Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
I jumped at the opportunity to fill my growler with this retired beer this weekend at Stone Brewing Co. Offered as their Saturday Night Special, I couldn't help but speed up the 15 in hopes that some of this brew would be left for me. I was about 15th in line when I got there, but was still able to grab some.
A: Poured an amber/orange color barely penetrable to light, with plenty of carbonation (surprising). A nice, cream-colored 1.5 finger head layer tops my glass and fades slowly, leaving patchy lace down my glass.
S: Strong, sweet malty goodness abounds into my nostrils as I barely lift the glass to better observe the aroma. Classic Stone hop characteristic is still noticeable.
T: Very smooth! The taste is similar, but still quite departed from the way this beer smells. On nose, there is heavy alcohol and sweet malt notes. At taste, the malt sweetness continues, but the beer is very smooth and creamy. The body has a smooth, but strong alcohol (brandy-like) quality.
M: Rich, creamy and complex. Delicious from sip to swallow. A slight alcohol warming affect is noted.
D: I can't believe how good this beer is. I wish I had a fresh one to compare side by side, but from what I can remember this is still quite similar in some aspects. The taste has smoothed out substantially, but the nose reminds me of the fresh version.
12-28-2008 01:20:16 | More by d0ggnate
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
On Tap @ O'Brien's. 2004 vintage. Consumed summer 2006 Clear orange color with chunks of creamy tan head floating along the viscous barrier between air and elixir. Sweet malt and dark fruit aroma punctuated by some hop nose. Full Barleywine malt and fruitiness with thick smooth peanut butter mouthfeel. The hops have really evened out. Delicious. Had this side by side with the 2005 vintage (on tap too).
11-17-2008 02:54:28 | More by BigMcLargeHuge
3.58/5 rDev -15.2%
Appearance: Pours a dark, obscured, rich amber body with a thin, beige head.
Smell: A far lighter aroma when compared with earlier vintages ('02, '03). Faint, far off caramel malts and fruit and well, that's about it.
Taste: Vague caramel maltiness with a medium sweetness. Far less fruitiness present than the 2002 and 2003. The hops aren't nearly as citrusy, but they do have a ramped up wooden quality to them. Medium-plus bitterness throughout. Finishes bittersweet with a touch of heat at the very end.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.
Drinkability: Enjoyed as part of a vertical spanning the vintages between 2002 and 2007. The 2004 really was the letdown of the group, displaying a weak aroma, a far less punchy malt character, even a dead hop profile. It certainly was no 2003!
09-09-2008 03:40:37 | More by ChainGangGuy
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
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
4.35/5 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
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
4.5/5 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
4.08/5 rDev -3.3%
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...
09-28-2007 15:37:33 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.85/5 rDev -8.8%
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...
05-24-2007 19:00:50 | More by boelker62
District of Columbia
3.45/5 rDev -18.2%
the aroma is all about it. NW hops play a big role, too. i must say, the nose is really not all that complex. sugary sweet, hoppy, buttery
tastes super butterscotchy, too. the hops flavor is pronounced, so i imagine it were very strong young. some fruits make themselves present. brown sugar, dates
it's hot. i hate to say it...but this stuff is a little overrated
04-14-2007 07:04:45 | More by bruachan
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
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
On tap at Stone Winter Storm
A: A dull cloudy tangering copperish color with almost no head. A fine ring of beige surrounds the glass adding an amusing contrast. Little agitation to the beer causes the bubbles to come forth from the depths.
S: Orange, toffee, grapefruit rind and raisin.
T: Begins with a healthy mix of caramel, cherry and bubblegum. There is a transition happening with the malt and sugars in this brew...Its in the beginning stages of converting to outrageous toffee flavors...but its not there yet. Marshmallow, apricot and mellon add a nice fruity component. Bitterness remains but its controlled and not too overpowering. Finishes sweet with honey, yellow fruit and a friendly kick of alcohol.
M: Full bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel.
D: This barleywine is getting close the perfect age IMO. Its could still use another 16 months or so to get it perfect. I'm certainly thankful to have had the opportunity to try this on tap.
01-01-2007 20:47:28 | More by Westsidethreat
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
(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.
12-31-2006 01:53:41 | More by xymyl
4.88/5 rDev +15.6%
A- 1/4" light tan head on a clear orange body with some amber in it (mostly orange though). Bir of a whitish collar with a bit of lacing (not much at all). Sticks to side of glass a bit too.
S- Nice citrus hop with some grass in there too. Malt is helping balance it out. Some caramel and toffee. Alcohol cuts through it all too. Not as sweet smelling as the others.
T- Toffee and caramel malt base. That helps even out the big dose of citrus hops. Grapefruit and a bit of orange too. Pretty sweet but not near as sweet as other years. Alcohol comes through too but is pretty well hidden but does have a nice soothing warmth to it. The bitterness lasts a long time and comes through on the first sip. The aftertaste has bitterness some citrus fruit rind and some toffee in there too.
M- Medium body with low carbonation that may be scratching on the medium side.
D- It is very good! Would be interesting to see how it comes out after about 4 or 5 years. Feels like it's totally different than 00-03.
12-08-2006 05:01:43 | More by BlindPig
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
4.15/5 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
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
4.78/5 rDev +13.3%
Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter. I'd stored this away when I bought it two years ago in the hopes a bit of aging would take the edge off the alcohol bite. I'm happy to say the delayed gratification was justified.
Hitting the glass, the '04 OG had a lustrous apricot hue, vibrant and finely spun out carbonation and a well-formed head that produced ghostly lace.
The nose was thickly sweet with a nice fruitiness and splash of caramel mixed with a good contrasting herbal hops aroma. Alcohol is there but not in the raw, nose-tweaking manner of many a fresh barleywine.
Holy crap, this is one fine b-wine! Thick, full feel coated the tongue in a fruity sugary sweetness imbued with hearty caramel malts. Hops are integrated seamlessly and entwined deeply across the palate. The alcohol content has mellowed and lacks the rawness and harshness I've encountered all too often in a barleywine.
Cellaring Stone's '04 Old Guardian was a 100% success. Lush feel, outstanding nose, and a perfect blending of flavors has made me wish I'd stashed more than one away for the long haul. If you have one lying about, now might be the right time to give it a go. Simply sublime.
02-26-2006 19:28:41 | More by Boilermaker88
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
I'm giving this beer a 4.5 for appearance despite its complete lack of head, because of the amazing color. It glows as if with an inner light, as though it could fill a dark room with sunset! An unreal color like the skin of a ripe peach. I've never seen anything like it before, and it's extremely inviting.
The smell fills out with the typical barleywine odor that I have a hard time describing - steamed asparagus drizzled with molasses, perhaps? Itr's the kind of smell that makes me go 'yep - barleywine', but I can't quite figure it out.
Ironic that the color reminds me of peaches and apricots, because I get extremely strong hints of those squishy fruits in the flavor of this very finely aged beer. It's got that steamed-grass smell, and a distinct caramel flavor - and in this beer, I can taste the hops, a bittering, floral addition. Wow, this is a really good barleywine, the best I've tried so far. The others I've tried have finished harshly, but this tumbles the alcohol into its flavors, then finishes with caramel and hop bitters, instead of ending up with nothing but alcohol.
The mouthfeel is awesome, it's like melted butter. Creamy, soft, smooth, and it gets into every crevice of the mouth, flowing voluptously.
Wow - so far my experiences with barleywine have been lackluster, but this aged '04 Stone version is outta control. I love it, plain and simple!
02-10-2006 02:01:20 | More by Tupperwolf
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
Brown 22 ounce silk screened bottle. Two years old.
Glowing sunset amber. Thin beige coloured head, no lace.
Notes of hoppy pine & grapefruit. Apples, solvent, malty goodness. A very well balanced & inviting nose.
Rich & powerful. At 2 years a great balance between malt & hops. Some port-like flavours, along with toffee, apples, & plums. Medium-full bodied, lush, with slight carbonation. Ageing quite nicely, and I still love Amarillo hops.
02-05-2006 04:25:54 | More by xgrigorix
4.78/5 rDev +13.3%
I've reviewed this beer twice already? Hmm...
This one is the last OG '04 in my cellar. How i'll miss this particular vintage with its abstract blending of Munich malts and Amarillo hops...
Spectacular in appearance for style this beer has a chainlink fence of lace following close behind each emptying sip. Gold with reddened tints.
The nose has a little age on it now...the caramel malt character has a bit of paper to it now, but the twangy amarillos are still there, lurking in the background.
Noticably less fruity than when fresh, this beer is the epitomy of well-integrated but still full of character.
I have never had twenty-two ounces of high-gravity alcohol dissappear so easily into my stomach. Absolutely the most fantastic beer experience i've had in quite awhile.
The syrupy slickness of this beer, hand in hand with its well integrated flavor components and the mellowing of age make the most sublime cellared beer experience i've had yet. Just wickedly drinkable. And gone for just one day, i'm already wishing I had more.
If you've got OG '04...drink 'em now. I think they are at the perfect stage right this moment.
01-11-2006 16:44:17 | More by GreenWBush
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
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.
12-30-2005 02:12:01 | More by masikon
4.72/5 rDev +11.8%
I picked up my local store's last pair of 2004s this summer, and tried them this fall, after a few months in the cellar.
Holy. Freaking. Crap. Magic.
Pours a cloudy amber with deep golden highlights, thick bubbly head. Very clear. Almost a ruby color.
Fruity hoppy bready intrigue greet the nose.
Fruity hoppy smooth, almost creamy, a touch of alchohol warms. My notes start to ramble, this is so good. The hops and fruit and alchohol create a smooth, tart, and yet somehow creamy mouthfeel.
God, I can't wait to get some 2005 and let it sit. Just super stuff.
12-21-2005 04:21:39 | More by hustlemuscle
4.63/5 rDev +9.7%
I grabbed this '04 behemoth at Bottleworks the other day and thought I'd give a good barley wine ale a try. This is an amazing brew. I'm not sure how it compares with the '05s or the '03s they had on hand but I may just have to find out the next time I stop by.
The color is an orangeish copper very cloudy with light carbonation and a decent head that left a nice lace. The smell was sweet and flowery with a nice hop. Then came the taste....oh yeah. No idea how they make a 10.06abv so damn smooth but they do. Sweet at first, citris, some grain notes, then a slam of hops and a good bitter aftertaste. And a very creamy mouthfeel that lets you know you're enjoying an extremely substantial beer. You can defintely taste the alcohol, but it's not as noticable as I was anticipating. Wonderful beer!!! Stone rocks!
12-16-2005 02:31:13 | More by sockeye101
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.