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
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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 Slynger
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
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. (341 characters)

Photo of fostwal
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is slightly cloudy and a dark amber in its appearance. The aroma is very slight with just a few hints of hops and sweet roasted malt. The taste is excellent. The hops and malts are very well balanced. Though it does have a little more bitter hops than traditional barley wines. The flavors are bold, but not overpowering and you really don't notice that this brew is 11% alcohol. The mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is low and the liquid is thick. It feels like a strong beer. The combination of all these makes this a superb beer. (541 characters)

Photo of Goregazm
3.66/5  rDev -9.4%
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. (906 characters)

Photo of Baileyuk
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from Uptown from the Stone launch party. Again I left my notes behind from this one so I am going off memory altough it was within a day.

Color was a fairly light amber, some cloudiness. Head was reduced. The lacing around where the head was superb, the further down it went the weaker it got very quickly. After about 1 third there was no lacing.

Smell had a hoppy aroma but not overpowering. There was a sweet alcohol smell that was more dominant.

Some resiny hops. Tasted very much like pineapple. I think this is the sensation I get from Molasses (still a theory right now). Very pleasant and very drinkable. Was definately heavy with the alcohol content. However I could have done another, it was always a pleasure drinking it. Could definately feel it though! (781 characters)

Photo of thejewthatbrews
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into glass.

Pours an orangy, amber-ish color with exceptional clarity. Slightly off-white head, inch high, with very sticky lacing. Five minutes after the first drink it's still here.

Malty sweet aroma, with a faint hop aroma, and a definate alcohol note.

Malt upfront when first tasted, followed by a slight hop bitterness, then alcohol, then a very slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol does not burn, but is very noticealbe. Malt character definately dominates, with a slight hint of caramel and a bit of dried plum(not sure if that's the best way to desribe it).

Drinkable, in appropriate doses. Definately sippable, even "quaffable" (stupid word), but would be best accompanied by food. Had in unison with a cheap club sandwich, and it complemented the sandwich very well.

Thick mouthfeel, almost sticky "after-feel", but not enough to make me stop. (876 characters)

Photo of Yesac
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Limited early 08 release"

A - Orangy rust color. Small white/orangy head that fades.

S - The smell isn't that strong. There alcohol scent is surprisingly subtle, and then I pickup some butterscotch and caramel.

T - Caramel up front, some butterscotch and a strong alcohol overtone.

M - Medium alcohol burn, sticky and a medium body.

D - Would only have one bottle due to the strong ABV, but its a great sipper. I'd rather have some other barleywines over this one though. (480 characters)

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Early 2008 release. 22 oz. bomber > Chimay goblet/snifter

This is a clear, pure amber color with mellow liquid and a single stream of bubbles directly in the middle of the glass that actually creates a rather lively, dense and sticky tan colored head, long dissipation concidering the style.

The nose has a HUGE sweetness, caramel malt, honey-covered pineapple, strawberries and toffee...tangy, leafy hops that smell very herbal. The heat tingle on the nose is on the extreme side.

Unlike the sweet aroma's, the flavor is much more hop forward, infact the first thing you notice is the massive, bitter, leafy hop flavor attacking the palate, now, this was a bit too much for me personally but I'm sure the big-time hop heads out there love it. The malt gives a semi-sweet smoothness that does it's best to mellow and balance the hops. It tries hard but it's not enough in my book.The alcohol heat is HUGE and mixes with the bitter hops to create something that is difficult to even sip at times. The heat must melolow!! I only let this one sit in the cellar for four months before I opened it, I should've waited much longer. i'm sure the hops will ease up after some time goes by. The blalance should be better next year. Still, eventhough the hops are massive the overall flavor's are big and enjoyable.

This one is medium to full bodied, the malt is a bit thin overall and not as hefty and impressive as some other versions of this style, but it's rather hefty compared to about 80% of beers out there.

good stuff, but the hot heat and huge bitter hops keep this one at bay. (1,591 characters)

Photo of everetends
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber I got at Pearl Street Beverage in Burlington, VT. Poured in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a somewhat hazy but mostly clear dark amberish orange. Head is rather subdued with just a quarter inch coming from a rather vigorous pour. What little is there does have some nice retention. Lacing is soapy and somewhat clingy. Not a bad brew to look at.

S: Lots of malt in this nose. Very nice. Carmel and toffee coming through pretty nicely. Plenty of booze coming through as well. There are some notes of prune and raisin in there as well.

T: Taste is also of some big time sweet, candy malt. Toffee is so creamy in the taste and call me crazy, but I taste a touch of chocolate. Like crunching on a Skor bar as a kid. Very nice. The booze is there but it is just enough. A touch of apple, prune and raisin in there as well. Very damned tasty.

M: Medium to full in body and this is seriously creamy. This is what I want when someone tells me a beer is creamy. Coats and lets you know what it has to offer. Carbonation is a bit up there but it works here, allowing you to deal with the alcohol presence and making it easy to drink.

D: Fairly easy to drink thanks to all of its high marks in aroma, feel and taste. This beer is pretty damned good and I see why so many talk it up so much. Once I am able to, I will keep a few of these on hand. Strong and solid brew. Lovin it. (1,382 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange amber with a head that descends to fine, lasting swirls. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with some golden raisins and some pine/resin and citrusy orange. There's a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is of caramel/toffee - sweet - with prune and golden raisins. It's backed by some citric/floral bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but not raw. Still, it shows its hand. Malty and boozy with supporting bitterness in the finish.

It's full-bodied with a syrupy character in-line with the style.

Alcohol is not masking, but certainly enough to put a dent in the overall drinkability. A slow-sipper - not surprising for an abv of over 11%. It has that "Stone" character. A nice sipping brew. (717 characters)

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good beer - shared a bomber with a friend and some of her input is here to. Pours a really nice dark amber, not much head and not much retention. Taste is Stone for sure - but a little different. Hops, but not as crazy as some stones - and the barley and malts are really evident - I like it. Some fruitiness to the taste and smell, too. Smell isn't as robust as others, and the taste is incredibly smooth considering the alcohol content. Feel is thicker than expected for the style - I really like it. Try this out if you can find it. Highly recommended. (560 characters)

Photo of ibbjamin
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
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. (818 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 aerozeppl
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a finger and a half of white head. Good lacing especially for a barley wine. A nice looking amber/copper color.

S: Big malt nose. A little boozy as well. Some figs and raisins in the back.

T: Nice big malt taste. The raisins and figs are right there. A little bit of hops in the back mixed in. Booze throughout.

M: Thick body. Very sticky in your mouth.

D: This is a little bit hot. With a year on it this will blend together nicely. I would say hold on to this a little while longer. Good beer though still. (527 characters)

Photo of bifrostguard
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Golden in color with some amber undertones and a small light tan head that matched the body quite well.

S - Barley, malt with piney hops and alcohol to a lesser degree.

T - Taste is of barley and malt. It has a very well balanced sweet vs bitter flavor. Alcohol is warming but not very prevalent. Somewhat unremarkable, but certainly enjoyable.

M - Medium to full bodied.

D - The balance is there to make this one very drinkable. By drinkable I mean slow sipper. (469 characters)

Photo of humanawho
3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
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 (517 characters)

Photo of BierFan
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (338 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revisted: 10 Jul 2010
Almost 2 Years Aged

Pours a nice orange golden amber color, nice creamy tan head, nice lacing throughout the drink. Scents of sweet malts, slight citrus, slight hops, caramel, and slight alcohol. The taste is still very nice, sweet malts, hoppy, slight caramel, and slight alcohol, nice dry finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, still very nice, but the ABV was not as present as fresh, and the citrus and hops were also on the downside.

Pours a nice orange golden amber color, nice creamy tan head, nice lacing/puddles throughout the drink. Scents of sweet malts, citrus, hops, spices, caramel, yeast, and slight alcohol. The taste is amazing, sweet malts, hoppy, slight caramel, and slight alcohol, nice dry finish. Medium body, pretty complex barleywine. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from Stone to say the least. (846 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally cracked one of these open last night as I had yet to try this years vintage. Sevred this one out of the cellar and shared amongst friends, mine going into a fluted taster glass. Consumed on 10/03/2008.

The pour was nice, although a little less lively then I would have liked to have seen. Nice deep amber color, with a little bit of haze. Not much in the way of carbonation here, and only the slightest bit of an elevated head of white across the top.

The aroma was rich and malty/ Lots of notes of candied sugar, some light piney hop notes in the beginning, but otherwise very sweet and malty barley wine. The flavor was a bit different though, with much more of a hop presence and some light alcohol notes. As it warmed though it got considerably sweet with that nice candied sugar malt profile coming back one more time and reaching out for a nice smooth finish. The feel was nice and thick, medium to full bodied with a good enough carbonation profile to keep it from becoming too thick. A sipper for sure due to the high abv, though the smoothness of it lends it to be a more sessionable high gravity.

Overall this was not bad at all. No where near as harsh as it could have been, this was about as solid as they come. I would have no issue with having this one anyday, and would love to see how it holds up. (1,324 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (285 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle - Pours a bright orange/red that is rather cloudy. Smells of fruits, malts and hops. First sip is surprisingly light, creamy, and fruity. The hops are huge, even borderline sticky but not biting or overpowering. Finishes with a strong alcohol presence and a sharp bitterness. Great mouthfeel and a great Barley Wine. (328 characters)

Photo of jmalex
3.46/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (1,205 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 Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
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. (349 characters)

Photo of brantadid
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color into a snifter. A one inch white head formed and diminished quickly. Excellent lacing left behind.

Great nose. Nice balance in the nose. Big and malty with a ton of hops. Nice citrus profile. Some alcohol in the nose.

Big malty front palate that quickly turns to citrus rind, grass, and a drying bitterness. Nice layers of flavor. Alcohol also is present in the palate.

Mouthfeel is heavy but not syrupy. Moderate to low carbonate. Hop profile and bitterness gives that "want to take another sip" quality.

This beer has mellowed a bit since its release making it very drinkable. (604 characters)

Photo of 100floods
3.84/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 edition, drank on 9/22/08, aged roughly 9 months (could be more)

This will be my third 2008 Old Guardian. The first two I drank when they were much younger, practically right after it was released.
It pours with a rich copper hue with a pale white head. There is almost no initial aroma, but some hops and a little alcohol make their way to my nose.
The first few sips remind me of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot. This beer contains similar characteristics to the essential west coast BW, but it lacks the intensity, not to say it's a weak one though.
I'm assuming this beer was modeled after bigfoot because it has the same hop characteristics, perhaps not as much (9 months of aging a bigfoot does not yeild any difference).
You can tell this beer has mellowed out a bit, but it still has some bite to it. There is a slight citrus flavor that I was was balanced out by some sugar flavors, but it works well with the hops. After letting it sit, I could taste the alcohol a little more.

This is a good BW. It covers the basics of the west coast style and I think stone tries to put in a few twists and turns to make it unique. I am curious to see how this beer turns out in another year or so. (1,196 characters)

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