It was a competitive field, with 54 entries, making it at one of the biggest festivals of its kind, according to event organizer David Keene.
Only one entry is allowed for each competing brewery. According to Keene, 90 judges participated this year, with two panels of judges in the first two rounds and one panel in the final round of nine barley wines.
"I think it's a real honor to win at the Toronado," said Darin Jensen, an Alaskan quality assurance analyst and former brewer.
"It's great that our 2004 Big Nugget did so well, because it proves how well our barley wine ages."
Jensen said the Toronado is a unique experience both as a participating brewer and as a festivalgoer. Only barley wines are served and all entries are available on tap.
"It's held for an entire week at the Toronado Pub, a neighborhood bar in the historic Haight neighborhood," Jensen said.
"It's a real grass-roots festival."