Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
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!
11-27-2005 17:42:37 | More by GreenCard
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
Huge, fluffy white head atop a copper-amber body. Lacing occurs as head subsides.
Huge alcohol pine resin smell. Some nice, fruity notes as well. Mango, other tropical type fruits.
Sweet taste, with a citrusy pine resin that follows all the way through. Ends with an extremely bitter hoppiness that is supported by some sweet caramel malt.
Huge, round thick body with a huge alcohol presence. A winter beer if I ever had one.
10-21-2005 23:33:49 | More by nortmand
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
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.
07-13-2005 00:17:03 | More by Sephiroth
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
Dull orangy rusted murk. Slimming medium yellowed beige top of slippery smooth soft foam. Gets thin drippy rings of tiny stringy lace along with some slight clear glazed residue.
Aroma has a nice blend of caramel, pine sap, and floral hops. Fairly sweet overall and resinous with some tender orange slices, pear, and pineapple.
Simple, rich, lasting, and blended flavors of soft candyish caramel, well rounded piney hops, dullishly deep tropical fruits of pineapple, orange, and nectarine keep a sweeter complexion along with high ended resinous floral perks and light heat underneath on the finish.
Fantastic barleywine feel with a bold medium body taking on a sweet smoothness wrapped in delicate carbonation, creamyness, ruggedness, and alcoholic warmth. Nice finish of soft caramel mixed with leftover floral pine hops mixed in with the warmth.
Super swift on the drinkable scale. Goes down far too fast and easy to be 10%. A fine tasten', easy drinkin' barleywine that no doubt a bit of age has suited it well.
07-08-2005 02:27:22 | More by tavernjef
3.9/5 rDev -7.6%
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.
05-07-2005 01:37:53 | More by ommegangpbr
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
This beer pours a deep carmel (almost burnt orange) with half finger head and little lacing. Smell is a bouquet of ripe fruits and spiciness a real thick and rich smell. The tast simply reaffirms the smell of ripe citrus fruits along with spices balanced by a smooth maltiness and great aftertaste. This is a special beer that should be cherished.
05-05-2005 02:56:51 | More by guinness9880
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
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.
04-23-2005 21:26:42 | More by OStrungT
3.38/5 rDev -19.9%
The beer poured out of the 22oz. bottle and left little head. There was a nice lace around the glass when what little head cleared. I let the beer sit for a little bit as there were small bits of stuff floating in it. The beer is the color of liquid caramel and smells strongly of flowers and fruit aromas. The first sip of this beer really knocked me back. At first it was a little overwhealming, but after a few mouthfulls it was enjoyable. It feels smooth in your mouth but that first sip has quite a bite. You can feel the alcohol in your stomach warming you. Like all Stone brews you can really taste the hops. Overall I liked this beer. I am a fan of Barleywine style beers, and I've had better than this, but it's still quite a tastey beer.
03-18-2005 00:50:27 | More by Buildscharacter
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
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
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
Hazy and deep dark copper in color. A short 1/4" head quickly falls to surface foam. The aroma is sweet caramels and mild piney hops. The flavor is a blast of thick sweet malts with fruity tones of plums, prunes, and raisins. Bitterness is quite strong but rounds out the flavors nicely. Alcohol tones are soft and take a back seat.
Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, and syrupy. The sweet malt rides the tongue long after swallowing. Mildly crisp finish. This is a superbly flavorful barley wine. Seek it out.
02-11-2005 13:20:46 | More by Gavage
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Appearance This is a solid orange in color with some brownish tints and a modest, retentive head.
Smell This nose has a huge malt backbone with classic Stone hops. The pine especially sticks out. The alcohol is modest but noticeable.
Taste This malt bomb has some huge flavors. There are a lot of sugars in here along with some good alcohol notes. The wine is classic chardonnay.
Mouthfeel This full-bodied Barley Wine is hoppy but doesnt have a lot of dryness. It is very heavy in the mouth with lots of malty sugars.
Drinkability This isnt a session ale by a long shot, but it certainly makes for a terrific nighttime sipper.
01-31-2005 04:05:52 | More by RoyalT
3.93/5 rDev -6.9%
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.
01-25-2005 01:59:49 | More by BeerFink
4.9/5 rDev +16.1%
My second bite at this apple as I wanted a taste that wasnt on a palate corrupted by Ruination.
Pours a apricot orange amber colour with a one finger dence white head. The aroma will knock you back its so good.. Candied fruit, citrus hops, toffee, in doses so powerful they should be illegal. Taste follows.. Its sweet with out cloying, hoppy without bitter.. Its curacao orange peels soaked in caramel with a splash of rich brandy. Its kinda like a beery Grand Marnier. Absolutely delicious. Hops are there but not as ballsy as other stone brews, this one has understated grace, more English in style than typical West Coast Hopparific Barleywine. Mouthfeel is outstanding, smooth as the silk on a designer skirt. Drinkability is roof high.. This is and the Imperial Stout are the class of Stones efforts. Not that any of them are weak, but this is World Class.
Also went amazing well listening to Johnny Cash's American III- solitary man-- especially during the Nice Cave Cover - the Mercy Seat..
01-14-2005 04:38:54 | More by TinusTime
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
Gorgeous hazy peachy appearance, with a slimmish layer of foam on top.
Exhilirating nose...yeasty and citric at first, toasty and potent, from the top of it...wide open citric fruit character, not what I'd expected...serious smell, leaking in the alcoholic content, slowly, tingling with further fruitiness, begging me to finally taste...
mmmm...this is a new kind of yumminess, one I don't remember from other versions...citric sweetness, a delicious oxymoron, is chief among the flavor contributions..peach and apricot, mix with honey and spice, while the booze facts stands tall above it all, as well. Very happy, humming, brilliant brew, this is...lands gladly on the palate, too, though it makes no considerable impact. Sits there comfortably, imparting juicy, jubilant flavor ...very interesting, and not what I expected, less like a typical American barleywine, and more like some English old ales, or even like certain Belgian brews, certainly in an exclusive class...this is a tangy thing, a powerfully flavored ale, confident and kind,it delivers it's goodness, assured in it's mission, it drops this delicacy and moves on, like all good soldiers should...
much thanks to the Bum of the Beach for this!
12-23-2004 08:41:25 | More by feloniousmonk
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
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
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.
11-03-2004 00:44:08 | More by mschofield
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
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
4/5 rDev -5.2%
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.
10-19-2004 04:58:14 | More by SheepNutz
3.88/5 rDev -8.1%
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.
10-17-2004 18:15:28 | More by beerceller99
3.9/5 rDev -7.6%
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 isnt overblown, but balances the sweetness of the beer nicely. Nice barleywine.
10-09-2004 00:58:41 | More by aracauna
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Pours a ruby-orange color with a healthy white head. Has a muted aroma of sweet malt with some spices and subtle hops, as well as a noticable presence of alcohol. The taste is smooth with the malt backbone dominating the initial flavor and giving way to the bitterness of the hops and a finish that is dominated by spicy alcohol. A wonderful, tingly mouthfeel fits the style perfectly, and it goes down smooth and delicious, especially considering the massive 10% abv.
Six months has done this beer immeasurable good. The alcohol has settled down and now blends wonderfully with the other flavors, not dominant as it was fresh. Near perfection now, but I didn't really enjoy it when it was fresh.
09-28-2004 01:36:24 | More by altctrlsdelete
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%
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.
09-11-2004 03:36:02 | More by Southernbrew
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.