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RATINGS: 1943   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.85/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 338   ABV: 11.26%
A beautiful bold barley wine. Massive malt and hop notes. Silver Medal winner at the 2000 Great American Beer Festival in the Barley Wine category. Gold Medal winner at the 2002 World Beer Championships in the Barley Wine Category. Look for it in the first quarter of each new year. Can be cellared or enjoyed upon its release.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
bfeldmann (1049) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - JUN 15, 2006
"Poured a nice red color, small head good lacing. Aroma was of fruity hops and some caramel malts there. Flavor was much the same very malty and smooth. Solid beer."

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
fishonmyplane (505) - Newington, Connecticut, USA - JUN 13, 2006
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 it’s just a very malty, almost syrupy beer, with not a whole lot else going on.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
eaglefan538 (3017) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - JUN 11, 2006
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
nolankowal (938) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUN 1, 2006
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 there’d 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 it’s 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 haven’t dissapointed me. Great barley wine overall: big,malty and almost balanced.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
kepano (253) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JUN 1, 2006
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.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
burpfrank (299) - carpinteria, California, USA - JUN 1, 2006
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 man’s beer!strong body.I taste the brandy.This beer should seperate the men from the boys.will buy again.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 31, 2006
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 flambé, and sweet cherry caramel cubes. Flavor is f’in 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 cheesecake’s milky, syrupy bottom layer. An American barleywine on all accords, and one that will be quite beautiful in a couple years down the road.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
lamas (1536) - Washington DC, USA - MAY 26, 2006
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 don’t enjoy.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
GarrettB (1392) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 24, 2006
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 don’t mean from brew to brew. The IPA’s 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 beer’s success with another beer whose own qualities are iffy at best. Of those inferior brothers in the Stone family that have been unduly lavished I’d 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. Here’s the rub. Old Guardian tastes like a bare-bone and mundane hopsy, wheaty beer. And that’s it. The palate is fine, and the tastes themselves aren’t bad. But Old Guardian is so simplified it goes completely unnoticed. Six months later when two beer enthusiasts are conversing, they’ll 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
walleye (1092) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - MAY 23, 2006
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 didn’t 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.

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