Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2005 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2005Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2005

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104 Reviews

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Reviews: 104
Hads: 122
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 11
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.26% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 01-26-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 122
Photo of srandycarter
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stone popped this bad boy today.

A - Pours a beautiful deep amber, almost clear, large creamy head that is slow to leave and lots of lace.

S - Heavy malt, booze, some medicinal quality.

T - Sweet heavy malt, caramel, boozy, hard hops hitting it back.

M - Med to heavy body, from very sweet to very harsh. Hard to reign in those huge flavors. Done pretty well, though.

D - I bought the 2 litre growler of this sucker, and I had better find some friends to share, cuz this is not a session beer!

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Photo of DrJay
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this one up last winter in San Diego, so I managed to hold on to it for almost 10 months. Bright coppery orange colour with a fine tan head that reduced to a thin layer of bubbles. Plenty of lacing, and this lastest throughout. Fairly mild aroma with lots of malt, caramel, graham crackers and a bit of fruit. The flavour was well balanced between malt and hop bitterness, with a definite caramel character and a hint of pine. Alcohol comes forward at the end, along with a bit of warmth. Carbonation was on the low side of average, the body was on the full side of medium, and there was just a hint of stickiness. I found this to be a well-balanced brew, mellowed somewhat with the alcohol nicely integrated into the character. I'm looking forward to 2006.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I thought one bottle was all I would ever find. When I found two more tonight, I decided to celebrate by drinking the first one. This beer looks kind of like that tree sap that they found those mosquitos in during that movie Jurassic Park. That is it pours a lovely, deep amber color. It has a small beige head that maintains itself at a slight level. The nose is of juicy grapefruits, piney hops, and alcohol.

The taste is quite unlike what I had expected. It is hoppy in a juicy sweet IIPA way, not in a crushingly bitter way. This is great for being so young. The malt is already well developed, but the hops are what standout. Dark fruits are followed by grapefruit hops. The mouthfeel is thick and coating. I hope I still taste this next week. Drinkability is good, but one bomber is enough for tonight. I hope the other two age well.

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Photo of cbl2
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7/25/2005 $4.99 22 oz. 11.26% No best by date, and none required!


Beautiful is not a nice enough word to describe this. Glowing a vibrant orange from beneath, this mostly still ale is an amber brown towards the top, with a viscous appearance.


Caramel, figs, smooth malt characteristics, a hint of alcohol coupled with tropical fruit aroma. Reminds me of a carnival, and beckons to be tasted.


Smooth and viscous with a huge alcohol presence coupled with a tantalizing dark fruit presence. Caramel sweet as it warms in the mouth with some subtle hop hints.

Purchased at Whole Foods 28th & 7th Ave, NYC for $5!!! This is nice and bready. Very drinkable even with the high ABV, which makes this one dangerous, but worth getting your hands on.

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Photo of palliko
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't want to get personal, so I won't mention any names - but to the member who rated this beer badly because someone said it "tasted like cough syrup" - I just have a question - "What brand? I will switch immediately to that brand of cough syrup!" I WISH cough syrup tasted like Old Guardian! This is great beer. I reviewed it last year, and my opinion is even higher this year. To my friend Marty Saylor at Stone - you guys rock!
Everyone else has described the beer beautifully - color, taste, etc. So let me just add - decide for yourself - if you like Arrogant Bastard, you are worthy to taste Old Guardian and you will like it. Period.

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Photo of bruachan
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bought 'er at arrowine in arlington, but for some reason never tasted of the fruit

at first i thought the head was going to be a total dud but a little aggression in the pour and we've got a nice bone-colored fluff up there. underneath, however, is the gods' work. the beer is a brilliant deep ruby with an ever-so-slight amber tint. the head dimishes but never leaves the room

i think if i were to choose a color to fit the aroma it would be the one that sits in my glass. rich malt aromas: butterscotch, caramel, sweet bread

and then the can of kickass opens. it's huge! peach (peach!?), butterscotch. i would have expected hops to have more of a role—the bitterness is nothing to scoff at, but at the same time it's not all that intense—but malt is mos def the focus here. fruity, caramelly, cranberry (without the natural tartness)

it's complex, yet so simple

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Photo of crwills
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample glass from tasting with northyorksammy, grub, and biegaman. Thanks to grub for bringing this fantastic beer along.

Aroma is predominantly spicy hops, with some caramel or toffee and bready notes. Powerful alcohol presence in both the aroma and taste, but it's handled very well by the complexity of this beer. Reminds me a lot of a good whiskey, with roasted and toffee flavours dominating. Ear warming. Sweet, sherry-like aftertaste makes this a fantastic sipping beer.

I really want to try this one again in greater quantity and re-review, but definitely one of the highlights of the tasting.

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Photo of imblane
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow! This beer is massive as is to be expected from Stone. Lots of sweet malt backbone, with the hoppiness coming through in the end, but this beer is young! It has unlimited potential, but will be much more drinkable in 6 months or so. I love the appearance and aroma as it is right now. The 11.26% is well hidden, unlike the Old
Crustacean from Rogue, in which the abv% is readily apparent. Good as it sits right now, but should be a top notch BW in 6-12 months!!

I thought this would be better after a year, but I think it was best about 6 mos ago. Still, smoooth as can be but I am a hophead and the first thing to go in the aging process is the sharp hop bite. Overall though, this is starting to mellow nicely and has not got malty just yet. I think it will take on that character in a few more months. Nice...

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Photo of nvsblman
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich amber colored with a light head. Smells of sweet malt, citrusy hops, toffee, brown sugar. A little lighter aroma than I remembered with the '04 version. The taste is full of biscuity malt, oak, caramel, citrus. Also noticing some raisins. Strong alcohol flavor that I know will die down with age. Very creamy and full mouthfeel. Surprisingly smooth for the alcohol content. Looking forward to trying this again with some age on it!

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Photo of Viggo
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear and bright orange/red, medium but thick white head forms, some very pretty lacing. Smell is nice and malty, carmael, grass, citrus/floral hops, alcohol, vanilla oak, and spice. Taste is caramel, pine/floral hops, vanilla, little bit of alcohol, and a clean rich, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to high bodied, with low carbonation. This bastard has been aging for almost a year, very smooth and controlled, excellent barleywine. Thanks DrJay!

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Photo of Hibernator
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Winter 2005 Release
22 oz brown bomber
Snifter serving glass. I let the Old Guardian sit for about 10 minutes before tasting

This beer pours a beautiful amber copper color with a thin, oily top lacing. A fluffy head can easily be developed with a nice pour, but it settles quickly. Spotted sticky lacings cling all over the glass.

Aroma of black pepper spice, prunes and hop snappage.

Very syrupy sweetness attacks the palate with a super citrus hop bite on the finish. Caramel sweetness, rubbing alcohol warmth and floral hops blend at the perfect levels to create one nasty ass Barley Wine. At 11.26% ABV, you better appreciate this beer for all its worth.


The perfect nightcap to an absolutely incredible weeked with a great friend.

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Photo of ADR
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap, Anam Cara, Brookine, MA...

Nice aroma, caramel, a touch of acoholic fire, and bleeding into honey. Peachy color with a small head and lots of squiggly laces on the glass. Mouthfeel approaches full and the carbonation settles in at medium, well-done but a little higher than expected. The flavor has a ton to say, starts out like peach preserves but quickly slides past overt malty sweetness towards the fruity pectin of schnapps and into bourbon notes -- more alcoholic in impression than even its numbers suggest. Very full at the close. Hot with alcohol, not so much with apparent hops, which I looked for to assert more than they did. I like a malty Barleywine, but I kind of expected more impressive bittering here.

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Photo of tempest
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great beer, but considering this is a Stone brew, I was hoping for a little more. For starters, this is a golden barleywine, peach colored with a slight red tinge. No head unfortunately, but that happens with this much alcohol. The aroma of of sweet, syrupy pineapple and peach juice, like from the canned fruit with grass and fresh ground black pepper. The flavor matches much of the aroma but with more spicy citrus rind and doughy malt for balance. The aftertaste focuses on the spicy hops and reminds me of Italian cooking spices for their earthy taste. The body and weight are reasonably heavy for this type of beer. Finishing a bomber is no trouble, as long as you're sharing. Good beer.

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Photo of Troyone
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a root beer color with a copper hue. No head and the carbonation is mild.

Has a roasted caramel malt aroma with a herbal, resin, and orange hops smell.

Moderately sweet and a heavy bitter flavor also the taste resembles the smell.

Medium to full body, almost oily and syrupy texture, flat carbonation, with a light metallic finish.

The drinkability is good for this style.

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Photo of Zorro
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle I have held on too for a long time.

This is now a thick copper colored ale with no head formation

The smell is sweet and fruity and still quite strongly hoppy to the nose. Aromas of alcohol and black pepper, fig, cherry, chocolate and rum.

The taste begins sweet and bitter with a nice toffee after taste. This is still quite a strongly flavored beer mostly fruit, wood and hop bitterness. The main flavor defect here is that the hop bitterness is still strong enough to cover up the more subtle flavors. This can still age some more before hitting its peak flavor.

The mouthfeel is thick.

Drinkability is good but not great. This is a beer that still needs some aging to hit its peak of flavor. At present the hop bitterness is covering up flavors, my guess is in two more years this will be at its peak of flavor.

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Photo of gimmehead
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orange amber with a thin, taupe colored head. Lots of caramel sweet aroma mixed with grapefruity citric hops and a prominent alcohol profile. The nose is actually surprisingly sweet, especially as the warming progresses and the malt takes over. Tastes of citric hops initially, blending with bready malts and some sweet, raisiny notes similar to an old ale. As with the nose, there is no shortage of alcohol in the finish. Very thick and smooth on the palate. Nice balance between malt and hops makes it very drinkable. A very nice beer.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a perfectly clear copper with a thin, creamy white head.

Smell: The smell is quite enjoyable. The malts are huge, and so is the alcohol, but a suprising amount of hop presence shines through, and balance the smell perfectly.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Instantly, wood flavors burst forth with massive amounts of malt sweetness. It finishes rather dry, with the hops playing a key role. This is possibly the most balanced Barleywine that has ever touched my lips, but not the best tasting, and it reminds of alot of a Double Bastard. The mouthfeel is chewy.

Drinkability and Overall: All the quality you'd expect from Stone and more. A crisp, clean, sippable Barleywine. It's not as good as the Double Bastard, but still worth trying. I put a few back to age, and I bet they'll do wonderfully.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly different look to the bottle this year. There appears to be almost a complete novel etched in the back of the bottle. Good reading while you are sipping this down though. Appears a crystal clear black cherry juice color with a light tan head. The head disappears rapidly leaving streaks of lace around the glass. Huge aroma. Tons of malt, big fruit notes and a large amount of alcohol as well. Very strong cherry scent is what really stood out even over the big boozy notes. Taste starts of with strong cherry flavors and a smack of alcohol. Sweet caramel malts meld with fruits and molasses to try and tame the alcohol. The alcohol stands out in a big way all throughout this but for some reason it works quite well. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Ridiculous drinkability, I would only call this a sipper because of the strength. This was surprisingly easy to get through even with the alcohol. Tasty and powerful treat that I would definitely have again. I would love to see what a year or so does to this one.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my second year of trying the locally unavailable Stone barleywine, and having gotten through several more beers of this style over the past year, I feel much more qualified this year.

The 22 oz. brown bomber looks identical to the 2004 version, except it has Winter 2005 release in the painted on artwork, and the musings on the back seem even longer. The beer pored out deep reddish amber and clear, with a cascade of bubbles making up a half inch thick foamy head which does not last long. The aroma seems muted at first with a hint of citric hops, but a deep inhalation reveals more of a malty sweet aroma and some pine resin.

The taste is sweet and malty up front, with a prickly, peppery hop presence that becomes more prominent towards the end of the swallow. The beer is syrupy thick on the tongue, but carbonation lightens that effect somewhat. The beer feels somewhat abrasive as a solitary sipper, but accompanied by Vermont extra sharp while cheddar cheese, the harshness disappears.

I still think it feels young in the year of its release. My 2004 bottle in the cellar should be probably at a mellow prime next year.

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Photo of Wonka
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Limited Winter 2005 Release
11.26% Alc. Vol.

Appearance – straight amber; a thumb-thick, cream-colored head at pour that wastes away rather quickly; lace is weak

Smell – malts and hops are about even; the dark fruits are beginning to emerge

Taste – back and forth between caramel and hops, a bit rowdy alcohol; faint dark fruit and nut; hops win to close but some caramel tone remains

Mouthfeel – silky and full initially then roughens up late; with age I could see this smoothening across the profile; this was barely reaching a 4.5 when considering where it stands and how well it may do down the road, but it was the best portion of the package

Drinkability – lush carbonation is a bonus but the alcohol and hop strength pull it down a bit

Drink one or two within the first few months and come back in a year for more mellow and smoother incarnations. I'm looking forward to its growth.

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Photo of WesWes
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm and malty scent that is slightly hoppy, but nothing too strong. The taste is great. It has a very smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy for an abv. of 11.26%. It has a bitter hoppy finish; very well balanced. It has a warming effect on the way down. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good barley wine. It is so smooth for a "big beer." It has excellent hop flavor; an awesome drinker.

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

I spent some time cleaning my apartment (fist time in a while) and rewarded all of my hard work with an Old Guardian. I had been anticipating this bad boy for some time. It poured out a nice copper color, quite decieving for a beer of this potency. I sniffed and sipped, and then I sipped some more. It was slightly hoppy with some sweet tones in between. For a second I could almost taste the wine, but then the alcohol struck at the end and reminded me that I was instead immersed in a beer. It tasted good and went down smooth, but after only a short time of drinking this 11.2%, 20 oz. bottle, I decided that this is for sure a drink that would best be suited for sitting back, and enjoying any one of your favorite activities. I myself ate a delciious meal, try one for yourself.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this off tap a few weeks back and really enjoyed it, so lets see what the bottle does for me. Served at cellar temperature into a snifter. The beer pours a brilliant copper color with a 2 finger head that sticks around very well. The nose is deep sweet caramel, slightly fruity malts with a few wisps of alcohol and a nice sweet and slightly floral hop, but more in the background. The flavor is very much what the nose tells me it should be. The first blast is big sweet malts wtih a distant dark fruit, followed by a healthy alcohol spiceyness, moving towards a mellow spicey hop bite on the finish. The beer is rather warming in my stomach. With the light dinner I had, this will definatly do well for me without any reinforcements. The feel is big and syrupy. Very coating. Drinkability is good for a beer of this magnitude. I'm not having any trouble with the bomber. I remember the first time I had this a few years back. 22 oz were hard to take. How things have changed.

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Photo of John1985
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The ale poured a brown amber color with a small white head. Complex malt aroma, taste was delicious sweet malt with minimal hops to balance. Very warming and a great sipping barley wine. A little too sweet for my taste. The price was a bit much ($6.95/bomber) but heck it was my birthday.

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Photo of klewis
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark orange hue, almost no head, moderate lacing, carbonation briefly collected on the glass and disappeared shortly after I began to drink.

Smell: Dark fruits, mostly raisins, and traces of alcohol

Taste: Very strong cherry flavor, slightly sweet, that is balanced very nicely on the finish with prominent alcohol flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied, just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: I'm not sure if I would drink a lot of this in one sitting, but I would definitely purchase this again.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2005 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.