Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008

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259 Reviews
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Reviews: 259
Hads: 328
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 6
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.26% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 259 | Hads: 328
Photo of kegger22
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, reddish brown with a one finger head that faded to a thick skin. The aroma was largely malt. The taste was sweet with very little hop presence, maybe just a little pine needle aftertaste. The feel was medium bodied with mild carbonation. Drinkability was good for a high ABV.

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Photo of ShrLSU
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Cloudy orange color with that lightens as it gets higher in the glass. Nice head that settled on the pour and left beautiful lacing around the edges.

Smell - Very bready with some piny hop scents. A pungent malt and alcohol smell as well. Pretty well blended nose overall.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Bitter hops come out first followed by a bit of a citrus hop taste. The bitterness lingers into some sweet caramel malt taste. The alcohol bites a little but the bitter hops is probably the most prevelant.

Drinkability - This was a very hoppy barely wine. It's definitely a sipper. If this aged a little longer the malts and other flavors would be a bit better served. This was still a hell of a beer.

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Photo of KoG
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lively bubbles and a lasting head top the amber brew, keeping its head the whole way.

Smell is light, sweet malts, a little must and alcohol. Doughy at times, almost like fresh cookies.

Taste is great, light sweetness and not overtly bitter. Alcohol makes it presence known as it warms and spends more time on the palate.

The alcohol twinge comes in as you drink it making the finish a bit dryer as you go. Still easy to quaff.

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Early 2008 version poured into a Stone Old Guardian tulip glass for a perfect union of beer and serving container (finally!), reviewed during the 2008 Super Bowl (woo hoo)

Appearance is super clear bright orange hue, head is a good amount of white, condensed creamy foam, great swaths of lacing on the glass

Smell is fairly muted for a barleyiwine, some subtle caramel malts and a mix of pine/grassy/floral hops, tinges of alcohol

Taste is pure Stone, big pine resin hops and caramel malts mix together initially, transitions to some grassy sweet floral tones, finishes with sweet malt and alcohol warming

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, thick oily texture coats the mouth region, nice ample carbonation

Drinkability is good, this is a surprisingly sweet and mild barleywine and the 11+%abv is very subtle, a good candidate for aging- while it is solid now I can imagine that it may move into the exceptional range with a few years of aging as noted by some of the aged OGs at the most recent Stone Storm

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Photo of JBuff41413
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first ever Barley Wine and I didn't know what to expect.

A- Pours a hazy but deep amber color, with 1 inch of beautiful off white creamy head. Retention is decent and the lacing just clings to the glass.

S- This is an amazing smelling beer. Fresh baked bread, caramel, hoppy, warm spicy alcohol, and slight amount of citrus as the beer warms. Perfect!!

T- It does not disappoint. Sweet caramel malts up front, a little spicy and some dried fruits poke through. It finishes a little bitter and then the alcohol slowly warms your chest.

M- Full body mouthfeel, nice and creamy

D- It is a very intense beer and because of that i could probably drink 2 and that would be pushing it. It is 11.26% ABV and it hides it extremely this one will sneak up on you.

This is my first ever Barley Wine and won't be my last. GREAT beer. I'm going to get a couple more drink one and age the other one for a few years.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle bought online from

Poured a deep coppery russet colour. Creamy head with some coppery tinges poured quite thick and rocky then faded to nice light ring around the edge of the glass. Barely any carbonation... some light frothy lacing...

Aroma - Lots of spicy piney hops, peppery, herbal notes, caramel / toffee sweetness, some burnt sugar notes, spicy fruits (raisins, oranges, some light figs, grapefruit), strong resinous notes, some saltiness, toasted bread, biscuity malts, woody, some faint leathery traces, grassy, quite a lot of alcoholic esters when the glass is given a light swirl...

Taste - Very strong peppery / spicy / piney hops to the fore followed by lots of toffee and caramel malt sweetness, earthy notes, spicy fruits (bitter oranges (strong marmalade hints), tart apples, some figs, raisins), dark muscovado sugar traces, burnt sugar, yeasty traces, herbal, some anise, toasted bread, alcohol is noticeable..

M&D - Quite sharp initially then mellows to quite a syrupy smoothness. Medium bodied... At 11% certainly not the most drinkable beer and one bomber is more than enough...

Overall - An excellent and very American barleywine and another top notch brew from Stone... recommended...

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark deep copper with a nice creme head. Smell is structured on a nice backbone of mineral and earth. You get hints of fruit, alcohol, and hops off of that backbone. I like it. The taste continues the trends set in the smell. AT first it is a bit simple tasting but the flavor starts to deconstruct quickly as you continue drinking it and you can appreciate the different fruit, malt, and hop notes that combine to the seemingly simple first impression. The beer was a little hot and a bit fizzy for my liking, but overall I thought the 11% was hidden pretty well and I would certainly look forward to this beer in the future. Stone continues to impress.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first few I've tried from Stone have been so damn good that I was impelled by forces beyond my control to grab this. It did not disappoint. Old Guardian pours a slightly cloudy amber with two fingers of off-white head, leaving plenty of amazingly proportioned lacing on the glass--excellent. The nose emits good aromas, but is too faint. Fruit is first and foremost, followed closely by a decent whiff of hops. I'd like more, please.

The taste brings it all home well. Though this does have a bite, it's a bit sweeter and fruitier than I expected. Lots of citrus, the hops are present and accounted for, and the spice is good also--pepper and perhaps cinnamon. The alcohol warms rapidly but is never overbearing, maintaining some restraint and allowing one to enjoy this high-test barleywine (11.26%). Terrific.

Some bite emerges with the mouthfeel, a pleasant mix of hops and spice coating the tongue. Surprisingly drinkable for its potency, but not given the sweet flavor relative to the several barleywines I've had. Another hit from Stone, which has quickly emerged as one of my favorite American breweries.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak chalice with a copper bronze body simply shining when held up to the light a large cream hued head forms thick with fine bubbles and slow pouring head retention. Head retention is great with thick even chunks of lacing between sips. Aroma has huge malt ripened edges that are far removed from the early days of Stone Old Guardian this is a new take on it, not in a subdued way but just different I'm getting strong streams of sweetness including orange and other citrus peel marmalade notes really sweet and viscous at it's best with big herbal and more citrus layers of hops flooding my senses. Flavor is subdued if that makes sense much more unfiltered appearance in past years always looking mahogany brown these year it glows with clarity. At $6.99 a bottle it's amazing but I'm asking myself is the same brew I've come to expect from Stone, not at all but I like the changes it's lighter with more honey biscuit malt less straight abrasive hoppiness the kinda change I expect with growth. BTW this bottle gives a shout out to the crew in Cincinnati that gave me access to this beer thanks George and company at Cavalier thanks for yelling at Greg during GABF while he was writing this label in turn creating a relationship between your distributor and their brewery forever. Mouthfeel is full bodied syrup like in texture one fine ale that I can't give enough approval to carbonation is even with the big waves of malt and hop complexity, damn good. Drinkability is easy enough to wax off a big bottle but if your really serious come and represent with this beer at a tasting in small portions and try to wrap your mind around all of the flavor aspects another complex strong barleywine from the west coast, like we need any more of those.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just happened upon a bottle of this "store cellared" vintage and snapped it up. The time resting in the bottle has done well for this beer - mellowing what I recall as a rather rough fresh vintage. Broad caramel malt with hopping that has smoothed out quite a bit over time - the beer is now drifting a bit in the direction of an English barleywine. Big alcohol content has folded nicely in.

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

finished a 22oz bomber over the course of 3 hrs -a real tasty barley wine ale - a bit too easy to drink for the style i'm familiar with - pours hazy , i can get a 1 finger head with a vigorous pour-
great aromas, nice flavor , you know the alcohol is present but it's nicely hidden - this bomber went from 40 degrees to room temp throughout the 3 hr drinking process, i think i like the room temp glass better than the first or second - good stuff -next time i'll try the first glass a little warmer - i'm following this with a dfh olde school barley wine (the hard stuff).

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Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. The beer pours an amber/orange color with an average white head. The aroma is of dark candied fruit, maybe a hint of orange marmalade. The flavor is of rum soaked dates with a phenolic, lingering finish. The beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer is a sipper due to high ABV. I enjoyed this one. I was suprised not to pick up any hops since Stone normally loves hops. I felt this was very balanced.

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Photo of Wonka
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz.
Limited Early 2008 Release
Sampled at 60 degrees

Appearance - sparse and quickly-ending carbonation rises through the mostly clear amber body; the off-white, two-finger thick head does its best to fight off the strength of the product below; partitioned sheets of lace

Smell - oh yes, this is a big, exciting experience; it draws you in to sip and early in the game, its an experience ahead of the taste; fig, raisin, caramel, citrus rind, flash of pineapple; some spice; steady line of alcohol gave me a sense that this offering is a caged monster

Taste - to open talking about the close of the flavor profile says something - its noteworthy at this stage; hotness comes through late as expected since its so fresh; lively hop profile enters early (orange rind, grapefruit) and remains long after the close; the malts aren't as prominent as desired but they'll be mined with time; fruity; bread and light brown sugar find a way through the hop jungle; if a hop punch is your thing, its very tolerable but age has a track record of doing the big Stone well

Mouthfeel - nice lush layer of carbonation for a barleywine; a light oil is cut by the hot; the alcohol dries the palette a bit (which will mellow with time) and this holds it back from being spot on but as ripe as this sample is, it's a 5; age aside, it's a 4.5; Stone seems to hit my preferred feel on just about every product in their lineup that I've sampled

Drinkability - its the Patterson fist that knocked out Johansson; a certain sipper that took me more than an hour to sample; time is on its side as it will favorably mellow; 1 is certainly enough to give the sampler a full impression

Buy 4 and drink one every year. It'll be a book that gets better as the bookmark advances.

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Photo of Baileyuk
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from Uptown from the Stone launch party. Again I left my notes behind from this one so I am going off memory altough it was within a day.

Color was a fairly light amber, some cloudiness. Head was reduced. The lacing around where the head was superb, the further down it went the weaker it got very quickly. After about 1 third there was no lacing.

Smell had a hoppy aroma but not overpowering. There was a sweet alcohol smell that was more dominant.

Some resiny hops. Tasted very much like pineapple. I think this is the sensation I get from Molasses (still a theory right now). Very pleasant and very drinkable. Was definately heavy with the alcohol content. However I could have done another, it was always a pleasure drinking it. Could definately feel it though!

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (Early 2008 Release)
22oz. brown bomber

A: poured into a snifter. Slightly hazy, mostly reddish amber color. Nice light tan head on top, with a decent retention level. Fair lacing at best.

S: sweet citrusy hop aromas. Mostly oranges, almost blood oranges. Sweet malts provide a solid backbone to this barley wine. Some strong alcohol is definitely present as well.

T: holy crap! Great typical Stone beer...big, beefy and potent. The malts hit first with a sweet base, that lets the hops sneak into the palate. Mostly sweet malts, with citrus and floral hop flavors. Solid barley wine flavors. Some vanilla as well.

M: surprisingly smooth mouthfeel for an 11% barley wine. Amazing palate, great malt with a solid, typical hop characteristic from Stone. Perfect carbonation level.

D: 11.26% is definitely extreme. Very good example of a barley wine. Very drinkable, but only for one.

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Photo of drxandy
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz to standard pint glass, wish i used a snifter or thistle glass. Pours a light golden red color, nice two finger head

smells faint, light malting and alchohol ++ but not much noticable

tasting, oh man hot hot alcohol! wish i wouldn't have cracked this for another year, very much a sipper, creamy spicy, sweet heavy malts, heavy bitter hopping, a lot on the palate (green raisins, lemon peel, honey, etc)

mouthfeel was hot and tangy while thick and creamy - a tounge bruiser at this vintage

overall a fantastic barleywine that demands to be cellared - wouldn't reccomend it to be drunk fresh.

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Photo of thejewthatbrews
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into glass.

Pours an orangy, amber-ish color with exceptional clarity. Slightly off-white head, inch high, with very sticky lacing. Five minutes after the first drink it's still here.

Malty sweet aroma, with a faint hop aroma, and a definate alcohol note.

Malt upfront when first tasted, followed by a slight hop bitterness, then alcohol, then a very slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol does not burn, but is very noticealbe. Malt character definately dominates, with a slight hint of caramel and a bit of dried plum(not sure if that's the best way to desribe it).

Drinkable, in appropriate doses. Definately sippable, even "quaffable" (stupid word), but would be best accompanied by food. Had in unison with a cheap club sandwich, and it complemented the sandwich very well.

Thick mouthfeel, almost sticky "after-feel", but not enough to make me stop.

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Photo of fostwal
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is slightly cloudy and a dark amber in its appearance. The aroma is very slight with just a few hints of hops and sweet roasted malt. The taste is excellent. The hops and malts are very well balanced. Though it does have a little more bitter hops than traditional barley wines. The flavors are bold, but not overpowering and you really don't notice that this brew is 11% alcohol. The mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is low and the liquid is thick. It feels like a strong beer. The combination of all these makes this a superb beer.

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Photo of bheilman
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been in my "cellar" for at least 12 months. I am comparing it directly to a 10 month old sierra nevada bigfoot. Fairly light in color compared to most barleywines. Almost tan like a natural leather belt. The smell is not that present but does give me an idea of caramel. The taste is fantastic. Some citrus, lots of caramel, maybe some nut and a little chocolate/coffee. The aftertaste has a nice hops balance. The beer is drinkable, but only in the sense that all barleywines are drinkable. The taste is nice and smooth, so I could probably handle a couple of these but would probably want to switch flavors.

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Photo of Goliath
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy orangey/amber color with a large inch and a half yellowed head. Nice retention.

The aroma is decent. some hop spiciness up front with some nice sweet malts. Some fruity esters and a bit of alcohol.

The taste is ok. It's rather aggressive. Pretty hot, with some sweet malts up front. Some pineapple in there too. A slight bitterness on the finish. Not my favorite barleywine, but I could definitely see why this has become such a popular cellar candidate. It seems it could be a great beer with several years on it.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, slightly syrupy, and fairly creamy. Carbonation is fairly light.

Drinkability is low to moderate. It's not a bad brew, but definitely aggressive in both taste and strength of alcohol. With some years in the cellar I imagine the drinkability would improve dramatically.

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Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A healthy amber color with a tan head that settles to a thin cover. The nose was of quiet bready malts, ripe fruits and some floral hops. Taste also has a nice hop presence that is well balanced by sweet malts. Well carbonated silky body is full on the palate. A good brew, but there are much better.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange with a light tan head that was barely present until I poured the last inch into my chalice with some force. Head dissapears fairly quickly.

I usually let it warm up to my prefered 55F for barleywines and belgians, but it was just a bit colder upon pour than I would have liked. Maybe 45?

Aroma began faily mild until it warmed up. Cooked fruit (apples, pear, banana). Alcohol bite is notable in the aroma. Bready burnt malt there too.

A nice bitter kick is laid down right as the malt and fruit flavors rescind. Alcohol is right up front too, and warms all the way down. The 11% is hard to find though

Good carbonation despite the lack of head. Surprising hop kick for a barleywine, resin coating across the mouth, with the usualy hoppy pine/citrus punch.

I really like Stone, but I think this is one of my least favorites, which is still saying it's a damn fine beer, haha. I plan to get another bottle and cellar it until next year to try side-by-side with the 09.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Paul 68 this one! 22 oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Very cloudy, dark, orange, amber. About a 1/2 finger of off white, almost tan, cream colored head. Little lace, no retention.

A: Smells of roasted malts and earthy hops. Big alcohol aroma.

T: Hops up front, malts in the back. Again, alcohol dominates. But very nice.

M: Full body and oily. Next to no carbonation.

D: I thought this one was great, but different from other American Bigfoot, Old Ruffian, and Gnarleywine. Heavier on the hops, but a little lighter on the palate, and higher ABV. All and all a must try for barleywine lovers. Kudos to Stone for this very tasty concoction. Skal.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thought I better try it out of the bottle too...

Dark orange color, great highlighting. Off-White head looks very nice, jumps up several inches, great stick and lacing. Tight cap.

Malty caramel sweetness backed by citric hopping in the nose. I thought it was a tad weak, as in overall power, but the notes were well struck.

Flavor brings more of the same; the hops are multi faceted with herbs, pine, and citric fruit making an appearance, while the malt brings the caramel backing. Very solid and chewy ale, dry finish.

Carbonation is low, alcohol high, let this one warm up and start hitting on all 8 cylinders..or should I say all 11.26. Recommended.

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Photo of unclederby
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had my first 2008 last night, poured into a Piraat tulip.

This was a beauty of a beer in the looks department: deep orange in color and with a healthy two finger head that wouldn't quit. Lots of sticky lacing. Incredible really given such a high gravity beer.

Save for a bit of crystal malt, I got absolutely nothing on the nose. I swirled vigorously; still, nothing. What's up with that?

It tasted great however, much like a 2IPA only mildly hoppy by Stone's standards. Well balanced and exceptionally drinkable: where's the alcohol?

Mouthfeel was near perfection to my tastes: oily, somewhat viscous, and with vivacious carbonation.

I still can't believe this beer is over 11%, as it went down so easy... nice and smooth. The high ABV precludes me from giving it a 4.5 in drinkability.

Well, i am a little hungover today, but the Stone wasn't my only beverage of choice last night.

I'll be drinkin' me a bunch more of these, and

edit: i had another of these tonight (03/01/08) and have to say my palate is picking up much more on the citrusy hoppiness of the beer.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 259 ratings.