Aug 17, 2010

Great Divide Old Ruffian

Sometimes, even after a 90 plus degree day, you’ve just got to have a barleywine — something to slowly sip on as you relax with a book or in front of the TV. I’ve only had this bottle of Old Ruffian for a couple of months, but it’s got a Dec 2009 bottled date stamped on the side.

I’ve enjoyed a couple of Great Divide’s beers in the past and have a couple of Espresso Oak Aged Yetis in the basement for the fall, so I was really looking forward to the company’s barleywine. I’d heard some pretty good things about it.

As it turns out, those folks were right. This is a tasty brew.


Old Ruffian pours a copperish red in color. The orange tinted, off-white head stared off thick and full, fading slowly to a thin lacing.


This thing smells wonderful. Nicely toasted malts fill the nose along with a floral hop presence (that also brings a bit of bitterness). There’s a sweet and fruity character to the beer not unlike candied apple. The 10.2% ABV is definitely noticeable within the aroma.


I love the amount of hops that are in this beer. They’re not as aggressive as Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot, but they do make their presence known with a decent bite of astringent bitterness after you’re initially greeted with a moderate malt sweetness. The apple from the nose are there as is a touch of citrus from those hops. The mouthfeel is fairly slick and medium bodied leading into a pretty dry, lingering finish. The higher ABV isn’t really “hot,” but it’s unmistakable in its presence.


A good part of me is kicking myself for not having the patience to let this one sit until the cooler Fall months. The other part could really care less about the first part. Old Ruffian is a tasty, fairly aggressive barleywine that is warming and full flavored. It’s not wonder it’s an award winner.

Rating: 4.5/5

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