ClarkVV (4003) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 11, 2003
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 23, 2006 2002 bottle consumed 7/2003 This was my first experience with a newborn barley wine. It goes without saying that it needs cellaring.
Color is a deep ruby red mixed with mahogany. Strong perfume like aroma due to the high alcohol with plenty of sweet caramel notes.
Huge sweet caramel malt taste up front that evens out slightly as it transitions into a full body with tons of more malted barley. Finish is most complex and therein lies the potential of this beer. Brandy and caramelized sugar notes abound, while some rich butter toffee notes linger. Leaves a bitter/grainy almost scotch malt flavor for an aftertaste. This barley wine was lacking on hops compared to some of the other upper tier barleys. This is not at all a bad thing, as it certainly gives Old Stock a unique flavor, which is a must in this category (though I wouldnt mind some hops). There is little point in drinking this beer newly bottled, and it is close to cloying, as expected. I will rate on potential, of which this beer seems to have alot. I expect good things from the many bottles I am cellaring. 2002 bottle consumed 12/20/03. Well itís been sitting in cellar for a while now, almost a year. Much improved. Cloyingness is almost nonexistent. Great velvety lush mouthfeel. Wonderful complexity. This is aging beautifully and will probably improve for another some years.
2003 bottle sampled 10/04. Wow. this is hard to finish. Incredible alcohol apparency and big dry malt, but still the flavor is there, itís quite the sipper. I already know it needs more time to even out so Iím not too distressed about the difficulty with this one.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 7, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours with a clear burgundy body topped by a medium thick tan head that disappears rather quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass. Sweet malty aroma with a wonderful molasses/toffee background and a touch of alcohol. Sweet malty flavor with toffee and molasses notes, a touch of fruitiness and a bit of alcohol. Full bodied, smooth, slightly tingly on the tongue and warming.
BBB63 (6373) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JUL 6, 2003
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: MAR 19, 2008 RERATE 2007 Bottle at Blind Barleywine tasting:
Nose was weaker missing the vinous nature of an aged bottle. Palate was also weaker and thinner than I hoped. AR -1, AP +1, PA -1, OVERALL -2. I prefer an 2-3 year old bottle everytime.
Original Review (3.7), 2001 bottle: Murky, earthy brown hue, the white head died quickly. Raisin, woody, sherry like aroma when undertones of sweet malts and yeast. Initially comes on very sweet and fruity with a detectable alcohol bite. A dry woody taste and clean hop finish keeps this brew from becoming coy. Surprising oily and fizzy mouthfeel. Very drinkable barley wine, glad to let my other bottles age to rerate in the future.
pauliefrog99 (302) - FLINT, Michigan, USA - JUN 30, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Poured a reddish color with small beige head. Very sweet fruity caramel flavor with a strong alcohol finish. Great barleywine.
DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUN 24, 2003
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: NOV 13, 2004 2002 bottle. Reminds me of drinking a warm yeasty bread with some fruit mixed in that was baked in a wooden pan. Thereís a sharp woodiness that detracts from the beer, but overall itís very smooth for its alcohol content.
Notes from another 2002 bottle, sampled 11/13/2004:Buttery malts, alcohol, and peppery spice in the aroma. No one flavor realy sticks out in the flavor, I guess this is what "rounded" means. Big flavor: prune, and subdued piney hos. Stomach-warming alcohol.
loweredsixth (946) - Clovis, California, USA - JUN 18, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 30, 2003 Rerate - 11/30/03:
Funny, this time the color was a very murky brown with an orange (!) head. At first I thought maybe this had gone bad, but it smells and tastes fine.
Rerate - 10/13/03:
Basically same score as last time. Since then I've had a couple more bottles and both times the head lasted all the way through. Also, I picked up some strong watermelon in the aroma and flavor.
Original rating - 6/18/2003:
Absolutely beautiful glowing clear garnet color...amazing. At first, there was a medium thick beige head, but once the beer warmed a bit the head was completely gone...no trace of it at all. The aroma was heavy on the plums...very sweet, alcohol, caramel. The flavor was very much on the sweet side...wood, dark fruit. The aftertaste was pure alcohol for many minutes afterwards. Tiny bubbles in this one...tingly feeling on the tongue...not too harsh...very soft.
Silphium (3188) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - JUN 13, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUN 30, 2003 (2002) Old Stock Ale, worth a poem?
I smelled your sugar and candied fruit
Enough alcohol to give my ass a boot
Your red body topped with a thin creamy head
Beckoned me to walk where few had dared tread.
Just a sip I begged, crazy-eyed and sweaty
I undressed your flavor and also Nurse Betty.
Bready malts, candied fruits, caramel too
The only thing missing was syrupy goo.
A fine barleywine you are, I admit
Anything less than a "4," I'd be a hypocrite!
Aging would hide your alcohol barbs
But for now I'm entranced by your sticky sweet carbs.
A very nice barleywine, clearly among the best in the style. Hops are not noticeable to any degree, but I am a big fan of sticky, sweet malts in these barleywine bruisers. Excellent.
apoptosis (1317) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JUN 7, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 25, 2006 Smells thick and heavy and sweet, like a strong barleywine - raisins and plums present in the aroma, but less fruity in the flavor. More caramel. High alcohol presence. Oh! So heavy! Dark reddish brown, no head. Somewhat roasty; sweet, syrupy finish. A little thin in the flavor, but it may age well, so my rating may change with time.
notalush (5234) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JUN 6, 2003
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
 This is an odd barleywine. It shares a lot of characteristics of a doppelbock - the big maltiness, the caramel flavor - but it also has the fruity esters of a barleywine - I was surprised by the almost total lack of hops considering this is a west coast brew - the alcohol could be masked a little better, but the sweetness is perfect, not even near cloying - this isn't great, but I suspect with some more age it might get close.
happy4hops (376) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - MAY 29, 2003
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAY 30, 2003 Nice slightly transparent dark reddish.orange brew.minimal head and some lace.Smells malty/plumy/slightly chcolate taste w/ a twang of alcohol.Nice and smooth on the palate The best barleywine I've had thus far.Much more balancd that an overly hopped bigfoot.11.4% well hidden w/ a nice slightly roasted chocolate tease that helps it out a lot.Nice finish.The bottle smells like a desert-like treat once fully settled into this top notch barley...wine