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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.

121 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 121
Hads: 140
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 121 | Hads: 140
Photo of bruachan
3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

bigtime diacetyl

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

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Photo of mschofield
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.99/5  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!

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with the standard stone look and gargoyle to ward off all the impurities. Pours a thick and hazy darker orange color with a good sized off white head that almost flowed out of the glass. The head retention was surprisingly good as it stayed about half an inch high through the consumption of this beer and left a nice lacing that slowly fades as you drink it. The nose had sweet malts mingling with citrus hops to form a well-balanced and appetizing aroma. A touch of alcohol comes out as it warms as well. Malty sweetness starts the taste off before the hops takeover to give it a kick. The finish is dry, with a slight hint of warming alcohol and a nice bitterness as well. Very thick mouthfeel that is rich warming and lasting. For a high alcohol beer this is very drinkable remind me of old horizontal how easy it goes down. Excellent stuff defiantly recommended, another top notch brew from stone.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber, into a pint glass. The color was copper, with a nice foamy white head. The smell was a strong citrus hop over the thick, light malt base. The taste was an excellent citrus hop with the strong lighter malt backing. Mouthfeel was nice and syrupy thick. As for drinkability, could have these all day long.

A simply fantastic beer, which is business as usual at Stone Brewing. A great citrusy-hopped barleywine that's worth drinking over and over again, and now that it's just starting to hit Western PA, I'll hopefully I'll have it again.

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Photo of marburg
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
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.


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.

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Photo of Stimack
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this brew on cask at Mahars the other night! The brew poured to a pretty clear amber color with a nice head on top that seemed to stick around for a good time. The aromas of this brew are very pleasant with sweet malt along with a Pine and citrus hop! They seem to go perfectly together in this concoction! Oh yeah, just so you get an idea once you start to enjoy the taste of the brew – it also has a bit of a alcohol aroma to it as it seems to be warning you to what is to come! The taste is fantastic! I am not usually a huge fan of Barley Wines as I have stayed away from them but this one has changed my feeling towards them! Must try more! Can definitely notice the maltiness and the citrus hop with hints of other fruit flavors swirling around. This was fantastic, could have enjoyed much more of this brew but did not want to be a babbling idiot on the way home! Wow that brew has some punch! Great experience, will have to try it again in other serving environments.

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Photo of cbl2
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Crystal clear light brown/gold with an inch of foamy white head that laces nicely as it settles slowly.


Ingredients promise a whole buncha barley, and tons 'o hops. The barley is present as a carmelized odor, but the hops overpower this slightly.


Bitter at first due to the hops. At first swallow, the alcohol hits you right in the back of the throat, but if you let it warm in the mouth a sweet feeling takes over (through the finish). Improves as you quaff. Very good for the style.

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.98/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber body with a low off-white head. Aroma is mostly resinous hoppy, but has an alcohol extravagance that is hard to tolerate. I find the hops profile to approach soap at times, I wonder if it’s all amarillow, but I know I don’t particularly enjoy that breed. Taste is citric, very bitter, slightly oily, not too pleasant for me and just too alcoholic. There’s a good floral character going on, but it’s annihilated by the almost fuelic counterpart. Thin-medium bodied with medium carbonation. I prefered the 2003 I must say and I can see why some people like this, but you’ve got to be in the mood for hoppy alcohol.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of joecast
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

ok, that back label. what's THAT all about?

deep copper shade with a full creamy beige head leaving a nice lacing on the glass.
aroma of just mashed grains after the sparge, with a hint of honey sweetness. not like any i have smelled before. very distinctive.

after one sip, the alcohol is already making its presence felt. this is not a beer to be taken lightly. at first, the flavor starts like any other strong ale. but the finish deffinitely has a kick to it. bitterness, and the warmness of the alcohol really show through, though not so much that they take over the beer. sorry, barley wine.

as the temp rises, the flavor and mouthfeel smooth remarkably gaining an almost creamy consistency. this just feels great, begging you to gulp it down, but i know better.

well, after meeting my first Stone, i see what all the hype is about. Old Guardian, the pleasure was mine.

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Photo of beerluvr
2.95/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cool looking bottle. Micro-bubbled off white head, lightly hazy gold liquid. Alcoholic fumes emanate upwards with some tropical fruitiness and solid maltiness coming thru also. Lots of warming/burning alcohol carries thru in the taste as well. Maltiness is there...just not in great depth as I had expected. Ample bitterness follows. Finishes bitter with malt undertone, but way too "hot" in the alcohol dept. to really enjoy, so it gets knocked down in the marks here. Somewhat overrated (as are all the Stone beers IMO). I'll take a Bigfoot over this anyday!
Thanks to Craig for the bottle.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of stewart124
4.82/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish color with golden hues and a huge head. Smell is very aromatic with blends of fuits, spices, and delicious hops. The taste is an extreme bombardment of hops and very strong malts. Silky smooth body and fruity esters. Each sip gets better or maybe that's the alcohol getting to me...this is a great beer and it lived up to what I've read about it. Teh aftertaste is a great blend of hops and fruity esters. Stone has done it again!

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Photo of ElGuapo
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of Mark
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.73/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of mickeymac
4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2004 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.