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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2005 Alström Bros
Reviews: 104 | Hads: 122
Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear opaque, reddish hue with tiny white tan head that died quickly.

Nose was a mix of rich malt, all malt, a little more malt, with a very mild, almost German bock smelling hop touch.

Taste was big and very thick. Barley, barley, barley and some alcohol make up the taste of this baby. A surprisingly subdued hop taste. There is however a decent sized hop bitterness that balances well against the big malt taste. More of an English style barley wine, with just faint hints of a spicy/pine hop flavor.

Not your normal Stone Hop attack of a beer, just a classic style barley wine. Went well with some stilton and sharp cheddar.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very attractive dark orange tinted bronze with a semi-dull clarity. The cap is ivory colored, small, compact, and loosely set, doesn't keep for too long, but leaves a ton of thin glazing sheets of lace.

Aroma is of caramel covered pears and melons soaked in rum. Understated hops to this one with just a hinting of floral resin hop oilyness intwined in an alcoholic heat.

Taste is quite mild. Medium malts with a full fronting caramel and fruityness favoring a bit of tropical flavors. Pineapple, pear, melon, dates, and a mish-mash of rummy/whiskey malt-like malting and warmth. Actually, this is quite a warm belly full. Slight pine and hop heat with a tiny floral edge add some depth to its finish. Warm and long standing finish of heat easing off with touches of the caramel laced with the floral hop tend to keep a solid position on the palate, in the throat, and down into the belly.

Feel is about medium and less substantial then most other Stone brews I've encountered. Not quite as beefy or big. A little more loose and free in this one. Still has that inevitable creamy smoothness and low carbonation that can be found in most other Old Gaurdians'. The somewhat lack of body is more then made up for in its beautifully enhanced warmth. Its very soothing and warm. A definate worthy sipper in that regards. The bigger ABV is evident enough in its warming character but still yields that quick and slick drinkability, even when sipped, the palate still yearns for more, making this another dangerously fine drinker from Stone.

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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 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 kmo1030
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured in my snifter slightly hazy ruby brown with a tan head.
the smell consists of brown sugar, molasses, dark ripe fruits some, pears, strawberry, apple blossom, with some caramel behind it all.
the taste is hugely complex with a nutty caramel molasses flavor, with light ripe pear, apple and berries. has a little bit of a baked apple pie effect. herbal hop bitterness shows ups strong with some lighter citrus hops. a little later on i find a soft tea flavor coming out along with a good dose of bitter baking chocolate. the bitterness at the back of the palate is just right lending a lot to this beer.
very full bodied with light carbonation. very, very nice. good drinkability, but more than one bottle could definitely be a bit much for the palate.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew is a hazy, dark orange/brown color, huge cream colored head that lasts throughout the drink. Great lacing left behind. Caramel malts, hops, hint of alcohol spice in the nose. The taste is dominated by think malts, and finished with a smack of bitter hops. The alcohol warms the belly. The mouth is thick and syrupy. Outstanding.

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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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Photo of smcolw
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Orange amber color and crystal clear. The head is disappointing in that it dissipates very quickly and leaves little lace.

Beautiful sweet candy sugar aroma. There is the presence of alcohol without the

There are times where I explore the beer world for something memorable. Stone has now done it twice for me. First, I consider their IPA to be best I've yet tasted. Here is the best barley wine. The flavors start with barley malt that is not overpowering like most of this style. Still it is very full bodied. The swallow is a wonderful hop kick that mellows out the sugars.

Usually I find this style to be too obvious in alcohol or sweetness. This is stunningly well-balanced. Yet it retains all of the expectations of a fine barley wine.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I bought this beer a while ago and am sampling at room temp in a snifter/tulip glass.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with some ruby tints as well. A fluffy tightly packed off white head of 1 cm, floats easily on the surface.
Aroma is appealing, with caramel and toffee, some citrusy hops, a bit of raisin and some dark fruit (plums) as well. A bit of alcohol says hello too.
First sip reveals a very smooth textured and even beer. Very fine gentle rolling carbonation.
Liter body than I expected as well.
Flavor is malty sweet with caramel and toffee mixing and some baker's chocolate in the middle of my tongue. I think some red grape are in there towards the end as well.
I get just a hint of piney hops and then onto my belly. Definitely some warming going on there. The alcohol is not harsh but actually increases the pleasure of drinking this beer. I cant believe how easy each sip goes down at 11.2% this is dangerously smooth.
This beer is very nice and I wish I had another bottle to cellar.

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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 JackStraw22
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange, almost red body. Head was so-so, but a good amount of bubbles feeding the top. Huge sweetness in the nose, a bit of a bublegum aroma. Hops are there, same as Double Bastard? A small bit of alcohol can be sniffed. Great taste! Very balanced for a barleywine, quite smooth across the pallate. Hops are evenly distributed in both aroma/flavor and bitterness. Very Nice, have a bottle to cellar for a while too, looking forward to it.

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Photo of Dmann
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another excelent brew in their Old Guardian line. The beer looked great with a amber color that was simmilar to their Pale Ale. A nice white head puffed up as well and was quite sticky. The smell was very friuty with pinapple notes and lots of sweetness. As soon as this beer hit my mouth the flavor exploded. First with a kick of hop bitterness and then with a wonderfull syrupy sweetness that was smoothe and not cloying at all. The finnish was sweet and slightly dry. I thought the 11.26% abv was blended quite nicely and did not stand out too much like some other reviews have stated. Then again, maybe I'm just getting too used to these high abv beers! Either way, this one is worth trying for sure, and get a couple more to age as well.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decanting this potent brew reveals a hazy reddish color with an off-white head that likes to stick around. Citrous hops sporting a little spiciness attempt to break up the sticky malty aroma, but have a harder time at it as the beer warms. Some sweet caramel and slight alcohol lend their weight to the divine aroma. Hot damn, is this drinkable for a barleywine. Huge malt bill enhanced by strong caramel goes down creamy and smooth. Hops are present in their spiciness, also presenting a bit of citrous and pine. Finish is very warm with alcohol, mixed with a heavenly blend of sweet caramel and piney citrous hops. Good lord, is this drinkable for 11.26% abv. I would enjoy cellaring a few of these bad boys, but drinking them now is not a chore, either.

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Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a perfect brilliant clear orange into my Duvel glass with a nice light tan head. You can smell sticky malt in the aroma, with a hint of hops, alcohol, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Big malty flavor, with a good American hop bite. The alcohol comes through the nostrels. The hops linger. This is fantastic. A cross between an Amercan barley wine and an English barley wine. And this is a big beer that belongs in a big glass.

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Photo of axisjones
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip at Toronado in San Francisco.

Deep amber with a clean head that stuck around the entire time. A nice thin collar of lace followed my progress.

The smell is almost a warning. Spicy alcohol with a citrusy hop nose. There is no holding back here, the aroma is just a teaser for the brutality ahead.

6 words- Put your teeth on the curb. This beer is brutal. This beer is intense. This is seriously one of the most outright flavorful beers ever brewed. Let me put it this way- the alcohol is out of control, but is dwarfed by the sheer hop bitterness, which is put firmly in check by the massive malt profile. What we have here is a caramelized hop bomb with enough spice to keep you sipping.

The mouthfeel is oily and slick and slick and oily.

This beer is so massive that it takes a severe hit in the drinkability. This is the definition of a sipper. A twelve ounce glass took me a while and there is no way I could ever conceive of finishing a bomber by myself. It is just so damn big and strong and punishing on your palette that it is not super drinkable at all, even for the style.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper, full mouthfeel, significantly hoppy. Salty and complex flavour, woody, hop leaf and pine, sweet malt. Easy drink, would go nice with a juicy steak. Boozy warming aftertaste. Good carbonation on tap at Eulogy.

Had by bottle, so aged 20 months. Great tasting and scent barleywine, Boozy at end. Rating the same.

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Photo of Shiredave
3.12/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

It's rare that I write a review of a beer I didnt enjoy, and even rarer I dislike a beer from Stone, but this years Old Guardian resulted in both. On tap at Mahars in Albany, I tried OG after an Old Engine Oil and before a Bigfoot 2005, which I enjoyed far more.

The color was a deep, murky amber with a thin whisp of tawny head. Carbonation, if any, was not visable thru the protien haze.

Aroma was Hot with higher alcohols and a snootfull of gooey, malty stewed fruit. Spicey hop notes are in the mix but overshadowed by the massive caramel malt blast. The intense nose made me dive in, fully expecting the same intensity in flavor.

Flavor is certainly intense, but WAY over the top. If there is balance here, it was lost on me due to the huge alcohol presence from first sip to the long slow burn after swallowing. Very tasty, thick, fruity malt flavors coat the mouth as super strong boil hops just pummel the palate with bitterness that was too strong to be pleasent for me- and I Love hoppy beers- and west coast Barley wines in particular. I havent tried a bottle yet, and maybe they are a bit mellower, but the keg beer was too "over done" for my liking. Why do these brewers release these beers before they are ready? This, to me, is just way too raw and green.

Mouth feel was slick and heavy, full bodied and rockingly alcoholic. I am more impressed with strong beers that manage to hide the alcohol till the finish. Alcohol is most certainly there at the finish in this one and loong aftewards.
This is a good ( bad?) example of US brewers pushing the envelope too far. Its relatively easy to keep throwing stuff in the brew kettle and comming up with a massive beer. Its not so easy to make a fine, warming, balanced BW that doesnt wreck both palate and brain cells. I hope my OG 2005 bottle ages into something better. I may have to save it for 5+ years tho.

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

Every year I wait for one of my favorite Stone beers to hit the shelf, of course this one hit while I was under the weather, so it got pushed back in a corner of the DBF. The beer as it emerges from the 22 ounce brown bottle a tralucent deep copper color, the head is mastodonic in size and spumescent in texture, after it slowly fades to nothingness, the lace forms a tight girdle to surround the glass. The aroma of sweet malt, over ripe fruit, hops, cotton candy all occupy the nose, what a treat, start is sweet with a thick grain profile and the top middling to full in its feel to the palate. Finish is delectably acidic and the hop potent in their spiciness, and the 11. 26 percent ABV makes itself know in the tummy warming and the alcohol bitterness in the very dry aftertaste, Another splendid vintage that will age nicely.

"bonum beer laetificat cor hominis"

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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 dgallina
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Winter 2005 edition. Sampled very young in April 2005.

Pours from the bottle a translucent reddish-copper. Minimal head and lacing, as expected for this style. Smells sweet and sherry-like with an undercurrent of bitter hops. Very sweet, almost cloying, in flavor initially. Develops a tree-bark like leafy hop bitterness in the middle before returning with lots of sugary alcohol warming. Finishes astringently dry with assertive piney hops. Sticky and syrupy in body with light carbonation.

An nice barley wine, if a bit over the top in piney hops and alcohol strength. Worth trying again after it's mellowed for a year or so. I generally prefer the Stone Double-Bastard.

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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 TheLongBeachBum
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 ounce screen printed bottle that retains the overall Stone Old Guardian screen printed design, yet those Stone fans with a keen eye will notice that the “Limited Winter 2005 Release!!” has some minor changes, the Gargoyle has been placed in a circle, are they clipping his wings?? And the word Stone is set inside a red box, rather than the words Old Guardian on the past designs. I also note that unlike any other Stone Bottles that I have had, this one seems to have the following words ‘Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale 2005 Edition Bottle-Conditioned’ etched into bulge on the neck of the bottle. Oh yeah, and this years offerings is 11.26%, crazy shit.

Appearance: Lovely looking dark orange amber burnished copper color, perfectly clear with a large fizzing tan head at first, but that soon settles to reveal a broken covering that retains a halo ring and some smattered single layer bubbles in a broken scum like covering. Low carbonation.

Nose: Lots of malts as expected. Strong alcoholic Barleywine feel throughout. Oily pine needles and some sharp caramel. Lighter than previous years I think.

Taste: Malts and lots of alcohol. The sappy bitterness is oily and pine like and it’s all in the beginning. Huge malt bill swims in an Ethanol filled Olympic sized swimming pool. Big sweetish finish that combines all these traits but the malts get it. Warm finish rapidly rises to a hot swallow. Terminates with a dry feel and lots of Aniseed lingers on the tongue long after the heat dies out.

Mouthfeel: Oh its huge, the alcohol is not well hidden, it doesn’t need to be. Powerful licks and strong back kicks add to the devastating warmth in the back end. Massively Full-Bodied.

Drinkability: Took a while to sink this one, even late at night it’s a monster to sink. The heat in the swallow and the kick-ass alcohol makes this one a sipper for sure. Drinkability would improve with some nice aged Cheddar and snacks I feel.

Overall: Had this for a few months before tackling it, seems rather high octane and seriously “big”. I think that this does need some time to develop a little, but the hardcore Stone fans will disagree and I have heard it said that this is good to go right now. I fall somewhere in between, I think a little aging may help, I’ll return to the rest of my stash in another 6 months time.

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