Sickboy282 (1114) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 12, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 11, 2005 2005- Poursa clear orange/amber hue with a small, lightly frothed off-white head with mediocre lacing. Aromas of roasted nuts, a little cereal, hints of oranges and spice. Mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied with a lingering finish. Very bitter on contact with the tongue. Favors of spruce, a little perfumy, and finishes with a soapy residue. MMMM.....Not up to par with last years, but will have to age a few as this brew seems to have some sediment unlike most of the big brews from stone as of late.
2004--I don’t think I was the biggest fan of the old ’old guardian’ but now I can say I love it. The new recipe is just what the doctor ordered. Hoppy, malty, with a good flavor of malts coming through. 8/4/8/5/17-4.2 bb (9241) - Alamo, California, USA - APR 19, 2004
Bottle. Amber colored beer with an off-white head. Toffee aroma with a hop backing. Flavor of hops, then a strong alcohol presence, followed by a toffee/coffee malt that lingers in your mouth. It's balanced between the hops and malt, but the alcohol presence is much higher than I'd like (yes, it's a barley wine, but in this one the alcohol is too much in the forefront). Leaves a nice hop bitterness in your mouth. gerdy555 (163) - Ohio, USA - MAY 8, 2004
pours golden brown with a large off white head. aroma is fruity apples mostly, and hoppy, with pine needles. flavor is hoppy, and of grapefruit with a strong alcohol flavor. this beer is strong though not sticky like many other barley wines. however I prefer the previous old guardians to this one. maybe aging will do this one well. MartinT (9795) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 31, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 18, 2007 Boozed-up pine trees treading on wet earth...Dried apricots and plentiful pale fruit falling like leaves and grabbed by hop bitterness and alcohol...At this point in its young life, it feels agressive and not cohesive...I’ll have to come back in a year or two...3.5/5harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - JUL 3, 2004
1-year-old bottle : Hops have wonderfully laid back and let the rich malts shine...Superb unity of flavors, balance is achieved and the smooth and nourishing mouthfeel warms the body...4/5
Young 2007 vintage: This newly-bottled vintage was quite disappointing to me...None of the complex maltiness required to develop with age, none of the blooming hops to seduce the nostrils and tastebuds, this is just a smooth, überclean barley wine for those in search of a thoughtless evening sipper...Not what I usually expect from Stone...3.2/5
This is not nearly as tasty as previous years and what is up with the font on the bottle, I am squinting here trying to read this. Crystal clear golden amber appearance, with a fastly fading head, leaving a residual bubbly foam. Sugary sweet, lightly hoppy aroma, lots of caramel corn and candi/brown sugars in the aroma and flavor. Nicely balanced, but this is still a really young tasting barleywine, that needs to age a year or so. Slightly astringent with a bitter aftertaste.
SDalkoholic (2375) - Linda Vista, California, USA - SEP 24, 2004
Gloomy copper colored with thick fluffy head. Getting a smell of this stuff made my eyes feel like they got watery. Has some ruby red grapefruit or a splash of pineapple juice along with dark black cherry presence. Gives the impression of a warm alcohol sensation just like a wine or cognac does. A bit to strong for my liking but if age is what will make this brew simmer down then i’d like to try it at a later time. smoosh (536) - New Albany, Indiana, USA - NOV 8, 2004
Bottle - grassy hops and alcohol in the aroma. Deep gold to pale amber. Not as red as last year’s. Thick, creamy beige head that left lacing nearly as thick as melted ice cream. Nice flavor! Caramel sweet, yet still bitter and alcoholic. Maybe a touch of vanilla? This is possibly a little thin and definitely young, but still enjoyable. Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - JAN 1, 2005
Pours hazy amber with no head. Yeasty bread and malt aroma. Initial malt taste fades to bitter hops quickly. Very gritty mouthfeel. Not very well balanced. Sittng on one for next year. ericnixon (746) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 16, 2005
Limited winter 2005 release! Perfect mahogany color with almost no head. Sharp fruity/alcohol aroma. Smoothness. The aroma pervades into the taste, but not nearly as sharp as the smell. The taste is like raisins or other darker fruits with an alcoholic edge (but in a smooth way). I think it would taste better if aged for a year or two. Papsoe (25063) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - JUL 23, 2005
(Bottle 65 cl) Vintage 2005 - 11,26% ABV in this version. Beautiful deep amber, small off-white head. Pronounced alcoholic nose. Sweet caramel, very spicy with a pronounced bitterness - if not exactly suffocating. 170705