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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.29%
Wants: 7
Gots: 26 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.26% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dwilson01:
Photo of dwilson01
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my arrogant bastard pint glass, amazing find this brew was mistakenly underpriced on the shelf, and a spring 2008 release to boot!

appearance is thick and malty, let me reiterate that, THICK and MALTY, the carbonation bubbles literally move slowly up through the brew to make their way to the top. Nice head, recedes evenly with a thin film on top with a distinct clingy quality on the glass.

The smell is sweet caramel and buttery toffee, grapefruit/citrus hop scents, a hint of that alcohol "hotness" that barleywines have in the end. Gotta give high here again, I keep going back to smell it over and over, it does refresh my nasal passages quite well for being 2 years old

Extreme complexity to the taste, a sweet buttery toffee definitely comes to mind following from the original scent although the caramel not so much. The alcohol esters are hidden from my palate by the immense amount of hops thrown in this bad boy. Tons of hop flavors intermingling; grapefruit, overripe orange, pine, and even some spring floral as well. The end following the hopping is the herb and spice flavors that hit with the carbonation, the fresh kind of herbs, sweet basil, thyme, fresh cut green onion...told you there was a lot

This beer probably has the biggest, thickest, most badass mouthfeel of any brew I have had. Not to say it's my favorite, but for this style of beer there is no competition. I don't taste the alc esters due to the hop+spice abundance, but i feel the alcohol hotness especially in the back of my throat on the swallow.

Drinkability, dude...if this beer were smooth and easy to drink then people would be dead. It's a sipping beer, so thick feeling it's gnarlier than a stout. Huge body, absolutely amazing amount of hops to counterbalance that and come through in the nose and flavor. Spicing to mask the estery flavors of the 11.26% in here...great one, it gets better with age, much better.

dwilson01, Apr 27, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice to finally see this arrive in the Buffalo area before I get outta town in a few weeks I always look forward to this annual brew.Poured into a 22 oz nonic a clear burnt orange color with a very well definedone finger white head that formed a ring at the top of the glass and settled slowly leaving broken lace behind.Big fruity esters in the nose with some jet fuel alcohol,citric hop lingers but is not a huge force in the nose,there is a big malt bill to this beer no doubt caramelly and doughy upfront with some juicy fruit hops give a good punch in the resiny finish along with a s bit of an alcohol sting.As I drink more a citric hop profile shows thru more but its not bitter more fruity with a tinge rind but it is nice,this could be put down to mellow but is a fine beer now I will grab a few and hold them to see how they are a few months from now.

oberon, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of Dmann
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

By far my favorite edition of Old Guarding yet! The pour was slightly cloudy but had great carbonation and a beautiful frothy white head. The smell was of tangy sweet malt and spices and a bit of earthiness as well. The flavor blew me away with a perfect mix of dirty malty sweetness and just enough alcohol and hop bite to round it out. Mixed in with a nice buttery, yet perfectly carbonated mouthfeel and you have one of the quintessential Barleywines ever brewed! Will taste great now and will taste great with a bit of aging no doubt. Get your hands on it while it lasts!

Dmann, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a ruddy brown with a nice creamy head. Decent retention. Okay lacing. Smells of doughy malts, grassy hops, slight alcohol fumes. Taste is of a huge doughy malt backbone, sweet, balanced out with a nice hop bitterness. Dark fruits, figs, definite alcohol bite to it. Mouthfeel is heavy but not too syrupy. Decent carbonation. Fairly drinkable.

Doomcifer, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a hazed copper orange body with a small, but lasting, ecru head. Generous lacing adorns the glass. Aroma is surprisingly restrained from what I recall from the earlier vintages. Bready caramel malts and citrusy and spicy hops seem weak by comparison. Mouthfeel is creamy, with a solid medium body and subdued carbonation. Taste is well balanced between the huge bready maltiness and solid bitter hopping. Caramel and citrusy apricot add a pleasant sweetness to offset the bitter grapefruit rind and spicy hops. Alcohol is well hidden. A solid American barleywine, reliable as always.

merlin48, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Limited early 08 release"...eagerly annually awaited nectar, pours clear medium amber, darker eggshell head, leaves spotty lace, loads of candied fruit, some smoke and devilish alcohol in the nose. Big and bold, yet surprisingly smooth and mellow tasting for such a young barley wine. Super velvety on the tongue, with waves of malt, more fruit, and snappy alcohol clearing the tongue late. Simply outstanding....Will only get better with time...

Billolick, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

mctizzz, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of badbeer
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apricot colored with a white head sitting atop it; spotty lacing and little head retention. Pine, strawberries, caramel, and even some mint in the aroma. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, some citrus, and some strawberries in the taste. Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden for 11+%. I always look forward to trying this every year, the 2007 was a bit disappointing, but the 2008 was quite enjoyable.

badbeer, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

olradetbalder, Friday at 07:18 AM
Photo of mattster
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 22 oz Bomber into Snifter glass.

Color is amber brown, good hue... Head formation is a nice small bubble layer that doesn't hold long. Some lacing on glass.

Smell is of Carmel malts and subtle hoppyness.

Taste is nice and hoppy, with subtle fruit hints. Alcohol says "hey" but is not a nuisance. Good taste, expected something much stronger though.

Body is nice and full, and bubbles don't attack making for a nice smooth brew. Very easy to drink, finishes quite well.

mattster, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of Lofreqwave
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Lofreqwave, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from my cellar at a temp of 65 degrees due to the heat in PA. Thin head. Light amber in color. Smells sweet and fruity. Taste is sweet also with a bit of the etoh which should settle in time. Not much hops in taste which is funny since it comes from Stone. Mouthfeel & drinkability are affected by the booze. A nice barleywine which gets better with age IMO.

Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap @ Stone Beer Gardens. Clear amber pour with a squatty tan head. Floral aroma with pine resin and malt. Subtle malt and resin hop blend throughout. More grapefruit and pineapple flavors as the earthy malt appears. Kind of a peat character. Chewy, woodys, without being syrupy. A nice brew from Stone.

magictrokini, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of kingcrowing
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a 8oz snifter.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden/amber color and a thin white head. Nose is sweet, malty and it has some light hoppiness and almost no booze.

Taste is a bit boozy but not too bad for over 11%, It's crisp and pretty smooth has a light hottness that lingers for a while. One of the first barleywines I've ever had and it's great to come back to it.

kingcrowing, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of Seattle_Suds
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Seattle_Suds, Mar 01, 2014
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak chalice with a copper bronze body simply shining when held up to the light a large cream hued head forms thick with fine bubbles and slow pouring head retention. Head retention is great with thick even chunks of lacing between sips. Aroma has huge malt ripened edges that are far removed from the early days of Stone Old Guardian this is a new take on it, not in a subdued way but just different I'm getting strong streams of sweetness including orange and other citrus peel marmalade notes really sweet and viscous at it's best with big herbal and more citrus layers of hops flooding my senses. Flavor is subdued if that makes sense much more unfiltered appearance in past years always looking mahogany brown these year it glows with clarity. At $6.99 a bottle it's amazing but I'm asking myself is the same brew I've come to expect from Stone, not at all but I like the changes it's lighter with more honey biscuit malt less straight abrasive hoppiness the kinda change I expect with growth. BTW this bottle gives a shout out to the crew in Cincinnati that gave me access to this beer thanks George and company at Cavalier thanks for yelling at Greg during GABF while he was writing this label in turn creating a relationship between your distributor and their brewery forever. Mouthfeel is full bodied syrup like in texture one fine ale that I can't give enough approval to carbonation is even with the big waves of malt and hop complexity, damn good. Drinkability is easy enough to wax off a big bottle but if your really serious come and represent with this beer at a tasting in small portions and try to wrap your mind around all of the flavor aspects another complex strong barleywine from the west coast, like we need any more of those.

WVbeergeek, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of FrognutUnl
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with minimal head that has pretty good hang time.Nice clear amber color

S -Sweet, nearly molasses smell with mild notes of grapefuit

T - Sweet with undertones of molasses and alcohol yet the bitterness of the hops still comes through in moderate fashion.

M - Nice and thick just as one would expect from the style.

D - Barleywines are quickly becoming my favorite style and this one certainly hits the mark for me.

FrognutUnl, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of cynical1027
4/5  rDev -2%

cynical1027, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of caddybuyer
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into my Chimay Chalise.

Drink this a cellar temperature, folks! I began a review of this when it was a bit colder and the warmup made all the difference.

A-When chilled, a cloudy Apricot copper with an almost non existant head. When it warms up, it has a marked clarity and a slick looking creamy white head....very pretty.

S-Sweet apricot malts and yeast

T-Extremly sweet and alcoholic. Malt and dark fruits and malts, Slight hop bitterness in the finish. The alcohol bite mellows as this warms, but it always present.

M-Well balanced overall with a slick mouthfeel and moderate carbonation.

D-This is decent and drinkable. The label says early 2008 release, so it has had a year to age. I have another in the cellar and will age that another year to see if it mellows a bit more to allow the alcohol to blossom this into something truly remarkable. Worth checking out if you like the style. Cannot drink more than one of these in a sitting however.

Re-review of the cellared bottle on 1.19.11. Age has definately improved the scores at least a half a point, any booziness has receded and it is all sweetness and good, but I think this could even get better as the years go on. Alas, I have no others. Time to buy the current batch and let it sleep.

caddybuyer, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Early 2008 release. 22 oz. bomber > Chimay goblet/snifter

This is a clear, pure amber color with mellow liquid and a single stream of bubbles directly in the middle of the glass that actually creates a rather lively, dense and sticky tan colored head, long dissipation concidering the style.

The nose has a HUGE sweetness, caramel malt, honey-covered pineapple, strawberries and toffee...tangy, leafy hops that smell very herbal. The heat tingle on the nose is on the extreme side.

Unlike the sweet aroma's, the flavor is much more hop forward, infact the first thing you notice is the massive, bitter, leafy hop flavor attacking the palate, now, this was a bit too much for me personally but I'm sure the big-time hop heads out there love it. The malt gives a semi-sweet smoothness that does it's best to mellow and balance the hops. It tries hard but it's not enough in my book.The alcohol heat is HUGE and mixes with the bitter hops to create something that is difficult to even sip at times. The heat must melolow!! I only let this one sit in the cellar for four months before I opened it, I should've waited much longer. i'm sure the hops will ease up after some time goes by. The blalance should be better next year. Still, eventhough the hops are massive the overall flavor's are big and enjoyable.

This one is medium to full bodied, the malt is a bit thin overall and not as hefty and impressive as some other versions of this style, but it's rather hefty compared to about 80% of beers out there.

good stuff, but the hot heat and huge bitter hops keep this one at bay.

GratefulBeerGuy, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of jcivetz
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a very good beer that pours a nice frothy head in a chalice. the smell is awesome and what is to be expected of a barley wine. The taste is very good with a good kick when swallowing but not too hoppy and bitter. A definite kick ass beer to a conclusion of a long day or any day....gets you feeling buzzed after a glass!

jcivetz, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of alamode
5/5  rDev +22.5%

alamode, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ultra-creamy head is big enough for the style, nearly an inch thick. Color is a fiery copper-red, like sunset with bubbles.

Aroma is a wonderful balance of pungent citrus-rind hops, gooey malt sweetness, vanilla extract, and nostril-flaring sherry-like fumes. I know it's 11.26%, but if the alcohol were less prominent in the nose, and the malt and--what the heck--the hops more so, it would be a perfect 5.

Flavor is intense. Alcohol and hops provide some extremity of flavor, challenging the taste buds to "take that" and "take that!" again. Not rough, just a whole lot of each. Luckily there's a truckload of malt thrown into the recipe, making for big, round, cherry-like sweetness and a buttery glide thanks to a hugely creamy texture, like melted warm ice-cream...but just enough carbonation to keep things from getting sluggish. More flavor: vanilla ice-cream with chunks of maraschino cherry, leafy green apple-spiced pipe tobacco, grassy astringency in the finish. It's a battle to the finish between bitter, hot, sweet and creamy. Everybody wins.

As consistently mindblowing as Stone usually is, I had always been somewhat let down with Old Guardian in previous years. This one perfects the balance it had previously been lacking. It's still just a bit on the crazy-alcohol side, with a heat to match, making it anything but an occasional visit to this snifter, but it tastes so damn good that I welcome the next meeting (it's my third 2008 this year, and I have one more--whoo hoo!). California takes over as the U.S. barleywine capital, if you consider Old Guardian, as well as Green Flash and Sierra Nevada's takes on the style.

Metalmonk, Aug 14, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Guess I oughta review one of these eventually.

Pours a very nice looking amber and orange color with a large fluffy off white head that leaves good lacing. Nose is some big maltiness, hops, some dark fruit or peachiness and a bit of spice. Flavor starts out with a big malt presence, followed by some savage hoppery and a good spice kick. dark fruit, some light caramel and candy sugar. Hops finish it up with a nice bitter kick. Mouthfeel is thinner than I would like in a BW, but nice and viscous, and most certainly tolerable. Drinkability is outstanding for the abv. Overall a solid representation of the american barleywine style. A good one, and a go to for an easy choice in the realm of american BW. Good beer.

AKBelgianBeast, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic great barleywine. Medium red grapefruit colour, with lasting off-white head. Aroma of barley and malt. Maly-barley aroma. An above average hoppy barleywine with very good mouhfeel. Fruit, caramel taste a and above average mouthfeel.Middle of road in a great roster of barleywines.

Sammy, May 18, 2009
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.