Old Ruffian is a medal-winning barleywine ale from the Great Divide Brewing Company out of Denver, Colorado. They say that it’s hop-forward, but this is no West-Coast IPA. It pours a rich, semi-translucent copper with a thin head, which is to be expected from a barleywine as they are only lightly carbonated. The nose is sweet, with notes of dark fruit (figs and raisins) and toffee. This is a well hopped ale, and the sweet caramel and sugary fruit in the middle is beautifully balanced by the strong hoppy citrus notes of orange zest. The malt comes back to the fore in the finish with brown sugar and plums, and a bit of heat from the alcohol right at the last. The body is heavy and the alcohol is high, at 10.2% ABV. Barleywines aren’t my favorite, but this is an outstanding example of the style with enough hops to make it enjoyable to any palate. This is a very fine beer.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.