I reread my post last night. I'm surprised I got my opinion out as well as I did. Thanks for all your opinions also.
I have to say I've had a few barleywines that I did like. Firestones Abacus for one. I think that is actually the first beer I had, that as I drank it, I decided I was having a masterpiece. Of course that was 8 years ago, but I still remember it. Thats how good that beer was to me. I remember pleading let me leave with a bottle. At that time they wouldn't allow it. Now you can buy bottles.
The Stone Old Guardian on the other hand. As I drank it, it was like every flavor within was battling to be the dominant flavor. This could be that it was their most recent and young. I'm not sure. Thats where my to much flavor comment comes from. Nothing seemed to blend. Everything was up front. Of course, with it being a Stone beer this could have been what they were going for.
This is a very rare event though. My liking a barleywine from beginning to end. When I have them, I try to have it without preconception of what to expect. More often than not, I find them less than enjoyable.
I like the comment someone made about selling smaller bottles instead of 22s. That would allow me to try one, without feeling like I'm committed to only that one beer for an evening. I like to share them when I can, but I'm not gonna give my buddy a 10+ avb beer and feel comfortable sending them on their way later that evening unless quite a bit of time has passed.