Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
3.58/5 rDev -15.2%
On tap at Churchkey.
Pours a reddish light brown with a tiny off white head and a few whisps of lacing. Nose is fairly one dimensional with some sweet fruity malts, although--believe it or not--there are still some hops present. Taste brings a bit more fruit along with some light caramel. Sweet malt dominates. Medium body with good carbonation and almost mo booze. Drinks fairly well but for somethig this I old I was expectig a bit more depth of flavor.
10-06-2010 11:48:18 | More by Thorpe429
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
3.58/5 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
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
Was lucky enough to try some samples at the Beer Yard today,poured a deep orange with a slight head (but it was in a sample cup),aroma was juicy fruit and a tinge of brown sugar.Taste was malty sweet with some deep fruity tones alcohol came thru alot.I plan on getting a bottle soon after trying this I seemed to like last years better though from the first taste.
02-21-2004 23:51:33 | More by oberon
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
Appearance: Copper amber hue with an off white frothy cream head lacing is fine and spread evenly. Aroma: Ctrus bursts of hops with a piney hop tone blend caramel and molasses tinged with alcohol with orange peels evident in the nose. Taste: Wonderful blend of hops and malts caramel citrus with a deep malty layer of hops excellent complex big ol' barleywine. Deep alcohol infused fruit notes make each sip more enticing. Mouthfeel: Full to medium bodied sryupy texture, wow. Drinkability: Excellent complex watchout for the abv this one will get you. I definitely look forward to the release of this Stone product every year, damn good barleywine from Stone in your face like most of their beers.
04-25-2004 16:55:53 | More by WVbeergeek
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
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
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.
10-08-2010 18:29:39 | More by drabmuh
3.9/5 rDev -7.6%
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.
04-01-2004 16:30:12 | More by Gueuzedude
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%
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
4.22/5 rDev 0%
Bomber bottle. Golden in color with slight orange hues. Leaves a tod o' lacing. Major heavy and rich malt sweetness up front. then resiny and citric hops come solidly foward. Medium to heavy body , warming mouthfeel. High class sipper from Stone. As with all their brews that I've tried, I'd seek em out when ever possible.
04-04-2004 14:17:22 | More by Billolick
4.08/5 rDev -3.3%
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.
10-22-2010 01:36:26 | More by stakem
3.68/5 rDev -12.8%
Pours a hazy copper colored brew, light color for the beer style.
Smell is sweet and malty with a pleasant fruity smell and a trace of hops.
Taste is sweet and fruity but still raw in taste. Very hoppy and bitter, needs cellaring.
Mouthfeel is strangely light for the beer style.
This was drank much to young, needs some time to mellow. As it is it is tasty but harsh in taste.
Will re-review the other bottle in about 2 years.
05-05-2004 04:31:41 | More by Zorro
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
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.
03-07-2004 23:35:04 | More by ppoitras
District of Columbia
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
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.
03-31-2012 16:16:55 | More by Huhzubendah
4.43/5 rDev +5%
One of my favorite beers that I look for each year, and one I get by the case. The beer as it renounces the 22 ounce bottle in favor of my beer glass is a tralucent deep copper color, the head is behemothic in size and spumous in texture, after it dissolves, the lace forms a thick blanket to cover the glass. The aroma of hops, fusel alcohol, fresh pineapple also sweet cotton candy like tones, a real treat for the schnozzle and the peepers, start is ambrosial, rich in malt, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is controlled in its acidity, the hops unyielding in their spiciness with the aftertaste bone-dry, and long lasting, the 10.6% ABV produces a nice touch of alcohol bitterness and a definite belly warming sensation, a Hoot as it is every year, and it only gets better with age just like Old Gusler?
"bonum beer laetificat cor hominis"
02-25-2004 00:08:32 | More by Gusler
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
4.43/5 rDev +5%
Not quite as good as last years version but I liked it well enough. Pours golden orange with a thick off-white head. Nice lacing through the entire glass. The aroma is big on malt, along with some hops, butter and alcohol. Rich-bodied and smooth despite the bitter hops and borderline harsh alcohol. There are also malt and grapefuit flavors in the mix. Despite being a little rough this is a good Barley Wine.
06-28-2004 16:40:35 | More by Dogbrick
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
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
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.