1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

140 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 140
Reviews: 121
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.24%
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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 140 | Reviews: 121
Photo of alleykatking
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of CBFanWish
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone is among the worlds great breweries. Time and time again they prove their worthiness to us in every way possible. With Old Guardian they do it yet again. Though it's not the best barley wine out there, it does make a very strong case for itself as a contender.
The strong hoppy bitterness is almost perfectly balanced by a huge dose of malts. It's a pleasant beer that could someday be the best. It's only behind Old Crustation right now. Keep up the great work, Stone

Photo of kennyo
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

orange/copper color, clear not hazy, nice white soapy head disipates fairly quickly. Pine/citrus/slight alcohol aroma. Nice mouthfeel, just enoogh carbonation. For a 10% beer, flavor not as malty as you would think. Spicy/hops flavor. Very slight alcohol feel on back of mouth This is a very drinkable barley wine.

Photo of marburg
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always find myself intrigued by Stone beers, carrying the weight of disappointment at Arrogant Bastard not living up to the hype but knowing that the craftsmanship is top notch, the attitude of the utmost character, and the flavors of the highest intensity.

And I have to say: This is one of my favorites from Stone. Not quite the unexpected love I had for the IPA but not the "above average yet not satisfying" feeling I had from Arrogant Bastard.

Anyhow...

The color of 300 degree carmelized sugar ready to be pulled into strings. Moderately sized head. Alcohol weighs heavily on the nose, but the booze can't drown out the caramel and estery aromas. Thick, chewy medium to full body that rolls around on the tongue like squished, melty Jello. Not as overtly hopped as I expected; that is to say, the hops are balancing but not dominant. Robust caramel flavors are the initial treat; and a pleasant wave of grapefruity hops and esters hinting at unripened tropical fruits begin the slide to the pine sap bitterness that leaves a delightful hoppy aftertaste.

Photo of ElGuapo
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice little blurb on the back. Pours to a clear amber bronze topped in a massive pillow of off-white head. The aroma of citrusy floral hops burst out of the bottle, and exploded into the air as I poured. Sweet fruits are in there as well as a big whiff of alcohol. A large presence of pine makes it even more spicy and intense.

The flavor follows right along. It is huge with spices coming from all directions. The Old Guardian wants to beat you up with raw intensity. It is big bodied and very bold. The smooth mouthfeel is very complimenting. There is a massive blast of citrus and floral flavors at the start. A big piney rush comes next and sits with you the rest of the way. The alcohol is pretty big, but it blends in with the rest of the spicy intensity. This is an in your face barley wine made just the way it should be. I think the alcohol can get a bit big, and maybe a little aging could do it some good, but hopefully I will be able to grab another one to determine that later. This is undoubtedly a Stone product, and it seems to be the leader of their crew of intense beers.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ya gotta love it when the folks at Stone start tweaking with their recipes. I've enjoyed this beer quite a lot in the past, but let's see what they've got in store for us this year!

Seems lighter in color than in the past. This is a bit disconcerting, actually. It looks more like an IPA than a barley wine, though the thinner head and slow carbonation indicate the higher ABV.

The aroma has many of the common malty characteristics of barley wines, but the hops are much more pronounced this time around. Never a bad thing, I suppose!

Flavor starts off with a sugary, caramely malt sweetness, with a noticeable alcohol flavor following quickly behind. Citric hop flavor is present almost throughout the entire sip, but the finish is balanced. Long, tingly bitter aftertaste. Not the standard barley wine flavor profile, but a belly-warmer nonetheless, and tasty.

Still a bit raw this fresh out of the bottle, but this year's version should take much less time to age, IMO. And it's certainly drinkable right away, should you choose to do so.

Photo of soper2000
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking deep dark golden color with a small foamy white head. Though the aroma isn't too strong it has that distinctive "Stone" smell to it. Very pleasant. I get a faint scent of some malt too. First taste was not in the least bit surprising even though this was my first Old Guardian. Loads of hops intially but quickly a truckload of malt took over lending a sweet finish taste. I wouldn't mind cellaring a couple of these to see if that initial hop bite mellows out a little bit. This could be an even better beer a few years down the road from now, although it's quite good right now. Great brewery.

Photo of StonedRugger
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Again I am lucky to go to school at Denison University where Brews Cafe is a mere half-mile away. The current most Arrogant Bar has had This year's old Guardian on tap for almost 2 months now and I made it a point to get down their and have a pint. The brew looked great as always with a copper body and a small tannish head. I got the impression from Stone's press release that it would be meatier than it was, but that just means my recollection of last year's edition is not so good. Becoming a theme in these reviews is that my nose is garbage and even all the hops and alcohol character could not penetrate the usual congestion. My nose however is not so worthless that taste was affected. The malt/hop balance provided for sweetness on the nose with the hops gradually taking over. It was a very dry finish overall with little aftertaste...Or it was just that the alcohol had done a number on my tongue like the burning sensation told me it did to my stomach. I'm not complaining, but I also didn't try GLBC's Black Stout as a "chaser" either.

Photo of 99bottles
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of OStrungT
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice golden brown color with a white head with slight orange coloring to it. The head fades very slowly leaving very thick laces. This beer smells fruity. There are hints of molases. The alcohol aroma is very apparent. The hop presence is also very apparent. It has a floral taste to it. A little piney also. The alcohol is also very apparent in the taste. It is very sweet. It is thick and syrup like. It goes down smooth leaving a taste of alcohol on the palate. It warms the throat just a little. This is a full bodied beer with an aggressive flavor and a smooth finish. It is not a good session beer because it is so strong in alcohol. IF you ever come across this beer, you should definately try it. I wonder what it would taste like if I aged it for a few years.

Photo of drabmuh
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

How often do you get a 6 year old barleywine on draft. Not too often.

Beer is red and nearly completely clear. Head is tight and thin with tiny off white bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is malty, not much else.

Beer is mildlly bitter, strong, big bodied, creamy smooth, very nice overall. Beer isn't hot, very drinkable for a barleywine, its quite good. My favorite out of the four versions of this beer I tried.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of xymyl
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Couldn't make it to Stone for the winter storm so I have been making my own.)

Appears bright and intense orange/copper in the glass with a small but fluffy cream-colored head with good lacing.

Smells so unified and balanced now, with hops and malt finally able to settle all differences. Well, almost. Resins take center stage and every now and then the hops take a halfhearted swing at the nose. Alcohol shows up a bit too.

Taste still showcases the hops with somewhat surprising bitterness and citric notes, but it smooths out quickly, getting into, a soft vanilla-like malt, followed by very toasty caramel & honey (also a taste/feel verging on a smooth grape skin tannin/nut husk quality). Bitterness comes up again at finish, ending with a spicey hop and alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium/full feels richer to me (today) than any other time I've had it. Perhaps due to the the hops shyness and malt getting a bit more gregarious.

Still quite drinkable, but if you are on a tight schedule, drink it soon.

Photo of Sephiroth
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I pour this into a tulip, as usual. It is lighter than the 05 that I had last night. This one is orange with a beige head. The nose is pretty much all alcohol. I detect faint malt beneath it.

The taste is good. The hops are still juicy, but not bitter. There are ripe fruits and a long caramel malty finish. The taste is very smooth. Mouthfeel is good. It has probably thinned a little bit, but is still thick and chewy. The drinkability is good, but I am starting to realize that I could drink anything that I like for a session.

Photo of watermelonman
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This sure looks light for a barley wine. That's not to say it doesn't look good though, it still looks very nice. It's a very nice warming tone of light brown. As expeced, there wasn't much head.

For this brewery and this style, I honestly expected stronger than this. Still, it's no wimp. Strong caramel malts dominate with a light hint of fruit. It has a solid bitter kick in the finish.

Photo of mcallister
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Overlord
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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).

Photo of kmo1030
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

nice deep orange amber color with a decent sized white head the diminshes quickly. grapefruity hops dominate the smell along with pine, behind that brown sugar, pear, slight breadiness and caramel. good hop presence in the taste, with the pine dominating this time. fruity caramel malts, with a bit of molasses as well. slight cocoa taste towards the end. slight breadiness to the aftertaste along with some resinous, clinging to the back of your mouth, hops. a little alcohol at the end too, but not bad for 10%. this is pretty full bodied, but complex enough to handle it. very good barley wine, but i think stone could do some more with this. drinkability of 4.5 because it doesn't deserve 4's across the board.

Photo of Gavage
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Resplendent reddish orange, like sparkling amaretto. Superfine bubbles slowly wander up to a creamy, orange mousse-like head that is surprisingly large given the ABV. Not only that, but the cap persists remarkably well and is gracing the snifter with a fair amount of lace. Another beauty from the boys at Stone.

There are no surprises in the nose. I smell the typical oranges and cherries macerated in their respective fruit brandies, along with a toasted, caramel maltiness. According to Greg's stream of consciousness blurb on the back of the bottle, the malt is pale and Munich and the hops are Amarillo. I wish I was able to identify the distinctive characteristics of that particular hop, but I can't.

If the truth were known, I plum forgot that this '04 Old Guardian was in my cellar. I reviewed the '03 OG after two years of rest and it looks like this one will have one more year on it than that. My first mouthful tells me that the alcohol is still prominent. It isn't a snarling, slavering beast by any means, but another year or two would allow it to become better behaved.

There's no doubt that Stone brews a good American barleywine. The Munich malt provides an earthy, toasted flavor that's a bit different. I might have used caramel malt instead, but that's just me. As the beer approaches room temperature, orange peel soaked in Cointreau comes to the fore. That has to be the Amarillo talking. How can a three year old beer still be this gloriously bitter? The label says that 'tons o' hops' were used. Believe it.

I may have spoken too soon about the upfront alcohol. Maybe it's the fact that the beer is now barely cool, maybe it's the fact that my tongue is beginning to numb, who knows? At this point (mid-bomber), I'm inclined to bump the drinkablity score one notch. This stuff is damn near as warming as three fingers of good Scotch.

Was there ever any doubt that the mouthfeel would be luxurious? When a beer is this chock full of malt, it has no choice but to be pure pleasure in the mouth. Here is where age has been a boon. Each mouthful is pure, heavily silky, barely bubbled pleasure.

I'll try not to wait three years to review the '06 and '07 Old Guardians that are currently hibernating in my cellar. On the other hand, I've never been a fan of unintegrated alcohol. Maybe the fresh, buzzsaw nature of the hops will make up for it and I'll prefer this beast fresh. If you're sitting on an '04 OG, drink it now or wait until '08... or '09... or '10... or...

Photo of PSUDREW
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, while not a huge fan of barelywine, this is a nice standout. Yes, dfh, and, victory reviews are worth merit, these, are still something more.

It pours, a dark amber color, with a thick, rich head and a nice, solid, citrusy smell

Hmmmm, as for the taste, well, it has a definate malty profile, and an afterthough of hop. The hopos do show up in force, but, the malts are definately the centerpeice fo this show. Yes, there are hints of hops, spices, and a nice mix of esters, but, the malt is the centerpeice definately.

Stone, once, again, hasproven to em their diverse flavors and abilitis, they can go the distance with any brewer, well played boys, well played

Photo of mschofield
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours either a hazy or just really dark and opaque peach amber-brown, topped with a three finger pillowy khaki head, leaves puffy bits of lacing.
Citrus, tea and floral aroma, biscuit base, dark fruit.
Distincitve Stone taste, peppery and warming, rum soaked apples, wood, tannic note, citrus.
Like Arrogant Bastard on steroids and beer growth hormone.
Full bodied.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.