1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

323 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 323
Reviews: 260
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 323 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sweetbrew82
sweetbrew82

California

3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle into a snifter; no freshness date

P: Poured out rich gold from the bottle, and sits a hazy deep amber with tangerine highlights. 1 1/2 inch head was off-white, tightly compacted, and frothy. It did disappear pretty quickly to form a halo on top, with not much lacing.

A: Bready malts, citrusy & earthy hops, yeast, toffee, caramel, and alcohol...lots of alcohol!.

T: Starts with sweet caramel malts, a little toasted barley, and a hop kick made up of mostly grapefruit & orange peels. Malts are definitely on the top layer of flavors, but the hops do a commendable job of providing a backdrop to the grain bill. The middle gives rise to some good toffee flavors and an insane alcohol presence that blisters the tongue throughout the rest of the experience. The finish is dry and features a hint of yeast, while being joined by the ever-building creshendo of alcohol that sets a 4 alarm blaze in the chest and throat.

M: Full-bodied and viscious, yet smooth with a bit of graininess. Gently carbonated.

D: The 11.26% ABV, and heavy presence thereof, puts a bit of a damper on things in this department. 22 oz.'s was a struggle.

Notes: This is way too boozy for me to consider it a good example of the style. I mean, I understand that barleywines are supposed to be sippers, but the overwhelming ethanol just ruins this beer when it's this fresh. Had some good flavors and that signature Stone character to it, but it feels really raw right now. I need to buy another to age, as I think that would really help to mellow the alcohol and unwrap some of the more subtle flavors. Not recommended when fresh!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 15:46:08 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of LumpyGuitar
LumpyGuitar

New York

3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up on a whim, Stone usually runs pretty good.

Poured a deep orange with a slight reddish hue, thin white head, more or less nonexistant. Retention is not so great, what head there is lasts only minutes.

Smells of oak, sweet malt, very spicey.

Taste is very sharp, sweetness of malt is overpowering. Oak and spice comes across pretty stong, and hop is a bit milder than I expected.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweet and sharp. Carbonation is where it should be, pretty light.

Drinkability here is average. I've had better barley's but this isn't terrible, just not my style.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2008 04:01:42 | More by LumpyGuitar
Photo of humanawho
humanawho

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - nice amber/gold color and great head retention and lacing

S - a little candylike sweetness and very faint hoppy flower aroma

T - nothing stands out in the taste, it has nice sweet taste and still has a slight bitter finish, kind of a peachy taste in the background

M - nothing to complain about with the body just what you would expect from this type of beer which is good

D - no alcohol taste and nothing else is too out of the park so it is pretty drinkable and pretty good balance

sampled after some aging

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2008 22:36:23 | More by humanawho
Photo of xpoweruser
xpoweruser

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber color. Off-white creamy head. Cloudy body with sediment.

Aroma: Complex and rich malt aroma. Caramel, toffee, dark fruit, citrus and butterscotch sweetness dominate. Floral and Piney hops are noticeable.

Taste: Complex malt character with nice caramel, toffee, dark fruit and chocolate notes. Bitter hop bite with strong pine notes, a little spice, hops have mellowed out with aging. Even though this is a very high ABV beer, the alcohol flavor is fairly mellow due to the aging but is still noticeable, warms going down, very nice.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth, full-bodied and syrupy. Light carbonation.

Drinkability: Solid Barley Wine that has mellowed out and become complex with aging, hop flavor has held up pretty well surprisingly, but still not as complex as I would like for this style.

Bottle opened on 1/3/11

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 03:34:10 | More by xpoweruser
Photo of damienblack
damienblack

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Short review going off memory from last night. Pours light brown, like an apple juice. A bit of head, nothing lasting, nothing super impressive. Smell of sweet fruit like peach, or pear, but overpowered completely by the hops. Huge hop nose, which carries through to the taste. You would get a hint of the nice malt body, and then piney, grapefruity hops would just demolish it. Between the hops and the boozeyness of the finish, tough to drink. A sipper that I actually drainpoured the end of. I didn't really get a lot of carbonation in mine, but it was nice and chewy. It boggles my mind how this can have just 5 IBUs more then Stone IRS, yes that is super smooth and balanced and this is so... not. Very disappointing to me.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 03:39:43 | More by damienblack
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An almost two-year old bottle of Old Guardian sent my way by an East Coast BA. I do wonder why this beer merits its own designation every year? Oh well.

Pours Mississippi muddy, about as turbid a beer as I've seen, even with a gentle pour excluding the bottom muck. Rusty & flat. Wicked booze in the nose, not much else.

Old Guardian is nothing if not old. Pungent, solventesque taste is rather over-the-top, tempered by a square of caramel & deep, hard-dirt fruit in the background. Touch of yeast, bit of day-old bread. Very flat & slick in the mouth, lack of carbonation is either from age of high ABV. Either I'm getting old or not eating enough, because this one's warming me up in a hurry after an evening out on the ice.

Pretty decent beer, but it feels like I'm missing out on something reading the other reviews, & I believe I will not be buying any more barleywines any time soon - I believe I've lost my taste for them. If this happens to IPAs there might need to be a medical intervention of some sort.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 02:43:49 | More by maximum12
Photo of dukedevil0
dukedevil0

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber from Party Source in Newport, KY.

A: Pours a hazy unfiltered orange amber with white frothy head that reduces down to a film and leaves good lacing.

S: Smells old sweet caramel malts and sweet fruits, but not very citrousy. Slight alcohol scent.

T: Similar to smell with more alcohol in the flavor, a bite that almost tastes sour with some of the hop bitterness i'm used to in other Stone beers.

M: Pretty thick considering I didn't expect it. Good amount of carbonation with some warmth.

D: If I enjoyed this style of brew, which I'm starting to think I don't, it'd be higher, but I'm just not feeling this.

It tastes too much like Founder's Red's Rye, or Alpha Kong or Prohibition Ale to me and I didn't like those much. The "sour" type flavor really puts me off.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 01:14:41 | More by dukedevil0
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from the cellar. 2008 vintage, purchased at the Village Pump the first year Stone made it to MD.

A mildly hazy ruby red with a dense, beige head that falls off to a ring leaving little lacing, this looks decent. The nose is still Hoppy with plenty of bitterness and some stale grapefruit juice. A moderate crystal malt character is present with toffee and caramel. Some honey and cotton candy are present. That almond like nuttiness that the better barleywines have is missing here.

The palate opens with a blend of mild bitterness and moderate sweetness. Toffee, oxidized honey, a little paper, and a little bit of sherry are present. Caramel, brown sugar with a touch of stale crystal malt is also present. Sticky sweet and full in body, this beer is mildly carbonated. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, though it does have a pleasing warmth. Carbonation is moderate. The bitterness and sweetness do clash, especially on fresh pours. As it breathes, the bitterness does fade, bringing out the honey, toffee and mildly nougat flavors out front. Decent.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 08:45:19 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.34/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one on the beer bus to San Diego.

Pours a murky orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, cardboard, toffee, and citrus aromas. Taste is much the same with cardboard and citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable but is showing some noticeable signs of oxidation unfortunately.

Serving type: growler

07-30-2013 01:41:24 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with a white head that sticks around as a ring. Starts out hot, both in aroma and taste, but it mellows as it opens up and breathes. Once it calms a bit, there is still some vodka like alcohol and some sweet, sugary malt and some apricot and pear. The taste is still somewhat hot and there is a sustained bitterness and quite a bit of citrus from the hops. Big, and not really sweet, but there is a bit of breadiness in the end. Mouthfeel is bitter, a little bit thin, and not all that smooth. Kinda like dinking a shot of vodka in a double IPA- not all that barleywine like. Eh.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2008 23:39:32 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of Murchmac
Murchmac

California

3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much like Buster Pointdexter this beer is hot, hot, hot.

Pours like it's walking on sunshine, not katrina, but the waves of honey orange with little lacing but a nice head that stays.

You get some of that classic barleywine malty sugar smell right now, alcohol. not much else for me.

Tastes vary from good to mediocre. It's too hot for the hot tub right now.

Lingering alcohol aftertaste. decent mouthfeel for a barleywine

Not too impressed, i usually love everything stone does, this is a letdown. Hope it ages well.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2008 06:06:37 | More by Murchmac
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 12/20/08. Bottle, ~Jan 2008. Pours a murky brown with a very small white head. Aroma of raisins, lots of raisins, and sweet caramel malt. Flavor is also quite malty with some brown sugar and iced tea. Tastes pretty much as I would expect from an aged barleywine. A decent beer, although to be honest this is not my favorite style of beer. Interesting though.
6/4/7/4/14 (3.5/5)

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2008 18:20:38 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of Doomcifer
Doomcifer

Rhode Island

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2008 14:25:23 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of bilyboy65
bilyboy65

Colorado

3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I don't know about this beer. For a barley wine it's not really like a wine at all. I suppose I should be greatful for that since I don't like wine generally. Pours a light brown with a minuscule head. Leaves nothing on the glass. The nose and taste are quite the same in that its of brown sugar and diactyl. There really isn't the sweet wine taste of most barley wines i'm used too. Maybe it's just the way it should be. Drinkability isn't bad though. Could enjoy a few bombers of this.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2009 03:36:05 | More by bilyboy65
Photo of jmalex
jmalex

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have a working vertical of Old Guardian in the cellar, but I figured I'd better try it when it's somewhat fresh.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip a very hazy medium amber with some reddish highlights. The head starts at about a finger's height and shrinks down to nearly a full covering on the surface.

SMELL: The aromas aren't particularly intense but the malt and hops seem to be in nice balance. The hops are west coast style (of course) and fairly resinous. The malt base is clean with a few caramel notes. Alcohol factors in quite a bit and is fairly conspicuous in the background.

TASTE: A really sweet, caramelly malt base kicks you in the face initially. But the hops are right behind it providing a much-needed bitterness to balance the beer out. The finish gets back to the malty side of things along with a little alcohol heat.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full bodied and a little sticky and slick. The carbonation is on the lower end.

DRINKABILITY: Not too bad for such a big beer. It will only improve with time, and as it is the alcohol is decently hidden though some still stands out.

It's ok now, but I can't wait to get my vertical going. Who knows how many years this will stand up to.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 18:41:41 | More by jmalex
Photo of biking4beer
biking4beer

Colorado

3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Early 2008 Release.

Pours a hazy deep orange. Minimal whispy, white head. Would have like to seen more head on this one.

Smells super sugary. Orange, floral hops, and a prominent caramel to toffee aroma. You can almost smell the bitterness in this one.

I big fat grapefruit is thrown at you and smacks you across the head. We're not talking a regular old grapefruit, but it's one of those big Texas ones. There is prominent alcohol in this one, but that's not a bad thing. Pretty good actually. The sweetness shines through just a touch between the bitterness and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily. Creamy but yet a good level of carbonation to break everything up.

I wouldn't say that this is drinkable right now. I was glad I wasn't drinking the whole bomber. It's an interesting experience fresh, but when I revisit this one after some aging, I would bet the numbers will rise. It's definitely a super fresh beer right now, so beware.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 19:39:48 | More by biking4beer
Photo of ASymon13
ASymon13

Colorado

3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a reddish amber with a decent amount of white head that retains very nicely for the abv. The initial aromas are of bready malts, caramel and alcohol, but upon further inhaling hop tones of grapefruit and some citrus also play a key role. Alcohol is not overwhelming like some barleywines.

The flavor opens with bittering hops taking a front role, with some solid grapefruit flavor. That quickly gives way to the bready malts, and the caramel that was so prevalent in the nose is more subdued than I expected. The finish is almost entirely alcohol, which is rather disappointing.

The medium-full body and solid carbonation are fine for the style, but I really do not think this barleywine stands up to many of it's peers. It's good, but the flavors are almost a bit subdued, and the malt profile just isn't as complex as some others.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2008 07:50:53 | More by ASymon13
Photo of Seattle_Suds
Seattle_Suds

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

03-01-2014 22:36:35 | More by Seattle_Suds
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

07-01-2014 00:18:48 | More by GRG1313
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

01-10-2012 18:22:02 | More by djrn2
Photo of Slynger
Slynger

Illinois

3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy deep orangey amber with a cap of creamy off-white foam.

Boozy and malty, rich and bittersweet caramel and toffee, with some melon, prune, and stout citrus rind bitterness. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation, though it's not particularly smooth or creamy.

Not bad stuff, but not really something I need to try again.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 00:17:38 | More by Slynger
Photo of ibbjamin
ibbjamin

California

3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Paid $8.99 for a bomber from Monument in Concord, CA. Poured into a snifter.

Inch and 3/4 frothy off white head after an aggressive pour. Burnt orangish brown color. Rather cloudy. Little head retention. Decent lacing. Mild carbonation.

Alcohol, raisins, other various dark fruits and some quality malts to help balance it out. A hefty, quality nose. There are some mild hop notes in there as well which came through more as it warmed.

This one is very alcoholic. I already know after I finish this bomber, I'm going to have a nice little buzz. A great balancing act; dark fruity, malty and hoppy all in great harmony.

The mouth is thick and somewhat grainy leading to a long aftertaste. Mild carbonation. Full body.

I could recommend a handful of Barleywines that I would put in a higher category than this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2008 02:49:07 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of BlindPig
BlindPig

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pretty clear amber orange body with a nice thick light creamy tan head.
S- Big orange and grapefruit hops with a nice balance of sweet caramel body and a splash of alcohol. Almost a pineapple hint in there also. Seems like it's stronger on the light fruits than previous years.
T- Very different than the previous years of OG (and not to sure if it's for the better). Sweet caramel, booze, citrus hops, fruits, almost a grapefruit banana mixture? Little blend of some darker fruits in there too. Big bitterness left in the aftertaste and a little warming in back of throat.
M-Full chewy body with low smooth carbonation.
D- This is usually one of my favorite releases in the year especially since it's cheap for what it is so I can drink more of them. This seems a lot brighter than previous years and just doesn't have that Old Guardian flavor to it. The aftertaste still stays true to OG though. The thing it reminds me of the most is if you made a really strong OG and mixed it with a little left over VE 07 you get this. Kind of a disappointment this year, but we shall see what time will do to this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 07:24:50 | More by BlindPig
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into my Midnight Sun cervoise, the '08 OG is a clear copper with an olive tinged off white head that settles to a thick skim, leaving scattered sheets of foam. Served at cellar temp.

Smell is fruity apricot ale esters, citrus hops and alcohol.

Taste is not as rich as I remembered from last years, semi-sweet malt with a strong, tart citrus hop flavor and lingering bitter finish. Still very smooth and balanced for the size and younger age.

Mouthfeel is sticky, with a lighter body for a big BW.

Drinkability is good, though not the mind blower I recall from last year...perhaps my palate has matured, or maybe it's just a lesser execution.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 04:13:48 | More by ccrida
Photo of Goregazm
Goregazm

Rhode Island

3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

NOTHING OLD ABOUT IT

Appearance: Pours a thick golden color, like a mixture of apple and orange juice. Has a solid one-finger head which is nicely thick. It's bubbly and foamy, lasts awhile, and leaves some awesome lacing. A+.

Smell: Sweet, with a bitter tone to it. There is a very fresh and clean scent, heavy on the citrus and sweet alcohol. Has some caramel notes as well.

Taste: Strong with a bitter alcohol kick. Crisp and clean, with an emphasis on bitter hops. Has a slight caramel and fruit sweetness. Overall, the taste reminds me of an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but a little overcarbonated and it kills the creaminess. Aftertaste is very bitter and has a hefty malt feel.

Drinkability: This is a good, strong barleywine that fans of the style (or of Stone Brewing) should most definately enjoy. It may be a little strong for some, but the majority should find it a very good sipper. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2008 21:00:41 | More by Goregazm
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.