Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +9%
Thanks to mtnlover for bringing this bottle my way. I was duly impressed by the 03 vintage, but did not review it for reasons unkown. This Winter 04 Limited Release disembarks from the 22 oz bottle a chill hazed, auburn orange body with a sticky, one finger tall, vanilla hued head. Decent retention and some beautiful patchy lacing on the sides of the imperial pint glass.
Aroma begins with candied mandarin orange marmelade and lots of grapefruit, resinous pinecone, and earthy and grassy hops. Some caramel notes are hidden deep within this layer of fresh hoppiness and a hint of alcohol is picked up as well. Very robust bouquet barely falls short of being harsh with hops.
Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy smooth, with an ideal level of medium carbonation.
The taste opens with lots of citrusy grapefruit and orangerind hops, and a "slap you in the face" pine resin. Caramel malt sweetness emerges from time to time to round off the edges. Alcohol is somehow disguised by the enormous waves of flavors and hops. Hop and malt flavors become even more pronounced at room temperature, and the finish is bittersweet, mandarin orange marmalade with fresh grapefruit rind, hops bitterness.
This is a truly excellent American Barleywine that needs no aging, though one has to speculate how exceptional this one will be with some time in the cellar. I've never encountered a Stone brew that wasn't topnotch, and the 2004 Old Guardian certainly raises the bar. Very highly recommended.
12-01-2004 11:12:01 | More by merlin48
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
I'm giving this beer a 4.5 for appearance despite its complete lack of head, because of the amazing color. It glows as if with an inner light, as though it could fill a dark room with sunset! An unreal color like the skin of a ripe peach. I've never seen anything like it before, and it's extremely inviting.
The smell fills out with the typical barleywine odor that I have a hard time describing - steamed asparagus drizzled with molasses, perhaps? Itr's the kind of smell that makes me go 'yep - barleywine', but I can't quite figure it out.
Ironic that the color reminds me of peaches and apricots, because I get extremely strong hints of those squishy fruits in the flavor of this very finely aged beer. It's got that steamed-grass smell, and a distinct caramel flavor - and in this beer, I can taste the hops, a bittering, floral addition. Wow, this is a really good barleywine, the best I've tried so far. The others I've tried have finished harshly, but this tumbles the alcohol into its flavors, then finishes with caramel and hop bitters, instead of ending up with nothing but alcohol.
The mouthfeel is awesome, it's like melted butter. Creamy, soft, smooth, and it gets into every crevice of the mouth, flowing voluptously.
Wow - so far my experiences with barleywine have been lackluster, but this aged '04 Stone version is outta control. I love it, plain and simple!
02-10-2006 02:01:20 | More by Tupperwolf
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
Brown 22 ounce silk screened bottle. Two years old.
Glowing sunset amber. Thin beige coloured head, no lace.
Notes of hoppy pine & grapefruit. Apples, solvent, malty goodness. A very well balanced & inviting nose.
Rich & powerful. At 2 years a great balance between malt & hops. Some port-like flavours, along with toffee, apples, & plums. Medium-full bodied, lush, with slight carbonation. Ageing quite nicely, and I still love Amarillo hops.
02-05-2006 04:25:54 | More by xgrigorix
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
Dull orangy rusted murk. Slimming medium yellowed beige top of slippery smooth soft foam. Gets thin drippy rings of tiny stringy lace along with some slight clear glazed residue.
Aroma has a nice blend of caramel, pine sap, and floral hops. Fairly sweet overall and resinous with some tender orange slices, pear, and pineapple.
Simple, rich, lasting, and blended flavors of soft candyish caramel, well rounded piney hops, dullishly deep tropical fruits of pineapple, orange, and nectarine keep a sweeter complexion along with high ended resinous floral perks and light heat underneath on the finish.
Fantastic barleywine feel with a bold medium body taking on a sweet smoothness wrapped in delicate carbonation, creamyness, ruggedness, and alcoholic warmth. Nice finish of soft caramel mixed with leftover floral pine hops mixed in with the warmth.
Super swift on the drinkable scale. Goes down far too fast and easy to be 10%. A fine tasten', easy drinkin' barleywine that no doubt a bit of age has suited it well.
07-08-2005 02:27:22 | More by tavernjef
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
This beer pours a golden bronze orange color with a medium light tan head that rises and fades quickly. The aroma is really piney and sharp in hops along with some sweet fruit characteristics. The taste is better than the aroma here. The thick syruppy body holds a multitude of hops and malts and alcohols together amazingly. Intense, aggressive bitterness is held up by a strong but not really sweet maltiness. Floral and piney notes are prominent along with some deep dark fruits underneath. Alcohol is hidden really well and I can only really feel it on the way down. Amazingly drinkable. Obviously not sessionable but this goes down very nice for as strong and intense as this beer is. Excellent!
03-01-2005 17:42:26 | More by granger10
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
22oz bomber, obtained a while back in my first BA trade from
appearance: beautiful pour, body is a glorious peach amber, shines like the freaking sun, very nice white foamy head and enough lacing on the snifter to keep me satisfied
smell: very explosive nose, thick sweet malts dominate the nose, strong caramel, inviting alcohol, juicy citrus-grapefruit hops existent but I would assume they have calmed since this one was bottled. aromas are very well balanced and smooth
taste: phenomenaly well balanced and smooth...not as much of a hop monster as i expected from stone, but this sample is aged...the result is one of the finest malt barleywines i have ever taste...smooth caramel, apple, grape, toasted thick malt....slightly bitter grapefruit-apricot hop bite catches up in the aftertaste. alcohol presence is not abrasive at all. outstanding
mouthfeel: medium-full body, extraordinarily smooth for a b-wine, creamy, slight hop bitterness, slight alcohol burn
drinkability: one of those beers you are glad is 22oz and not just 12
02-27-2006 01:03:07 | More by dirtylou
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
Huge, fluffy white head atop a copper-amber body. Lacing occurs as head subsides.
Huge alcohol pine resin smell. Some nice, fruity notes as well. Mango, other tropical type fruits.
Sweet taste, with a citrusy pine resin that follows all the way through. Ends with an extremely bitter hoppiness that is supported by some sweet caramel malt.
Huge, round thick body with a huge alcohol presence. A winter beer if I ever had one.
10-21-2005 23:33:49 | More by nortmand
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Appearance This is a solid orange in color with some brownish tints and a modest, retentive head.
Smell This nose has a huge malt backbone with classic Stone hops. The pine especially sticks out. The alcohol is modest but noticeable.
Taste This malt bomb has some huge flavors. There are a lot of sugars in here along with some good alcohol notes. The wine is classic chardonnay.
Mouthfeel This full-bodied Barley Wine is hoppy but doesnt have a lot of dryness. It is very heavy in the mouth with lots of malty sugars.
Drinkability This isnt a session ale by a long shot, but it certainly makes for a terrific nighttime sipper.
01-31-2005 04:05:52 | More by RoyalT
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
11/15/07- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.
Presentation- 22oz bottle, 2004 release. Poured into my Stone Old Gaurdian tulip/snifter style glass.
Appearance- Very lovely color. Almost liquor like. A soft light brown-orangish color. Lively 3/4 inch clean white head upon pour. Leaves the slightest rim as consumption begins. Very sticky cobweb style lacing remains.
Smell- Score again! Boquet of fresh grapefruit and pine hops plus the added behifit of a sweet caramely nose as well. Alcohol is also noted in the aroma.
Taste- You can definitely taste the booze in this one. Well, 3 1/2 years in the cellar has done this beer wonders. The hops still remain fresh, strong, ultra bitter and flavorful with ripe grapefruit and fresh pine needles and the malt has become very carmelized. Almost like a liquid caramello bar.
Mouthfeel- Smooth, even with a mid range fiesty carbonation level. Bitter aftertaste, but not as lasting as expected.
Drinkability- Guess I know how long to cellar this brew for. I can barely stomach it when it's fresh, but now it's quite outstanding. Drink now....
11-16-2007 22:12:52 | More by GClarkage
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Pours a ruby-orange color with a healthy white head. Has a muted aroma of sweet malt with some spices and subtle hops, as well as a noticable presence of alcohol. The taste is smooth with the malt backbone dominating the initial flavor and giving way to the bitterness of the hops and a finish that is dominated by spicy alcohol. A wonderful, tingly mouthfeel fits the style perfectly, and it goes down smooth and delicious, especially considering the massive 10% abv.
Six months has done this beer immeasurable good. The alcohol has settled down and now blends wonderfully with the other flavors, not dominant as it was fresh. Near perfection now, but I didn't really enjoy it when it was fresh.
09-28-2004 01:36:24 | More by altctrlsdelete
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
I jumped at the opportunity to fill my growler with this retired beer this weekend at Stone Brewing Co. Offered as their Saturday Night Special, I couldn't help but speed up the 15 in hopes that some of this brew would be left for me. I was about 15th in line when I got there, but was still able to grab some.
A: Poured an amber/orange color barely penetrable to light, with plenty of carbonation (surprising). A nice, cream-colored 1.5 finger head layer tops my glass and fades slowly, leaving patchy lace down my glass.
S: Strong, sweet malty goodness abounds into my nostrils as I barely lift the glass to better observe the aroma. Classic Stone hop characteristic is still noticeable.
T: Very smooth! The taste is similar, but still quite departed from the way this beer smells. On nose, there is heavy alcohol and sweet malt notes. At taste, the malt sweetness continues, but the beer is very smooth and creamy. The body has a smooth, but strong alcohol (brandy-like) quality.
M: Rich, creamy and complex. Delicious from sip to swallow. A slight alcohol warming affect is noted.
D: I can't believe how good this beer is. I wish I had a fresh one to compare side by side, but from what I can remember this is still quite similar in some aspects. The taste has smoothed out substantially, but the nose reminds me of the fresh version.
12-28-2008 01:20:16 | More by d0ggnate
4.47/5 rDev +5.9%
I've been waiting quite awhile to try this one....pours from the bomber a crystal clear amber with hints of red. A nice creamy, fluffy bubbly off white head arrives on top. Aromas of pine sap hoppiness mix with a big caramel, toffee maltiness. There's a nice fruity aroma in there as well. A delight for the nasal passages...just how I like my barleywines.
First sip is oh so smooth with a opening rush of creamy, fruity caramel sweet maltiness followed by a nice helping of piney resinous hoppiness...the hops are still alive and kicking after a little over a year of aging. Alcohol notes come in and out nicely. There's a bit of a scotch undercurrent here as well. I never had the chance to sample this fresh..but it's doing damn well after a year...incredibly smooth and tasty.
Mouthfeel has a nice, slightly syrupy body with a super smooth malt character that flows over the palate like silk. This is quite simply a wonderfully tasty, easily drinkable brew. Obviously not a session at a bit over 10% abv....but a bomber is no problem. Another great brew from Stone..I'm looking forward to a fresh 2005!
02-26-2005 05:07:50 | More by orbitalr0x
4.47/5 rDev +5.9%
This was my first ever taste of Sone Old Guardian Barley Wine. I have not had the other years. I was looking forward to trying it.
Served around 55 Degrees
Appearance: A very rocky head made it look beautiful to me. This was a head like no other with many peaks and vallies. The beer itself was clean as a whistle, very clear as is with most Stone beers.
Smell: Very big aroma with sweetness being first then hops coming up quick with just a short but sharp hop aroma and alcohol even warms you at the end of the smell.
Taste: A huge beer. Huge malt presence, not sweet but huge and malty. Hops are there but are mellow compared to what I expected from this beer. Alcohol is very spicy at the end which really warmed me. MMmmmm
Mouthfeel: Excellent full bodied chewy meaty eat it with a fork and knife beer. Just the kind of body I look for in a barley wine.
Not very drinkable only because of the alcohol. I would want to drink this one till I die though.... so good.
02-21-2004 16:48:31 | More by Ellbert
4.47/5 rDev +5.9%
a = Great hazy amber color. Thin head with average retension. Little lacing.
s = Very aromatic, slightly citrusy smell.
t = Tastes great. Lots of subtle citrus flavors. Still has a bit of an alcohol taste after aging for 4 years, but it's not overwhelming by any means.
m = Very smooth mouthfeel. Goes down with ease and makes you want to take another sip.
d = This one seems to be easier to drink if it's served on the cooler side. As it warms up, the alcohol taste come out a bit more.
I went to the Stone Brewery last night and they had a special tap of 2004 Old Guardian for growler fills. After aging for 4 years, I was very excited to try this one, and it doesn't dissapoint.
This is an excelent example of how a barleywine should taste, and how they get better with age. All the subtle citrus and spice flavors (orange zest, anise, etc.) are more evident when drinking this on the cooler side. It's very smooth with a bit of tangyness to it. As it warms up to room tempature, the alcohol flavor starts coming out more, and makes it a bit harder to drink.
05-11-2008 16:21:55 | More by djaeon
4.45/5 rDev +5.5%
Pours a beautiful red color with small off white head that disappears quickly, very few stray bubbles rising. Aroma caramel, malt with light fruity hints and a citrusy, floral hop aroma. Tastes great malt sweet malt caramel with fruit flavors rising here and there along with a good hop flavor and bitter bite. Taste is smooth complex and enjoyable hard to believe its over 10% abv. Drinkability is great finished bomber no problem at all in less then hour wanting to open another I have hiding downstairs, must resist the temptation. Mouthfeel is little light compared to others I have had kind of strange but who really cares just makes it that much more drinkable. Think I will buy few more for safe keeping. Want to thank Stone for finally letting us in Tenn. try this great beer please let our Distributers have all your beers and I will be one happy man!
08-28-2004 00:53:29 | More by mntlover
4.43/5 rDev +5%
One of my favorite beers that I look for each year, and one I get by the case. The beer as it renounces the 22 ounce bottle in favor of my beer glass is a tralucent deep copper color, the head is behemothic in size and spumous in texture, after it dissolves, the lace forms a thick blanket to cover the glass. The aroma of hops, fusel alcohol, fresh pineapple also sweet cotton candy like tones, a real treat for the schnozzle and the peepers, start is ambrosial, rich in malt, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is controlled in its acidity, the hops unyielding in their spiciness with the aftertaste bone-dry, and long lasting, the 10.6% ABV produces a nice touch of alcohol bitterness and a definite belly warming sensation, a Hoot as it is every year, and it only gets better with age just like Old Gusler?
"bonum beer laetificat cor hominis"
02-25-2004 00:08:32 | More by Gusler
4.43/5 rDev +5%
ok, that back label. what's THAT all about?
deep copper shade with a full creamy beige head leaving a nice lacing on the glass.
aroma of just mashed grains after the sparge, with a hint of honey sweetness. not like any i have smelled before. very distinctive.
after one sip, the alcohol is already making its presence felt. this is not a beer to be taken lightly. at first, the flavor starts like any other strong ale. but the finish deffinitely has a kick to it. bitterness, and the warmness of the alcohol really show through, though not so much that they take over the beer. sorry, barley wine.
as the temp rises, the flavor and mouthfeel smooth remarkably gaining an almost creamy consistency. this just feels great, begging you to gulp it down, but i know better.
well, after meeting my first Stone, i see what all the hype is about. Old Guardian, the pleasure was mine.
05-25-2004 15:00:42 | More by joecast
4.43/5 rDev +5%
Not quite as good as last years version but I liked it well enough. Pours golden orange with a thick off-white head. Nice lacing through the entire glass. The aroma is big on malt, along with some hops, butter and alcohol. Rich-bodied and smooth despite the bitter hops and borderline harsh alcohol. There are also malt and grapefuit flavors in the mix. Despite being a little rough this is a good Barley Wine.
06-28-2004 16:40:35 | More by Dogbrick
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
A cloudy, burnt orange brew with a thin head that quickly dissipates until barely a wisp of white remains.
Overall, this is a very nice, even outstanding blend of hops flavor, malt backbone and subtle but noticeable alcohol kick.
Very well rounded, and one of my favorite barley wines to date.
07-05-2004 01:40:33 | More by RockyTopHeel
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
On tap at Stone Winter Storm
A: A dull cloudy tangering copperish color with almost no head. A fine ring of beige surrounds the glass adding an amusing contrast. Little agitation to the beer causes the bubbles to come forth from the depths.
S: Orange, toffee, grapefruit rind and raisin.
T: Begins with a healthy mix of caramel, cherry and bubblegum. There is a transition happening with the malt and sugars in this brew...Its in the beginning stages of converting to outrageous toffee flavors...but its not there yet. Marshmallow, apricot and mellon add a nice fruity component. Bitterness remains but its controlled and not too overpowering. Finishes sweet with honey, yellow fruit and a friendly kick of alcohol.
M: Full bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel.
D: This barleywine is getting close the perfect age IMO. Its could still use another 16 months or so to get it perfect. I'm certainly thankful to have had the opportunity to try this on tap.
01-01-2007 20:47:28 | More by Westsidethreat
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
Appearance: Copper amber hue with an off white frothy cream head lacing is fine and spread evenly. Aroma: Ctrus bursts of hops with a piney hop tone blend caramel and molasses tinged with alcohol with orange peels evident in the nose. Taste: Wonderful blend of hops and malts caramel citrus with a deep malty layer of hops excellent complex big ol' barleywine. Deep alcohol infused fruit notes make each sip more enticing. Mouthfeel: Full to medium bodied sryupy texture, wow. Drinkability: Excellent complex watchout for the abv this one will get you. I definitely look forward to the release of this Stone product every year, damn good barleywine from Stone in your face like most of their beers.
04-25-2004 16:55:53 | More by WVbeergeek
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.