Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 323 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +18.9%
Served in a pint glass.
Appearance: Beautiful red and orange tones, clean white head, spectacular lacing.
Smell: Floral, fruity, bitter. This beer has a strong hops nose that I found refreshing. Also, there is a strong alcohol sent initially, but this largely vanished as I drank.
Taste: Powerful, full flavor. Extremely beautiful and satisfying floral notes makes this beer surprisingly fresh. Strong alcohol taste comes on very smooth cleansing the palate and drying the mouth like a nice vodka. A truly unique experience.
Mouth Feel: Warm, crisp, a bit tart.
Drinkability: Quite complex, this beer requires a bit of work from the drinker, but 11.2% more than 2 pints would be too much regardless.
06-21-2009 05:12:48 | More by x63x77
4.71/5 rDev +15.4%
Got this February 2013 in a nice bottle. Right as it's opened the smell pops out and fills the surrounding air. A very sweet smell- caramel and toffee backed by a hint of alcohol. Hazy copper liquid with the thinnest rim of bubbles circling and clinging to the edges of the glass. Taste is great flavor of dominant toffee with caramel backed by subdued bitter hops and warm alcohol. The hops carry that strong bitterness many stone beers but the aging of this puts that bitterness more as an undertone. The aftertaste is quite fun as the hoppy bitterness sticks to the mouth while the alchohol and sweet flavors can be felt streaming down the throat. 2nd glass from the bottle tastes more bread notes that really balances the overall delivery as initially it is very sweet. Hope to run into another aged bottle someday.
02-08-2013 11:19:10 | More by tilopud_rye
4.65/5 rDev +14%
Bottled in January 2008, so this one's got 33 months of aging under it's belt.
A: Copper body with a big tan head.
S: Boozy with a very sweet dark fruit base. Very slight hop which seems to have been mellowed by the aging. Still an interesting and complex smell. Big grapefruit and plum notes. It also has a fig whiff.
T: Certainly altered by the aging. The big pine hop that is in a fresh batch is very much mellowed out. The dark fruity malt is now the dominating force. Still lots of earthy flavors and a caramel hint. I would say that the aging has slightly diminished the taste as I prefer that big prickly hop quality.
M: Where the aging has somewhat hurt the taste, it's made this brew better in the feel department. It's not nearly as harsh due to the mellowed hop. It's also taken on a very syrupy almost stout feel and is extremely smooth.
O: Drinkable brew for sure. Be careful because the ABV will kick your ass.
09-16-2010 00:49:22 | More by bundy462
4.63/5 rDev +13.5%
This beer pours thick and deep amber with ample cream colored head which clings to the glass. Its smell is sweet, malty and fruity. Its taste is sweet though its hop bitterness balances well. Its mouthfeel thick but smooth at the same time. As far as drinkability goes this beer is delicious, but I was pretty toasty after one so drinking another was out of the question.
07-08-2008 22:16:56 | More by Lepley
4.6/5 rDev +12.7%
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.
08-14-2008 22:55:15 | More by Metalmonk
4.6/5 rDev +12.7%
Appearance - Pours an intense, cloudy, and quite hazy golden color. At least two fingers of head when I pour hard and a great amount of lacing. I honestly was afraid to drink this at first because it was so incredibly hazy in the glass after pouring it.
Smell - Pine, just a touch of alcohol, and a very pleasant sweetness. It is by no means "sweet" smelling as in sickly like cough syrup but a great balance of hoppiness and sweetness. Honestly, I can smell a bit of honey in this and the aroma is just delightful.
Taste - The taste is just delightful. I bought this at a local place that had the 09 and 08 versions and they recommended I get the 08. How right they were. The hops are present but have toned down quite a bit (from what I can tell) and there is a faint tinge of alcohol but honestly, for being over 11% abv I do not taste it much. The warmer it becomes the more complex the taste becomes.
Mouthfeel - One word - creamy. Quite thick, carbonated, and overall just extremely enjoyable.
Drinkability - More so than I wish it to be. For being such a high abv, the drinkability of this is unbelievable. I am most pleasantly surprised by this brew - it is impressing me more than I can express. All I know is that I need to go and pick up the remaining 08's that my local shop has because this is quickly becoming one of my favorite offerings by Stone. Amazing job on this year. I need to buy a 09 now to see how they compare.
07-29-2009 01:54:39 | More by SpdKilz
4.6/5 rDev +12.7%
A- Very cloudy bronze beer with huge 2.5 inch head that has a ton of retention and a ton of spider like lacing.
S- Delicous. Toffee malt and a ton of hops. Citrus (most especially grapefruit) and piny hops are the complete backend of this beer.
T- Almost like a DIPA, but a ton more balanced. This may be the best beer I've ever had. Starts out with a ton of caramel and toffee malt, followed by a HUGE hop profile like a DIPA. Very bitter, but very balanced. Never tasted anything like it. Love it.. First 5.0 I've ever given.
M- Thick and chewy... May be the thickest BW I've had. Delicious. Leaves a nice bitter aftertaste in my mouth.
D- Not very.. too thick. However, the extreme hops and balanced malt make this "drinkable" from an overall sense. Not session drinkable, but delicious drinkable.
This may move to the top of my list as my favorite beer ever. Very glad I have another bottle in the cellar. Can't wait to have it 2 years from now.
12-24-2008 04:00:52 | More by tadowdaddy
4.58/5 rDev +12.3%
Poured a copper color with a nice foamy head. Excellent lacing as the glass emptied. Smelled of tofee and vanilla, with a slightly alcohol aroma as well, but in a nice way. I got huge vanilla on the tongue with a nice warming effect from the high ABV, just enough hops to balance things out, but not a hoppy beer per say. Mouthfeel was very staisfying. Drinkability is good due to the smoothness and excellent taste, but the buzz comes quickly, so be careful. One of the best Barleywines in bottle I've ever had.
01-11-2009 12:41:43 | More by BeTheBall
4.58/5 rDev +12.3%
A- Rich cloudy amber with thin white head.
Ar - Strong honey and rich malty hops
T - Rich and strong complexity reflective of aroma. A pleasing balance of eclectic bitter hops and rich honey flavors, balanced with a firm malt backbone.
M - Smooth, with near perfect viscosity relative to flavor.
D - Excellent. The alcohol is prevalent and the beer is heavy. But the bitter hop flavor lingers for a perfect length dissipating just in time for the next sip!
12-30-2010 00:33:36 | More by Kitt
4.53/5 rDev +11%
Dark 1 pint 6oz glass bottle. Red and gold silk screen showing the classic Stone Gargoyle holding a mug.
Cloudy semi translucent burgandy-orange body with moderate carbonation. Creamy lemon tinted head with lots of small bubbles. The retention and clumpy lace are rather impressive.
The smell is alcohol drenched caramel set on fire. Strong, intense, mouthwatering, sweet and intensely hopped. Nice baker's spices with almonds and nuts.
Very harsh and hoppy. Wild flower honey sweetness and piney hops, intense orange oil and alcohol burn and strong caramel, very complex.
Full body and good coating, finishes very dry. Lots of residual sugars.
Highly drinkable. Some time in the cellar should make this brew even better by smoothing out the alcohol and mellow the hops. Maybe 6 months or so will make this a perfect 5.
03-08-2008 21:57:25 | More by oelergud
4.53/5 rDev +11%
Picked up a 22 oz bomber at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH. I poured the contents into a pint glass to form a 1-1/2" head of dense, off-white foam. The head lasted and lasted and left thick, sticky lace down the sides of the glass as I drank. The beer itself was clear, iced tea colored and had tiny, micron sized floaties hanging in suspension (I LOVE FLOATIES!) Gotta give this a "5" for appearance!
The nose is nice. Typical for most barleywines I've tasted. Big sweet malt smell. This one even has a hint of spice... maybe a little cinnamon.
Taste: Bready, malty but with a nice hoppy balance. There is a bit of a smokey flavor too. Alcohol is well-hidden at 11.26% abv. The lingering taste is hops (at the end).
Mouthfeel: Really nice! Creamy, smooth, robust....everything you could ask for in a barleywine. I would say.... just a step down from INSANITY by Weyerbacher (which is an ENGLISH style Barleywine).
Drinkability: Very good for a barleywine with 11.26% abv. This is a sipper.... but it's not going to knock you out.
03-26-2008 13:17:54 | More by TheBierBand
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
A: Orange body with a thin white head
S: Candy fruits, citrus faint hops
T: Sweet malty, alcohol, hops in the finish
M: Smooth creamy, balanced, warming alcohol, mmm
D: For a barley wine at 11.26% I'd say it's highly drinkable. The alcohol is not over powering, very balanced, but I've only got one left... I think this beer might go well with a cigar.
08-27-2008 22:36:04 | More by mikeale
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
Poured from a bomber to my Stone pint glass. Reddish hazy copper looking appearance with an off white head with superb lacing.
Smelled lots of malts, fruits, hops and a bit sugary.
The taste is bitter but sweet that was amazing. Thick and warming with alcohol.
This was my first barley wine ive had and it left a very good impression on me. I love this beer! i need to have it again. Highly recommended
09-12-2008 03:43:04 | More by Silenus89
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
Bottle shared with Chris, Adam and Pino at Volo, split into some wine glasses. 22oz, ABV as stated.
Pours an amber brown, khaki head leaves a big collar with a thin film of head. Unfiltered and big legs on this one. Nose has some caramel and toffee, citrus hops can be sensed but feel muted in the overall spectrum. Taste has big toffee notes, some candied flavour, bitter hops notes come after the fact. Great full and creamy feel, with a significant sweetness that doesn't even come close to cloying. Great feel that lingers immensely, alcohol is felt but not at all tasted. Great drinkability again. Fantastic.
04-26-2011 19:43:55 | More by liamt07
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.
A: The beer is a deep orange/brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is of floral hops, caramelized malts, citrus, brown sugar and some alcohol.
T: The taste hits with a burst of hops bitterness, which I thought would be more toned-down since the beer has been sitting for almost a year. There are sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus. The malt character is very hearty and there's a significant alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.
M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.
D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, the only difference that I see between this beer and the 2007 release is that the hops presence is a little stronger in this release, but that's mostly because of the extra year of aging. Overall, this is an excellent high-powered beer to drink for a long time.
12-08-2008 01:56:31 | More by TheManiacalOne
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip. No idea how this was aged. I picked it up from a bottle shop a couple weeks ago.
A - Beatiful cloudy dark orange color. Half a finger of off white head. Doesn't leave a lot of lacing.
S - Dark, sweet fruits. A little bit of hop character remains after 4 years, but if it was there originally it's certainly in the background now. The 11.26% abv is nowhere to be found. Just a touch remains, but for such a high abv, it's basically non-existent.
T - More of the same. There's just a hint of alcohol, but the taste is dominated by sweet and dark fruit. They blend together really well. After 4 years, this is just a big bready, caramel, and fruit dominated beer. I really enjoy what it's like now. I've never had such an old beer, but the alcohol character barely being there amazed me. It stepped aside to let the flavor of this beer come out, and I really loved the flavor.
M - So smooth and absolutely no alcohol. Definitely still a sipper. It's a big beer no doubt.
O - I really enjoyed this beer. It's not my favorite style, but it was a really nice step away from the usual. I have to give credit where it's due, and they really made this to stand up to years on a shelf. I'll be going to grab some more of this soon. If you can find it, I'd recommend doing the same.
03-12-2012 01:21:38 | More by nrs207
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.