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

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008

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259 Reviews
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Reviews: 259
Hads: 328
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
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 bilyboy65
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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Photo of jmalex
3.46/5  rDev -15%
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.

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Photo of ASymon13
3.52/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

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Photo of Slynger
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of ccrida
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.61/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Photo of JamesS
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light copper color (lighter than most barley wines I've had), with some very nice head and (rapidly diminishing) lacing. It has a very nice malty aroma, hints of caramel, but not really strong at all for the style. A very well done, deep, earthy taste, huge malt flavors. It goes down fairly well for a high abv brew. A very nice beer!

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Photo of enfield249
3.64/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very light and clear orange copper. A little to light for a barley wine I think.

S - Lots of alcohol and some spicy hop aroma.

T - Very spicy, both with the alcohol burn and hop spiciness. Just a little of maltyness you would expect.

M - Medium mouth feel. Not as full as I would expect for a barley wine

D - Meh. Pretty good, but I've had better barley wines.

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Photo of SeanRedd
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark renaissance. An elegant banquet of intellectual pairings. An aristocracy cut from a traditional recipe. Sweet tree bark, caramela sappy burn. A boozey squeeze disquised within a winter fruit basket. An after dinner accompaniment to Victorian after dinner refreshments. Outstanding...though it hurts.

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Photo of bobsy
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage picked up in Buffalo, and sat stoppered in my fridge for the past two days as I was in no state to finish it at Saturday's barleywine tasting. I've not used stoppers often, and I'm surprised that this beer doesn't seem to have degraded at all. I will be using them for bigger bottles more often from here on out.

Pours a slightly clouded cider with a brief bubbly cream coloured head, which eventually settles down to a wispy film, and leaves a few spots of lace on the glass. The slight lack of clarity is a little surprising, but I do note some sediment at the bottom of the glass, so it may well be fine yeast particulate in suspension. The aroma is surprisingly subdued for a big barleywine, and while its pleasant, it doesn't leap out of the glass like most Stone products. An earthy caramel base supports some light zesty hops, but there's not much else to be smelled, which is a touch disappointing.

The flavour turns things up a notch, and makes the letdown of the aroma seem like a distant memory. Strong caramel lasts from the moment the liquid hits the taste buds to long after the warming sensation in the throat has subsided. Its grounded (pardon the pun) by a distinct earthiness, and the occasional hint of toasted nuts. Zesty, resiny hops provide a good level of bitterness, and they've not really started to fade too much. Some alcohol is present in the finish, though considering the weight its fairly well. The mouthfeel is great, and considering this bottle has been wine stoppered for almost two days, the carbonation is still at the perfect level. The body is rich and full, without becoming too sticky and cloying, largely thanks to a good stream of CO2 which lightly prickles the taste buds.

This barleywine doesn't wow me, but it's a good enough example of the style. Its just you expect so much more from Stone, and this one doesn't deliver on the usual fronts. I'd say it would be better fresh, when the hops are more aggressive, but I've heard the alcohol is too in your face at that point. With more age they'll drop out all together, and I don't think there's enough interest in the malt base to make this anything more than average at that point. With that in mind, she's probably in her sweet spot right now. I won't be buying another bottle though - Stone have too much great stuff to linger on the ones that are only good.

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Photo of Goregazm
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


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.

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Photo of illidurit
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage. Bronze-amber color with a light beige head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is very strong and hoppy, with a backbone of toffee. Flavor is caramel and toffee maltiness with a dose of C hops and a rather over-the-top alcohol note. Definitely needs some age, but not too much lest the hops crap out. Body is a shade under thick, carbonation is perfect. Solid beer.

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Photo of Brez07
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beer BIF. Bomber poured into a snifter

Orange brown hue with a fair amount of head on the pour. Given the initial aroma upon opening and color, already thinking double IPA. Or maybe barleywine.

Nose confirms this is a barleywine. And an aged one to boot (although at this point in the game, it's not a reach for me to say that). Caramel, sweet bread, orange marmalade. Has a bit of that faded hop aroma, so I can narrow the style down to American barleywine.

Still a good amount of hops in the flavor, although basically all bitterness now with a little citrus juice to it. Good malt backbone along with caramel. Dry, fusel alcohol. Medium bodied, appropriate carb for the style

Another solid beer, but somewhat one dimensional at this stage of its life. Since the last beer was Stone, I'll take a stab in the dark and guess Old Guardian. Maybe 4-5 years old?

Reveal: Stone Old Guardian 2008. 5 years it is. Talk about a lucky guess with the age haha. Solid, solid beer

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had to review this beer in two sessions because at first sip I found it to be too hot and palate numbingly bitter. I did what I've found works in red wines as well when they are a bit "green." I corked it tight and left it in the fridge overnight. This review comes from the next day after it sat for a while.

Hazy dark copper color with a dense foam head of orange tinged tan bubbles. Little to no lace left, just an oily film.

Caramel malts hit the nose first followed by citris and pine notes.

Candied fruits and caramel up front, followed by a solid wall of citrus rind and grapefruit. Hot alcohol on the finish. This was near undrinkable one day ago, perhaps a slight bit of oxidation helped.

Full bodied, with medium carbonation, each sip leaves an oily film on your lips and in your mouth. Goes down smooth. I had to say it was below average when it came to drinkablility for now. It's too hot at this point in my honest opinion. The combination of over the top hops and alcohol dominated the more complex and subtle notes. I believe this could do with some aging before you are really able to enjoy it.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle. I preferred this beer with six months on it last year so I waited until now to drink my first 2008. Thick orange color and smells like the best hoppy rubbing alcohol ever. It is a bitter barleywine and it is good. If you like barleywines this is a good west coast example.

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Photo of bum732
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy orange amber, decent head that dissipates quickly leaving nice lacing. Smells predominately of caramal and toffee, some brown sugar, anise, very faint hops, Tastes of rich toffee malt followed by a very pronounced bitterness. Lots of layers going on, some dried fruits, earthy hops, notable alcohol. Finishes quite sweet leaving a pronounced hop bitterness.

A very good barleywine. The hops weren't really present in the aroma, but came through in the taste. A nice bitterness cuts through the rich toffee malt. Still, this is a huge beer and the toffee flavor is a bit much.

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Photo of BeerCon5
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy, light amber color with not much head.

Fruity scent with very pronounced alcohol.

The taste is most notably strong alcohol, citrus, and fruit.

This beer is medium bodied, kind of thick and smooth in texture, with moderate carbonation.

Average drinker. Very flavorful and interesting, though tough to drink more than a bomber.

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Photo of Oisin
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color like that of gem quality amber. Agressive pour produced a creamy head that left lacing all the way to the last mouthful.

Rich, sweet notes with wafts of hop florals. Not nealry as hoppy as a couple years back--two, three years maybe. It seems that starting from '07 OG has become very refined--not to my liking. What happened to that big green flavor and aroma of years past?

Mouthfeel is active and lively, almost makes this high octane ale quaffable--in fact, it is. Very drinkable for the ABV.

This beer is beautiful, but I feel that it has changed. But still great.

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of joekfsu
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 2008 edition. Pours a clear copper with 2 cm off-white head. Aroma of malt, apples, grapes, and alcohol. Flavor is spiked apple juice with a slight hint of hops on the backend. Finishes hoppy and alcoholic. Light lacing, light carbonation, medium body, strong alcohol presence. Drinkable, more so to say you have tried it than anything else.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark orange/amber in color. One finger light brown, almost yellowish, head. Little retention and little lacing.

S - Alcohol and a caramel malt sweetness. Hint of earthy hop in the background but the malts and alcohol definitely dominate.

T - Alcohol up front and some malt sweetness. Roasted caramel. Alcohol definitely dominates the flavor though. Might be a good one to cellar for a while and see if it mellows some. This beer improves greatly as it warms. Alcohol becomes less dominate and a sweetness of dark fruits really starts to take over.

M/D - Full bodied and somewhat chewy. A stronng barleywine that is a little rough around the edges. I would definitely like to pick one up and cellar for a year or so.

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Photo of dnichols
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured an aggressive 12 ounces of a bomber into a pint glass.

A: It poured a hazy and bubbly amber orange body with a modest half finger light tan head. The head receded to an even cover over the liquid and left a temporary layering of lacing around the collar of the glass.

S: It had an unexpected citrus (tart orange and white grapefruit) hops with a burst of sweet caramel malts.

T: It was a signature Stone produce that constructed a hop and malt profile that was very well balanced. The malts were sweet, syrupy and had a hint of caramel. The hops were citrusy (both sweet and bitter). It had a nice balanced carbonation and finished warm and clean with little residual aftertaste.

M: It was medium to full-bodied with moderate carbonation, and a clean warm finish.

D: I was a bit overwhelmed by the hops that seemed to dominate and distract from the overall experience. It is a unique barleywine that leaves a memorable impression worth experiencing. However, it is not one I will take long into a session.

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Photo of JRed
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stone has yet another badass brew under its belt. The Old Guardian is the definition of "heavy duty" brewing at its finest. To put it into perspective, I'm not a fan of barley wines but this one is a great beer to consider if you are. The light amber color can be deceiving, take a sip and I hope you're wearing boxing head gear because this beer is trying to back you up against the ropes. You just cut open the gargoyle and there's nothing but alcohol hitting you back. 11.26% in a beer, I hope you're ready to be staring up at the lights. Carbonation attacks the tongue while the bitterness jabs your uvula like a speed bag. Going...going...GONE! And the winner is Old Guardian by KO. I definitely want a rematch.

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Photo of kurtissellen
3.79/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like the big bottle really forces you to commit. Dirty beige head with large bubbles just over a fingers length tall and lace that really clings to the glass. Looks the color of ice tea and has a kind of a bready smell to it. At first a roasted malt flavor hits you followed by the alcohol then the bitterness of the hops kicks in and leaves a lingering flavor. I could start to feel the effect of the alcohol by the time I was halfway thru my second glass. Not quite as sweet a barleywine as I would like but still very good.

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