Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
3.9/5 rDev -7.6%
Pours a clear copper color with a frothy tan head. The aroma is of thick chewy crystal malts and hops, though the malt character seems to surprisingly dominate. The beer itself is thick and chewy, with lots of malt character. There is hop flavor in the finish with notes of orange and a grassiness. A bitterness then kicks in at the very end. This beer is surprisingly malty, though with definite hop character, it is quite subdued for Stone. I much prefer the regular Stone lineup to this one.
04-01-2004 16:30:12 | More by Gueuzedude
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
Hazy and deep dark copper in color. A short 1/4" head quickly falls to surface foam. The aroma is sweet caramels and mild piney hops. The flavor is a blast of thick sweet malts with fruity tones of plums, prunes, and raisins. Bitterness is quite strong but rounds out the flavors nicely. Alcohol tones are soft and take a back seat.
Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, and syrupy. The sweet malt rides the tongue long after swallowing. Mildly crisp finish. This is a superbly flavorful barley wine. Seek it out.
02-11-2005 13:20:46 | More by Gavage
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
4.22/5 rDev 0%
Bomber bottle. Golden in color with slight orange hues. Leaves a tod o' lacing. Major heavy and rich malt sweetness up front. then resiny and citric hops come solidly foward. Medium to heavy body , warming mouthfeel. High class sipper from Stone. As with all their brews that I've tried, I'd seek em out when ever possible.
04-04-2004 14:17:22 | More by Billolick
4.08/5 rDev -3.3%
Thanks to Habmike for the generous extra and chance to try this 6 year old barleywine again after just having it about 3 weeks ago on tap. This time it comes to me in the form of a small swingtop growler.
Poured into a stone pint glass, this brew appears a perfectly clear golden orange color with less than a finger of creamy lightly yellowish stained head. It dissipates fast to just a collection of bubbles around the perimeter of the glass. A swirl agitates some bubbles out of solution that again forms a thin film across the top of the brew that dissolves fast. Faint spotty lacing is left on the glass.
The aroma is sweet and floral with hops that also give off the impression of some herbal quality. The sweetness of the nose is a mixture of caramel like malt blended with some candy scents that flirt with vanilla character. A light indication of alcohol esters are also noted but they come across very subtle and really accent the other qualities of this brew's smell. After this brew is warm, iip your nose a little too close and this brew brings out quite a solvent quality.
The taste is toasty caramel malt with a candy like sweetness that has a flavor of orange rind meets vanilla. The alcohol is more evident in the flavor than in the nose, but yet again it is subtle and accents the other flavors except for the warming finish it produces. The hops are more evident than in the nose with a bitter herbal aspect that clings in the mouth blended with the toasted grain flavor. Once this brew really warms up, the alcohol has a bit of a solvent kick to it.
This is a full bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. A pleasure to drink and is completely deceiving in the way the alcohol initially has little to no impact and then brings out a numbing power to the tongue and warmth straight through the back of the throat and into the stomach. Despite the initial big sweetness, there was plenty of herbal hops left over to balance it out.
10-22-2010 01:36:26 | More by stakem
3.68/5 rDev -12.8%
Pours a hazy copper colored brew, light color for the beer style.
Smell is sweet and malty with a pleasant fruity smell and a trace of hops.
Taste is sweet and fruity but still raw in taste. Very hoppy and bitter, needs cellaring.
Mouthfeel is strangely light for the beer style.
This was drank much to young, needs some time to mellow. As it is it is tasty but harsh in taste.
Will re-review the other bottle in about 2 years.
05-05-2004 04:31:41 | More by Zorro
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
22ozer bottle from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.
Poured into an imperial pint glass, a bubbling frenzy that concluded with an inch tall slightly off-white colored head on top of a honey amber colored brew. Not much jumps out at me from the nose, nothing bad, but nothing terribly outstanding either. However, the taste is where it's at: All sorts of stuff going on! We've got the initial hop bite for such a young barleywine, then the malt kicks in and runs around on your tongue, and then the alcohol kick just moseys up on up and starts kicking butt everywhere. Interesting doesn't begin to describe what the Old Guardian got happening. Definitely a cellarable offering, maybe smooth out the alcohol profile just a bit.
03-07-2004 23:35:04 | More by ppoitras
District of Columbia
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
Shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt.
The beer is bright orange and pretty clear, with a thin white head that leaves sparse lacing on the glass. The aroma is simple and straightforward, primarily offering a slightly sweet malt. The flavor and feel far exceed the unremarkable aroma. Age has served this beer quite well. Easy drinking and smooth. Not as good as the Stonewall I enjoyed just prior, but still a tasty example of the style. Definitely the best of the Old Guardian series that I have had.
03-31-2012 16:16:55 | More by Huhzubendah
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
4.53/5 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
4.43/5 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
4.58/5 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
4.5/5 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
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
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!
06-22-2004 23:51:43 | More by francisweizen
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 thats 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 its 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 its getting late. Very drinkable. But Im biased, I love Stone and I love Old Guardian.
Overall: Still a little raw, but no surprises there. Im 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 cant 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.
02-17-2004 07:20:51 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
Had this on tap at the Falling Rock during Barleywine month. They were pouring full pints which was nice but I would have preferred a snifter. The color was a nice ruddy orange with a creamy white head. The smell was a little toffee and a little hops. The taste was citrus-like and still very hoppy. A friend described tasting Captain Crunch in this beer. Yum. The only drawback was that it felt a little syrupy sweet and the ABV is pretty high. Still, this was a nice treat and I wish I had some bottles of it in the cellar. Guess I'll have to wait three years until the 07 gets some age on it.
02-13-2007 17:36:15 | More by ArrogantB
3.9/5 rDev -7.6%
Cellared for almost 1.5 years. Pours a golden amber to rose-copper with a finger of tight, off-white head. Toffee and butterscotch on the nose, with a resinous, singed hop burn. Madeira notes indicate aging perhaps? A bit astringent overall. Butterscotch malt up front, with aged vinous edges. Toasted notes come through before a wallop of bitterness. Sharp and cleansing, if a bit one-dimensional. I like it though! Piney and warming in the finish, with port-like flashes. Full-bodied with a feel that borders on light syrup. Nice, but I think I prefer this BW fresher. But then again, I prefer most BWs fresher.
07-21-2006 03:03:09 | More by alexgash
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
The color is warm gold. It is clear though a swarm of yeast particles will emerge from bottle's bottom. The aroma is honeysuckle and dark fruit, complex, tropic, and soothing. Mouthfeel is brighter than I would have expected, but leaves a slightly gritty film on the teeth. This is a concern, but not a problem.
The taste is relaxed and unhurried, sweet but not overpowering. The taste is not nearly as complex or abundant as the smell and alcohol does not feature much part in it. I must admit I had higher expectations from Stone but this is still a mellow and refined barleywine that is easily appreciated.
03-13-2004 00:12:04 | More by RedDiamond
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
Clear, rich copper is the color of this years version, with a light tan, creamy, fine head topping things off. The head thins rapidly, leaving a ring of foam at the perimeter, with a bit of lacing left behind. Nose is lightly toasty, with a fruity hop essence playing a large role, along with "hot" suggestions of alcohol. Great mouthfeel, with better than medium body followed up by a silky smoothness upon the tongue. This years seems to be a tad more balanced than the older ones, with more malt coming into play. The malt is bready and chewy, with a nice level of caramel sweetness. The hop aspect is a fruity one, with some light grapefruit making itself known. Then a bunch of piney, resiny notes coat the tongue and throat, and will just not go away! The ABV is fairly easily detected, with a distinct warmth hitting the palate and stomach. As always, a solid offering from the gang of Stone. Prosit!!
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4
04-04-2004 18:41:28 | More by Bierman9
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
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Old bottle of well aged BW, yum. Clear and clean amber, frothy tan head. Juicy aroma of citrus and caramel, then a smooth classic BW quaff. Gooey caramel, but finishing with a nice dose of hop pop. More citrus bubblegum than in a normal BW.
A nice Sunday afternoon sipper, no hint of a double digit alcohol dragon lurking underneath. Quite a treat.
01-06-2008 20:09:44 | More by Vancer
3.28/5 rDev -22.3%
Tasted this side by side with other Old Guardian vintages in taster glasses that were a couple ounces each at Stone Winter Storm for two dollars a piece
Color was a deep amber with a light red tint when held up to the light, small frothy 1/2 inch vanilla colored head, not much retention and a small amount of lacing, there were definitely a few things floating around at the bottom of the glass
Smell had lots of caramel to go along with some grapefruit and piney hops, tons of malt throughout the aroma, sweet boozy scents as well, some flower and resin aromas at times too
Taste was dominated by caramel, needed some more pine hoppiness to balance this out, also some dark fruit tastes like prunes and red apples, too much malt going on here, some grapefruit came to the surface as it warmed in my hand, still not enough hops, expected this one to be a lot more mellow after this long but it was still a little too strong for me, could use another three years of age probably, sweet malty barleywine overall
Body was pretty thick and syrupy, pretty smooth nevertheless, somewhat bitter mouthfeel which was impressive to see after three years, taste lasted a long time
Could not have drank too much of this, even though the ten percent alcohol is hidden well, it would have eventually hit me hard, taste is pretty dimensional, so the taste keeps you coming back for more, pretty heavy on the stomach though
Probably my least favorite year of OG, but still better than a lot of barleywines out there, I think I would prefer this beer with at least five years of age, still keeps the hop character up for that long and does not let the sweet malt overpower everything, still glad I tried it and am sorry I skipped the 2002 and 2003 bottles that were there but I would not have been able to review beers if I had kept drinking,
01-30-2008 04:43:48 | More by Floydster
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
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.
10-20-2004 17:15:39 | More by kmpitz2
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.