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:
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
4.1/5 rDev -2.8%
Orangeish, vibrant colored pour. No real head (to be expected at this point. Surprisingly, retained some carbonation.
Taste of huge pine, grapefruit, and citrus. Some malt/sweetness, but surprisingly bitter for a beer of this style. Pleasant and enjoyable, but I wouldn't want this every day (and I won't be getting it that often, either).
11-26-2007 06:32:01 | More by Overlord
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
Had this draught last night at a tapping of the Old Gaurdian '04 and '06. Had them side by side. The '06 will be reviewed in the '06 listing.
Pours a light shade of a cloudy amber/brown. Very frothy head that dissipates rather quickly. Impressive lacing.
Nose of sweet malt and caramel. Very subdued hop aroma with some fig, clover, ant toffee in the background.
Wow once this beauty got to temp it you realize it was worth the 20 minutes of having too just smell and gaze at this beast. (Hmm beauty and the beast.) An explosion of malt, caramel, toffee, and baked hazlenuts. Good hop complexity albeit somewhat laid back.
Drinkability takes a slight hit because of the alcohol content. Started to get a bit intoxicated toward the end of this tasting (had a couple before it.)
What a well aged brew this was the vintage of choice by all. This brew can cellar many more years and not skip a beat but it's drinking so good right now why not try one.
04-21-2006 11:12:40 | More by mcallister
3.93/5 rDev -6.9%
Stone's annual "different recipe" barley wine. I envy Stone, thinking of how much fun they have developing a different barley wine year after year.
I hate to reiterate but this beer is pretty light for the style and much lighter in color than last years version. The head: white and creamy and the lace: intricate in its falling. Quite the handsome beer for sure.
The nose is quite alcoholic but also quite tropical. Dripping juicy hops, caramel, melon and pineapple are all over the nose.
This tastes odd. It is quite tasty but this doesn't taste even close to any other barley wines I have had before. The so called "tropical notes" that I experienced in the nose appear old in the flavor and smashed with a hammer. Strong and very pleasant citrus notes in the mid-palate with mandarin oranges, caramel and lemons. The finish is long, quite alcoholic and very bitter.
02-19-2004 04:40:49 | More by Crosling
3.05/5 rDev -27.7%
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? Dont get me wrong I like the nose; it just doesnt 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 hasnt 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 Ive 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 doesnt push any right buttons with me. I wont look for this one again.
09-19-2004 14:47:23 | More by bditty187
4/5 rDev -5.2%
Absolutely gorgeous deep orange color with a nice head that leaves some great lace on the top of the glass.Strong aroma-hops/malt.Nice bitterness-not as big as some US barleywines.Slight sweetness-toasted flavor,a trace of smoke.Alcohol burn in the backround.Definately shows its strength.Pleasant mouthfeel-the alcohol bite is there.Could be a tad fuller for my liking.Overall a great barleywine and another great beer from Stone-these guys are rapidly becoming my favorite brewery-how about a Maryland distributor?
04-15-2004 01:08:07 | More by lackenhauser
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
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.
07-29-2004 11:58:05 | More by arizcards
3.83/5 rDev -9.2%
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.
10-20-2004 15:24:46 | More by clvand0
4.22/5 rDev 0%
This is my first STONE BWSA that I have ever tasted; big ole 36 degree chilled bomber poured into my Flying Fish tulip glass. This gargoyle lept from the 22 oz.er & poured out with a beauteous peach & orange sunset glow topped off with two finger sticky antique white shade head making little shapes as it oozes and sticks down the glass.
Shut-eyed inhalation of Old Guard 2004 introduces me to Barleywine aroma announcing mixed fruitiness and hops. No big surprise there. Mostly 'Del Monte Peaches in syrup fresh from a good can' sniffs meet spicy cinnamon characteristics.
The first telltale sip: Mixed chewy tropical fruit cornucopia. Now lets break down this mingling of flavor. To be specific, there is a tangy presence of rich hops, ripe peaches, green melon and bubble gum. Wow! The 10.06% ABV is scary. Yikes! This whacks back like 7 & 8 percent. Before I replenish my glass with fresh Old Guard troops, I am letting this nectar warm to experience full flavor spectrum: Bananas, oily hops, more salt & pepper rise to the nose and palate. I cant really say what other Barleys this harkens me to, flavor-wise. It is NOT SN Bigfoot or ANCHOR Old Fog; maybe a nod towards VICTORY Old Ho for hop notes.
The feel is a mild zing of acidic fizz and rather gentle yet present tiny carbonation bubbles. A heavily buttered Oatmeal bread, maybe banana bread or 7-Grain bread body finishes off the awl-kee-hawl dry aftertaste.
Scary, high Drinkability marks if served at proper temp and size. This is an all night sipper along side Scotch or Cognac any night IMHO. Give credit where credit is due. Wonder what previous years were like. ***Trade Alert***
Last swigs: Mixed fruit, notably peach & sweet melon, oily hop Barley Wine. Add a notch to my BWSA taster belt. Purchased as 4 x 3 22oz. sampler with IPA & A.B. for $51. Beer Bargain! Wait 6 & 12 months for updates from this BlitheringIdiot.
Beer is (strong and) good. Happy beering.
03-30-2004 04:26:51 | More by blitheringidiot
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
3.73/5 rDev -11.6%
Consumed Feb 7th, 2010 at Stone World Bistro.
Cloudy medium yellow with a fine white head.
Not especially aromatic, but there is a sugary maple syrup sort of note.
Still flavorful after all this time. Primary palate note is a sweet, maple syrup sort of character. Faint herbal traces. Significant bitterness on finish.
Still has some alcohol heat, interestingly enough. Mouthfeel unremarkable aside from a slight thickness.
Age has changed it but not really tamed it. Not really very tasty, though unflawed and quite drinkable.
03-03-2010 16:55:52 | More by charlzm
4.22/5 rDev 0%
Pulled this bottle out of the cellar. Consumed at DLD...review from notes.
A- Poured a light hazy amberish brown color. Half finger off white head comes and goes rather quickly. No lacing as I drink this beer down. Not much of a looker but it's old so I give it the benefit of the doubt.
S- Good strong caramel and toffee malts come through this. The alcohol doesn't burn the nose but is a lot mellow than fresh. Some light darker fruits in this but still a little mellow in the aroma department. Some sweet almost light maple in the ending of this beer makes it all come together.
T- The age of this did tame the beast I thought. It drinks very very smooth and doesn't have a lot of alcohol heat to it. Big caramel malts clash with faded hops and light darker fruits. A sweetness to this makes the beer gently pass through the palate with ease.
M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little flat but I think it's forgiven since it is a older beer. Sweet malts left on the palate with some light alcohol in the aftertaste. Light oxidation which I expected. Flavors blend together very smoothly without a stop and jerk motion with the flavor.
D- This beer was a pleasant surprise. The beer ages wonderfully and I expect this beer could have gone a couple more years before a decline in taste would be apparent. Drinking toward its prime I think. Damn you Stone...you make a good beer like usual!
05-07-2010 23:11:28 | More by alleykatking
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
4.55/5 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
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.