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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
91
outstanding

327 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 327
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.05%
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 327 | Reviews: 259
Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
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...

Photo of changeup45
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 limited release, 11.26 abv. I have been wanting to try this for a while and was fortunate to find it at Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, VA. Pours an amber/orange color with a thin head but it sticks around. Aroma is a lot of sweet malt, vanilla, fruity, particularly grapefruit, and a touch of alcohol. This is a wonderful tasting barleywine with many layers adding to it's complexity. The flavors are sweet malts, sherry, tart cherries, oak, a dark fruit note and finishes off with grapefruit hops. Not a lot of bitterness but some mild alcohol burn and although you know the alcohol is in it the 11.26% hides quite well. A nice representation of the style and a beer that makes for a great evening.

Photo of Jmamay22
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rust colored orange. The head quickly dissipates to a cream colored collar. No lacing or carbonation bubbles evident.

Smells balanced? Is this Stone? Orange rind and grapefruit smelling hops mix with a sweet syrupy caramel and toffee scent. There may be a touch of raisins as well.

The taste is fairly balanced as well, but favors the hops a bit. Orange and grapefruit meet the caramel tones again. Sounds simple, but plays out in a wonderfully complex manner with a great depth. As it warms to room temperature it becomes slightly sweeter and I must say it is better somewhat chilled around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Alcohol warms and lingers creating an enjoyable finish that is faintly fruity.

Minimal carbonation that seems to come to life as its quaffed. The alcohol content creates a prickly feel. A sure sipper, but much more drinkable than past years.

Sublime with carrot cake!

Photo of dmamiano
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bomber, shared with a friend.
deep copper with a big, off white head and lots of lacing.
smelled of pungent hops, sweet malts. Some mixed fruit, raisen and plum. Some floral notes mixed as well.
taste was very big and bold. Mouthfeel was solid.
tangy bite of citrus hops, deep fruity flavors from the malts all hiding the 11.26% alchohol completely.
Wonderful beer.

Photo of DIPAbrewer
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I snapped up the last bottle of this limited release and was glad that I did.

Beautiful tangerine orange color with a rocky persistent head. Slight chill haze present, a little lighter than your average Barleywine.

Strong sweet aroma with piney citrus floating through the malt. Very nice aroma, much more hop than some other examples of the style.

The bready sweet malt flavor quickly gives way to a rush of fresh tasting grapefruit and piney hops. Strong bitterness brings the darkly sweet malt into balance.

The mouthfeel and drinkability are both exceptional I had no problem polishing off this bottle with one friend. A great pair with spicy indian food, bbq, or a strong bleu cheese.

Photo of burnstar
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | 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.

Photo of peensteen
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Volo

Pours a hazy deep copper, decent white head, nice light lacing. Smell is of caramel, big malt, biscuit, quite hoppy considering the age, faint citrus and alc. notes. Taste is rich with caramel, good malt, sweet but not cloying and actually quite nice, dark sugar, no alcohol to be found. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel, thick, full body, very light carbonation. Awesome stuff overall, ABV almost undetectable, really good stuff.

Photo of kevinglin
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very good beer. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into two wide-mouth goblets to split the bottle with my great buddy Nat who is about to move away. Copper-orange color with no head to speak of. Somewhat hazy with some legs as it sticks to the sides of the glass.

Aroma of raisins and dark fruit for me - definitely a lot of malt but I'm not getting much in the hops department. Taste backs up the aroma - HUGE on the malt presence. A big beer for sure - dark fruits again but now the hop flavor begins to come through, which of course reminds me that I am, after all, drinking a Stone brew. Sweet malty presence is offset with an earthy/woodsy hop bitterness and flavor. As it warms, the spiciness of the hops begins to shine a bit more and the alcohol warmth really begins to show. Hop bitterness lingers well into the aftertaste.

Body is somewhat slick, yet chewy, but somehow there is a lively carbonation on the tongue.

Overall, definitely recommend. A big beer for sure, and as I've tried a lot of the Stone IPA/DIPA and have enjoyed their hop monsters, this was a bit of a change of pace to enjoy their Malt Monster. Complex, flavorful and certainly enjoyable as a late-night sipper reminiscing with old friends.

Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first bottle of OG that I have sampled. Thanks to Joey from South Bay for his online services. Thanks man, I appreciate it.

Poured part of a bomber into an OG glass.

Appearance - This is a good looking beer. It produced a two finger latte foam head that slowly dissipated to a thin crown. It left quite a bit of lacing on the way down. There were constant bubble streams that rose from the side of the glass. It is a hazy transparent honey orange gold color. Yummy.

Smell - The smell was good, but slightly subdued. I could primarily smell caramel and booze. There was a flowery hop scent that was closely tied to the booze - it was very slight, but it had notes of citrus and pine.

Taste - This is a tasty barleywine. Other people have compared other vintages to a barleywine/IPA mix, and this vintage isn't too far off. It was a tasty well-hopped barleywine. There are notes of orange, lemon and mostly grapefruit citrus, with hints of pine and cherry. It is quite boozy, though it suits the flavor nicely. There is a caramel flavor as well which balances nicely with the booze and hop level.

Mouthfeel - I love the mouthfeel on this one. It has a medium/full body, with the perfect level of carbonation, IMO. It isn't quite effervescent, but it is lively enough to cut through the relatively thick body. It is slightly oily and sticky.

Drinkability - This barleywine is extremely drinkable. It took me awhile to finish the bottle by myself, but it's tasty, smells good, and feels great going down, I really just wanted to savor it. I am glad I picked up several bottles. I could see how this would age well, but the hops are so tasty, I am not sure if I would want to cellar it that long. It is a must try.

A great beer from one of my favorite breweries.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged just slightly over a year.

A- Wonderful red amber copper color with very little head.

S- I can smell the glass from 3 feet away. It smells like golden hoppy excellence. Great honey and bubble gum smell. This is very tasty smelling.

T- The taste is nice and herbal, the hops are still there, but have mellowed quite a bit. This has a great taste, with honey, bubble gum and vanilla.

M- The mouthfeel is thick, yet good carbination.

D- Very drinkable, even tough it is potent.

Photo of matt20102
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I opened this bottle, quite unsure of what to expect, but with fairly high hopes. After all, Stone has yet to let me down when it comes to extreme styles (even when a particular variety doesn't make my 'jump at it when I see it in a bar' list, I can appreciate the quality of the brew.

This bottle was stored for about 2 years (even though it is 09/2009 and the bottle is called 'early 2008 release'; perhaps my tag was wrong?). Poured into a glass, it shows an unusually uniform color- about 15 SRM. It's surprisingly uniform in color, actually. (The beer is fairly light in color but has the light-stopping power of a stout. I've never seen anything quite like it).

The bottle opened with a pop and pours with a a thick head for such a strong beer; within a few minutes the head recedes to the edge of the glass and remains indefinitely. The first taste is of malt, pleasantly roasted or burned malt, and a generic hoppy bitterness which quickly changes to Stone's infamous grapefruity cascade hops flavor. Thia is a Stone product, alright. What's surprising is that there is no alcohol taste- at all! For a beer this strong, that's a little surprising and not at all unwelcome. The mouthfeel goes quickly from thick and malty to rather thin; the overwhelming aftertaste is of grapefruit followed by grapefruit & copper.

This beer is not for the faint of heart; about half-way through the bottle I can already feel the effects of it's 11.26% abv. Finishing this bottle off is rather like 4.5 5% beers. That being said, the beer is quite drinkable and I would happily buy another, if I could find it, or Stone's next limited edition Barleywine.

Photo of TLove
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stone Brewing Co. has released a wonderfully-balanced and delightfully complex barley wine style ale.

Apparently seen by many of my barley wine-drinking bretheren as a weak brou, I must disagree. The color and light tones of fruit and nuts in the smell are certainly indicative of a lighter barley-style ale, however, the light maltiness in the mouth is balanced by the strength and presence in the taste of the malt alcohol. This tastes a lot stronger than it is, but that does not detract from the plum overtones and fantastically-round finish. The beer rolls quite well from the front of the tongue to the throat and presents a good balance between the fruit, the oats, the roasted hops, the 11.25% ABV, and the notable maltiness.

Certainly worth the $7 I paid for it, Stone comes through once again.

Photo of UnknownKoger
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Been waiting three years to try this bad boy. My mouth is drooling. Cracked open and poured into my LA Craft Beer Week glass. Pouring...still carbonated. Awesome. Very little head and quickly dies away. Appearance is hazy copper with golden.

The smell is absolutely delicious. Sweet sweet malt. There are pretty much no hops on the nose. The taste only confirms this. It is a sweet malt extravaganza in your mouth. This is outstanding. The mouthfeel is surprisingly exceptional...very nicely bodied. The hops have pretty much faded away entirely. This is such a nice drink

Cracking it open is kind of sad because it's the only bottle of the 2008 I had, but the three year wait was clearly worth it. Will definitely be saving the other vintages for a few years

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.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This barleywine style ale was released in 2008 and I had the joy of sampling it on-tap at the American Flatbread Stone event. My goblet was delivered to me a deep amber/garnet color with a short lived head. The retention of the collar was good however and the lacing scattered. The aroma was surprisingly light, alcohol esters and heat with a general sweetness of floral hops and ripened fruit. The flavors blew me away. Vanilla, caramel malt, floral and citrus hops, oak, nuts, especially hazelnuts, pears, apples along with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar. As it warmed up the alcohol appeared more prominently but at 11.26% it was astoundingly well-hidden. Dangerous! The mouthfeel was very smooth, the carbonation delicate and the body medium/full. As complex as an aged cognac yet highly drinkable. Wow.

Photo of hosehead83
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a cellared "2008" bottle into my Arrogant Bastard pint glass
Cloudy, orange/amber in color, with a half-inch head of foam
Aroma-Definite malt presence, faint citrus
Taste-Big malt onrush followed by a steady hop backbone. Incredibly smooth and easy-drinking for the strength. Warning! Take it slow or you will be ambushed by the 11.26ABV!!
If you let it warm,the alchohol asserts itself, leaving a warm afterglow in the finish.

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Early 2008 release.

Pours a healthy amber chestnut wood color. Thinner head... Aroma is sweet and pleasant, not a tinge of alcohol. Taste is very smooth... hops were used gently. This beer is full of flavor and it a balanced example of a barleywine. Decent clarity. Low to moderate carb.

Nearly a perfect BJCP style match!

Photo of BierFan
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Dark orange, with an off-white head. Left decent lacing.

Smell: Lots of barley malt. Smooth and strong, almost creamy alcohol aroma.

Taste: Alcohol is upfront but doesn't get in the way of enjoyment of this barley wine.

The most drinkable barley wine that I've ever had.

Photo of jdaelhousen
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an orange/amber color producing little carbonation and a solid white head.

Aroma consists of a boozy, fruit aspect of cherry, apricot, rye, and wheat. There is also a distinct candy-sugar essence in the trailing nose.

Taste has a very sugary sweet flavor initially all the way into the center where a grainy rye flavor presents itself. From start to finish, this beer is noticeably boozy, and the finish produces a waft of warmth on the palate from the high ABV.

Aftertaste produces a tart bitterness to counter the sweetness, and the 2 mingle on the palate with the alcohol, for several seconds after the swallow. Smooth and surprisingly palate refreshing, this beer is a true winner.

Photo of DrJay
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange with a light haze and thin cap of fine, off-white bubbles. Spotty lacing right off the pour and a few larger bubbles formed a solid collar. Great head retention. Malty aroma, lots of cereal grain and caramel, quite bready. Light fruit character and hops in the nose. Nicely balanced flavour with a solid malt backbone, caramel and grain, plus some citrusy hops that appear part way through and become a little spicy towards the end. Fruit was evident up front. Bitterness was strong without being aggressive and lingered in the finish, along with a bit of pine resin. Alcohol added to the flavour profile in the finish. Full bodied with creamy carbonation, really smooth. This stuff is dangerously drinkable. I really like this year's batch - it's really balanced for being young. I'll definitely be picking more up.

Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber brown color with thick, foamy white head. Strong alcohol presence in the aroma as well as roasted malts and a bitter hoppiness. The two years of aging really opened this beer up and there is a pleasantly surprising amount of hops balancing out the maltiness and strong alcohol taste. Amazing!

Photo of Pencible
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a hazy bright copper color with fluffy tan head. It smelled like freshly harvested wheat and refined sugar, with some citrus hops. It tasted mostly like orange hops, but also had some floral hops, light caramel malt, wheat, and some waxy flavor. It was watery with almost no carbonation and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a complex sipping beer, but wasn't as bold or delicious as I was hoping. A very good brew, but could have been better.

Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Lothar666
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- An aggressive pour yielded a light, translucent orange-ruby-red body with a two finger thick, creamy off white head. Small traces of sediment were barely visible, and this one was much lighter and more carbonated than I expect in a barleywine. Lacing was thick and sticky, coating the sides of my snifter.

S- Very fruity- Apples, raisins, pears, grapes, with strong alcohol and very sweet malts thrown in for good measure.

T- Flavors are extremely subtle, complex and very well blended, producing a flavor profile full of dry grapes, other fruits, sweet malts and toffee. Hops round this out to finish off with an extremely well balanced flavor profile that hides the alcohol content very well.

M- Smooth- almost too smooth to be a barleywine. Very well carbonated, dry and sticky at the same time with just enough tingle in the finish.

D- Watch out, this Old Guardian is a sneaky bastard. He disguises his alcohol content so well that you don't know what hit you until you stand up. This is an absolutely fabulous and highly drinkable beer.

NOV 2013 UPDATE-
Had another one of these tonight after aging it for several years. 100% worth the wait, but a very different experience. A slightly weaker head over a darker and significantly more opaque body. Dry grapes have been reduced to only a slight tartness, replaced almost entirely by the toffee and brown sugar flavor and mouthfeel complete with a delicious powdery feeling on the roof of the mouth. As smooth as this one was before it only improved with age.

Photo of mikeale
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 327 ratings.