MayorQuimby (100) - Santa Barbara, California, USA - MAR 19, 2005
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2005 bottle. Deep amber, almost ruby color, thin white head, left good lacing on my glass. Aroma is incredibly complex, fruits, alcohol, malt, some gentle spices in there, my nose was glued to the rim of my glass. Flavor is bold, malt, hops, a very noticable alcohol bite, finish has a lot of oak and smoky flavors in it. A little too aggressive in my opinion, a little harsh, it didnít have the sturdy palate to back it up (like say the Speedway, which I lauded for itís bold flavor, but since these are different styles itís apples and oranges). Mouthfeel is smooth, the alcohol really stands out along with the oak after each sip. Wish I could have tried the older vintages, but then again this beer was still quite a treat. A small step below the Old Numbskull and the Old Horizontal (two of the finest beers Iíve ever had, so thatís legit company to be in). Hoping that after aging a bit the flavor will be a little more rounded and less overwhelming, Iíll check back in 6 months or so. Also, drinking an entire bomber by yourself will get you feeling great, I can sense my writing ability decline with the level of the beer in the bottle.
Doctormirk (100) - USA - FEB 16, 2007
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 17, 2007 Bottled. Red tinted amber with small but stiff head. Smells of fruits (mostly apricot) and hops. A bit syrupy, a little sticky, but not too sweet. Tastes of toffee dried fruit; apricot, papaya and a bit of plum. I think you can feel the alcohol in your mouth and nose more than you can taste it. Definitely warms as it goes down. I really enjoyed the short story on the back of the bottle. One could write an entire literary review on it. I havenít had a chance to go to the brewery yet, but it sounds like it is fast growing and Greg is having some trouble dealing with the change. Lots of nostalgia with a hint of regret. You rarely get an insight into what goes on or what the brewers think of their beer. Anyway, the beer was great, thanks Greg!
ChrisJ (100) - Warrenton, Virginia, USA - MAY 10, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours in orange/amber with a creamy off white head which leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is moderately sweet, toffee, vinuous fruits (plum/raisin) with some citrus from the hops. Moderate alcohol considering 11% ABV. Flavor is complex with and mirrors aroma. Hops are prominent but do not overwhelm. Very smooth finish. Medium light mouthfeel. An excellent Barley Wine.
chrisafari (100) - Orange, California, USA - AUG 4, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2004 Vintage. On tap at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens. Pours dark-rich amber and opaque. Nice aroma of rich and complex hops. No real head. Flavor begins spicy and hoppy and finishes with a really nice sweet green apple lingering after taste. There is still a hint of alcohol, but it is subtle and very enjoyable.
sisyphus12 (99) - Belmont, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 20, 2007
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Great beer for the money. This pours with a light head and a huge aroma of honey and trouble. The color is a spectacular golden hue that almost shines with anticipation. The balance is decent, smooth feel, malty with a slightly sappy aftertaste.
PMgep (96) - Lund, SWEDEN - NOV 20, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
pretty nice color kind of amber, nice aroma. the flavor is hops and caramel.
phikus (96) - syracuse, New York, USA - OCT 27, 2014
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
This is perhaps my favorite barleywine. Every year a characteristic balanced malt hoppiness screams out of the glass. The body and carbonation just perfect. A balanced bittersweet finish leaving you ready for more. It has a citrus pine hoppiness to a biscuit toffe maltiness that doesnít lean to far toward fruitiness. American all the way.
45thstbrewer (94) - Conowingo, Maryland, USA - FEB 11, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I had Stoneís Old Guardian Limited Early 2008 Release and it was excellent!
BluePhish (93) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - MAY 13, 2010
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a dark, hazy amber with a medium off-white head that falls quickly but not completely.
Nose is hoppier than I would expect, but in a good way, pine, citrus, and some floral notes over malty toast, hay, hazelnuts, and a somewhat odd sugary aroma, almost like bubblegum.
Taste is a nice balance of malt and hops, with the hops finishing strong and long. Very bitter finish, but the malt character on the front end is nice. Still, perhaps a tad bitter for my tastes within the style.
Palate is definitely strong alcohol, full bodied. Alcohol is a bit heavy, but Iím sure would mellow with age. Iíd actually much like to age one to see if the hops mellow as well.
Overall a bit hot and hoppy for my tastes, but those characteristics could change with age and reveal an excellent brew.
sheep (93) - FINLAND - DEC 14, 2012
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
650ml bottle, 2012 version. Clear, deep mahogany color with a small and shortlived off-white head. Aroma is sweet with notes of ripe fruits, caramel, brown sugar, piney hops, faint alcohol. Taste is big on resinous, piney hops, a little too big - the hops coat a lot of the caramelly malt background. Bitter finish. Palate is sticky and full with medium carbonation. Needs more balance.