Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2002 - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
4.5/5 rDev +5.6%
"Limited Spring '02 Release!!", bought online, served 52F, reviewed 52F-65F.
The head is a dense, cream-colored foam that collapses to a thin film with minimal lacing. The color is a slightly opaque red/brown, with orangey highlights. There is little visible carbonation.
The smell is sweet with grapes, alcohol and candy. There are hints of caramel and a slight creaminess. The front is sweet and creamy. The middle is alcohol and grapes with tons of malt. As the beer warms, that creamy flavor kicks in. The finish is generously hoppy with hints of grapefruit. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth.
This is a great tasting beer. It comes off a little sweet, but with such generous hopping, it's probably better that way. The alcohol is well hidden making this a lot more drinkable than I expected. Dangerously drinkable. It reminds me of Bigfoot, but I think it's smoother, rounder and warmer. A delicious, big beer.
02-12-2003 19:52:38 | More by kbub6f
4.5/5 rDev +5.6%
Traded with Swillinbrew who was nice enough to part with this gem.
Beautiful silk screened bottle.
The beer is a translucent amber colored liquid with a finger's width of a soft,wispy head.
Lots of different aromas float past the nose. Vanilla, candied sugar, brown sugar. Slightly alchoholic.
Tastes of sweet brown sugar, vanilla, and raisins. A little bit of butter in the finish. Very nice and very well rounded. I did not have the 2002 fresh but I imagine the last three years helped this brew mellow to the delicious state it is in at the moment.
Velty smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
What a pleasurable beer.
12-29-2005 23:55:32 | More by ggroller
4.45/5 rDev +4.5%
Deep mahogany in color, head starts off about finger thick and fades to a creamy sticky lace that rides the whole way down.
Aroma is really nice, molasses sweet with hints of spices, diacetyl, alcohol, hops and fruit aroma (raisins, I think).
The taste is dominated by a deep malt body, and the warming taste and flavor of alcohol. The finish is heavily hopped enough for a well-balanced, slightly dry finish, but the combination of intense malt and alcohol warmth is what will stick with you. Very pleasant after-effect.
A nice, very full-bodied, viscous beer. Quite similar to their notched-up strong ale, though a bit hoppier, I think, and with a bit different fermentive character.
09-17-2002 06:37:30 | More by mzwolinski
4.43/5 rDev +4%
Vintage 2002 Release: The pleasure of buying beer by the case is having it around to review when you realize you never put down your notes.
The beer departs the 22-ounce brown bottle a deep copper to almost brown with a moderate sized head and the texture frothy with the color a beauteous light tan, as it slowly recedes the residual lace forms a thick and sealing sheet upon the glass. Nose is rich in fusel alcohol, sweet buttered popcorn comes to mind, fresh and pleasing to the senses, and start is rich in malt, quite sweet and the top moderate to full in feel. Finish is pleasantly acidic, the hops docile in their spiciness, the aftertaste sweet and dry with a definite alcohol bite and a nice tummy warmer to be sure, better than when it was fresh, not sure about that, but still damn good.
08-18-2004 18:24:27 | More by Gusler
4.4/5 rDev +3.3%
Spring 2002 release. 9.91 ABV according to the bottle. The head faded rather quickly. With an ingredient list including "tons o' Hops," I was expecting more bitterness. I found it to be a bit lighter on hops than other barley wines and very drinkable now. The malty sweetness is nicely balanced by a bit of spice. All in all, pretty good stuff.
04-14-2002 21:08:37 | More by mickeymac
4.38/5 rDev +2.8%
Ruby brown, with a nice longlasting tan head. The aroma is saturated with heavy malt upfront. But the citrusy hop aroma is boldly present as well. Pretty sweet on the front of the tongue. Followed by a strong bitterness. The finish is extremely bitter. In my opinion, this beer isn't perfectly balanced now, but with a couple years of aging, the hop bitterness should mellow and you will be left with an excellent barleywine. I will report back here, in two years!
03-16-2003 05:12:14 | More by beerinator
4.38/5 rDev +2.8%
The folks at Stone have a Midas touch. This barley wine is lovely to say the least. Nice dark amber color and off white head. It looks and smells a lot like the Arrogant Bastard but not as piney or citrusy. The tast is unmistakably Stone. Nicely malted but not cloying. A different hop profile than their other ales but delicious nonetheless. A really rich creamy mouthfeel and without that overpowering alcohol taste that you can get from some of the other barleywines. This is a very well crafted brew that should appeal to a wide audience, even those that are not big fans of the barleywine style.
The bottle (always a joy to read) explains that this year's version uses all Warrior hops instead of the previous Tomahawk. Not being familiar with previous vintages I can't say if this is an improvement or not but it's hard to imagine a better brew. I bought one bottle as a taster but I'll be back to the store soon to load up. This big beer is worth laying down in the cellar for a while.
01-31-2003 16:21:30 | More by mickstepp
4.28/5 rDev +0.5%
Presentation: Limited Spring 2002 Release Stone Old Guardian which has been hiding in my closet for the past 4 years. Listed at 9.91% ABV.
Appearance: Clouded mahogany with some ruddy brown swirling pools of turbidity. Strangely enough though, given time in the glass it clears to reveal a lovely lucid rusty red coppered body. Head was decent enough to cover the contents at first but soon broke early on to leave only a thin halo ring and a little broken swirling galaxy like nebula in the centre. Nevertheless, the looks and carbonation were both still good, 4 years on.
Nose: Caramel, thick malts and a light toasted toffee background. The aromas are pungent and the alcohol is still there, though it is mature in character. Woody hops dominate set against a glowing fireside sweetness.
Taste: Chewy start with some warm malts which have a strong toffee aspect and lots of caramel. Middle reveals the bitterness and the finish has aniseed and more rasping hops. The high contribution from the hops after such a time was a surprise, but not one Id complain about. Light oak & more aniseed in the finish with a little more sweetness than the fresh versions. Very nice indeed.
Mouthfeel: Bold chewy feel with some toffee and caramel. The alcohol is smooth and not as raw as when sampled fresh. Conditioning really adds to the easy going high end feel.
Drinkability: Not so much heat in this aged version, but it still has a big ass-kick that manages to portray its near double-digit strength. A good late-night sipper.
Overall: 4 years gone and it is doesnt really show any flaws; this 2002 offering reflects its maturity now rather than its hot-headed youth. What impressed me the most was the prevalent humulus content; it is still high end with a lovely hop kick that manages to neatly keep the alcohol and sweet malts in check. Good stuff.
03-30-2006 07:16:06 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.25/5 rDev -0.2%
12 oz bottle served somewhere between cold and cellar temperature in a Trois Pistoles goblet.
Appearance: Glowing reddish orange topped with a slight beige head that quickly evaporates to a layer of film, and then a ring. No lacing worth talking about.
Smell: Orangy citrus, cherry fruits, maple sweetness, caramel and toffee malts, spicy hops. Just a crapload of barleywine goodness.
Taste: Intensely bitter pine flavor at the tip of the tongue. Nice mellow caramel and toasted malt sweetness towards the middle of the tongue. Peppery notes all throughout. Lingering aftertaste with some citric notes.
Mouthfeel: Nicely, and appropriately, viscous with a good solidly heavy body. There's junk in the trunk to be sure.
Drinkability: Well, if I could find another one or two of these guys, $$$ wouldn't be much of an object, let me tell you. A bomber is a bit much for one person, but damn am I willing to indulge a bit. A very American (read: hoppy) take on the style. This must have been hellfire when it was young.
12-04-2003 04:00:44 | More by ManekiNeko
4.22/5 rDev -0.9%
This brew pours a deep dirty orange. A thin but persistent white head formed and faded to a sticky lace. The aroma is warm hints of alcohol, but a bit hop-e. Hints of dark fruit and a small wiff of citrus are present. The taste is great. Waves of alcohol and spice come across the palate. The hops make their way to the front followed by fruity flavors and a great malt background. There is also a slight sweet flavor mixed in.
Overall: this is one fine barley wine. It does have its own distinct taste and may seem harsh at first but as you enjoy more of it and the beer warms, it is one fine brew. Thanks to EyeChartBrew for this fine offering!
12-22-2003 02:05:11 | More by Stubbie1
4.22/5 rDev -0.9%
Appearance: Pours a reddish-amber with copper edges. A light tan head starts at a fair size, then shrinks to a tiny cap, which is the norm for beers of this strength.
Smell: Rich and warming, with a hint of rawness that was much more pronouced when this brew was released. Time has smoothed this one out, and it has a good balance of aromatic hops and sweet, caramelly malt. Good whiff of alcohol too...
Taste: It's starts out bitter and aggressive, but the malts eventually balance everything out. They're quite sweet, with a touch of fruitiness and lots of caramel. I also taste a bit of roasted malt. The hops don't have the grapefruit and pine notes that Stone brews usually have, as there is more of a bitter citrus, lemony flavor. Finishes dry and bitter with a big swoosh of alcohol.
Mouthfeel: The body is heavier than medium, with a syrupy mouthfeel. Dry and crisp from the high amount of alcohol.
Drinkability: Pretty good for what it is. This is a very well-done barley wine and I could relax with a bottle of this any night. I'd like to note that the last year has helped to smooth it out, though the strong alcohol flavor still makes this a very slow sipper.
05-17-2003 22:54:09 | More by MJR
4.2/5 rDev -1.4%
Overall I very much enjoyed this beer. I had a cellared 22 oz bottle. Very spicy and smooth in taste. Great amber/orange color in the glass. A nice head that stuck together through the whole drink. Very strong aroma of alcohol and wood (oak?). The wood flavor also comes through. I assume this is from the barrels it passed through.
I tasted this along side a 2003 and a 2004 Old Gaurdian and I must say that this 2002 was my favorite of the three.
08-09-2004 00:25:31 | More by BrewMaster
4.18/5 rDev -1.9%
Another good one from Sam at the Stuffed Sandwich.
Poured into a large wine glass. Pours a very nice redish orange color with a small off white head. The head falls pretty quickly leaving a small ring around the glass. No lacing at all.
Citrusy, cherry aromas are strong with some spicy hops. Smells nice.
Caramel flavors are evident as well as sweet malts. The backbone of this beer is definitely the fruity citrus and cherry tones. Spicy hops leave a bit of well balnced bitterness.
Full bodied. The hop spice is just right at the swallow. Maybe a little dry.
This is a nice sipping style beverage. You could drink a couple of these, but you're better off slowly enjoying it. These beer has aged well.
By the way... Be cautious on your pour. You may get a big pile of yeasty sediment in your last pour!
I learned the hard way.
03-24-2006 01:52:54 | More by BeerRun13
4.1/5 rDev -3.8%
2002 bottling from the cellar. Enjoyed on 20-feb-05.
Beautiful clear garnet hue with a slight off white head.
Caramel-toffee sweet malt and raison smell.
Medium- full bodied with a surprizingly smooth mouthfeel.
Has a raisony, vinous caramel malt flavor with the alcohol stinging my tonsils.
As expected not much hop action here.
An excellent fireside sipper.
The only detraction here was the clumps of sediment in the second and last pour.
Try and filter this out if you drink an aged Guardian, it neutralizes the delicate flavors here.
05-06-2005 02:02:55 | More by beerceller99
4.08/5 rDev -4.2%
During my last trip to California, I got to share this bottle with TheLongBeachBum on my last night there, sitting on the sofa watching TV while the rain poured down outside..
This beer was a dark rusty red-brown color, very cloudy at first with bits floating around, with a ring of bubbles around the glass and a thin layer of bubbles dotting the surface. As it settled after some time, the beer was less cloudy overall, and there became what looked kind of like a big 'dust cloud' of sediment at the bottom.
Smelled really sweet. I couldn't get over the sweetness and was worried I wouldn't even want to drink it. Brown sugar, caramel, raisins, and a fairly stong alcohol aroma too. Very characteristic of a barleywine but sweeter than I prefer. Taste was refreshingly more hoppy. Oh thank you Stone for the lasting hops! It tasted much less sweet than it smelled, more fruity without all that brown sugarness, grassy, a bit hot, with fresh bitter hop end, even 4 years after the fact. Like several beers in one sip from beginning to end. This is very nicely balanced.
Mouthfeel was very smooth, yet hot. Thick but not syrupy and still nicely carbonated. It's pretty damn drinkable for how strong it is, and the hops definitely add to that, otherwise it'd be a syrupy mess. Thanks for sharing, Bum, I owe you!
04-13-2006 14:24:07 | More by erica
4.05/5 rDev -4.9%
enjoyed on-tap at lucky baldwins
what a beer. never tried this edition before, but i bet its never been this smooth. looked fantastic in a chimay goblet. served at absolutely the right temp.
the aroma had melded together so well it was hard to pick out each constituent, same with the taste. the only one that stuck out was the alcohol. expected in something of this strength, it just managed to poke its obnoxious head out from such a now-refined brew.
as good as it was, it was tough to finish. very potent, and very good.
05-30-2007 01:45:15 | More by joecast
3.7/5 rDev -13.1%
Out of the bottle at Winter Storm
A: The beer pours a hazy amber color with a finger or so of tan colored foam.
S: Starts off with caramel and citrus, mostly oranges, along with a nice sharp pine note. There's a bit of vanilla in there, but also some cardboard, unfortunately. Brown sugar provides some more sweetness.
T: Still quite bitter with a lot of pine and citrus peel. The vanilla is there again, as is a strong flavor of toffee. Grapefruit, pine, and grass add some perception of hop character. The cardboard is here, but it's fairly minimal.
M: The body is medium to full with a moderate level of carbonation.
D: Not bad for a nine year old beer. I prefer it fresh or with a year or two on it, but still not bad.
02-08-2011 01:52:07 | More by womencantsail
3.68/5 rDev -13.6%
Picked up this 22oz. bottle from a local liquor store. I haven't had many barley wines so a style comparison is difficult. I can share what I've observed.
Appearance: deep cloudy dark amber color with rough tannish head which quickly settled to compact cap with no lace.
Smell: earthy malt aroma with a fruit&caramel undertone. Aggitation brought out an astringent alcohol smell.
Taste: bitter right away but quickly balanced by the caramel malt. Pronounced alcoholic bite at the finish.
Feel: dry and crisp with a tongue-tingling %ABV. Kind of slick.
Drinkability: having minimal exposure to this style, I'd say this is a beer to drink with care. Alcohol content really can ambush you. Probably great for a cold night next to a fire. I'd like to sample the others in the lineage and style and maybe come back to edit this later.
07-09-2003 22:25:34 | More by Boilermaker88
3.68/5 rDev -13.6%
Appearance: Pours a dark, obscured, rich amber body with a thin, beige head.
Smell: Sweetish, robust caramel maltiness with a scent of juicy raisins and a distinct Juicy Fruit note present.
Taste: Dry, caramel-laden maltiness and a middling sweetness. Some raisins, some grape skins, and damned if I can't shake that taste of Juicy Fruit. Several years later and there's still a medium-high hop bitterness on-hand. Citrusy, woodsy hop tastes. Finishes bittersweet with a kick of alcohol heat right at the very end.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.
Drinkability: Enjoyed as part of a vertical spanning the vintages between 2002 and 2007. The 2002, while still plenty tasty and holding up remarkably well, just didn't quite deliver the goods like the 2003 does/did.
09-09-2008 03:25:59 | More by ChainGangGuy
3.65/5 rDev -14.3%
on draught 2003 in a vertical w/ 99, 00, 01 & 03. It's clear that this is a pretty good barley wine, but Not world class, like the 03 vintage.
ReRate 24 May 2002: I tried another bottle, much more impressed this time. It's not world class, like Stone's IPA or Imperial, but a very good representation of the style. Previous rating: Compared w/ Stone's other brews, I'm disappointed. This is a good barleywine, but I was expecting more, since, from my POV, Stone's track record is excellent. Good but not great. It poured w/ virtually no head, not much aroma, the taste is good. The alcohol sneaks up on you later.
06-05-2003 08:15:23 | More by jcalabre
3.38/5 rDev -20.7%
Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber, Limited Spring 02 Release on the label gives you an idea of freshness not that it matters being that this brew is 9.91% abv.
Appearance: Bright and clear garnet colour, thin lace that draws back to only a ring around the glass. Little head retention.
Smell: Caramel, raisins and a mild solvent alcohol. Sweet and spicy from the malt and alcohol.
Taste: Full creamy body, moderate carbonation that adds a subtle smoothness. Big warming middling solvent alcohol that seems to hold a big portions of the balancing factor being that there is now huge hop presence like most of the other Stone ales. Huge flavours of caramel and raisins, mild astringent flavours kick in during the finish with husk and spicy alcohol.
Notes: This is so English style Id swear it was an import. But coming from Stone Brewing, where are my damn hops!! A decent brew, cellar it if you want but you are better off drinking it right now IMO. Alcohol seems a bit over the top with the solvent character and a bit too sweet for my liking.
07-07-2002 14:48:21 | More by Jason
2.93/5 rDev -31.2%
This beer poured an amber color with a medium head and some lacing on the glass. The aroma was malty with some hints of fruit and possibly caramel underneath. The taste was a little more smooth than most barley wines. It was bitter at first but mellowed out after a couple sips. The alcohol is evident in the flavor, but not overwhealming. Usually, barley wines are too strong for my palate, but I would have this one again.
08-12-2003 02:50:06 | More by clvand0
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2002 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.