Barleywines are big beers, and in my household they are commonplace. There is nothing like settling down after a nice dinner with friends and enjoying one of these big beers over conversation. I feel that is what they are made for. Let’s take a look at Stone’s offering, and see how it stands up to some of the other brands. Enter the Old Guardian…
After warming the beer up for a bit, just during the course of dinner, it pours like a good barleywine should; a nice ruby coloration and sticky, foamy head that dissipates on it’s own time frame. The beer has a pleasant, faintly sweet aroma, which is also there in the taste. But that is not all. The beer has a great, familiar Stone hop flavor, mixed with some malt sweetness, and candy sugar flavors. Not over the top sweet like some barleywines, and also not over the top hoppy, this beer is a delight. The beer finishes up with a nice warm alcohol feel, that reminds you that this beer is big, 11% ABV big. Drink a few of these and you will feel like you have been banging your head against a tree, maybe like this guy:
Again, barleywines are one of my favorite styles, and this beer ranks up with the best. I would put it, flavor-wise, in between Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot and Great Divide’s Old Ruffian. Definitely in the top tier of barleywines. This is a great beer that should be enjoyed slowly, or that 11% ABV will remind you that you are not a woodpecker, with their special adaptations to keep them from getting headaches. Regardless, well done Stone, always a pleasure!
Around six years ago, I had my first taste of Stone Brewing Company. I had just moved to southern California, and my weak beer palate was just beginning to dive into some of the more flavorful beers on the market. Then I was introduced to a beer called Arrogant Bastard Ale, and down the rabbit hole I fell. Stone has been one of my favorites ever since…
Enter their Ruination IPA. Called “Ruination” due to the fact that after drinking this beer, you will have an altered view of beer and how it should taste. A word of warning: If you have never liked the flavor of hops, or do not like beer outside of the norm, this is not for you.
This beer is bold, and amazing. Once you crack open the bottle, the smell of hops tickles your senses. Pour it into your favorite glass and the appearance is very light, almost looking like a “normal” light beer. Once you start to drink it though, those hops knock you back to reality, making you realize that you are drinking a quality brew. Other flavors start to make an appearance as well, like grapefruit and a touch of pine, but mostly what you are going to get are hops. This makes complete sense, due to written on the bottle, “100+ IBUs.” That is big. This beer is also 7.7% ABV, which packs a punch. One big bottle is really all that you need. Luckily, as you can see from the picture, those big bottles fit nicely in your bicycle’s water bottle cages.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on revisiting some of Stone’s other offerings, check back for that, and if you see any bottles with Stone written on it, definitely check it out!