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 (1527) - 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 (1313) - 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 (1087) - 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.
turnerm5 (12) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - MAY 18, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
2006. Dark amber pour with a long lasting head for a barleywine. Strong alcohol aroma (of course), with malt and hop notes. More hops than say, Rogueís Old Crustacean, but nothing extraordinary in tha flavor. A sweet, caramel flavor followed by the alcohol and a direct hip of bitterness from the hops. Highly recommended, but age it a while.
KyleMac5 (17) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - MAY 18, 2006
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark heavy beer, incredible taste, flavor and palate. Not as hoppy as I expected. Good with a big meal.
IrishBoy (4023) - Bakersfield, California, USA - MAY 14, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2006 release. Clear cherry-amber with with a small tan head. malty aroma with some plum notes. Malty-hoppy flavor with some plum accents and a little alcohol showing, and a nice bitter-hop finish.
auerbrau (3199) - Ithaca, New York, USA - MAY 13, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Limited Early 2006 Release - 22 Oz. Bottle Crystal clear fiery amber, orange and fusion of ruddied sunsets, opposite the gray palor of today. Rimming this opulent liquid is a silky, lacing brown bag head, with nicely stacked micro bubble, champage carbonation and swirling lace. The aroma is subtle and deft, but not entirely exhilirating. It has a sultry sugar base, with floral explosions and rocketing rubbed herb savory touches. Definate bananas over plum sauce in a pot of ageing malt. Finish with a lightly medicinal curry of time. Flavor is an almost buttery mingling of cloying malts and hop residues. Itís quite enjoyable. At first I find myself melting a black cherry compote on the roof of my mouth, before itís swept away into a sea of orange and pine cream, with delicious glowing florals. The hops are really elequently done in this beer, with the better half showing and the harshness backed off. The malt plays here too, with supple candied sugars and a touch of light milk chocolate. In the end, thereís an amalgamation of vegetal lemongrass on my tounge and a wistful smack of plums and cocktail sauce. I think succulent well describes this beer. Needless to say the palate is totally enjoyable, with heavy balance and gracefull movements. Alcohol is amazingly subdued, adding only appreciated quality and heightened awareness to the profile of the beer. Thanks for this awesome experience Andy!
Tybalt (212) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - MAY 12, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very good. I donít drink barley wines much, so I was expecting it to be very, very strong...but it was suprisingly smooth and easy to casually drink. Despite the other posts here, I think it hides its high alcohol content very well. Itís only drawback?...you canít drink a lot of it and still remember what you did that night.