Old Ruffian Barleywine

Well time for another Great Divide brew, today it’s Old Ruffian, a delicious barleywine!

Rating a 99/98 on ratebeer, and a 95 on beer advocate, this is a very well liked and highly rated barleywine.   Let’s find out whether it’s worthy of all those high ratings!

Pours a deep amber color, a bit hazy, with a fairly small head but ample lacing.

Aroma is deeply fruity, with lots of mid and dark fruits coming through, figs, plums, raisins, some honey and brown sugar too.  There’s also a plentiful degree of hoppiness that lets you know this is a bold and potent brew!  Alcohol is notable.

Flavor is very deep and rich, with tons of great malty flavors coming through right away.  Caramel malts, grainy bready flavors, nuts, brown sugar, molasses, and rich dark fruits come through first, followed by an intense hoppiness that creates something almost “balanced” (LOL, if that’s even possible with barleywine!).

It has what I consider to be the quintessential property of a barleywine… it’s pungent!  I love the pungent malt/hop interaction that leaves your mouth puckering from the intense malt flavors.  To me, it’s very distinct to the barleywine style, and this barleywine has it in spades.

Body is very thick and full, leaving a fruity, resinously hoppy finish.  Alcohol is warming and noticeable, this is clearly a strong beer!

My overall impression of this beer is that it’s amongst the top barleywines I’ve tried.  I think my favorite ever was Bigfoot Barleywine by Sierra Nevada, and this one isn’t too far off from that.  Great job Great Divide!

If you like barleywine, definitely try this one!

 

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