of malt, toffee and more dried fruits followed by a long intense bitterness. The taste of alcohol is nowhere to be found. Not for the faint hearted. Bov (12636) - Bienne, SWITZERLAND - AUG 11, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 17, 2007 courtesy of fiulijn - cloudy dark reddish-brown colour undewr acreamy beige head, nice lacing; very complex nose where hops and malts play a nice game together; aroma of almonds, biscuits, raisins, grapefruit and pine; sweet malts show up first; thick but at the same time incredibly smooth in the mouth; robust malt body and with an impressive but never aggressive bitterness; very long (never ending !) hoppy aftertaste where more notes of grapefruit, resin and pine needle are noticable; warming but not burning alcohol touch - a wonderful, well-structured, powerfull beer: God is this good ! bergface (56) - madison, Alabama, USA - DEC 17, 2006
Best barley wine Ive had. Great Divide knows what theyre doing judging by this and their Yeti Stout. The aroma is pungent and very nice. The head is about a finger tall and there is minimal but nice lacing. The aroma is sweet and citrusy, but the finish is quite bitter and full of hops. The flavor profile is initially a bit bitter and then citrusy and finshes with hops. A great driniking experience. thebeertourist (5189) - Oslo, NORWAY - FEB 16, 2007
Bottle. Deep red copper with a great yellowish creamy head. Deep raisins aroma with good toffee. Flavours are raisins and toffee, countered by good bitterness, leaving a dry mouth-feel. Full body. Old Ruffian divides few- it is simply great.