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RATINGS: 1896   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.84   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
reebtogi (4964) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - APR 20, 2015
650ml bottle (2015 Classic Release) pours a murky orange amber color with a generous head for the style and leaves some spotted lacing on the glass. Aroma is light fruits with some herbal and grainy notes. Taste is a fruity and grainy malt sweetness with a herbal hop bitterness. Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation that leaves a good sensation on the palate. Overall, this is definitely an American barley wine, with a lot more hops than its English counterpart. Well balanced with a great taste and definitely recommended.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1471) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 19, 2015
Stone is a brewery I always associate with hop-forward beers and one imperial stout, though they’ve been making their Old Guardian Barleywine for years – I’ve just never tried it until now. This is probably the embodiment of the American-style barleywine in that the hops are prominent and give the beer balance, but not to the point of being an outright hoppy beer. It’s weird drinking a beer from this brewery that’s genuinely malty, but also a nice change of pace.

I split a 22oz bottle with a friend. We each poured it into tulip glasses. There was no specific bottling date, but it was clearly marked as the “2015 Classic Release”.

Appearance: Kind of an ugly shade of rusty orange/brown. It’s actually a pretty reddish color from a distance, though. Opaque. Pours to a large, yellowish, frothy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Strong dark fruits and berries: cherry, strawberry and plum especially. Floral hops, but not as overtly hoppy as most Stone brews.

Taste: Slightly aggressive, dry bitterness immediately. Mild floral/herbal hop flavor up front, which is in turn followed by rich fruity notes of cherry, mixed berries and some stone fruit (no pun intended). The second half – and the finish especially – is rich with a caramel and toffee sweetness, but not to the point of being cloying. The alcohol is surprisingly tame, imparting just a subtle woody/vanilla note but doesn’t really define the palette. I might even say this beer is a little too well balanced as more malt character and complexity would’ve been nice, but what’s here is much more than simply passable. A vintage would be interesting to try as the hops would fade and the sweetness could come out more.

Drinkability: Going into this beer I expected it to be a beast. At 11.2% ABV, I figured Stone Old Guardian Barleywine would essentially be carbonated syrup. Though sweet and full-bodied, it’s surprisingly clean on the palate. In fact, the malts don’t linger on the tongue, the hops do (so few barleywines can make that claim). It’s extremely comfortable in the mouth and smooth going down with just a gentle warmth from the alcohol. Probably the only barleywine I’d recommend pairing with an entrée course rather than a dessert.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Oldschool_Mike (195) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - APR 19, 2015
UPDATED: APR 20, 2015 2015 release. Bottle into snifter. Pours a clear reddish amber colour with tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is big jammy hops. Taste is bitter overripe stone fruits and alcohol. Great barley wine -- rated via ’Find A Beer’ for Blackberry 10

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rune (9501) - Tromsø, NORWAY - APR 19, 2015
Poured from a 650ml bottle, vintage 2013, 11.6 % abv, that I bought at Systembolaget in Växjö a while ago. Deep amber-red body, opaque last pour. Beige head blanketing the glass. Sherry nose, toffee and dark fruits. Rich in flavour bringing details of dried fruits, almond, bread, herbal hops and brown malts. Prolonged ending with integrated alcohol. Well bodied. A typical late eve sipper enjoyed for an hour or so (Tromsø 17.04.2015).

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
sic1314 (4776) - Leiden, NETHERLANDS - APR 17, 2015
Poured a beautiful reddish orange with a disappearing tan head. Aroma of red berries, bread and caramel malt. Full body, smooth, flavour is sweet berries, toffee. 2015 version, could probably be improved with a couple of years in the cellar.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
jackafholmes (754) - - APR 11, 2015
Keg at brewdog bar, Sheffield. Amber with white head. Aroma is golden syrup and raisins and toffee (drunk with cold). Taste is strong bitterness and umami in spades. Alcohol hum on the tongue, and sticky full body, medium carbonation. Good stuff.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
kbudd19 (911) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - APR 10, 2015
Bottle, vintage 2015. I’ve had this a few times but I guess I’ve never rated it. Appearance is reddish brown with white head. Aroma is pine, citrus, caramel, and brown sugar. Taste is burnt brown sugar, pine, caramel, with a bitter hoppy finish. Medium mouthfeel, lots of carb. Overall, this is a great hoppy American barleywine, happy to have this any old time.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
arnold931 (926) - Iowa, USA - APR 9, 2015
Draft at Bricks. Pours hazy brown with no head. Some hops, caramel and alcohol on the nose. Taste is strong bitterness with some caramel sweetness. Improves greatly as it warms up.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
nihtila (1929) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - APR 8, 2015
Keg at BD Edi. Pours clear ruby. Nose is boozy, berries, caramel, earthy notes. Taste is caramel, berries, alcohol. Strong hops at finish. Quite boozy and mediocre.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
tightslice (506) - Redwood City, California, USA - APR 8, 2015
Format: Bottle from Whole Foods Market in Redwood City, CA
Appearance: Ruby / Amber with a creamy head
Aroma: Sweet tropical fruits, fermented mango, earthy hops
Taste: Thick sweet malts and overripe fruits moving to candied rinds and warming, bitter bite
Palate: Light resiny syrup
Overall: Big malty, earthy hop richness. Stone for sure.

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