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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

121 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 121
Hads: 140
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 02-12-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 121 | Hads: 140
Photo of kmpitz2
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this along side the 03. This beer was a nice tea color with 2 fingers of head that falls to cover over the beer. The nose is all about hops. The earthy hops are just all up in my face. I got a hint of a cherry in the nose too. The flavor follows the nose down a trail of hoppy intrigue where I found some good earthy and piney flavors. Yum. As expected, this was a thick, full-bodied beer. The drinkability is just a shade low on this one. I can see where another year or two will mellow out the hop and make it really good. Overall a very good beer. Thankd to brother Sheep again for this one.

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Photo of clvand0
3.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Again, this bottle was brought over by sheepnutz for a side-by-side comparison with the 2003 version. As he said, the color is much lighter than the '03, but still has a good amber color. Has a decent size head that leaves just a tiny bit of lacing. Aroma is alcohol and bread, and caramel, and pine and citrus hops. The flavor is much the same as the aroma: caramel, alcohol and a citrus character. Drinkability is good, but not for the faint of heart. Full body and nice mouthfeel. I enjoyed the 2003 version slightly more. This one possibly needs a little age. I also believe this one was the killer for my sobriety on said tasting night.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a pint glass. It pours a light orange color with two fingers of head. A lot ligher in color than the 03. There is just a little bit of lace. The smell has lots of juicy hops. Pine and grapefruit really letting their presence be known. The taste has a slightly sweet malt background, but the hops are the stars of the show. A great floral hop finish. The mouthfeel is nice and strong. The drinkability is good too, for being such a strong brew. I <3 Stone.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.87/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle pours an amber color with a white head that quickly fades to a sheen. Has a strong alcohol smell with breads, caramels, and a whiff of floral hops. The smell of this brew alone is intoxicating.
Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Strong, bittersweet taste of sweet plums and caramels folowed by a bitter hop and warming, raw alcohol finish.
A great west coast Barleywine that should only get better with time.

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Photo of aracauna
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An attractive, slightly hazed medium reddish amber body catches the light nicely so that it seems to glow a little. The head is reserved and fades relatively quickly. Raisins and dried apricots meld with firewood and creosote on the nose. The body is full and a bit cake-like. The bitterness isn’t overblown, but balances the sweetness of the beer nicely. Nice barleywine.

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Photo of altctrlsdelete
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of bditty187
3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear, beautiful amber in hue with significant influences of tawny-copper and a bit of gold. Sporadic animation lazily dances towards the modest head. At the apex the foam reached one finger in height, the beige head quickly faded to a foamy cap. Subsequent lacing was thick but it clung poorly. The beer still looks mighty nice in my glass. The nose is malty, vaguely sweet, kind of caramely and the distinct piney qualities are obvious at the back. There is even some vague, nondescript fruitiness underneath, this is found from start to finish. The potency is moderate. However I am a bit surprised at the lack of depth and complexity in the nose. This is a barleywine, right? Don’t get me wrong I like the nose; it just doesn’t “wow” me. I found it inviting, to a point. The palate has the same qualities as the nose, just not in the same proportions. It is much more piney… it hasn’t grown on me yet. Behind the hops are some harsh alcohol notes, very raw and not pleasant. There is little malt depth, for a barleywine it is pathetic. It only offers suggestions of toasty caramel and slight sweetness. The malt fails to escape the shadows of the alcohol heat. Lousy. Frankly this is one of the thinnest tasting barleywines I’ve ever had. The finish is hot and fairly bitter but this bitterness needs malt support. There is none. The mouthfeel is thin too, smaller than medium, yet another flaw with this beer. Moderate but appropriate levels of carbonation. Is this beer drinkable? No. Do I like it? No. Will I bother finishing the bomber I bought in Fort Collins, CO? Maybe. Really, this is not that good. In a blind taste test I would have never guessed this was from Stone. Avery? Maybe. Leinenkugel? Sure. The bottom line is this; Old Guardian is a poorly crafted beer that doesn’t push any right buttons with me. I won’t look for this one again.

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Photo of Southernbrew
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber-brown with a small bubbly head that dissapates quickly.

Strong bitter and floral hops, alcohol, spice and dark fruits all come together in a delicious aroma, with a touch of sweetness.

Full bodied and very smooth. Bitter hops up front blend with caramel sweetness and fruits. The alcohol starts warming you immediately and a brief alcohol flavor flashes. Finishes with a sweet alcohol flavor and leaves a bitter aftertaste.

A fine barley wine, more "English" than others but the bitter hop burps start coming quickly. Very drinkable.

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Photo of FormatKid
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

--04’ edition consumed Sept 04

Traditional Stone 22oz bomber brought to me by a friend on a road trip. There is a long rambling editorial on the back of the bottle, skip it and drink.

The appearance is an orangey amber, and surprisingly translucent. Not much of a head to speak of but that is typical for the style, a thin filmy looking layer on top. Some carbonation is visible in the body and is composed of streams of extremely small bubbles.

The smell is thick and lovely. The malts are definitely thick in the nose, and bitter, bitter earthy hops. A sweet bubblegum type scent also comes through.

The taste is a really intense experience. The beer actually starts out a little lighter on the palette with a slight crisp apple flavor. Then it seems the Malts and Hops begin their knock-down drag-out through your mouth. I do catch a hint of that bubblegum sweetness in the middle suprisingly. Earthen hop bitterness stomps arrogantly on the back of your tongue as the beer goes down. Alcohol is hinted at in the aftertaste but overall eclipsed by the bold, intense flavors of this brew. I do however feel the trail of alcohol down my throat and into my stomach, it is nicely warming as well.

I have really grown fond of this style, and I would never expect Stone to let me down. This beer is a bit more “consumable” compared to other barleywines I have had, and dropping these 22oz should be no problem at all.

Thanks again John!

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Photo of Padron4KM
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pour was a burnt orange, with a thick orange/white head. Heavy lacing left on the glass.
Initial aromas were predominatly floral, hoppy, with a little maltiness in the background.
as it sat in the glass, the hops toned down a bit to reveal some sweet candied fruit. That weird stuff you put in fruit cake :P.

flavor was much sweeter than I anticipated, almost velvety mouthfeel with a nice lingering, mildly bitter finish.

I plan on buying a few and stting them down for a while

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Photo of mntlover
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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!

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Photo of beertaster13
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of taez555
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured an offwhite head with a clear orange/amber body.

HUGE, sharp, tight, citrus peel, black pepper hop smell. Some nice fruit tones as well as some caramel malt. Really an amazingly present and inviting nose.

The taste was medium to full bodied. A beautiful gingerbread spice taste. Surprisingly mellow bitterness at first. The bitterness is there but I was surprised how balanced it was. Rich pepper and citrus peel hop taste. A firm full malt with alcohol and caramel. Seriously very yummy. It ends with a soft lingering bitterness.

This is really one fantastic beer. Big, malty, hoppy and bitter. If you like those things, this is the beer for you. I swear stone doesn’t know how to make a bad beer.

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Photo of tfinn
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

purchased 2004-01, consumed 2004-08

deep golden bronze amber with creamy mixed-bubble head. a bit hazy, but that's to be expected.

as usual for stone, nose is massively hoppy. green deep herbal notes, primarily, even a bit floral.

taste is hops all the way down to the solid malt backbone. definitely not a sleeper. even after six months of aging this starts off with a tang and takes a hop tour, finishing with a fight between the malt and hops. it's very vegetative and floral, maybe even a little "catty". (cascade hops maybe?) in malt vs hops, it's definitely in the hops' favor, although this amount of flavor would be impossible without a solid malt foundation. it just never gets a chance to come out all the way...

mouthfeel is syrupy coating barleywine. the hops really cut through it, and somehow I don't see that character changing much over the aging of this beer. carbonation is light and style-appropriate.

barleywines aren't known for their massive quaffability; more their sippability. this is definitely sippable. and ponderable. there's a lot of interesting hop flavors going on, although only the certified hopheads would enjoy it. a full 22oz of this could be dangerous too; be sure to space out your imbibing or share with a friend (or few).

in the stone beer continuum, I'd put this close to double bastard, with a bit more hops. it's not quite as sharp as the normal arrogant bastard, and a bit thicker, but it has a similar hop profile.

thoroughly enjoyable! my only regret is that I didn't buy more bottles when I had the chance.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle. Pours a rich copper/amber color with a thin and stiff head very similar to the 2002 and 2003 versions. Very tangy and tart with a mellow sweetness. Once the sweetness clears there is a very malty flavor that makes this beer feel thicker than it really is. Very enjoyable but this beer could use some cellaring to make it even better.

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Photo of arizcards
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw a bottle of this at AJ's and it was screaming "Try Me!"

This coppery colored brew poured a nice head that maintained throughout most of the glass that I had. This has the classic Stone smell along with conotations of elements that are sweet in nature. Taste starts off as classic Stone but then one gets hammered by the sweet malt finish. The guys at Stone did a very nice job of disguising the high alcohol content as this brew comes together very well. This brew gives your palate a workout as it is full and lively. Overall this is a very drinkable beer albeit a dangerous one as the ABV sneaks up on you.

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Photo of 99bottles
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: The body is a clear light copper color, with noticable carbonation and a head of about an inch that fades to a clumpy lace.

Smell: Sweet hops mix nicely with the malted barley to make a full nose. Not much else to say except that this is very nice. Ok; light vanilla, oak, raisin and fermented banana.

Taste: nowhere near as heavy as I would have expected. Super thin; weak malt profile doesn't lend much to the tastebuds. This is light and also deadly. It really doesn't impress very much in the way of extremist flavor like every other Stone beer does. It's actually noicely balanced, haps a bit waek on the hops, and definitely too much on the rambling (apologies, but I've barfed more meaningful sentences than this year's 'description') Anywhooo, it's not bad.. it's definitely the Bud Light of Barleywine. Wimpy malt plays second fiddle to wimpy hops and everyone walks out shaking their head.

Mouthfeeel: Too thin for a real barleywine. There's nothing wrong with this, it just doesn't have the malt profile of something like Old Ho. I try to taste every Stone I come across, and it's not fair to expect them to be the best at every style, just because they make some great brews. I still like this one though.

Drinkability: Perfectly light while still retaining an aspect of richness. Way too easy to drink. Five.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with the standard stone look and gargoyle to ward off all the impurities. Pours a thick and hazy darker orange color with a good sized off white head that almost flowed out of the glass. The head retention was surprisingly good as it stayed about half an inch high through the consumption of this beer and left a nice lacing that slowly fades as you drink it. The nose had sweet malts mingling with citrus hops to form a well-balanced and appetizing aroma. A touch of alcohol comes out as it warms as well. Malty sweetness starts the taste off before the hops takeover to give it a kick. The finish is dry, with a slight hint of warming alcohol and a nice bitterness as well. Very thick mouthfeel that is rich warming and lasting. For a high alcohol beer this is very drinkable remind me of old horizontal how easy it goes down. Excellent stuff defiantly recommended, another top notch brew from stone.

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

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.

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

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.

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Photo of RocketWidget
3.6/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Make no mistake, this beer is HEAVY. Pours a cider golden orange, with little lacy head. Smell is powerful with aromas of alcohol and sweetness. Almost hard to swallow, this beer is big and bold. Heavy on the alcohol flavor, this is also big on malt profile. Drinkability is low because of the punch this beer carries. Enjoy!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the 2004 old guardian in it's normal red and gold 22oz bomber bottle. Let's see what this years has in stall for us.

Appearance: This stuff glugs out of the bottle and into my pint glass with a bloody red colour with a slightly tan head that lasts for quite a bit.

Smell: The aromas on this puppy are very good. I can smell sweet malts, booze, strong hops, and a candy-like sweetness as well.

Taste: The taste here is classic stone. This is very malty up front, with a candy-like sweetness. The hops move in for the kill in the middle and the finish is dry, boozy, and a bit intense.

Mouthfeel: This stuff is thick, rich, and warming, just like a good barleywine should be.

Drinkability: Very good, as always. This is an awesome barleywine that drinks easily.

Notes: Buy some of this now, before it is gone until next year!

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Photo of cbl2
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Crystal clear light brown/gold with an inch of foamy white head that laces nicely as it settles slowly.


Ingredients promise a whole buncha barley, and tons 'o hops. The barley is present as a carmelized odor, but the hops overpower this slightly.


Bitter at first due to the hops. At first swallow, the alcohol hits you right in the back of the throat, but if you let it warm in the mouth a sweet feeling takes over (through the finish). Improves as you quaff. Very good for the style.

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Photo of kegerator
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this Barley Wine very much.
Poured out a nice amber color with a small off-white head that goes away moderately.
smelled of malt maybe some honey in there and there was a definite west coast hoppiness
taste was surprisingly smooth based off the hop i smelled. Very nice blend of the sweet and hop on this one This one was an almost perfect blend and not overpowering with hops. Quite smooth and very pleasant beer to drink.

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.98/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber body with a low off-white head. Aroma is mostly resinous hoppy, but has an alcohol extravagance that is hard to tolerate. I find the hops profile to approach soap at times, I wonder if it’s all amarillow, but I know I don’t particularly enjoy that breed. Taste is citric, very bitter, slightly oily, not too pleasant for me and just too alcoholic. There’s a good floral character going on, but it’s annihilated by the almost fuelic counterpart. Thin-medium bodied with medium carbonation. I prefered the 2003 I must say and I can see why some people like this, but you’ve got to be in the mood for hoppy alcohol.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.