Beer 104/365 – Great Divide Old Ruffian

Style: Barleywine

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman Ohio

What makes this beer different: Imperial IPA meets Barleywine

Will I be drinking this again: Probably yes

Grade: B+

2/20/2010: So I am on a new mission to try as many of the top 100 beers on as possible. A good bit of them are fairly accessible, and reasonably priced, so I figure why not? Old Ruffian drops in at #87/100.

I am by no means a barleywine expert, so take this review with a grain of .. barley? One thing I can tell you is there was a pretty big hop presence to Old Ruffian, especially for the style. The smell is violent, very hoppy, caramel, and booze. The best way I can describe the taste is its a three headed monster of caramel malt, citrus hops and alcohol, but they are all in balance. The beer without a doubt got better as it warmed. Much more flavorful and balanced when it got closer to the 55 degree range. I still need to work on truly appreciating barleywines, but this was for sure one of the better ones I have had.

Picture of the day: Sometimes beer goggles make you laugh, but this would just make me want to cry.

Published in: on February 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love a great barleywine. Great after dinner drink & yes usually much better as they warm.

    Since you liked old ruffian, a very good beer indeed, see if you can find either Alesmith Old Numbskull, or Arctic Devil by Midnight sun, hopefully you will not be disappointed

    come to think of it, I haven’t had a barleywine in quite some time, now I’m getting thirst.


  2. Old Ruffian is a nice BW. They are really tasty after aging a year or two. If you are doing the top 100 and want a great BW, I suggest tracking down a bottle of the Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barell BW that they released in December 09. Increidble!

    • Thanks for the heads up! Not sure i will be able to fine a beer that rare though hah

  3. I like your new Mission

  4. The hops you are tasting in the beer and the reason you call it an “Imperial IPA meets Barleywine” is because it is an American Barleywine. American Barleywines are generally hoppy while English Barleywines are sweeter and more fruity flavored. Though, as I’m sure you have noticed, these are rather loose guidelines to follow as barleywines are a rather broad, “catch-all” category.

    Keep up the reviews, I’m real interested in seeing how your palette changes and you start to open up to more hoppy styles of beer (my favorites).


    • Thanks Steve. I guess I didn’t realize American Barleywine was supposed to be more hoppy. When I had Victory Old Horizontal I didn’t really catch a lot of hops. But again like you said it seems the style is pretty broad. Thanks for reading!

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