phiconners (151) - Massachusetts, USA - JUL 15, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 24, 2007 Aroma is fantastic. Smooth flavor and texture, you can feel the alcohol a bit. Very enjoyable. sersdf (1020) - chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 12, 2006
draft at fff brewpub - pretty carbonated, massive head. not very stone-ish. pretty barleywine-ish. classic barleywine, in fact. not very hoppy, pretty strong malt backbone. alcohol reasonably well hidden. actually not very complex, which i liked a lot. a pretty simple barleywine, i could see people not liking it for that reason. oh yeah, tasted really soapy at first. which is weird, given that it wasn’t super hoppy. theshocker (329) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUL 9, 2006
UPDATED: JUL 16, 2006 2006 early release. Pours a clear, medium red with a small white head. Fruit and malt in the aroma. Same in the taste. Not as vineous as an English barley wine, but not as hoppy as I would expect from stone. Bitter but no hop flavor or aroma. Some plum, raisin, pear. Aftertaste fades moderately quickly. Pretty smooth overall. Just a little alcohol burn. Heavy mouthfull but not sticky or too sweet. By my calculations a 22 oz bomber of this stuff has the same alcohol as 4 buds...definately leaves you with a buzz.
I’m deducting a point from overall for the story on the back of the bottle. Its long, completely pointless, in tiny letters, and each line is so long you have to turn the bottle to read it so you lose your place when you go to the next line. fiulijn (20493) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JUL 8, 2006
Deep amber color; small but persistent head. Malty nose, and sweet caramel. Medium thickness, quite oily mouthfeel; round; malty, but with more caramel than other examples; the alcohol is too warming; some hop resins. At the end the bitterness is well blended with the malt. Solid and well brewed, without thrills. tronraner (2459) - Walland, Tennessee, USA - JUL 7, 2006
Bomber of the ’06. Pours reddish copper with thin beige head. The aroma is light and smooth with raisins, some candy sweetness, some caramel, some leaves, and pine needles. The flavor is pine sap, sugar, and alcohol at first. Then wood, earth, and toasty malt. The finish is smoke and alcohol. The whole brew gets slightly spicy as it nears room temperature. It’s a little on the sugary sweet side for me, and the alcohol could be masked better, but still decent.
BeerHawk (1810) - Huntsville, Alabama, USA - JUL 3, 2006
Early 06’ Release. Poured a deep amber with a creamy off-white head. The aroma found fruits (mainly cherry) and wood . But there was also a big aroma of freshly steamed spinach and cut grass as it warmed. The flavor found fruits (cherry again) and wood. Medium body and an alcohol aftertaste. Glad I have a Late 05" and another Early 06’ to cellar because it’ll just get better. thebaldwizard (1207) - Ohio, USA - JUL 3, 2006
The Old Guardian pours a deep amber color with a decent head. The aroma is of sweet malt, and a slight hint of citrus hops. The flavor was much more than I had expected. I got some sweet malt, caramel, some nice tart fruits, with a bit of hops in the end. More complex than I expected, and it all blended together very nicely. I’m glad to get a barleywine that isn’t so one dimesional as many in this style seem to be. " blankboy (7689) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 2, 2006
Bottle shared with HogTownHarry, GregClow, jerc & tupalev -- courtesy of HogTownHarry. Vintage 2006. Pours a clear ruby with an average size lasting foamy white head. Nice aroma of caramel malt, fruit, hops, wood and a hint of alcohol. Flavour follows the aroma and is quite good but this is definitely young and needs to be aged for a few years. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste but you sure can feel it. Medium to full bodied. A very good Barley Wine which I predict would be even better in a few years. vyvvy (6468) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - JUL 1, 2006
Big thanks to Beerdrenched for sharing this one. I belive this was the 2005 version. Poured hazy ruby / amber with a soapy off-white head. Aroma has lots of musty malt - caramel / toffee. Has a medium body, that has filling feeling due to the carbonation. Taste initially has alcohol and caramel. Finish has lots of alcohol completely unmasked. There is also brown sugar sweetness and some piney hops. The beer was okay, but far too much of an ABV presence. This didn’t live up to the hype for me. Maybe the 2005 doesn’t age well. Hopefully I can find a 2006 and do a more positive rerate. DrBayern (1139) - Morehead City, North Carolina, USA - JUN 30, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 14, 2008 Dark coppery amber, smallish tan head. Aroma is caramel, brown sugar, molasses, all with a roasted undertone. Rich full feel that is smooth with very light carbonation. The alcohol is apparent. Citrus hops begin to come through as the bitterness begins to balance the sweet malt for a satisfying finish. Very easy to drink, maybe a little too easy.
2006 bottle on 2/14/2008 - This had more of a spicy hop aroma and flavor, with definite peppery, bitter finish. Rather harsh when first poured as it came from the fridge, but improves dramatically as it warms.