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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2006 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2006Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2006

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

192 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 161
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.18%
Wants: 8
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WebmasterMike on 03-02-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 192 | Reviews: 161
Photo of froggyfrog
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Stone OGBWSA carried by me (and at times by my buddy Money3) in a large and very heavy open-top box (crammed in closely with many other potentially exceptional bottled ales) from Downtown Liquors in Boston's Davis Square. Our trek traversed many perilous city blocks on foot and included no less than three subway trips, one shuttle bus (packed sardine-style), one stop at a beer festival and one at a bar, and one taxi cab ride to Weymouth. After being allowed to sleep for a few hours the beer was then driven from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania (via Connecticut and New York) where it settled into rest in my cellar refrigerator. I share this history with you now so that you may understand that I worked hard for this beer. And now, six weeks later, it is time to pick the fruit.

Two things I can tell you right off the bat. Number one: if you want to make a lot of new friends in a hurry, walk around downtown Boston with an open box stuffed full of well-made beer. It's guaranteed to work. Number two: this beer was definitely worth the effort.

On my desk is a handsome 22 ounce brown bottle screen-printed with script and images of barley and a mug-wielding gargoyle. The back of the bottle tells a lengthy story about this beer.

11.26% alc. by vol. limited early 2006 release.

The cap comes off with a flourish and the brown-swirled, burnt-orange liquid finds its way to the receiving bowl of my crystal snifter. A substantial eggshell-colored flossy pillow floats atop the tawny liquid like meringue.

The bouquet is a whirlwind of sugars with dark hidden secrets and the dank moss-covered bases of deciduous trees in a fantastic forest blended with spicy alcohols saucy enough to warrant caution for even the boldest who enter here.

The darkest of fruits linger bruised in the flavor as if the unwitting trees which bore them, in a moment of self-doubt and weakness, did not merely drop these flesh-covered seeds to the ground but indeed hurled them toward the earth with such vengeance that birds in the boughs shrieked in horror as they flew frightened from amidst the leaves, and Satan himself did smile from his perch far beneath the damp soil as the fruits hit the ground in a frenzy. Splat, splat, splat, splat!

In an attempt to conceal atrocities against fruit, tied cinnamon sticks and candied Belgian esters seek to soften the apparent infanticide described above. A wood-like, strong alcohol component underlies the experience of this beer. It is both spicy and prevalent. Wooden and earthy like the barks of the homicidal fantasy forest trees, this beer tempts the tongue while swiftly and silently poisoning my bloodstream behind my back, unashamed of using its alluring and sensuous features and over-the-top yet slick-shoed and malicious intoxicants.

This beer is absolutely fantastic. It is exactly what I was searching for tonight. Lots of sugar and fruit tempered heavily with clingy bitters and alcohol heat. Beautiful.

Thank you to anyone still reading this for indulging these faux-literary ramblings. Cheers!

Photo of danielocean03
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Was given a sample tasting at Crown Liquors at 116th and Brookschool Road in Fishers, IN.

Poured a deep and dark amber color, slightly coppertoned at the edges. Slower pour still rendered a thick, sticky head that slowly faded to a heavier sticky lacing that coats the glass as it goes. Aroma is caramelly sweet and malty, with strong hoppy undertones in the end of the nose, smells hoppier than any Barleywine I've sampled, but not to the point of excess. Taste is very much the same in the smell, only with the warmth of the alchol finishing out the taste. Mouthfeel is rough, the hops definitely bite and so does the alcohol, both of which are typically not the stars of this style. Again, still welcome additions to my palate, simply unexpected in this style. Carbonation level medium, matched very well to the moderate body. Easily drinkable, still hides the 11% abv better than most, finishes out smoother on the tongue than it starts. Would likely purchase and try again, would nicely meet the standards of a hoppier barleywine kick.

Photo of Orrshow
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – The color is a clear but dark reddish brown. The head is small but a nice beige color and it leaves lacing all over my glass. Something about the look of this one is almost sophisticated.

Smell – Up front alcohol aromas are dominant. There is toffee, caramel, bread, wood, and a bit of citrus hop. I did not find the scents overly strong until it warmed though. Good here.

Taste – It begins very sweet with brown sugar, toffee, and caramel flavors. Not surprisingly this is accompanied by alcohol. There is some citrus hop up front that leaves a slight bitterness. The finish is slightly woody with pine arising. It’s a well balanced ale and very tasty.

Mouthfeel – It has chewy feeling with a slightly oily texture. The carbonation is quite noticeable.

Drinkability – Good. Its very strong but its smooth as hell.

Like this beer a lot. It was a great experience and I must thank my Father for bringing it to me from the states.

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this from a place I trust to keep beers well. Has probably been in the same refridgerator for about 6 months now, so it is ever so slightly aged.

Appearance: Pours a very similar color to Double Bastard - a dark, cider-like deep caramel mahogany. Head is barely existent, settling into a perma-lace around the circumference of my oversized wine glass. Lacing, like many of Stone's beers, is definitely there. A little spotty and transient, however, in this case.

Smell: Wow. Definitely a Barley Wine. My nose literally stings a little bit as I inhale - so, alcohol. Has that familiar "Stone" aroma up front as well - a sort of nutty funk probably a result of their one-of-a-kind yeast strain. Underneath the front end are sweet malts - a cashew-infused caramel, bread crust, caramel, sweetened chocolate, very, very piney and citrusey hops. Corn meal. Extremely strong, extremely complex. I could spend a few hours, probably, bringing out and isolating aromas from this thing, but it's just too daunting of a task.

|Taste: Nutty, bread, grapefruit peel, caramel, light pine, alcohol. Just slams your tongue into submission. Wow.

Mouthfeel: Hot, hot, hot. Extremely alcoholic. Moderately dry upon swallowing. A little light carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a barley wine. This is not meant for casual drinking, but a dedicated session. I am regretting, actually, having drank a Meantime India Pale Ale a few hours prior to this. It's a bit too much. But amazing, amazing stuff that you could pick apart for hours.

Photo of BradBLR
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer now, but will probably be a great beer om six months or a year+. Poured this beer into a nice pint glass, color was a deep amber color with a nice thick whitish yellow head. The smell was a light fruit aroma with a hint of alcohol.

Taste was a sharp bitter fruitish flavor, that was balanced nicely with a sweet malt and hops. There was a slight taste of alcohol, but I think it needs to sit longer. Mouthfeel was good, think like a barley wine should be.

Over all a good barley wine, that can give Sierra Nevade a run for it's money. Can't wait for next year's.

Photo of Gritsak
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- nice bright amber red color with a decent offwhite head that slowely dissapates into a thick film that laces down the glass.

S- malty sweetness, some citrus hop presence. also a slight alcohol aroma.

T- very well balanced. The initial taste is sweet from the malt and alcohol, but then the hops show through to even out the taste, but not dominate it like with some barleywines. The finish is very smooth and even.

M- medium to thick body, very lightly carbonated.

D- besides the light sweetness that the alcohol adds to the overall flavor, its suprisingly drinkable. the finish is so smooth and blanced that you dont even suspect this is over 11%.

overall- i hate to repeat what ive already said, but this is a very well balanced and smooth beer. It is totally different from bigfoot, which the hops are the dominate flavor.

Im not sure how well this would age either because it seems so balanced and smooth now.

Photo of unklesyd
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Whee-o! This is my new favorite BW.

I feel like I have an illogical/pathological dislike of Stone for some reason, and yet I love every one of their brews. Thus is my mindset going into this bottle.

I had this after a fairly rich dinner of whiskey/cream sauce flank steak and garlic/basil potatoes. I was ready for the onslaught of bombasticity that was expected from Stone. Agression! Hops! Mellowed tannins!

Instead, this beer is the epitome of balance in a Barleywine. I served it at about 55F, letting the second half of the serving warm. Initially, the sweetness of the carmel was fantastic. It came through in the aroma as well as subtlely in the flavor. It was noticable with deep sniffs that this was not by virtue of color/caramel malts, but rather the caramelization of sugars in the base malt, as the aroma came through as raw but not husky after about ten minutes of warming/acclimatizing.

As it warmed, the aroma came through as more alcoholic, but not astringent. A nice addition to the complexity.

Didn't leave the palate tired. Full body and flavor, but not stagnating or hebetudinous (I learned this from the Oregon spelling bee competition double elimination list, so don't read backward for spoilers if you're a spelling bee entusiast). Bravo!

Photo of ScottyC54
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of gotbeer
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This 2006 batch has really grown on me. I went from liking it to really, really liking it.

It pours a reddish orange with a white head. Little lacing. The smell is of molasses, ripe fruit, and in typical Stone fashion- a hint of citrus hops. Very nice.

The taste includes the prerequisite citric hops, but also a beautiful malt backbone. There is overly ripe fruit, molasses, sweet bread, and a little alcohol heat at the end. This is huge and complex on the palate.

The mouthfeel is chewy and it satisfies. Drinkability would have to be above average for the style.

Another great beer from Stone. I'm glad their new brewery has higher production. They will need it to satisfy my thirst for their products.

Photo of ChillMike
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber-ish red with a hefty offwhite head that leaves nice lacing. Smell is of dough and fruit and not much of an alcohol smell (which is suprising seeing how it is 11.26%). Sweet taste that gives way to a bitterness that is pleasant with a noticeable presence of alcohol. Has sort of an oily feel to it. Definitely a sipper, and a one at a time kind of beer. Overall it’s pretty good, will be interesting to see how it tastes after being cellared for 6 months.

Photo of kdmorse
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: After a big of an overzealous pour (have been dealing with RIS’s and DIPA’s recently) ended up with 3+ fingers of creamy, tan head. Clear copper color with lighter hints at the edges.

S: Sweet caramel (and slightly fruity) smell. Hops are present but not pronounced.

T/M: Sweet and balanced taste. Very similar to the smell. Has a crisp, floral hop finish. Carbonation is a little much, but not out of line.

D: At the start the drinkability is great, but doesn’t last long. 22oz of 11.2% is more than enough for me.

Photo of jabocu
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown/orange color with a nice light tan two finger cap. Cap fell to 1/4 inch cap. Aroma is lots of fruity esters of apples, pears, plums, figs...etc. Notes of caramel, bread, alcohol, and slight old ale undertone. Flavor is very caramel sweet right at first, but breaks out into lots of fruit. Cinnamon and spice. Followed by a nice mellow citrus hopiness that hangs for just a few seconds. The alcohol is very warming. Body is Medium-High, with medium carbonation and finishes semi-dry. Excellent beer... and cannot wait to see what happens to this over the next year.

Photo of Brewfan
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Early '06 release.
Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass.

Quite a full cream colored head. Decent retention fades into long lasting pleasant lace.
Crystal clear dark amber color. No trace of cloudiness. No haze, no particles. Very clean.
Quite hoppy nose. Piney and alcoholic. Crisp apple peel aroma, bitter yet sweet. Not a huge nose.
Very hoppy on the tongue. My whole mouth is filled with the presence of hops. Tongue, roof, back of throat. Hops are everywhere. Maltyness comes through later but is definitely overpowered by the power of the hop cone. LOTS going on in this barleywine. Sweet, hoppy, bitter, malty. But in the end, the hops wins the battle.
Big, chewy mouthfeel. Had a tuna sammich on russian rye with this. Needed the food to "ease" the hoppy bite.

Photo of trancesk8er
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of instrumentality
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received this as a birthday gift in April, and the bottle says "Limited Early 2006 Release," so this beer must be about 8-10 months old at this point. I'm not an expert on aging, and I'm even less of an expert on patience when it comes to beer, so I may be making a huge mistake by cracking my one and only bottle of this stuff so soon, but I've become Stone's bitch over the past few months and tonight the gargoyle wants to have his way with me again so I must submit.

The brew poured a flawless transparent mahogany with minimal head that quickly dissolved to a thin, tan lace.

The odor was notably potent, a mix of sweet red wine and caramel with a spicy quality (ok, I'm not doing this one justice, but my sense of smell and spices still needs a lot of work). Suffice to say, it was enticing.

The first sip was equally rewarding. A bit of the burn of alcohol, but at 11.2% ABV, I expected much worse. The flavor was so intense I could taste it just by inhaling through my mouth before the liquid ever touched my taste buds. Aside from the alcohol, it had a bit of red wine flavor and the sweetness of caramel, along with a strong piney, hoppy quality I've grown to love about Stone's brews.

Mouthfeel was pretty impressive for such a strong beer. Although the alcohol burned going down and the hops were intense upon contacting my palate, the finish was remarkably clean with very little lingering aftertaste.

I know this beer is going to kick my ass with so much alcohol, but I could easily see myself making short work of it. I just need to remind myself that I only have one bottle, I don't know if/when I'll see it again, and it's damn good. If I see it again, I'm buying a case.

All this coming from someone who previously disliked and even feared barley wines. Either I've come a long way, or Stone just reinforced why they've quickly become my favorite brewery.

Photo of HoboAGoGo
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cue the Charleston Heston styled "oh, my, God."
Poured into the glass, she was a ruby colored beast with browny browniness. A pillowy head sat atop her that dissipated, as all heads are wont to do, unless you chug the beer, but I didn't. Smells of a deep, malty alcohol, warm, almost woody or grainy. Hops in the nose, pungent piny hops with some grassy tones. Taste was a deep, alcoholic warmth with a dark bread tastiness. Hops were prevelent, adding resin to the tongue.
She was a good brew, and as Charleston Heston said is probably every movie he was in, "oh, my, God."

Photo of GolgiIPAratus
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled: 4.9.06

The beer looks like bourbon of the darker golden brown variety. Only a slight foam head sits on top and leaves little to no lacing.

The aroma is of caramel and barley, pretty light though. It doesn’t pack a huge punch. What IS noticeable, however, is how UNnoticeable the alcohol is. Barely any, if at all. It’s seriously hidden, despite the beer not having a huge nose to begin with. As it warms, though, a graham cracker aroma starts to bloom. Bready and full.

The flavor is sweet caramel maltiness up front. Following suit from the nose, the alcohol is not very apparent. A nice bitterness balances out the finish, and it isn’t too sharp. It does leave an oily feeling. The mid to low carbed beer sits in the mouth just right, not too heavy, not too light.

Much easier than I’d figure a beer of 11+% ABV would be to drink, so this could be dangerous. It wasn’t my favorite Barleywine style, but definitely a good beer.

Photo of Med
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Color is very good. Caramel and very uniform. The only disappointment is the almost non-existent head (off-white) that disappeared quickly and no lacing.

S - Clean with no hint at the high alcohol.

T - Layers of flavor with an initial hoppiness quickly turning into a balanced sweetness hinting caramel. Fantastic.

M - Disappointing lack of bubbles, but a nice texture

D - This is an amazingly smooth beer, especially for the strength. I can't wait to see what more time will do to it!

Photo of nflmvp
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a slightly cloudy copper/orange with 2 inch eggshell foam head that diminished to a light ring with sticky lacing around the glass.

Smelled of sweet and heavy fruit with some alcohol presence.

Taste seemed a little green to me. It hit hard up front with hops but seemed more subdued throughout the glass....probably a more drinkable beer in a year or so but good enough right now.

Mouthfeel was thick andsolid with a nice little reminder of the ABV.

Drinkability is good but I would think a review in another year would reveal a more drinkable beer. I look forward to it.

Photo of bkett01
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Managed to hold onto this one for a year without drinking it somehow. It pours with a healthy tan head over a highly carbonated reddish/orange brew. It leaves a sticky lacing behind on the glass as it settles down.
Smell is a complex sweet aroma containing hints of dark fruits and alcohol. Taste is very sweet, and while the hop character has faded away over the year, we're still left with a very enjoyable well rounded barley wine. The sweetness is balanced out with a mild warming finish. Glad I held onto a couple of these, and looking forward to seeing how another 6 months changes my other one.

Photo of BlackJeremiah
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition, cellared roughly eight months, poured from a 22oz. bomber into an Old Guardian specialty glass.

A: Dark, browned copper color with a thin sheen of creamy head, more of a yarmulke than a top hat, that clears quickly.

S: Citrus, caramel, slight alcohol, hint of pine. The hop-derived scents and malt-derived scents are well-balanced and complementary. As it warmed, the alcohol definitely began to dominate the aroma.

T: Surprising amount of bitterness at the start, pine breath and citric bite. The sweet, creamy, malty middle is just wonderful; very rich and satisfying, almost hedonistic. Alcohol, not to be forgotten, asserts itself at the end, but gently. More hops than I smelled or expected. A decent amount of bitterness runs through the whole thing, grabbing your attention, mitigating the excess of that delicious midsection, then fading away with the alcohol. As it warmed, I got a bit of grapefruit and some sandalwood during the malty middle.

M: Smooth, thick, but not as cloying as some barleywines out there; it neither coats my palate, nor my taste buds. That being said, it's not insanely remarkable in this department, just a bit better than average.

D: As barleywines go, this one is pretty darn drinkable. It doesn't try to be too complex, so it doesn't lose any flavor nuances to the presence of the alcohol. The flavors are really nice, and I'm farther through the bomber than I expected, already.

Photo of audiojon
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I'm admittedly not a big fan of barley wines, but I picked this up at the Stone brewery this weekend due to its being a special release. Brought it back to a friend's place, where we proceeded to go to work. Appearance is great, nice copperish amber, smell was very pleasant, very sweet (as is to be expected). Taste was extremely sweet at first, but the back end had a nice hopped balance to it. I had a couple of glasses of this, as did my buddy, and promptly took a nap afterward. This is the exact reason I don't drink much barley wine, it seems to knock me for a loop even more than high gravity Belgians do. I would like to pick up a bottle of this for aging, as I'm sure it would benefit greatly from a couple of years in a cellar. Even still, it was very smooth, and the only thing limiting me from finishing the growler is the high ABV. Worth a try, but be prepared to get knocked on your ass.

Photo of bearisprime
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of mitchfor3
4.82/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ohhh yeahhh!

Better than Bigfoot and I love Bigfoot! Also, and excellent value at $4.50 a bomber, although admittedly not quite as good a value as Bigfoot at $10/sixer.

This one is great fresh - the hops are there, oh yes they are there, but by no means do they overpower and I think they are just right right now. I'm goign to put a bottle away and see how this drinks in a year, but I'd be surprised if it gets any better than it already is - but then again, who knows!

An outstanding barleywine with exception balance for the style. That 11% somehow flies under the radar and is in your face at the same time. Another great one from Stone!

Photo of frothyhead
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After a year and a half or so stored in a closet I decided to pour this one before it got too old.

Pours a cloudy amber/brown/red into a snifter with not much head to speak of. A little off-white ring around the glass. No lacing.

Nose is malty and boosy. Bready yeast, caramel, some apricot, a hint of chocolate. Smells more like an old ale than a barleywine.

Mouth is full bodied with minimal carbonation. Thick and velvety with an alcohol burn and dryness in the finish.

Taste is malty and straight up alcoholic. This one has a pretty rough burn. Some caramel, chocolate. Bready. Some bitter and citrusy hops in there, but I think they've faded quite a bit at this point or are at least overshadowed by the alcohol bite.

Drinkability takes a big hit as this is a serious sipper - the alcohol bite and lingering dry, bitter finish slow this one down quite a bit.

Overall I'm enjoying this but not as much as some nice fresh, hoppy barleywines I've had recently. This is my first Old Gaurdian, so I'll be interested in looking back on this when I crack a bottle of the 2008 I have in the fridge. There is something rather intangible about this 2006, though, that is going to make me inflate the scores ever so slightly. As it warms, the flavors are melding a bit and, even with all the strong flavors bursting about, it is balancing out in a way that makes it an enjoyable beer to drink.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2006 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.