1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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 Southernbrew
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Southernbrew, Sep 11, 2004
Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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?

lackenhauser, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of beerpadawan
4/5  rDev -5.2%

beerpadawan, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of Wildman
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's version of Stone's barleywine is more potent at 10%. It pours lighter than last year's though, a nice copper color forming a foamy off white head that vanished leaving lacticed lace on the sides. Very little visible carbonation, even with the nice head. An aroma of hops and malt that gets overpowered by the alcohol present. The taste was of hops and malt, but the alcohol once again seemed to cancel out other factors. A bitter finish to it. Not as good as last years, and seams more like an old ale. Is definately one that could use some cellaring to bring out some better qualities.

Wildman, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of SheepNutz
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

SheepNutz, Oct 19, 2004
Photo of mickeymac
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Year, Old Guardian. This one is noticeably lighter in color than previous vintages. It looks more like an IPA than it does an '03 OG. This is Stone, so hops are expected in the smell, but this OG has a fairly strong candy-like smell: a bit like a fruity jawbreaker. The taste also seems considerably sweeter than it did in previous years. It's nicely drinkable for a freshly brewed barleywine, and I'll look forward to re-sampling this one next year.

mickeymac, Mar 29, 2004
Photo of 2beerdogs
4/5  rDev -5.2%

2beerdogs, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of masikon
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

picked this up at bottleworks, they had 03, 04, and 05 so i grabbed one of each, cracked this one first. Pours an unusual shade of burnt orange with some ruby notes. Glows nicely in the light but for some reason I was unable to coax much of a head out of this. Nose has an emphasis on caramel malts combined with some fruit and just a little dash of alcohol. Hits the palate in a big way with sweet caramel maltiness up front followed by some intese oily hops which are somewhat tropical in essence, aftertaste is fairly alcoholic but not in a bad way, cleanses the senses. My first barleywine and I am pretty impressed, Definitely not an everyday type of beer but full of interesting flavors and scents, I can't wait to check out the other vintages.

masikon, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of GreenCard
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A generous gift from a fellow BA. I cellared it for as long as I could, but had to bust it open today because it has been a crappy weekend and I'm dog-tired of English ales. Anyway...

Appearance: deep amber, slight haze, sudsy layer of yellowy foam that dissipates to a thin dusting of fine bubbles

Aroma: huge bouquet of pine sap, dark brown sugar, bitter almonds, alcohol, chocolate, rich caramelly malts, and sherry

Flavor: starts off with a big, chewy dose of malt that tries desperately to get sweet but it is kept deftly at bay by burly hop bitterness in riot gear; hop flavor is sappy and quite earthy; the bitterness akin to unripe persimmons or peach pits, but it's not overwhelming; also notes of sherry and fresh hop leaves; plumes of alcohol; finishes semi-sweet with an aftertaste of the aforementioned hop flavor/bitterness and dark caramel

Mouthfeel: full body, big hits of alcohol warmth, fine carbonation

Other comments: I've often been disappointed in Stone Brewing; the feeling of the beer not living up to the hype, usually. However, this beer is exceedingly good and a fantastic pick-me-up on this cold English winter day. The guys across the street at the Hyde Tavern can keep their Greene King ales, I'm happy right where I am, drinking this luscious barleywine!

GreenCard, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of winomark
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful medium copper with a substantial light tan head. Very inviting.

Wow, a myriad of aromas. Lots of hops and generous malt, with a mild sweetness.

Quite young and rough. Good hop bitterness, some malt richness and sweetness, with a slight medicinal character. Needs some time to smooth out.

Rich flavorful, and coating. Not too heavy. Long, lingering bitter finish.

Much different than the 03, with the recipe change. The balance isn't there yet. Good for being young and rough around the edges. Can't wait to see how this one ages. Grab some of this one while it is still available.

winomark, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of rajendra82
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body was pale golden to amber colored with some copper tones. The head was about an inch thick and was fed by medium carbonation from beneath. This is my first barley wine, so I could be wrong, but I was anticipating a darker colored and thicker brew. The aroma was floral, perfumey hops with medicinal alcohol. The first sips also revealed an insane level of hops. This comes across as flirting pretty close to being a double/imperial IPA. The underlying malts are really sweet, with notes of toffee, pear, bubble gum, and banana being quite pronounced, along with a fair bit of grain.

Being very young, this brew had a bit of a harsh mouthfeel with flavors flying rapidly past each other and having not quite melded together. The tender age also made the alcohol too much up front with a warm burning sensation detracting from drinkability, and making this quite difficult to quaff. As I finish the 22 oz bomber, this beer is kicking my ass. I like my beers to have a more subtle punch than this. I will be cellaring my second bottle at least for an year, for it to come together better. I can see that the ingredients for an exceptional brew are all in here; they just need some more time.

For those of you stuck in 6% ABV Georgia (for now at least), Liquid Solutions ships here, and that's how I got this one.

rajendra82, Mar 08, 2004
Photo of Mark
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This potent beer pours a deep golden almost orange like color. Head on my sample was thick and left nice lace. Smell of sweet malt, hops, and fruit. Powerful on the taste buds, with hops leading the way. very fruity but balanced my malt base. Thick motor oil like mouthfeel. Drinkability is tough to gauge for me, I liked the taste, in some ways it might be my favorite barleywine, however it's very potent. Excellent though overall, I might prefer the smoother milder Old Nick from Young's. As far as domestics, this is right there.

Mark, Mar 05, 2004
Photo of bigbubba
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a medium copper color with an off-white head that dissipated quickly. The color seemed too light. Lacing continued for a while but eventually stopped.

The taste was very good, lots of sweet maltiness and all the hops necessary to balance it out. It should be great after 6 months in the hole. After that I'm not sure things will get better. This definitely doesn't taste like the 2003.

The mouthfeel is excellent, very thick and alcoholic. The carbonition is a little low, but overall it is very pleasant.

I started drinking this by itself, but it really shined when paired with a nice spicy, garlicky plate of Toledo style chili-mac!

bigbubba, Mar 16, 2004
Photo of Crosling
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Crosling, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of BeerFink
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a nice crisp off-white head. The bottom of the glass is a light golden color, transistioning to a dark orange color near the top. A constant flow of tiny bubbles from the bottom of the glass can be seen, keeping the head from disappearing altogether. The smell is a pleasant estery bouquet. A citrous aroma is present, I'm thinking oranges. Very crisp taste up front tingling the tongue. A good malt taste follows, a full bodied mouthfeel. Here is the citrous the smell hinted at. The malty taste is quickly followed by a pronounced alcohol presence. The alcohol produces a nice warming effect, although it hampers the drinkability. A pretty tasty beer, very good for sipping and enjoying slowly.

BeerFink, Jan 25, 2005
Photo of aracauna
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

aracauna, Oct 09, 2004
Photo of BrewMaster
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

BrewMaster, Aug 09, 2004
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I'm rating this one on an average. I've had a few bottles of this over time and have gotten quite varying results. It has ranged from sweet and cloying to bitter hoppy nonsense.
But hoppy nonsense is a mark of pride for the Stone people, it seems, and it eventually grows on you.
The last bottle I had reminded me very much of Double Bastard.
The smell is striking, very floral and fruity.
It's usually a little too... something... to make it highly drinkable, but it has always been interesting.
I can't wait to get my hands on other vintages of Old Guardian.

ommegangpbr, May 07, 2005
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Gueuzedude, Apr 01, 2004
Photo of alexgash
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

alexgash, Jul 21, 2006
Photo of beerceller99
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

beerceller99, Oct 17, 2004
Photo of LuckySevens82
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber imprinted with the stone brewing gargoyle to scare away any impurity.
Pours a red orange with a nice tan head. A little bit of a hard pour was needed to get the small head. While the head subsided quite quickly, a nice lacing was left behind.
Big malty aromas, lots of hops (as is to be expected from the fellows at Stone), and alcohol solvents dominate the nose.
Sweet malt and hops are up front in this one. Very citrusy for a barley wine in my opinion, but very warming nonetheless.
While I enjoy all of the other Stone products I have tried, I must admit, I am a little disappointed with this brew. When I think of a barley wine, I think of a dark ale, not something that for all intents and purposes could be passed off as a darkish IPA on looks alone. This said, I did enjoy this beer, but I think that the coloring and overwhelming hops detracted from the style it is supposed to represent.

LuckySevens82, Apr 27, 2004
Photo of boelker62
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unfortunately served in a pint glass at Monk Cafe's "Everybody Must Drink Stone" Tasting on 5/22/07.

A - with, for obvious reasons, virtually no head, this barleywine carried a little less depth of color than expeted, but altogether, pleasing to the eye. Slight bubles collected around the rim, but no lacing whatsoever. The body on this is on the hazy side, but I cannot tell if this is from aging, or simplt that the brew is to be.

S - less than to be expected out of an aged barleywine, maybe it was just sensory overload here. It was served at the perfect temperature, so it wasn't overly frigid, locking in aroma. It carried a moderate to heavy hoppy nose, some flowers behind it, following with a spruce resin liner. A step of soap was present as well.

T - moderately sweet brew with a slight acetic hint to it. Here is where you can translate alot of the corresponding aromas into taste. Nothing stood out beyond what I described in the aromas. The alcohol shone through with a warming, non harsh demeanor, just to let you know this isn't for lightweights.

M - a medium to full body accompanied this with an appropriately oily texture and flat carbonation.

D - not for too long...too quickly. A great brew, while not a classic, a worthy addition to anyone's cellar.

This brew makes you sit up, wake up, then, it kick's you in the face, leaving a warm burn behind. But then, you go back for more...

boelker62, May 24, 2007
Photo of clvand0
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

clvand0, Oct 20, 2004
Photo of palliko
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice golden pale ale color, thin foam, little or no lacing. Aroma of malt and caramel, good hopping. Slightly sweet, but not at all an unpleasant experience. Alcohol is present, but not over the top. As with most Stone offerings, plenty of hop flavor! But neatly balanced with the malt. Dry, prickly aftertaste. Might improve with aging - but goood now!

palliko, Mar 29, 2004
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.