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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

259 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 259
Hads: 328
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 6
Gots: 27 | 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:
Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 259 | Hads: 328
Photo of Halcyondays
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, bought today - 1/27/08, at the BevMo in Cypress, CA,

A: Pours a dark orange, with a full white head, which has good retention and leaves excellent sticky lacing.

S: The nose is kind of lacking, but I do get a nice brush of pine if I really stick my nose into it.

T: Very flavourful. Malty at first, a toasted biscuit quality, the hop attack starts, though it is not as forceful and raw as I remember it being last year. Full pine, pink grapefruit, and pineapple/tropical fruit are the main hop flavours in this barleywine.

M: Thick and rich, resiny and oily, highly alcoholic, but hidden fairly well, but it definitely has a bite, very crisp at the end.

D: This is a barleywine that I certainly enjoy both fresh and raw and aged, it'll be interesting to see how this beer changes over time, though it is very good right now. (844 characters)

Photo of yesyouam
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stone Old Guardian (Early 2008) is a crystal clear, sparkling, viscous, red-orange-brown ale with a frothy light beige head with oily bubbles. The head has an eggy consistency and leaves great lacing. The aroma holds a deep, round sweetness. There are grassy, herbal, medicinal, cough drop elements in the aroma. It has a smooth full body with a crispy finish. It's a touch gritty and sharp at the end. It has good flavor balance. It's very bitter like lime and orange peel. It is sweet and boozy like candy. It has a hot rumble at the finish. A great barleywine! Age it!
(rated Apr 15, 2008) (592 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a Vintage Stone Tasting as part of an Old Guardian vertical (07,08,09).

A- Allowed to warm up to about 50 degrees and poured into a nice snifter. Beautiful deep amber color with a small white foam that leaves some lacing. A bit cloudy with a nice bubble stream.

S- Some floral and citrus hops and some yeasty biscuit scents as well. This one had WAY more hop presence than the 07 that I tasted just before it. Alcohol is present in the aroma but is kept in check with some piney apricot and brown sugar/caramel scents.

T- Light grapefruit and piney hop taste initially that gives way to a more noticeable malty sweet bread flavor. The hops do a decent job coming through but the age has knocked their bitterness down a bit. Spice and dark fruit flavors are present with a caramel sweetness and the slightest bit of a roasted finish.

M- Big and chewy with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- A decent brew that aged well with the hops putting up quite a fight for being over a year old. (998 characters)

Photo of Overlord
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a recent forum thread someone mentioned that Stone wasn't mixing up the Old Guardian recipes from year to year. Really? I've had an 08, 07, 06, and an 04 in the last few months, and I could swear they were more different than mere age could account for

Pours a burnished orange with a gorgeous cascading pour and an inch or two of white head that vanishes pretty quickly. Smells of malt and pine. Nice combination.

Taste is unusually grapefruity and pine-y for a Barleywine. If you gave this to me blindfolded my first guess would be this would be a fairly raw DIPA. I found the grapefruit hops delicious and quite balancing for the sweet malty base. Is that tropical fruit in here? I swear that hasn't been in the previous editions.

I'm enjoying this beer much more than the other vintages. Whether because it's fresh, or because it's a different recipe, I'm not sure. I might have to do a vertical tasting at some point. (928 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy amber color with a small white head. When held up to light, it has a beautiful orange hue to it. This beer smells AMAZING! I've only had this beer fresh, so this aging has done great things for the nose. I get amazing malt and dark fruits (figs, dates, prunes, raisins). Strong caramel and a lovely buttery scent. This smells absolutely delicious! Taste is awesome as well! Still contains a bit of hoppiness... Not nearly as much as it does fresh though. The caramel, dark fruits, and malt blend together superbly. Even after this amount of time, there is still a bit of booziness at the end of the taste, followed by more buttery dark fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and not too syrupy. Very full. Drinkability is fairly high for such a big beer. (781 characters)

Photo of frothyhead
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky hazy amber/brown into a snifter with a small off-white head.

Nose is malty sweetness, dark fruit and bread, some alcohol, and a good amount of hops still coming through on this year old bottle - grapefruit and a bit of pine.

Mouth is full bodied with low to medium carbonation and some silky oiliness from the hops.

Taste is a nice blast of bitter hops and grapefruit, with a solid bready malt backbone. Some subtle caramel sweetness mixing in as it warms.

Drinkability is good. There's quite a bit of bitter hoppiness here, but it's balanced somewhat nicely by the malts. Alcohol is not all that apparent, making this 11+% ABV brew a dangerous beast.

Overall this is quite a nice barleywine. I wish I had had it closer in time to the 2006 bottle I recently had so that I could compare, but from what I remember this is quite a bit more hoppy. Looking back at my review, it looks like the 2006 lost its hops in favor of alcohol, so I'd say this is a solid improvement. I've only recently truly acquired a taste for barleywines, but this Old Guardian is quite nice. Since I've now had a 1 year old bottle and a 3 year old bottle, and the fresher was better, I'd like to pick up a fresh bottle sometime soon. Another solid brew from Stone. (1,256 characters)

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (719 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from Notes. Tasted 1/24/09

This beer poured an amber, thick honey, tan, nectar type body with a small white head.

Nose is thick with sweet malt and caramelly with a touch of sweetness.

Taste is pure malt syrup. Thick and very heavy. Carmel, bread malt, dark caramel syrup. Very bitter with lots of muted citrus peel and some soft muted grapefruit. Classic American Barleywine. Big Malt, Big bitterness. The bitterness is a little much even after a year of aging, still... very good. Finishes with a long lingering bitterness.

As always, Stone makes a fabulous BW. Year and year it continues to kick ass and be one of the best. (639 characters)

Photo of rgb2807
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful caramel, burnt orange color. A subtle, but sweet smell. You can definitely smell the alcohol but when you take a sip the alcohol is much less noticeable. I can't describe a specific taste, at first it's very sweet, but then finishes with some bitterness. The mouthfeel is very thick, almost syrupy. Drinkability is good, considering the alcohol content. I enjoy this barely wine a lot, would buy again. (420 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a snifter.

Appearance: Different than the '07, it has a hazy amber color with a touch of caramel. A thin head remains and surprisingly leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Strong citrus hop nose, with lighter toffee malt notes.

Taste: Not a ton of fruit pushing through. Caramel toffee malt front drips of sugar, with grapefruit hops toward the end. A small hop aftertaste. A better balance with aging.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with an average level of carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, easy, relaxing. A little bit sweet for my taste, though. And, as always, watch out for the ABV. (598 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a 22 oz. Terrapin snifter.

Appearance: A hazy and dull looking reddish-brown beer with a foamy, tan, creamy one-finger head with average retention and some nice sheets of lacing, if a little runny. Gets definite points for head, but loses a little in the color department.

Aroma: Surprisingly mild (despite many reviews to the contrary - perhaps it's my glass, or an old bottle), but pleasant. Spicy, leafy, herbal, earthy hop notes and caramel malts. Hop notes come out a little more as it warms, with grapefruit slowly emerging.

Taste: Not nearly as hoppy as I was expecting, actually - at least, not for a Stone brew! But maybe that's the age of the bottle. A pretty sweet roasted malt backbone - lots of caramel, sweet pale bready notes - and some solid but not overly hoppy or bitter notes participate in a great balancing act here. The bitterness is mild but persistent, and the hop notes - mainly herbal and earthy notes, though there are some light citrus overtones - are pleasant. A surprisingly well-hidden alcohol presence (11.26% - both high and calculated to a surprisingly precise number of decimal places). Improves drastically as it warms, though I'm beginning to wonder how much of the "warmth" improvement of a beer is really improvement and really "I've consumed more of this beer by the time it's warmed and am slightly more intoxicated by this point." Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Fine-bubbled, creamy, milky, a little oily from the hops, full-bodied, and fairly thick and syrupy but not as thick as it could be given its malt content.

Drinkability: A good barleywine, though not my absolute favorite. I've heard this one was better in years past, but since they do change the recipe every year, who knows what's in store in the future. Alcohol's definitely up there, but largely well hidden - aging this one for a year might mellow out the alcohol a little, but given it's not as highly-hopped as many American barleywines, it might mellow out a little too much. Who knows. I'll buy one and give it a shot. Recommended, though - definitely not bad. (2,131 characters)

Photo of alovesupreme
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008
Tawny brown with an off white head. Great lacing with sediment on the bottom.
Caramel covered apples with orange rind,honey and alcohol.
Hops are still very present in this fine ale. A slight caramel flavor comes through along with plenty of citrus and citrus rind. Bread and apples make an appearance with a strong alcoholic presence.
Full body with sufficient carbonation.
A good beer that I am sure will improve with age. I would like to try one from my case every 2-3 years. (494 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a cloudy golden brown color (slightly orange tint to it) with a thick two finger, off-white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell: Initially, dark fruit and citrus aromas provide a very sweet smell. Hops are certainly piney and very notable. Caramel and toffee malts creep in and permeate the nose from there on out.

Taste: Caramel malt flavors arrive first and provide a sweet, malty flavor. Citrus and dark fruit flavors blend well and add more sweetness. Hops kick in a bitter factor and balance it out pretty well. Slight yeasty taste on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium to thick. Definitely a sipping beer. Very well carbonated. It's strong, but relatively drinkable for a beer of its stature. Definitely wouldn't drink more than one bomber in a sitting though. Overall, it's very, very good. It actually does seem a little better than least year's release, if memory serves correct. (932 characters)

Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky orangish copper with a medium persistant off white head. Lots of lacing. Aroma is very sweet caramel, many fruit notes- pears and plums, a bit of alcohol and a touch of earthy yeastiness. Taste is similar to the smell. A very solid but not overpowering carmelly sweetness again with lots of fruit notes. A nice light bitterness in the finish balances this out well. A bit herbal neer the end as well with some slight alcohol warmth. Lightly carbonated and creamy. Overall very pleasant and pretty drinkable for the style and strength. (548 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a clear orange amber with one finger of creamy beige head.

Aroma of sweet malt, grapefruit, orange and a touch of booze.

Taste is a sharp punch of grapefruit, orange, and malt. Bitterness increases at the finish. The alcohol is big and hot.

Medium mouthfeel, dry, palate warming, and sharply carbonated.

A big beer to say the least. But well balanced and enjoyable. (390 characters)

Photo of Durge
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beauty pours a clear copper color with a whispy white cover and solid lacing. The aroma is nutty malt, thick and luscious. It offers one delicious tease with this edible smelling introduction. The taste is at first a powerful alcohol and malt with a peppery highlight. I'm not sure what more to say on the flavor. It mellows beautifully as it warms, a professional quality brew, not to miss. Drinkability is midland due to the heavy alcohol, but it's good enough to give some flow. A midland feel, substantial, a bit "oily". Impressive, a keeper. (551 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours an opaque honey golden orange, looking like it was just squeezed from a bear-shaped bottle. A full finger of fluffy yellow tan head sustains some time, and puffily. Ripply bands of lacing ring the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, the malt is caramel and sugar sweet, then blossoms with strawberry, melon, lemon, orange, and brisk pine. A touch of toffee and spice presage a warm funnel of alcohol.

Upon sipping, the malt is toasted and rich with sweet candy sugar and molten toffee. A fruit note plays a more general berry here, but again with a flash of melon. The hops are heavy with dry grapefruit and spicy crisp pine. Alcohol is hot and hefty. Biscuit, bread, and a tickle of clean esters glide into a long lingering and quite crisp dry bitterness. It's thick, rich, and comfortably good.

Full bodied, it's slick and syrupy, with an oily hop slide that ends up glowing in a clean way.

It's mighty mighty, letting it all hang out, but with some subtlety. It's fairly complex, with adept blending. In sum, it's a brawny batch of bodacious barley and hellacious hops. The ABV is especially muscular, and vascular as well, standing out and keeping a loose but real rein on consumption. It's a toasty tasty beastie, and it will be a task not drinking the other three I've got cellaring before they age very long. But I'll do my best. (1,352 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Limited early 2008 release'.
22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tulip.

A glowing, faint oak in color beneath a densely creamy white head that barely budges. Thin and patchy lacing with pretty solid strength.

Sweet vanilla with notes of honey. Aged, vinous fruit: peach, pear, apple. Young rum-like alcohol aroma. A lot of ripe, intense hop oils imparting a slick citrus.

Sweet, creamy malt base with caramel and milk chocolate under a wave of vanilla; rich toffee. The alcohol presence is intense and immature, but also quite complex as it works through the sea of filmy, oily hop bite adding nice subtleties to the citrus notes. The slick bite is followed by notes of rum and vanilla.

Full bodied; slick, oily, creamy. Not quite in complete balance, but given how intense the flavor components are, the body is quite impresive.

Unique in its vanmilla-laden malt flavor for the style. Not quite ripe, but very flavorful. A yearly accomplishment from Stone. (962 characters)

Photo of Wildman
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's version poured a clear medium amber color and formed a nice off white foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, pine and caramel. The flavor was of malt, caramel, grapefruit and and pine. The body was medium and creamy. The finish was slightly bitter. I found this year's batch to be less raw than previous years, although I imagine aging would definately refine it. (455 characters)

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy copper with a giant white head. This is the kind of brew you just want to hold up next to a macro lager and say "See, this is what beer is supposed to look like."

Sweet and sour citrus fruits, crisp tea-like herbs, and clean caramel are apparent in both the taste and aroma. Toasted grains and some light spices round out the complex list of flavors.

The crisp, bubbly mouthfeel and variety of flavors masks the high ABV well. Another great beer from Stone. (474 characters)

Photo of jbone78
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't drink a whole lot of Barley Wines, but I do enjoy them. These Stone products are new to my area and I am liking.

A- Cloudy pumpkiny color with nice head, about a fingers worth.
S- Malty/Hoppy aroma, but in a good way
T- The hops are more present than the malts.
M- Super carbonated with a bittersweet aftertaste.
D- I think this Barley Wine is very easy drinking. Tasting this beer without knowing the alcohol content, I would guess lower than it is.

I will buy more and age for about a year.

-Bye (510 characters)

Photo of wiseguy142
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't get to enjoy Stone's beers as often as I should.. they're a bit pricey, they come all the way from the west coast, and I'm not a rabid hophead like a lot of us out there. But given their prowess with high-alcohol, hop loaded beers, when it came time for me to buy some barleywines I definitely wanted to try this one.

Pours very hazy peach orange colored.. very hazy. Didn't think they bottle conditioned. Maybe they don't and something's wrong. Not getting an outrageous head on my pour, but the small frothy head looks very west coast.. apparently heads can be west coast. Soda like bubbles coming up from the bottom.

When I popped this open I felt like I was opening a liquor bottle that I could smell from a couple feet away. Very heavy on the malt. Reminds me of Christmas for some reason. And Victory's Old Horizontal that I also just had a 6-pack of.

Taste is very sweet and loaded with alcohol. Sounds like a good combination. Very similar to Old Horizontal but with more hints of wood, although I don't think this has gone anywhere near a barrel. A bit of a pucker up candy taste towards the end. Obvious usage of those crazy high alpha acid hops that just make it bitter as hell. I think I was hoping for more of a double IPA for some reason. Has a bit of creaminess to it from age which makes it very drinkable. (1,336 characters)

Photo of bebopkola
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color surprisingly light in color for a barleywine. Smells of grapefruit and other citrus upfront with some sugar carmel finishing it up. Probably the hoppiest barleywine I've ever tasted which is no surprise coming from stone but it's a bit to much in my opinion. As it warms up the hops seem to mellow out and hints of spice and sugar carmel come up. Overall, not my favorite barleywine this season but definatley a good one. Taste wise it's a bit all over the map. This barleywine definatley needs some aging to mellow out and unify the brew. (565 characters)

Photo of mattster
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of Brewsmith
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Release from a 22oz bottle purchased locally at original time of release. Aroma is rich and malty with some hop spice. Color is amber with a small beige head, slightly hazy. Flavor is fairly bitter but balances with the malt. Some fruit and some caramel/honey. Not too sweet. Hops are piney. Some alcohol present. Thick but not too viscous. Finish lingers but dries in the end which is nice for a beer this big. I can't wait to try this again in a couple years once it has a little more age on it. (502 characters)

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 259 ratings.