StoneWall Ale | Stone Brewing

44 Reviews
no score
Send samples
StoneWall AleStoneWall Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by drewbage on 06-12-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 87
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drinking this as we speak at Stone Winter Storm at 9am. What an awesome brew.

Such a nice light tan head with amazing sticky lace. A somewhat darker barleywine but not super. Just carmelized look.

Smells of sweet sugar, caramel, honey, citrus. A little bit of hop aroma left.

Taste is awesome. Sweet but not too sweet. More like a sugary sweet. There are caramel, honey, malty goodness flavors going on. The finish has a nice hop bitterness that is not too strong. Amazing.

Mouthfeel is perfect. A light carb that is perfect for this beer. And it is suprisingly thinner than I expected. Which is good.

Overall I am very glad I got to try this beer. I'm gunna ge one more then on to others.

 694 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

StoneWall? StoneWall? Are you shittin’ me?!? Damn! Another white whale is had at this send-off tasting. That’s like 3 in a row for me. Awesome! Like Bass No 1 and Bells 6000 this one has been a prized want for years and years. Thanks to everyone involved! Pours a bit murky with dark copper body and white head. The aroma is modest in strength and offers up smooth spicy hops, some sweet stale citrus and then near the end of the draw pummeling boozy pine hops. The taste is smooth to start and then quickly ramps up into firm levels of pine hop flavor. To midway it picks up more and more pine hops as well as lesser amounts of spicy hops and sweet maltiness. It maintains a fairly smooth body from front to back. This is tasting great with just some mildly blunted notes here and there!

 792 characters

Photo of d0ggnate
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I never thought I would get the opportunity to try this beer, but it presented recently and I jumped at the chance with some fellow BAs. Thanks to those who made this tasting possible.

Opened the 3L growler at Stone today. An exciting pop of the flip top let me know that this one remained well carbonated over the last couple years.

A: Poured a rich amber / mahogany to my 8oz snifter. This beer held a beautiful color, almost like a autumn maple leaves. A solid single finger layer of off-white head faded in just a few minutes to only rim the glass.
S: Slightly boozy, but a pronounced sweet, caramel aroma entices me. Also picked up vanilla notes and a roasty characteristic.
T: Fantastically smooth. Clean malt flavor. Stronger than expected hop presence surprised me. More caramel and toffee tastes. Vanilla mixed in the complexity.
M: Well-rounded and very balanced.
D: Extreme drinkability. I would never know this one was 12.2% ABV by drinking it. Despite being a bit boozy on the nose, this one warmed up and drank so easily. I would jump at the chance to try this one again.

 1,092 characters

Photo of jvillefan
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: A murky hazy ruby tinged brown body with a half finger white head that becomes a halo of lace after about five minutes.

S: It has deep caramel and toffee aromas. There is surprisingly not alcohol bite in the nose.

T: Incredibly rich and not overly complex. It starts with a rich caramel flavor then transitions to a deep toffee. There are earthy and almost bourbon flavors present throughout.

M: Nice heavy silk body with perfect carbonation.

O: Amazing Barleywine. Well worth actively seeking out.

 505 characters

Photo of drewbage
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the Stone "StoneWall" celebration party for donors to the StoneWall Charity Project. For availability notes, this is, in theory, one of the few times that the StoneWall ale will be on tap.

Poured into a standard american cheater pint, the beer (only a half pint!) billowed with a large tan head over a rich burnished copper caramel beer. There is a surprising amount of carbonation rolling through the beer as it continues to bubble through the beer for the hour it took for me to finish my sample.

Aromas are a bit mellow with the beer chilled to pale ale/ipa temp, but as the beer warms up the aroma begins to open up with a low hop spice mingling with a burst of vanilla and cinnamon over a orangey caramel malt.

The flavor follows suit with a similiar gentle hop profile (from Stone?) that isn't assertive even during the coldest sample period. Rich, clean and bright while only being slightly sweet. The spice and tannic notes of oak meld well against the malt and provide the break needed to keep the beer from being cloying.

The finish is smooth and amazingly warming, richly coating the palate without seeming heavy and being gentle with it's payload of 12.8% without burning like rocket fuel.

 1,234 characters

Photo of pastradul
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a double pour out of the bottle at Stone Winter Storm.

Really looked forward to trying this out of the bottle instead of draft.

The pour had a small amount of slightly tan head the dissipated somewhat quick to a small lace around the edge of the snifter.

Smell- wow, the aroma is sweet fruity malt with just a hint of alcohol in the very back of the nose.

mouthfeel- this brew is pretty thick nice and coating on the palate.

Taste- lots of sweet mild cherry like malt in the front with very clean and crisp finish in the end. The alcohol os almost totally hidden. I drank through my full pour way faster then I had planned.

Time is doing this brew wonders for sure!

 676 characters

Photo of joquiroz
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great beer!

I am part of the Stone VIPs, which at this point doesn't matter since there are no VIP events anyway :( however, I was part of the first group of people to try out this beer at the StoneWall event. The beer was indeed high in alcohol, however to be a Stone Beer, it was very different, not very bitter.

Please bear with me since I drank this beer in September 2006 (I think)

Aroma: molasses.
Taste: sweet, not bitter at all.
Mouthfeel: high gravity at the end.
Drinkability: I would drink this beer over and over if it was offered all the time.

I found some similarities between Stone's 10th anniversary IPA and this beer, again, please bear in mind we were only allowed about 1/2 glass of this beer at the StoneWall party and that was a long time ago.

 768 characters

Photo of ehammond1
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On Tap

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Clear but very dark ruby with a finger's worth of very light khaki colored head atop. Leaves smears and dots of lacing down the glass. Gorgeous.

Sweet but balanced aroma. There's tons of caramel and toffee notes present, along with some earthy, citrusy, pine notes as well. Complete, rich, and decadent.

The flavor is staggeringly good. The rich caramel and toffee flavors combine with earthy yet piney hops (still!), freshly baked bread, and a bit of a piney sting. There's zero alcohol harshness, which is simply remarkable. Delicious.

Medium to full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A joy to drink.

World-class barleywine.

 673 characters

Photo of Bankhead
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

quite a treat to try

pours a deep opaque amber with a lively ring and sparkly lacing and touches of foam on top of a still body that belies its strength

smells like a caramel apple and deeper whiffs reveal the fruit-popping yeast and some hop residue

tastes delicious and rich with caramel, sherry oxidation, amaretto, refined liquors with a sticky toffee center

the mouthfeel is where this takes off

it clings to every inch of the palate and the prickly hop wave in the finish leads you into the next sip

perfect age and glad i opened this now as the maturity of the beer is apparent but just right

 605 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


48oz consumed on tap at Stone Winter Storm 2010. It appears deep crimson suffused with amber and a thick beige cap.

The nose is a well balanced blend of toffee sweetness and citrus hops, most notably grapefruit. The hop presence is formidable. Alcohol is well hidden and sweetness is present yet restrained. An earthy character is noticeable, as well as caramel and brown sugar.

The flavor is more aggressive than the bottle I tried a few months back, but I imagine this was cold stored so it hasn't been afforded a normal rate of aging. That being said, this somewhat younger and hoppier iteration is quite nice. Bitterness is at an upper moderate level and alcohol is unabashed. Hops are pine and grapefruit and they are well balanced against the rich toffee and caramel. This is fantastic stuff. I prefer this tap version to the bottle I tried. Awesome American barleywine.

 888 characters

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

This one poured a delicate burnt orange color, brilliant clarity, small head but good retention. Aromas of orange, apple butter, honey, maple, and prickly bitterness. The taste has a citrus sweetness to it next to some alcoholic heat, and the finish has more of these plus a nice cookielike malt element. This one is simple yet so elegant right now, really really good. Moderate to full bodied, viscous with smooth low-moderate carbonation. This is drinking beautifully, the flavors are sharp and distinctive instead of being a huge malt or hop bomb. This would be a nice one to revisit periodically, if it were at all possible.

 628 characters

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

I don't have a Stonewall glass so I served this in a Old Guardian glass. Long time personal "whale" of mine, glad I got to share it with people.

Beer is brownish, mostly clear with a thin cap on it, low retention, low carbonation, low lacing, looks OK.

Aroma is sweet, mild oak, a little sherry, signs of oxidation present, smells good but I think it is starting to turn a little papery.

Beer is medium in body, sweet like syrup but the alcohol cuts it nicely. The finish is a little bitter but hardly so, nice sherry and raisin flavors with a mild sense of plums. I'd have this again, I really enjoyed it but it is probably a bit over.

 639 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Syrupy, leggy mahogany. Carbonation is low.

Smell: The nose has a wonderfully rich caramelized malt character. There's a trace of pine, but the hops have largely faded. Pleasantly oxidized, bringing to mind sherry and toasted nuts. Faint vinous fruitiness, jam-like.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich caramel malt and toasted nut flavors up front, with a liqueur-like sweetness appearing mid-palate. There's a bit of reserved fruitiness that reminds me of stewed dark fruit. Hoppier still than the nose suggests, firmly bitter and resiny, almost herbal. Alcohol is still noticeable in the finish, lending a pleasant heat. This certainly exceeded my expectations, probably one of the better American barleywines out there.

 725 characters

Photo of SoCalStout
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at Stone Brewery from Winter Storm

Appearance: Pours a bit murky/reddish with a fingers-worth of off-white head. There's a thin cap and some lacing left along the sides of the glass.

Smell: Nose of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and citrus. A little bit of hop aroma left.

Taste: The sweetness is certainly there, but it is balanced very nicely by the still substantial hop bitterness. The hops are piney with a slight bitter grapefruit note which works well with the caramel and toffee and also some vanilla in the background.

Mouthfeel: A good medium body with a medium carbonation level.

Overall: Extremely enjoyable. I would never know this one was 12.8% ABV. This one warmed up and drank so easily. I jump at the chance to get some of this one every time Stone puts it on tap.

 792 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by drabmuh. Whales baby, whales.

The beer is orange with a small, off white head. Some sediment floating around. The aroma offers butterscotch, malt, age. The beer tastes old, but quite good. Really smooth, especially given the high abv. Definitely the best barleywine I have had from Stone. Thanks Matt!

 312 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Derek for sharing this beer (again!). Served in a tasting snifter.

A - Pours with a nice foam that settled to a thin ring and some light filmy haze. Opaque light brown color. Pretty good looking barleywine.

S - Burnt sugars, sweet caramel, maraschino cherries, some spicy esters and even faint piney hops. Alcohol is faintly present, but implies a far lower ABV than 12.2%.

T - Liquid caramel, brown sugar, cherries, and other sweet things balanced by some hop bitterness. Exactly how I like my barleywines.

M - A touch undersized for the ABV. Smooth, with low carbonation. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

D - Much better than Derek's other bottle, which seemed more faded and oxidized. I had a refill of this one, and I'd love to try it on-tap at Stone some day.

 775 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared courtesy of kumquat (you know who you are!).

Poured a medium copperish color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of nuts, toasted malts, caramel, dark fruits, and vanilla. Tastes of brown sugar sweetness, dark fruits, toasted nuts, caramel, and molasses. Light alcohol finish. Nice...I'm waiting to see that Photo Mike

Notes from 6/27/08

 362 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a burnt amber color with a mild off-white head. The clarity is amazing on this beer.

S: Typical barleywine nose of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar. Surprisingly, there's still plenty of grapefruity citrus present after quite a long time.

T: The flavor follows the nose fairly well. The sweetness is certainly there, but it is balanced very nicely by the still substantial hop bitterness. The hops are piney with a slight bitter grapefruit note which works well with the caramel and toffee.

M: Medium in body with a fairly abundant carbonation for a barleywine.

D: I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to try this beer. A very nice barleywine that seems to be holding up very well. Thanks to Stone for putting this out for winter storm.

 760 characters

Photo of imblane
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to have this one on tap at the Stone Wall party. My wife does not drink beer, so I got her taster ticket as well!!! Score! The dark orange hued appearance was quite nice in the 10th Anniversary pint glass that Stone provided. Nice stong dark ale appearance with a sweet malty and alcohol nose to it. I thought the mouthfeel was almost perfect, but I am biased heavily towards almost any Stone product. Sweet creamy, remarkably un-hoppy for a Stone product, but finished with a warming alcohol bite. As the beer warms these flavors come alive and the alcohol announces it's presence. This is certainly not a session type beer, but I look forward to cellaring my 3 bottles and sharing it at the "appropriate" time. Too bad this won't be available in the future.

 775 characters

Photo of mikedashg
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 3L Growler of this was available to a select few at Stone Winter Storm event 2009 Sunday 01/25/09. I was honored to partake in it. I was told this had been stored in someone's fridge who wasn't much of a beer drinker. Being that this was a special and very limited brew, they thought this would be a good time to bring it and share it. The money that was collected was said to be going to a charity. Thank you Greg K and Heather for this once in a life time chance to sample this limited brew with age on it.

Poured by Greg Koch into a taster glass. Copper/carmel in color with very little head. Age has done this one well! The ABV was completely masked by a sweet candy carmel toffee brown sugar taste. It was not bitter, spicy, or hot at all. I wish I could've tried this fresh, and then now with years of age. This was the sweetest Stone Brewing Company brew I've ever tasted. In fact, it's one of the sweetest brews PERIOD that I've ever tasted. Light and very smooth/creamy mouthfeel and light to moderate carbonation.

If this is a barleywine, Stone needs to come out with this again, "Older Gardian?" I would love to try it fresh and then age it like I tried it to get me some more. I know it will probably never happen, but one can dream can't I?

 1,257 characters

Photo of Sean9689
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber.

A - Pours a reddish/orange with a fingers-worth or so of off-white head. There's a thin cap and some lacing left along the sides of the glass once this one settled down.

S - Sweet caramel, burnt sugars, slight oak, still a hoppy character in there as well. Very smooth, some burnt sugars. A touch of alcohol but no where near 12.8%.

T - Similar to the nose. Caramel, burnt sugars, slight hops. Very smooth for 12.8% and goes down with ease. The sweetness and hoppy notes work well together. Tasty!

M - Medium to full, syrupy, rich, slightly bitter/sweet finish.

D - An excellent BW. Not quite as rich and smooth as Wooden Hell, but the sweetness and hops are wonderfully combined in this BW. Yum x 1000.

 724 characters

Photo of davod23
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer I was most looking forward to at Stone Winter Storm. Got two pours of this.

The pour is a burnt orange color, a bit of off-white head doesn't stick around long.

Aroma is of sweet fruitiness, and hints at the booze a bit (though I gotta believe this is far mellower than it used to be). I'm getting a fair bit of juicy orange here. Lighter aspects of vanilla are also there.

Taste is excellent. Sweet malt, alcohol is well hidden. Oranges! This beer is juicy. Hops are not particularly evident, as expected. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is full, thick, but not syrupy. Long finish.

Drinkability is great. I savored them, but these pours could have gone down a lot faster.

I'm glad to try this, and it's a truly excellent beer. However, there are barleywines that are more-easily acquired that are just as good (e.g., Stormwatcher's).

 845 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1089th Review on BA
Draft to 4oz taster

WinterStorm 2012

App- A very dark orange with a tinge of amber in it. A one finger head that falls to maybe a 1/8" of bubbles in the glass. No stick or cling.

Smell- A bit more like a rich and old DIPA. More pine with some deep resin notes and a good bit of malty thickness to it. Whispy booze and sweet citrus.

Taste- Tastes just like a BW should. Deep rich and lush malts with a balanced citrus flavor of orange and some zest. A bit of a lingering spice quality but not over peppery. Still can taste the booze on it.

Mouth- A good medium body with a medium carbonation level. Residual malts and and citrus caramel sweetness.

Drink- A bit lighter than I would have thought. Still retained a good balance and was still a bit rich and creamy and very smooth.

 803 characters

Photo of HopasaurusRex
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I held onto this beer for a special occasion and shared with several friends. The beer was monumental just like the birthday.

The color was a rich mahogany with a quickly disappearing head. Not quite opaque.

The flavor travelled south into the tobacco roads of North Carolina. Complex layers of caramel, toffee, and leathery vanillin combined into a lush smooth finish. It evoked whiskey barrel aging without the bourbony burn.

A rare treat. Cheers to my friend Mitch for hooking me up with this!

 499 characters

Photo of portia99
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

4oz pour at Stone Bistro poured into a stemmed glass.

A - Pours a coppery amber color with a small tan head. Creamy textured thick collar that leaves behind sparse lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel and toffee up front mixed with brown sugar...a bit nutty. Alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering. Smells super smoth.

T - Brown sugar...light molasses. Burnt sugar and lots of caramel. Mid level bitterness to balance things out. Mixed in is some mild orangey citrus.

M - Medium body with a tingly lower level carbonation. Really smooth...sweet but balanced well - the hops still hold up enough.

O - Overall holding up well. Very good...a 4oz pour is just about right - could be dangerous at higher volumes. Glad to have the opportunity to try this one - thought it wasn't possible.

 787 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
StoneWall Ale from Stone Brewing
4.33 out of 5 based on 87 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.