Old Ruffian is an American Barleywine, 10.2% ABV.
Bottled November 2010.
Appearance: Pours a cloudy, dark amber with hues of orange. Two finger, off-white creamy head that fades quickly to a bubbly layer. Lacing is nice and sticky.
Smell: That characteristic sweet-alcohol smell of a good barleywine is present, but with big notes of toffee and toasted caramel. Hints of earthiness and pine from the hops.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Aging has mellowed out the carbonation.
Taste: Big notes of caramel and toffee add to the sweetness of this beer. Hops are definitely more noticeable than they are in most barleywines. Very subtle hint of grassiness from the hops. Alcohol is noticeable, but much more subdued than most barleywines.
Overall: I was very pleasantly surprised by Old Ruffian. I had my reservations about this beer since Great Divide has traditionally been a hit or miss brewery for me. Their Yeti line is absolutely fantastic, but any of the other beers I’ve had by them have been so-so at best. This beer was a unique take on the style, with a beefed up hop presence and earthy undertones. Some barleywines seem to suffer from one dominating taste, such as overbearing alcohol or sweetness, but Old Ruffian has a very integrated flavor profile that makes in enjoyable down to the last sip.
93 out of 100