1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

138 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 121
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 5
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.06% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 02-12-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dirtylou
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%

22oz bomber, obtained a while back in my first BA trade from
Px2GrafX

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

dirtylou, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of nortmand
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.

nortmand, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
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 doesn’t have a lot of dryness. It is very heavy in the mouth with lots of malty sugars.

Drinkability – This isn’t a “session ale” by a long shot, but it certainly makes for a terrific nighttime sipper.

RoyalT, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of LakerLeith
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

LakerLeith, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of GClarkage
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....

GClarkage, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of altctrlsdelete
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.

altctrlsdelete, Sep 28, 2004
Photo of bearisprime
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

bearisprime, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of fox227
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

fox227, Feb 11, 2014
Photo of d0ggnate
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.

d0ggnate, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of hawkmage
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

hawkmage, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of orbitalr0x
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!

orbitalr0x, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of Ellbert
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.

Ellbert, Feb 21, 2004
Photo of djaeon
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.

djaeon, May 11, 2008
Photo of mntlover
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!

mntlover, Aug 28, 2004
Photo of Gusler
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"

Gusler, Feb 25, 2004
Photo of joecast
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.

joecast, May 25, 2004
Photo of Dogbrick
4.43/5  rDev +5%

Not quite as good as last year’s 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.

Dogbrick, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of RockyTopHeel
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.

RockyTopHeel, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of Westsidethreat
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.

Westsidethreat, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
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.

WVbeergeek, Apr 25, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

Presentation: No surprises for Stone Fans, this comes in the usual gold and red screen printed Stone Old Guardian Bottle that has been around for several years now. The only changes to the presentation, are little alterations here and there. It reveals its heritage with a ‘Limited Winter ’04 Release’ date in a starburst at the top left corner on the front of the bottle. Stronger than previous years I note, the strength is listed at 10.06% in the bottom left of the obverse label. I see that Greg has still not lost his knack for the entertaining diatribes that decorate the reverse of the label. I read it twice and still had no fucking idea what the hell was going on. Apart from the fact that a lot of “screwing around” appears to take place at Stone, I always love the way that they poke fun at themselves, and the serious amongst us, as well enforcing my hatred for the trend towards beer with no carbs, no sugar, no calories, and erm….no taste. “Guarding against all things lifeless, lackluster and lo-carb”. Gotta love the Stone ethos!!!

Appearance: The first surprise was the color, unless I am very much mistaken, I think that this is much lighter than previous years. Without previous years to compare to that’s hard to qualify right now though. Perfectly lucid, it pours with a dark copper color, the head is off-white and it is supported by immense levels of dissolved carbonation, yet it is released in a controlled manner and helps to maintain a nice thick looking ¼” head when swirled. Minimal lacing is easily removed when I swirl the beer.

Nose: Strong alcohol acts like a solvent and dissolves malts and some light sugary caramel together with a strong whiff of freshly harvested hops mixed with some tropical fruits. Juicy and fresh, the hops really come through in the nose when deeply inhaled.

Taste: This has some tastes that I find I cannot explain. I will do my best. Suffice to say there is a “strong ale” flavor, rather than a Barleywine feel to this youngster. It reminds me of a few strong bitters that I drank in the UK around winter time, in particular it reminded me of Burton Bridge Old Expensive Ale that I tried on Cask many years ago in the UK. A strong bitter-sweet taste that is neither overwhelmingly bitter, nor sweet, if that makes sense. Big Malts and Hops, yet it’s almost as if the bitterness cuts right through the heavy malts and edges it at this moment in time. Some fruitiness mingles here and there. Time may well alter the balance. Lingering bitterness on the cheeks does not come through on the tongue until long after the beer is swallowed. Powerful.

Mouthfeel: Finishes with a very light alcoholic kick at the end that really does feel as though it will get warmer, but somehow never does, well not until it hits the stomach at least. I had a strong home made Curry tonight, but even so, the burps this induces (no doubt from the carbonation) really take the edge off of my Beef Madras with their juicy hop oils. Quite something.

Drinkability: It went down with no struggles whatsoever! I even considered cracking open a second but it’s getting late. Very drinkable. But I’m biased, I love Stone and I love Old Guardian.

Overall: Still a little raw, but no surprises there. I’m lucky, I managed to get a case of this, and I feel that the journey though the Box at 2 to 3 monthly intervals will certainly be a fascinating one. Maybe it needs time to reach its Zenith. Still, I can’t wait to update this Review!

Buy a Case of this and take the journey with me!

No disappointments, not your usual Barleywine, just another quality offering from Stone.

TheLongBeachBum, Feb 17, 2004
Photo of guinness9880
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

This beer pours a deep carmel (almost burnt orange) with half finger head and little lacing. Smell is a bouquet of ripe fruits and spiciness a real thick and rich smell. The tast simply reaffirms the smell of ripe citrus fruits along with spices balanced by a smooth maltiness and great aftertaste. This is a special beer that should be cherished.

guinness9880, May 05, 2005
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

On Tap @ O'Brien's. 2004 vintage. Consumed summer 2006 Clear orange color with chunks of creamy tan head floating along the viscous barrier between air and elixir. Sweet malt and dark fruit aroma punctuated by some hop nose. Full Barleywine malt and fruitiness with thick smooth peanut butter mouthfeel. The hops have really evened out. Delicious. Had this side by side with the 2005 vintage (on tap too).

BigMcLargeHuge, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

Gorgeous hazy peachy appearance, with a slimmish layer of foam on top.
Exhilirating nose...yeasty and citric at first, toasty and potent, from the top of it...wide open citric fruit character, not what I'd expected...serious smell, leaking in the alcoholic content, slowly, tingling with further fruitiness, begging me to finally taste...
mmmm...this is a new kind of yumminess, one I don't remember from other versions...citric sweetness, a delicious oxymoron, is chief among the flavor contributions..peach and apricot, mix with honey and spice, while the booze facts stands tall above it all, as well. Very happy, humming, brilliant brew, this is...lands gladly on the palate, too, though it makes no considerable impact. Sits there comfortably, imparting juicy, jubilant flavor ...very interesting, and not what I expected, less like a typical American barleywine, and more like some English old ales, or even like certain Belgian brews, certainly in an exclusive class...this is a tangy thing, a powerfully flavored ale, confident and kind,it delivers it's goodness, assured in it's mission, it drops this delicacy and moves on, like all good soldiers should...

much thanks to the Bum of the Beach for this!

feloniousmonk, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of beertaster13
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%

Top notch and potent. Pours a amber orange red with off white head that is excellent, lacing is great. The smell is strong of pine and citrus hops. A semi molasses sweet malt is pleasant as well. The taste is over the top hoppiness witch a west coast BA like myselft loves. A pine citrus taste is great to the tongue. A medium bodied Barley wine that is both smooth and goes down easy, great for this style. Damn good.

beertaster13, Aug 19, 2004
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.