1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

188 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 188
Reviews: 161
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.4%
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WebmasterMike on 03-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 188 | Reviews: 161 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dragonWhale
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

the 2006 vintage was the coup de grace on that fair evening of retardation and maturation. Unfortunately opened a bit too late for the finer sorts, nonetheless it shone through the pale on this fair eve with an angry recognizance all to its own. It would not be denied. The slight metallic oxygenation only enhanced its bravado. The beer nearly incited a riot, glaring at the willing conquistodores in its impending wake. Golden copper sexiness awaited everyman, everywoman, everychild! The beverage was phenomenal, aged to perfection. It was far superior to the 2008 version which was sampled. The five year old flavor far surpassed most of those that were touched by those human lips which dared to brave the February Day.
All of this to say that this vintage is drinking incredibly right now and it is highly recommended.

dragonWhale, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/19/2011

On tap at Stone apposed next to the 2011 vintage.

A: Hazy dark orange with a large yellowish white head. Good retention and scattered lacing.

S: Aromatic candied grapefruit with a rich caramel and toffee presence. Oxidation is graceful and complementary. Alcohol is well hidden. Gives the overall impression of malt richness and depth with an overtone of citrus and resinous hop aromatics. Very nice.

T: Sugary caramel with faint oxidation notes. Upper moderate bitterness with notes of pine and candied grapefruit. Somewhat boozy but there's a lot of flavor to overshadow that aspect. The finish displays an increase in bitterness with lingering caramel and grapefruit rind.

M: Upper medium in body with upper moderate carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel with alcohol warming and some astringency.

Overall: I'm sure this was cold stored, regardless, it has aged quite well. 

HopHead84, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of AleWatcher
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 2006 barrel was on tap at Three Floyds. I just happened to ask if was the 2010 and was pleased to hear it was the 2006! Had to try it.

Served in a goblet styled chalice.

Pours a nice coppery hued golden orange color with a tanned head and sticky clumps of lace. Smells sweet and malty with enough of a hop presence-- citrus and slight pine-- to make you know it's still an American barleywine as oppesed to the British style. A nice caramel malt flavor presents with a great smoothness... Mouthfeel is perfect. Smooth would be the one word to describe this beer at this moment.

AleWatcher, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Just opened and consumed tonight. From my cellar. I'd say this beer is past its prime by this point. More one imensional and washed out than it used to be and with a slightly unpleasant bitterness that tastes a bit woody. Somewhat cloudy appearance and no real head to speak of. Smells woody and fruity with peaches , melon, and some citrus flowers. An undercurrent of bitterness. Taste is quite similar to this profile, but with a bit of oxidation in the finish, a little less fruit and a little more woody dryness. There is a bit of sweetness to the flavor, though, which helps tame the woodiness. A bit tannic in the mouth from all the wood. Not bad, and still drinkable, but all the hops are long gone and the beer has gone from its intense, rough beginnings all the way through the balance it achieves with some aging straight through to being unbalanced again- but tamer.

Georgiabeer, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours burnt orange, with a nice frothy white head, good retention.

S: Really where these aged barleywines shine. Rum soaked oranges, fig, aged caramel malt make for a great fragrance.

T: Sweet toffee malt, oranges, butterrum and brandy. Definite bit of ethanol on the back end.

M: Smooth, silky and solventy. Full-bodied, elegant.

D: This is really good right now. Might be better after a few more years to take the heat off the finish, though I really don't mind it. A nice sipping brew.

Halcyondays, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of hophead247
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark amber with a thin off-white head. Very nice malty aroma with some sweetness and orange peel noted as well. The flavor, in a word, is luscious. Superbly well balanced malt and hops with caramel and cognac also in the background. Wonderful, full mouthfeel with just the right viscocity. I did not find this beer aggressive in the least and the alcohol was incredibly well hidden. This is a finely crafted barley wine.

hophead247, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of mrmanning
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle courtesy of HogtownHarry. This BW is a deep and hazy caramel colour, topped with a frothy beige cap. The nose is huge on this one. Massive caramel and piney hops meet citric notes, some apricot, bread crust too. Tastes of big complex malts, caramel and butterscotch, piney, citric hops, some apricot. Quite bitter and malty on the finish, massive lingering hoppiness. A slight metallic twang at the end. Good stuff. Thanks Harry!

mrmanning, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of flexabull
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of BeerBeing from way back when, thanks again! (wherever you are...)

Have been thinking of drinking something from the cellar, figured this one would be prime for the drinking now that it's 3+ years old. Let's see...

Pours a bright and dark orange color, a little cloudy, with a nice off white head.

Aromas are quite grainy, like sweet grape nuts, a little bit of hard candies, and with some earthy hops on the nose. Very complex and nice.

Taste has some definite boozy flavors, but it doesn't totally kick you in the teeth with all the alcohol. Up front, there are light malts, a little creaminess, easy and sweet cereal grains, and some bright stewed fruit flavors. Finish has a mineral hop bite, a light bourbon flavor, and some alcohol warmth. As mentioned before, there is plenty of alcohol here, but it manages to not overwhelm.

Mouthfeel is nice, and this beer manages to be smooth and full, without being to heavy on the mouth. Manages to go down and feel easy on the mouth.

Drinkability is quite good. This beer is drinking quite nicely. Goes down very easy for such a huge beer, and is light years from the big beast that Old Guardian tends to be when released. If you have one in the cellar, it wouldn't be a bad idea to crack one open, and see what you think.

flexabull, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of frothyhead
3.78/5  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.

frothyhead, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of woemad
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review # 666!
I decided for such a review I'd better not tempt fate in light of my usual luck, so I went for the protection that only a Stone gargoyle could provide from such potential bad mojo.

Big-ass silkscreened bomber that states it was an early 2006 release. Purchased for $4.99 at Daanen's in Hayden, Idaho (I think) around the time it was brand new.

Poured a hazy dark amber color that takes on a slightly brighter hue when held up to light. ¾ of an inch of bubbly beige foam sits on top initially, but rapidly recedes to a sudsy collar. Spotty lace.

Caramel tinged malts and spicy hops greet the nostrils. There's some citrusy and raisiny scents floating around as well.

Caramel sweetness is what first greets the tastebuds, but it's almost immediately paired with a spicy hop blast. I've heard that this is something of a hop monster when fresh. Over three years of aging has no doubt decreased the hop impact, but it's still present to a degree that melds well with the malts. There's some toasted malts and a mild flavor of dark fruit as well. A big dry note smacks the palate at the swallow. As this beer warms up, the belly finds itself being increasingly warmed by the growing booziness of the beer.

Relatively full bodied, with a sticky, resiny mouthfeel. The carbonation correctly keeps things from seeming too leaden.

A great nightcap beer to the point where I wished I'd saved it for such a use. It worked out well as a beer for post-work mellowing, however. I'll just have to put off making dinner until the buzz decreases!

woemad, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Vancer
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Holy moly, look what I found in the back of the closet cellar! Cool!

Oh yeah, pours a cascading hazy amber with a cascading tan head, plenty foamy even after 3 years and a whopping 11%+ Oily sheets of lace ripple around the Corsendonk tulip.

Classic, pure classic Barleywine aroma - sweet caramel malts back with the orange liquor. Progresses into the quaff nicely, add a bit of stinging alcohol and hop bite for an enjoyable Barleywine afternoon while March madness prevails. Finish has plenty of hops to balance with the initial sweetness.

A full bodied beer, to say the least. A true sipper, the hot alcohol is still there and biting me in the arse.

Vancer, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of Gilgemesh
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At first this chilly companion hid behind it's crystal clear dark amber attire. Hiding the delicate beauty of it's bouquet. Then As I gently warmed it the complex malty aromas were released ands the undercurrent of alcohol was released. Pressing forward I take a tentative sip. Again I am wondering what all the hype was about when I am hit with a wave of malty smoothness. Intermingling with this tasty sweetness are bitter hops. Taunting your every taste bud as soon as the sweet is registered. The bitter finish is cut short by a blast of acohol that both cleanses and leaves one hoping that it will diminish with time. A sweet and bitter darling with suble fruit and a bit of sadistic joy describe this brew. And masochist that I am I drink again.

Gilgemesh, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of Stockfan42
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had lunch at deep ellum this afternoon before work. Had great selections on tap and this one I could not pass up.

The tap poured a color mixed of orange and amber, pretty creamy head that eventually withers down.

Could both taste and smell the alchohol in this one. Very nice aroma that consists of some grapefruits, figs, a hint of caramel and some bitter hops.

Taste pretty damn good. Nice malt touch to it, bitter hop bite, very well balanced. You can taste fruits that lingre in its aroma. the shnazberrys taste like shnazberrys. Sweet figs and caramel. Alote of great flavors just lash out at you.

Not to heavy, you warm up to it after the first few sips. Overall a great and highly recommended beer.

Stockfan42, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of seaoflament
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this one sometime in 2007.

Pours an amber color with ruby sides, very little foam. Maybe this was a little too cold when I poured it so let's see how the second pour presents itself. A swirl does seem to make the beer more active and attractive. The second pour was pretty much the same.

Deep caramel, brown sugar, cherry, toast, and faint orange and grapefruit hops in the background. Ripe fig and prunes as the beer opens up, some nutty malts as well. I thought it would be more intense in the aroma but it doesn't seem to be that malty sweet or complex.

Now that's better. Toast, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, cocoa, raisins, figs, cherry, strawberry, and ale yeast fruitiness. Low bitterness in the finish but enough to balance out the malt and the alcohol. Subtle citrus flavors in the background, lemon, sweet orange, grapefruit, and tangerine. Hop like resin flavor in the finish/aftertaste. A little more toffee and malt character and I would have been sold on this one. Still quite tasty.

A little syrupy up front but the carbonation lifts up the beer and guides it nicely though the palate. Very nice mouth-feel.

seaoflament, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of morebeergood
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap this past weekend at Deep Ellum. Was just about to settle the bill, when I saw the bartender put a new tap handle on that said "2006 Old Guard.". So I had to stay for one more. I got the first one from the keg. Poured into a Unibroue chalice. Dark orange amber color. Smelled a bit hot with alcohol, but the hop burn called to me. Tasted pretty darn good. Very mellow flavor. Not as hoppy as the smell would indicate. Alcohol hit your palate though, but with a gentle fist. Great combo of hops and booziness. So glad we stayed for one more beer. If they changed taps 15 minutes later, I would have missed it.

morebeergood, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber with a thick head that retains nicely and leaves a nice pattern of lace

Smell: Rich caramel aroma, with figs and vague hints of citrus fruit, much of which have long since faded

Taste: Rich caramel and fig spice cake flavor, with some developing bitterness that arrives by mid-palate; still the profile is dominated by the sweet elements; after the swallow, the bitter flavors become more balanced, with considerable citrusy bitterness, although there is plenty of residual caramel/fig sweetness on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth after the swallow

Drinkability: For those who like a balanced barleywine, as I do, this is drinking very nicely right now; a couple of years of aging have taken the edge off the hops but there is still aplenty to go around to balance the flavor profile

brentk56, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

limited early 2006 release...i believe i have only had the 04 release prior to this

enjoyed during bears-titans with a funky bleu mont dairy reserve cheese

appearance: served in a hopleaf tulip, bright amber body, autumnal highlights...light beige ring with very light lacing. Its not as aggressive on the eyes as i would have imagined

smell: sweet malty nectar, notes of a once-bitter hop profile come through after the brown sugar and alcohol whiffs fade...2 years out from the release of this and the aroma is a bit messy

taste: This Stone release has a big malty center and heavy notes of nut and fig...brown sugar, alcohol, and a fading bitter hop profile make this a very powerful ale. This is good, but not great....i much preferred the 04 version and hope the 05 i have will be drinking nicely

mouthfeel: creamy and full, very high bitterness

drinkability: rough stuff for sure

dirtylou, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of kinger
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Limited early 2006 release, 11.26% abv with a long story on the back in print that is way too small. WoW this beer knocked my socks off in every aspect. Poured a subtle golden amber color with pencil thin head and no lacing, random bubbles float to the surface - cool. Sitting next to me my wife suddenly said "your beer smells like wine" exactly, the aroma is a floral bouquet of super sweet malts complimented by citrus and sweet hops. Overpowering and aggressive the sweet scent invites you to sample the precious nectar that awaits. Flavor is extremely intense melding loads of malts, sweet and bitter with a dry hoppiness that shouldn't work but it does all too well. The alcohol walks through the door and shakes your hand but you are still thinking about the malts. The flavor lends itself to a smooth mouthfeel that finishes slightly bitter, the perfect ending to a wonderful story. Overall this is intense and beautiful, truly another fantastic effort created by Stone. Cudos

kinger, Aug 01, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with a big 2+ finger rocky tan head that was moderately lasting.

S: malty and dry with pine and dried grapefruit.

T: some dark caramel and dried fruit with some toffee sweetness. There was only slight alcohol hints and otherwise was hidden nicely. There was some dark molasses, rum raisin and a soothing dark roasted nature.

M: creamy and smooth with a full body. There is a slight stickiness from the sweet malt and hop resins.

D: An easy drinking and very enjoyable barley with a good complexity of dried fruit and Chinook hopping.

beerthulhu, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Glazed dark apricot with a subtle cherry blush. A vigorous pour produced a thickly creamy crown the color of orange-brown sugar mousse. I'm surprised at the amount of sea foam lace given the ABV. There must be plenty of hop resins still hanging around. Good.

The malt portion of the nose smells like primarily pale with an assist from something slightly darker. Typical Old Guardian BWSA. Other aromas include orange liqueur and... not much else. Unless things open up with warming... not impressed.

This bottle of OG is about two years of age. In that time, the hops have faded significantly and the alcohol is still on the rambunctious side. I have always thought that more caramel malt would result in a better beer that would age more gracefully. Midnight Sun Arctic Devil is a prime example.

Perhaps the key is to drink Old Guardian super-fresh. Maybe then the alpha acids put a major smackdown on the ethanol and neutralize it more effectively. In spite of a flavor profile that is less than complex, this is good beer. It has the orange peel macerated in triple sec and Irish whiskey vibe that a lot of pale malt-dominant barleywines possess.

Even though hop flavor is no longer intense, hop bitterness does a bang-up job countering the prodigious, sugar cookie-like malt backbone. The contrast between the drying qualities of the hops and the alcohol on the one hand, and the stickiness of the malt sugars on the other hand, makes for an interesting tug-of-war on the tongue.

Now matter how the brewery changes this ale from year to year (hop bill only, I think), it always has a wonderfully full mouthfeel. This edition seems more firm than creamy, but that isn't a problem at all.

It's too bad that Stone (Greg) doesn't seem to be open to a major overhaul of the 'always dependable, but seldom outstanding' Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale. Tradition is all well and good, but sometimes thinking outside the box is the best way to go. There's no reason why this barleywine can't be as fantastic as most of the rest of their lineup.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of Med
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

Med, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Toronado Bwine Fest:
Poured a deep golden/amber with a small foamy tan head. Aroma is hops, grapefruit, caramel and alcohol. Beautiful aroma. Flavor is that of fruits, sweet malts and a hint of alcohol with an upfront hop bitterness. Full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. The alcohol is very well hidden and not overpowering on your tounge. Nice, warming, creamy mouthfeel.

barleywinefiend, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of Overlord
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What is going on with this beer?

I don't know what it is about the Old Guardian series, but none of them taste like any of the others, as far as I can tell.

This beer either was significantly less hoppy than the 07 and 08 versions, or the hops have been obliterated by the aging process. The result is an almost cloyingly malty/sweet beer, with a tinge of pine hops and maybe a hint of floral hop aroma.

Just not sure what to make of this.

Overlord, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.78/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 vintage. Pours a light ruby brown in color. Smell is hops, alcohol and some malt. The hops are still shining through in the taste even after more than a year in the cellar. Nice huge mouthfeel. This one will definitely hurt you at over 11%. A decent warmer on a cold winters night.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of Floydster
2.93/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

8 ounce glass at Stone Winter Storm for four dollars, split with my girlfriend

A-Murky amber color that looked a little sketchy for a barleywine, 1/2 inch foamy off white head, some retention, minimal lacing

S-Big malty aromas, apricot, caramel, toffee, cherries, some interesting hoppy scents

T-Sweet flavor overall, lots of toffee and caramel tastes just like the smell, grapefruit, hint of dark fruit, particularly raisins, faint dark chocolate flavor, not very balanced, needs more hoppiness

M-Too thick, not enough carbonation, taste lasted a very long time, sweet and syrup-like mouthfeel

D-Heavy stuff, eleven percent ABV, could drink a glass or two maximum, taste is too sweet to be anything else other than a sipper

Certainly not my favorite vintage of Old Guardian, this one needs some age to become more enjoyable, one of my least favorite beers of the day, and probably one of the worst Stone beers I have tasted in general

Floydster, Jan 30, 2008
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2006 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.