fishonmyplane (503) - Newington, Connecticut, USA - JUN 13, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
This beer was a monster, as expected, but it was still a bit of a letdown. I found that there was not enough hoppiness to balance all that malt. The beer had a strong sweet flavor from the malts, reminiscent of honey and caramel. But there was barely any fruit presence, which would have made it more interesting. Basically itís just a very malty, almost syrupy beer, with not a whole lot else going on.
eaglefan538 (2942) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - JUN 11, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured an orange to red color with a decent initial head at these ABVs. The aroma was of sherry and light fruits with a caramel attribute. The flavor folowed suit and the hopping was even more noticeable: pine an citrus hops. In the flavor, there was some sort of cherry and dark fruit combination. Mouthfeel thick in body and noticeably carbonated.
nolankowal (937) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUN 1, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a bright transparent orange-red with a light tan head that dissapates to a thick film. The aroma is huge: caramelized sugar, alcohol, rasin and other dark fruit. The flavor is similar with a lot more alcohol coming through than I thought thereíd be. Big caramel malt is also present...apple skin, cherry and bit of lemon zest. Sweet,sticky, and almost syrupy in the front...but the body is light enough and the carbonation is high enough to where itís not overkill. Bitter and warming in the finish..also bitter and lasting at the very end. Say what you will about Stone, but they still havenít dissapointed me. Great barley wine overall: big,malty and almost balanced.
kepano (247) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JUN 1, 2006
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
A zealous stream of bubbles rises through the perfectly clear pomegranate body to a sparkling biscuit foam. Sweet and malty fragrances emerge reminding of cotton candy, caramel, sugar and honey sheltering a fruity blend of apple and plum. There is something primordially likeable about this aroma, something that satisfies your infantile penchant for the sugar-coated. On the tongue, some generic bitterness appears from the delicate hopping and an odd mixture of cured ham and cherries forms the primary flavor. The texture is smooth but finishes with a pinch of alcohol that burns on its way down. Easy to drink but far from the sensational.
burpfrank (299) - carpinteria, California, USA - JUN 1, 2006
4 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This had an average head.Aroma almost none.color nice red-brown.This has a distinct taste.Quite different.Lots of flavor.Has a biting malt taste.Sugary.Finishes somewhat bitter.115 alcohol,I will probably get a headache!!This is a manís beer!strong body.I taste the brandy.This beer should seperate the men from the boys.will buy again.
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 31, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Early Spring 2006 bomber, courtesy of tpkenned.
Amber-hued garnet and translucent, with heavy, thickly spun saliva wisps for the head and cascading beady lace. Aromatic elixir strikes up brandy, bandaids, fusel alcohol, maraschinos pooling in an unmanned rail drink, pear & sherry flambť, and sweet cherry caramel cubes. Flavor is fíin hot hot hot. Bitterness generously spreads out. Buttered rum oiliness holds court with a sweet hop bitterness and flavor. Favorable diligence hides underneath the hotness. Peach skin wrapped around sun spoiled bing cherries. Pomegranate fig neutons. Whole mouth totality. Rubbery numbness and a suctioning hoppy hotness that pulls the taste buds upwards despite the relativity of gravity (such is the nature of this high gravity creation.) Finish instigates a hot flame like gasoline nipping at the tonsils, followed sweetly with amaretto cheesecakeís milky, syrupy bottom layer. An American barleywine on all accords, and one that will be quite beautiful in a couple years down the road.
lamas (1443) - Washington DC, USA - MAY 26, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
22 oz. bottle. Limited Early 2006 Release. Pours a hazy cherry/amber with a thick khaki head that leaves streaks of lacing. Nicely balanced aroma that features plenty of oranges and grapefruits to go along with the sweet caramel, vanilla beans, plums, shortbread and alcohol. Medium body. Sweet plums and caramel start things off. Vanilla beans and extract come next. A decidedly bitter, dry and very warm finish. The high ABV gives this a medicinal quality I just donít enjoy.
GarrettB (1222) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 24, 2006
3.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: OCT 3, 2007 The praise heaped on Stone Brewery is well deserved. Their beers are full and well-flavored and the backs of the bottles always make for a good read while waiting for the beer to breath. But I think there is an inconsistency from beer to beer, and by that I donít mean from brew to brew. The IPAís have always been some of my favorite, and the Arrogant Bastard was, at the time, a welcome treat. But the supine and lifeless Porter, for example, or the pungent Imperial Stout have been given fulsome good marks by Stone loyalists all too eager to associate one beerís success with another beer whose own qualities are iffy at best. Of those inferior brothers in the Stone family that have been unduly lavished Iíd include the Old Guardian. It really is the innocent one. It has that kind of non-descript character that lets it take the merit it never earned and fade back into obscurity. Take its youthful appearance: a roseate and orange creamsicle colored head that swaggers above a casually colored amber red body. And the aroma? There too is a pleasant, innocuous set of smells dominated by hops and incorporating orange, fresh flowers, potpourri, bonito (fish), Earl Grey Tea and wet cement; perplexing, but so against the norm that its charming. Hereís the rub. Old Guardian tastes like a bare-bone and mundane hopsy, wheaty beer. And thatís it. The palate is fine, and the tastes themselves arenít bad. But Old Guardian is so simplified it goes completely unnoticed. Six months later when two beer enthusiasts are conversing, theyíll come to the subject of Stone Brewing. One will ask the other if he/she has had Old Guardian, to which he/she will receive an affirmative reply, most likely carrying stolen praise from a Stone that left an impression. It is a fine example where a simplified beer has used mimicry at its finest, to change from a droll drink to a memorable drinking experience.
walleye (1080) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - MAY 23, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
early 2006 from the bottle poured a a nice deep amber with a biege head that left some good lacing. aroma, caramel, brown sugar, malts, just a nice sweetness, a touch of alcohol, hops. flavor this didnít let me down got a nice sweetness brown sugar, honey, the hops were milder than the aroma, as this beer warms the sweetness comes out more and got just a hint of alcohol it was well hidden, nice smooth mouthfeel.
casper78 (21) - bakersfield, California, USA - MAY 23, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2006 release Bottle 1 pint 6 ozs. Pours a deep amber color with with small lite tan head. The malts are evident in the aroma of this beer as well as the barley wine acohol smells. Tastes suprisingly well for a fresh barley wine, as they excell with age. Hits the palete nice with hoppy, malt afternotes. This one can seeks up on you with itís suttle high acohol content. As a cashier at the store I work at, I have recomended this beer many times, one day I told a guy to give it a try. I saw him a few days later, and asked him what he thought, he said it was alittle sweet for his liking but still a great beer, but itís only draw back was that he got too bused off a pint, what can I say this is a real beer drinkers beer.