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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2002 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2002Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2002

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

35 Ratings
THE BROS
77
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 35
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 6
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.91% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 04-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of erica
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

erica, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of beerceller99
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

beerceller99, May 06, 2005
Photo of BeerRun13
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

BeerRun13, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of BrewMaster
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

BrewMaster, Aug 09, 2004
Photo of Stubbie1
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Stubbie1, Dec 22, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

MJR, May 17, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

ManekiNeko, Dec 04, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 I’d 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 doesn’t 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.

TheLongBeachBum, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of beerinator
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

beerinator, Mar 16, 2003
Photo of mickstepp
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

mickstepp, Jan 31, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

mickeymac, Apr 14, 2002
Photo of Gusler
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Gusler, Aug 18, 2004
Photo of mzwolinski
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

mzwolinski, Sep 17, 2002
Photo of kbub6f
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"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.

kbub6f, Feb 12, 2003
Photo of ggroller
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

ggroller, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of beerguy101
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Red amber color, medium color. Intense malt flavor, nicely balanced by a spicy hoppiness. A big full-bodied barley wine. Full flavor. Big expansive beer, yet very smooth taste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is malty sweet with a touch of bitterness. Really nice barley wine. Will probably bottle age well. Etched beer bottle.

beerguy101, Sep 25, 2003
Photo of BeerManDan
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The best barley wine beer so far that I've ever tasted. Well balance, with a hint of carmel and a hint of raisn's. Good balance of sweetness, alcohol and bitterness. Also I like the balance of malt and hop's. Love the thickness of this beer. Easy to consume and very enjoyable!

BeerManDan, Jul 02, 2002
Photo of hyuga
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

At first I had my doubts about opening this, "I might not be able to get any more of this year's," I thought. When I got it out, got it to the right temperature, then cracked it and poured it, I developed this evil smirk on my face, which grew as the aroma hit me. You know, that psychiatric ward look. That "I'm about to savor a Stone limited release" look. That devil inside of you that pops up on your shoulder and tells you to crack it had taken hold of me. "You don't have to save it, you have to savor it, drink it! Now!" And so I (not so unwillingly) obey its command... The aroma hits HARD. I can't comment on the appearance first, the aroma is first here. Very strong citrus hops with a hint of alcohol, which actually creates a burning sensation in your nostrils. That sounds bad? No, it's GOOD. It tells you that this beer is gigantic, humongous, all-powerful. It has you in its clutches. A sinful dark reddish brown sits under a small, yet persistent cream-colored head. The calm before the storm is over, those clouds are getting darker and the rumble of thunder is getting closer. WHAM! It's here! Devilishly smooth, then the smack of thunderous hops! Huge caramel malt marches on with piney bitter hops by its side. Alcohol presence is very noticeable as well. Comes to a bitter end and then goes down silky smooth. Although hops are big, malt is truly the culprit here. A beer adventure. A dastardly, bastardly demon of a barleywine that is perfectly fit for the job of being the "guardian" of Stone brews. Drink it now! Your inner evil commands you!

hyuga, Oct 31, 2002
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: a burnt sienna hue, dark and fully opaque orange, with a big, bubbling, creamy head.
Aroma: hugely hoppy, but still mellow, and thoroughly wel-integrated, which, we will see, is the theme of this brew, gentle, perfect, oh, me, oh, my, how everything fits together, warm, fruity (cherries, grapes), lively, complex, heavenly, and altogether well suited to itself.
Taste: Oh! My! God! Fruity-flavored, and rich in every degree, malt-fortified, and hop-enriched, as with the best barleywines, they all do their part and make the perfect match, no ingredient or aspect sticking above any other.
This is the very perfect picture of a barleywine, tingly, tasty, rich, delicious, an incredible combination of all the things that I love best, well-blended, well-appointed...could this get get any better? Oh, no!

In my custody by the virtue of generous BA, Mr. Longestofthe BeachBums, consumed in the gracious company, and with help from fellow BA Steorn (believe me, if I'd had it alone, I wouldn't be able to type this, let alone check my spelling!@#$UA-09i8uI+^?K??).
Magnificent stuff, Stone! You're the best!

feloniousmonk, Nov 27, 2003
Photo of Bierman9
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow!! What a bier to end the work-week and start a vacation with! A good friend of mine came across this and, knowing I love "good" bier, let me have it! Gorgeous auburn color, with a small, fine, thin head and some lace. The good appearance rating is due to the color....I love it....wish my wife's hair was that color!! (But I digress...) Nose was a superb, strong combo of sweet, raisiny notes, alcohol, and hops. Whoa! Mouthfeel? Real good body, almost chewy, and real smooth. Sweet, rich, malty flavor to lead-off, some caramel notes present; almost similar to some Doppelbocks. Follows-up with a kick-ass hop finish, and it makes it's way down the hatch in a real warming fashion. Damn, I love this bier! How can I get another? Prosit!!

overall: 4.75
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 4.5

224

Bierman9, Jun 28, 2002
Photo of BlindPig
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- about a 1/4" tan head on a deep amber body that is a bit clear but a bit cloudy (clearest one out of 00-02). Has a little bit of a lacing in the middle with a nice white collar and a decent amount (for the collar size) sticking to the side of the glass.
S- Caramel malts play a big part in this one with a helping of alcohol. Really sweet and hops maybe consist of citrus and grass mixture. Maybe even a slight roasted smell? A bit of fruit too but not a lot.
T- A nice blanket of caramel malt is laid down with the stiching being a nice light roasted flavor. On top of this we have a good deal of sugar making it really sweet. Alcohol comes into play next covering the tongue. Has a nice kind warming to it the kind you would hope for on a nice cold autumn night. Some light citrus flavors come in after that. Maybe some light grapefruit, lemon, and orange. A nice bitterness acts like the sky for all of this (it is there but not intruding on anything just giving it light so you can see everything). Maybe even a hint of darker fruits come into play. All of this is very smooth and delightful. There is also a nice light oak flavor through all of this too.
M- Low carbonation making for a very smooth and appealing strong brew. It has just the right body to put all this big complex and well blended flavors on also.
D- This is an excellent brew. Not quite a 2000 but it does out due the 2001. Has a lot smoother feel to it. Not quite as harsh and is more welcoming (but be careful since that can bite you in the ass quite quickly too).

This may be my most elaborate review yet.

BlindPig, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of Bighuge
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Various years of the Old Guardian have become blended in one set of reviews. I couldn't add this to that set since I recently reviewed the 2001 edition. So I added a date to the name and created a new beer category.

This clear mohagany brew throws a nice dense off-white head. The aroma is pretty hoppy with a hint of alcohol (not surprising). The taste is very spicy. By spicy, I mean the spiciness that alcohol and hops impart. But it is pretty refined. I really like this taste. I don't think it is as subdued as the year old Barleywine I recently tried from Stone, but this is very drinkable in my opinion. It has a nicely polished bitterness to it. (Apparantly Tomohak was the hop of choice for this brew.) There are some nice fruity tones present. A melon aspect. The body is about medium. Wow. This is really good.

After trying about 8 different styles from Stone, all of which were excellent, I would say that Stone is now my second favorite brewery after Kalamazoo.

Bighuge, May 13, 2002
Photo of Dmann
4.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a awesome brew! I found a local liquor store that still has about 4 of these bottles left and I grabbed one just to start out with.
It poured a deep reddish brown color with a good head that settled into a thin foam over the top of the beer. By the smell you can tell right away that it is a Stone brew with its carmel and slightly piney scent. The mouthfeel was great, and the taste was of carmel and malt and an alchohol packed finish. Like their other heavy brews, this one just tasted better and better as it got warmer. It tasted the best right above room temp to me. I'm definantly running down to that store to buy more!

Dmann, Jan 17, 2003
Photo of trancesk8er
5/5  rDev +17.4%

trancesk8er, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of jerz
5/5  rDev +17.4%

jerz, Nov 18, 2011
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2002 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.