FlacoAlto (3676) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 22, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
1 liter growler; Sampled August 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost four-finger thick, lightly amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves lots of lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is a nice amber hue that shows a clear, copper-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has notes of caramelized malt up front and a warm, spicy alcohol note to the finish. Fruity notes of dates and raisins are joined by light oak contributions of coconut as well as some toasted malt notes in the finish. There seems to be a fair amount of vanillin noticeable as well as a touch of buttery oak and even some spicy oak notes that combine with the alcohol to produce a sense of Bourbon character. There is quite a bit of malt character here with lots of toasted pale malt notes, biscuit like aromas, lots of crushed whole grain cracker notes, some caramelized pale malt aromatics as well as some toffee. After a bit it seems like the hot alcohol gets a bit too dominant in the, in fact I am soon questioning that I ever was able to notice the up front complexity that was first found in the aroma. After coming back to the aroma after some time I notice some nice fruitiness again as well as some herbal hop notes that get a bit grassy and green at times.
The beer tastes lightly sweet with caramel malt notes (though not overly so) and some toasted grain flavors. Bitter hop notes are joined by hot alcohol, and some spicy oak character in the finish. Bitter, green, somewhat astringent hop character in the finish can really linger on the palate. Up front there is a nice fruitiness, some of which seems to be hop contributed (citrus), but there is a bit more to it than that, but I can’t quite put my finger on the other notes right now. There is a nice toasted malt character to the flavor with biscuit like notes, crushed malt notes and crystal malt flavors; this last plays a supporting role and does not too heavy as crystal malts can so often get.
Coming back to the nose makes me wonder if I imagined the oak influence; hop character and fruit notes are all I notice in the nose now. Even the flavor doesn’t seem to have any real barrel character to it. The fruitiness is nice and might be from the Red Wine barrel, but I could easily be convinced that this is not the case. Overall this beer has certainly softened a bit with age as it is not as aggressive as when it is fresh. The beer does become much better as it warms up, despite starting at a 50ºF / 10ºC initial temperatures; it becomes more fruity, with more berry like notes and some notes of lightly spicy oak, a even a hint of vanillin seem to come out even.
I let this beer sit for a whole hour in the hopes of it getting more complex, finally I seem to get confirmation that this was aged in a Red Wine barrel; there is a definite red wine fruitiness (though it is soft still) and even some grape skin and tannin notes towards the finish.
Interesting, my second pour of this has me noticing more of the red-wine berry notes in the nose again. Letting this beer breath quite a bit certainly helps with the flavor as well. Still, the red wine character in this beer is easily missed, especially if you didn’t know it was there. This beer really wasn’t all that great during my first, full pour of this beer; despite starting out at only a cool 50ºF / 10ºC. I easily could have poured this beer out. I am glad I stuck with it though as it really starts to open up after warming up and being allowed to breath. In the end though, I waffle between enjoying a complex, interesting beer and not really finding this beer all that drinkable.
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - MAY 5, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at Sunset Grill. 2009 vintage. Poured a hazy dark orange color. The head was off white with good retention and lacing. Smelled of dark fruits, toffee, and subdued cinnamon. Full bodied and sweet with a warming alcohol effect and mild bitterness. I tasted oak, toffee, dark fruit (fig), and booze. Not overly red wine-ish in my opinion, but good.
Nisse666 (3545) - Göteborg, SWEDEN - MAR 5, 2010
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Provdatum: 2008-12-27, flaska, Göteborg
Färg: Grumlig Trocadero, härlig bestående skumkrona
Doft: skotsk kolkällare, lite metallisk
Smak: stor humle smak, oljig, bra beska, vanilj fudge (Jonas och Heather: päron/jordgubb, jag är mer skeptisk, men det är någon frukt där).
Eftersmak: lång och ihållande, angenäm
Notera: Fantasifulla skumridåer
jrallen34 (3475) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 29, 2011
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at Small bar as part of the Stone event. Drank side by side with the bourbon version. 2008 batch...Pours a medium mostly transparent copper, looks watery with a light tan head. Looks exactly like the bourbon...The aroma is rather dead, at first I thought I was getting aroma fatigue because the bourbon is very strong but finally I comes to the conclusion its just a very dead nose. A light hint of red wine and oak on the tail end of the finish...The taste brings a lot of flavor, more than enough to make up for the aroma. The taste is a typical barleywine, caramel, light hops but this is very smooth due the barrel aging. The wine barrels don’t bring out a much of a vinous character I think it more contributes to killing the alcohol of the barleywine.
I prefer this version over the bourbon, but both are worth trying.
NobleSquirrel (3429) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 26, 2009
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft at DLD ’09. Pours a dark brown red color with nearly no head. Nose is a bit fruity and clean. I don’t get a lot of wine in the nose, but on taste, some of the tannins do come through and help to hold up the rich, big body. A nice and robust beer with some mild wine notes, though nothing too memorable. Kind of a letdown, really. I couldn’t quite get what the final product was, but I could tell how hard they tried. Meh.
nickd717 (3400) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 12, 2009
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at Stone Bistro. Slightly hazy golden-amber color with a substantial off-white head and good lacing. Aroma is loads of sweet malt, citrus hops, red wine, vanilla, and oak. Flavor is sweet pale and caramel malt, red wine, oak, vanilla, and faded citrus/pine hops. Body is medium-full and alcohol is well hidden. Drinkability is high for the style and ABV. Overall this is pretty solid, but falls just a tad short of regular Old Guardian.
WeeHeavySD (3356) - San Diego (Hillcrest), Oregon, USA - MAR 22, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAR 23, 2009 3rd rating, tap at Stone today with my girlfriend and dalekliz. Pours orange with a bright white head. Nose is sweet and rich, with some slight hops, fruittyness and oak. not so much wine. Taste is wow, really rich, vinous, hopped up and sweet, quite different from regular old guardian, hops are far more restrained here.
pantanap (3323) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 30, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
1 liter growler from my boy chintawat out in sd..... pours a hazy apricot brown with a thin film of soapy white head..... aroma caramel/toffee malt and some light tart fruits emerge as the beer warms...... flavors are smooth chewy caramels and a light tart fruitiness along with a lingering bitterness in the finish. nice smooth mouthfeel goind down with light carbonation.
Pawola22 (3262) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 26, 2010
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Guest tap at DLD 2010. Pours a cloudy, copper-orange colored body with a finger-width, creamy, white head that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice lacing. Aroma is a solid mixture of fat caramels, juicy citrus pines, and red wine. Perfume-like spices and a mixture of oranges, apricots, and a light amount of grapefruits make up the hops, but they have clearly taken a bit of a back seat in comparison to the original. Some toasty toffees and a bit of a vanilla-barrel smell accompanies the red wine. Flavor is pretty similar. Lots of thick caramels and toffees with the toast coming out a bit from the wood. The hops seem to kick it up a bit in the flavor as compared to the aroma with a solid piney citrus and apricot. It all blends nicely with a somewhat subtle red wine and vanilla flavor that is definitely not meant to overpower. The wine seems to bring out a few extra fruity flavors that I didn’t pick up in the aroma though, which is nice. Ends a tad boozy, sweet, and still a bit resiny with a mostly dry, oaky finish that leaves a balanced, moderate bitterness. Lengthy aftertaste following a round and full, somewhat sticky body and soft carbonation. A bit thick drinking at times. Overall, a nice take on the original. The red wine and barrel is fairly subtle and added a nice complexity. I guess I was expecting a bit more, but this was still very enjoyable. Glad to have had the ability to try this.
puzzl (3216) - New York, New York, USA - APR 27, 2009
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Tap at DLD. I honestly don’t even remember drinking this, but the words on the paper don’t lie. I really should avoid barrel aged Stone beers next time around. Very sweet, piney, strong and rough barleywine aroma, with no noticeable red wine barrel notes at all. Bittersweet flavor, typical barleywine and typical Stone, just brutish and brash with no interesting/unique characteristics at all. Very bitter and hard to drink. What’s the point?