highalphafan (18) - albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - FEB 21, 2005
2005. Comparitive analysis: By recent years’ standards, I’m not as happy with this one. But then that’s why we age I suppose. The pour was flatter than recent vintages and the aromamuch less hoppy. Palate thick and oily as usual, but not as complex in the flavor department. Sort of candylike like an Avery brew. We’ll see, I’ll go back for more. johnyvt (158) - West Hollywood, California, USA - FEB 20, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 21, 2005 22oz, 2005 bottle. Smells heavily of butterscotch and hops. Sweet and malty start. Really thick, oily hop taste. Definitely needs time to age and blend flavor. Right now it’s a little harsh and not as complex as I imagine it will be eventually. Still, the balance of both intense sweet and biter taste makes it drinkable and worthwhile. Will try to age a bottle and rerate. frylock (1135) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - FEB 20, 2005
2005 Vintage 11.26% ABV: Bright redish brown with a medium sized off-white head. Malty, caramel aroma with a hint of tart cherries. Caramel and toasty malts, followed by a good dose of hops, some pine notes. Rather bitter finish. 0o9i (439) - Reno, Nevada, USA - FEB 19, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 27, 2007 Jan 2007, bottled.
Lovely malts, very floral hops, a touch of fruity alcohol, lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, sweet-dark bread, and a measured dose of honey on aroma. Malt dominated and lovely. Giant head with beautiful rings of lacing. Mouth at start was flat, fullish, and unimpressive; however, now that this stuff has sat and I’m near the end, it’s creamy carb, and a lightly dry finish. Flavor is dark fruits, toasty, honey, lightly pollenated, fairly well balanced (on the hoppy side, which I enjoy) and nice. Maybe they read these things because they hid the alcohol. heh. Very tasty, but not outstanding. I should have bought another bottle...
2005 Edition, bottled. First comments: will put hair on your chest. This stuff needs to be put away for 1-2years and it will be much more "friendly," although a beer of this caliber will never be truly friendly. Here we go! Poured clear and on the brown side of amber, maybe chestnut in color? I think chestnut works as it’s not quite so dark as walnut and a lovely color. Good sized, creamy head, dough colored. Fantastic, thick lacing in rings and splotches. Aroma...well, before I tasted it, I knew the bottle should have sat at least until this fall before even a sampling, but it’s too late for that. =] Initially pungent and alcoholic, the pungency is revealed upon further evaluation (as you middle your inhalation) to be mostly of some concentrated hops with aroma of grapefruit rind and the meat of an orange. Also noticeable is yeast up front like a moist, slightly undercooked and still warm center to a wheat loaf of bread. The yeast is an overcoat to the whole aroma. The undercoat is a cloyingly sweet malt presence in brown sugar; slightly honey, slightly molasses. Despite being powerfully aromatic, it’s nearly well balanced--a bit on the sweet side...but then again, it is a barley wine. *ahh* Mouth is...unique. It’s tremendously thick and has so much malt that it SHOULD be slimy and syrupy; but, there is light carbonation throughout the mouth to just keep it dry enough to silence any complaints before you swallow and then it’s comfortably dry. As I continue to drink, it may well become VERY dry. Could definitely use more carbonation, although what it has are tiny but "poppy" bubbles and those are unique as well...fun, but still kind of syrupy//watery. Flavor...well, fumes come out my nose as I drink this--no joke. It’s like eating a mild version of chinese spicy mustard, but the fumes are hops and alcohol! That’s reason enough to sip for me. =] Tastes mildly like hop oil, very bitter; grapefruit rind and orange with orange rind head up the front and pine fills in the back. Malts are honeyed and sweet, but pathetically dominated. Alcohol is not overly obvious, but there’s no questioning that this stuff is loaded: from flavor to the warmth of stomach to the hoppy alcohol clinging to the back of my mouth. Overall, I’m saddened to say that this is far more complex than I can accurately speak on for the flavor as of now. There is some yeast, brown sugar, juniper, dark bread--there’s a lot here, but the beer is so young that it’s not really itself yet. Right now it’s a stomach ache in a bottle. Aroma is nice, appearance is lovely; mouth is impressive considering how thick and "loaded" (malts + hops + alcohol) and the flavor is complex, but horrendously underdeveloped. 2 years aging recommendation. English style malt profile and mouth; American flavoring. Stone still amazes me with their beers--complexity, power, creativity--but this one isn’t a favorite among Barley Wines. Just has a flavor profile I don’t love and it’s so harsh: hide that alcohol! elektrogeist (158) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - FEB 19, 2005
Holy hell, is this strong. 2005 that just came out, I’ll be buying more and storing it for a long time because one can tell how it would benefit from more aging. This year’s is 12.26% so beware the strength, after the first sip my stomach started burning. Sweet but exquisitely balanced with just the right amount of hops, and despite the intensity it still goes down well. Taste doesn’t linger in my mouth as long as some other barleywines, but this is still probably the best I’ve had.
Saarlander (1686) - Saarlouis, GERMANY - FEB 16, 2005
The sweetness isn’t dominating due to the good hoppiness of this beer, alcohol is pretty well hidden for being 11% Can’t wait to age some more, and try it again! wnhay (722) - Princeton, New Jersey, USA - FEB 15, 2005
UPDATED: MAR 15, 2005 I’ve just sampled this so far. Really powerful aroma which is similar to the Old Numbskull in my opinion. The pour is very creamy and has a nice amber color. The flavor is really great. Very fruity with a lot of malts and hops. I found this to be similar to an English Style Barley Wine. It is like the Old Numbskull but less powerful. The alcohol is hidden well which is quite impressive. Great so far. I will re-rate when I have had more of this.
2005- What is this beer number 199.5? Had this on draft at the Gingerman. Poured a surprisingly light brown color. It is much lighter then the Victory Old Horizontal in color. Great aroma of gin and tonic, pinapple, caramel and various dark fruits. The hops are quite present as well in the aroma along with the alcohol. The alcohol hits hard during the first sip of the beer. The taste is very good with some similarities to the Double Bastard. It is not as smooth as the Double Bastard in that the alcohol is not as well hidden. Still very good stuff though. I’ll give this a 4.3 as well. SpringsLicker (3663) - Tennessee, USA - FEB 11, 2005
This poured nicely. Good head with an amber/brown color that displayed just a bit of murkiness.
Rich complex aroma of malts, hops and dark fried fruits. The palate was well balanced, with enough hops to differentiate this from an English Style Barleywine, yet not too over the top either. Sweetly complex flavor to match the aroma. This one is well done. davidflores99 (225) - Signal HIll, California, USA - FEB 10, 2005
Just got the 2005 release, in a 22 oz. bottle. I was really impressed by the sweet bitterness of this brew. It went down nice and smooth, I might have to get another bottle of this before they sell out. ghett0yeti (29) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - FEB 10, 2005
It seems hard to find a beer that can mix so much sweetness with so much hops but Stone pulls it off nicely. Thank you for another fine concoction.