VAYankee (327) - Virginia, USA - FEB 27, 2004
3.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Has an orange/copper body with a cream colored head. Aroma is strong, sweet, hoppy(pine), and mildly yeasty. The flavor is overflowing with piney hops that dominates a mild sweet malt and mild yeastiness. Has a strong warming sensation as it goes down. Finishes dry and moderately bitter(from both the alcohol and the hops). In general this is barley wine is over-hopped, but still of excellent quality.
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 24, 2004
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: NOV 1, 2007 Early 2007 Release
After its release from the 22-ounce brown silk-screened bottle, it resides in the glass a cloudless burnished copper with a gigantic head that is tan in color, creamy in texture and as it slowly erodes, the lacing provides a glutinous curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a big sweet malt aroma, caramel, with hints of strawberry cotton candy, oh yeah, fusel alcohol, also in the mix a touch of hops. Start is ambrosial, with the alcohol and hops providing a serious bite at the rear, the palates not my derriere? lol
Top feels medium to full, with the finish modestly hopped, sweet with malt and the acidity generous, alcohol evident, with the aftertaste sweetly dry, a true tummy warmer, maybe a better term, "Stone Old Guardian Sensation"!
Early Spring Release 2006
The beer upon the pour from the 22-ounce brown silk screened bottle is a clear burnished copper with a voluminous creamy light tan head that after erosion leaves a nice coating of lace upon the glass. Nose has a nice malt sweetness, hints of caramel, and oh yes a bit of fusel alcohol, and touch of hops me thinks, start is sweet, and the grain profile perfect and the top medium to full in feel to the palate. Finish has perfect carbonation, the delectable in their spiciness, nice bit of tummy warming, and the aftertaste dry. This beer has been a longtime favorite, and one I look for each year, along with the Imperial Stout, of course any beers from Stone Brewing are always a welcome site.
Every year I wait for one of my favorite Stone beers to hit the shelf, of course this one hit while I was under the weather, so it got pushed back in a corner of the DBF. The beer as it emerges from the 22 ounce brown bottle a tralucent deep copper color, the head is mastodonic in size and spumescent in texture, after it slowly fades to nothingness, the lace forms a tight girdle to surround the glass. The aroma of sweet malt, over ripe fruit, hops, cotton candy all occupy the nose, what a treat, start is sweet with a thick grain profile and the top middling to full in its feel to the palate. Finish is delectably acidic and the hop potent in their spiciness, and the 11. 26 percent ABV makes itself know in the tummy warming and the alcohol bitterness in the very dry aftertaste, Another splendid vintage that will age nicely.
"bonum beer laetificat cor hominis"
One of my favorite beers that I look for each year, and one I get by the case. The beer as it renounces the 22 ounce bottle in favor of my beer glass is a tralucent deep copper color, the head is behemothic in size and spumous in texture, after it dissolves, the lace forms a thick blanket to cover the glass. The aroma of hops, fusel alcohol, fresh pineapple also sweet cotton candy like tones, a real treat for the schnozzle and the peepers, start is ambrosial, rich in malt, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is controlled in its acidity, the hops unyielding in their spiciness with the aftertaste bone-dry, and long lasting, the 10.6% ABV produces a nice touch of alcohol bitterness and a definite belly warming sensation, a “Hoot” as it is every year, and it only gets better with age just like “Old Gusler”?
TChrome (1415) - Bedford, Texas, USA - FEB 24, 2004
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Beer pours quite orange in color with a medium sized off white head that is somewhat retained. Aroma is not huge by barleywine standards. Hints of toffee, ash, and alcohol. Flavor is where the action really picks up. Flavor is malty sweet on the front side, but the finish is the real eye opener. One of the strongest blast of grapefruit juice ever in the finish. Me thinks will definetely benefit from the cellar.
Ringo (963) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - FEB 24, 2004
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Big barley wine, but tastes more like an APA to me. It's missing the syrupy, candy-like "red" flavor that I like in a barley wine. I liked the old Old Guardian better. I'm not really an advocate of aging beer, but if a year would take the edge off of this, then I think that it would benefit. A nice beer but just a tad hot for my tastes. I didn't read all of the stuff on the back of the bottle, but Greg said something about people from Colorado being cool so I added an extra point for that. What the heck, it's all subjective anyway, right?
Wrath (362) - Valparaiso, Indiana, USA - FEB 24, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Amber color with small white head. Sweet hoppy smell that is very strong.Alcohol is evident and mixes well with the fruity sweetness of this brew.Finishes with a little burn and not as much malt as most barley's. A good one by stone.
grant (842) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - FEB 24, 2004
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Hazy sunny orange. Suspended particles seemed locked into place, as if in some gelatinous matrix. Aroma contains hints of belgian yeast spiciness intermixed with snippets of lemony notes and chives. Alcohol came through very prominently, and partially obscured a piney, evergreen hoppiness. Lesser malt aroma: somewhat buttery, with a hot-cereal sense. Flavor was massively bitter, with a light touch of caramel and a deep, rum-like liquorish finish. Really this is quite raucous and takes too long to calm down, making one a bit uncomfortable. Aging would do this a lot of good, but there is such thing as an embarrassment of bitterness.
beerslayer (753) - New Jersey, USA - FEB 23, 2004
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
This is a decent Barley Wine. Hoppy, fruity, and sweet flavors. Finishes Bitter, crisp, and dry.
Silphium (3161) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - FEB 22, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Stone done remodeled my precious! Rather than tossing Precious into the hot liquid magma, they reforged it in the name of change. Well, I am forced to reckon that change isn't always for the better. Pours orange-copper and leaves plenty of lacing on my St. Bernardus glass. Alcohol and lots of citrus in the nose. Citrusy body with a touch of caramel and a rather strong alcohol presence enhanced by bittering hops. The candied fruit (good wording, Drew) is still present, but overall this is thinner-bodied than the earlier "make." Not a big winner, but not a loser either.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - FEB 21, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a clear sparkling deep amber with definite orange hues. The head is a frothy light tan consisting of small particles. Glass lacing is acceptable. The aroma is a quite pleasing: sweet licorice, floral and fruity. Alcohol is also noticeable, especially as it warms. The flavor is sweet and malty up front then a wallop of bitter hops socks your mouth. The finish has a good bit of alcohol burn to it, but the palate itself is not too thick and creamy, it is actually kind of light. Overall it needs to age and mellow. This could develop into a real wonder in 6-12 months.
EddieG (169) - Palos Heights, Illinois, USA - FEB 21, 2004
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Its hard to dis' a nice beer because it clearly misses its style. So I didn't. The beer is good, hoppy with decent malt body, good aroma and fairly complex with tobacco and citrus notes. However, it anin't a barleywine per se. I also don't want to fall into the trap of calling it a "disguised" IPA which is IMHO a bullshit way of lumping a beer into a category based upon one inability to critically differentiate between a beer and proper style. However, the beer is missing the residual sweetness from the typical crystal, Special B (or whatever its replacement is called) biscuit and other malts which typically lend a BW its charater and complexity. With thta said, I still enjoed this beer.