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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

328 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 328
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: 328 | Reviews: 259
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic great barleywine. Medium red grapefruit colour, with lasting off-white head. Aroma of barley and malt. Maly-barley aroma. An above average hoppy barleywine with very good mouhfeel. Fruit, caramel taste a and above average mouthfeel.Middle of road in a great roster of barleywines.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy copper in color. It poured with a ring of beige bubbles around the edge of the glass and lacing covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with notes of caramel malts.
T: The taste has flavors of caramel malts with some malty sweetness and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer ages well as it develops some complexities in the taste and seems to be a bit smoother. It has an excellent balance between the malts and hops.

Photo of brentk56
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a rocky head that leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Although the caramel backbone tries to poke its way through, the piney bitterness has won the battle (but not the war, as in a few years, the caramel will dominate)

Taste: Both the piney bitter flavors and the underlying caramel and fig battle it out and reach a draw by mid-palate; after the swallow, the battle continues and I would have to call it a draw again, but there is quite a bit of hops for the malts to overcome

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation and plenty of warmth

Drinkability: In time, things will settle down, but right now, this beer battles it out over the tastebuds

Thanks, DRINKNDRIVE, for the opportunity

Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Deep but clear amber. The head is solid and fairly long-lasting for a beer of this gravity.

Smell - Earthy hops and sweet caramel malts. The hop presence is pretty bold, disguising the high ABV.

Taste/mouthfeel - Very rich. Caramel malts are nicely balanced by a strong hoppy bitterness. Estery notes hide in the background, bringing to mind pineapple and mango. Sweet but not cloying; the finish has a slight drying quality that keeps you coming back for more. Full-bodied with a semi-crisp carbonation.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rosy apricot infused with molten copper. The large lid is both creamy and bubbly, with a color that is some combination of pastel gold and skinless almond. Thick sheets of finely stippled lace cling to the sides of the glass, resulting in eye candy status.

The malts don't contribute much to the aroma and the hops aren't exactly filling the room. The beer smells a bit earthy, with a faint hint of ethanol. Would dry hopping have helped? In spite of a few 4.0s over the years, I've never been that impressed with Old Guardian's nose.

Thankfully, the flavor gives a better accounting of itself. It's hard to know when to drink these brews. They tend to be hot when fresh and the hops fade too much when they're cellared too long. It looks like this 'Early 2008 Release' is in a feel good zone right now, a few months shy of its second birthday.

The prodigous malt backbone provides a 'sugar cookies drizzled with melted caramel' vibe, along with a toasted-earthy-nuttiness that suggests the use of Munich malt (or something in that spectrum). The hops deliver a generous amount of pithy bitterness, with a citrus zest flavor that isn't distinct enough to hazard any specific guesses. It isn't obviously Cascade... or Simcoe... or Amarillo... etc.

If the suggestion box is open, I like to see Stone knock the ABV back a few percentage points. For some reason, this particular beer has never had its alcohol masked very well, no matter how long it's aged. Tongue numbing is not conducive to appreciating a flavor profile that is on the edge of being personality challenged.

The mouthfeel is all kinds of excellent. It's full and crushed velvet plush without being heavy or syrupy in the least. The finish is slightly sticky, but then how could it not be, given all that malt? Ideal carbonation helps immensely and is most likely the key to the whole shootin' match.

As always, I want to like Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale more than I do. The brewery isn't about to change things up in a major way at this point, so I'll just have to resign myself to buying one (and only one) bomber each year.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice to finally see this arrive in the Buffalo area before I get outta town in a few weeks I always look forward to this annual brew.Poured into a 22 oz nonic a clear burnt orange color with a very well definedone finger white head that formed a ring at the top of the glass and settled slowly leaving broken lace behind.Big fruity esters in the nose with some jet fuel alcohol,citric hop lingers but is not a huge force in the nose,there is a big malt bill to this beer no doubt caramelly and doughy upfront with some juicy fruit hops give a good punch in the resiny finish along with a s bit of an alcohol sting.As I drink more a citric hop profile shows thru more but its not bitter more fruity with a tinge rind but it is nice,this could be put down to mellow but is a fine beer now I will grab a few and hold them to see how they are a few months from now.

Photo of zeff80
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, yellow,orange color with a foamy, small, off-white head. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled very sweet, mostly caramel. Also, a licorice-like aroma.

T - It tasted of licorice, candy sugar, rich caramel malts and warm alcohol. The hop presence is subtle but provides a little bitter kick

M - It was soft and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. A medium-bodied barleywine.

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. A little less hoppy than I expected from Stone.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep orange/brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, caramelized malts, citrus, brown sugar and some alcohol.

T: The taste hits with a burst of hops bitterness, which I thought would be more toned-down since the beer has been sitting for almost a year. There are sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus. The malt character is very hearty and there's a significant alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, the only difference that I see between this beer and the 2007 release is that the hops presence is a little stronger in this release, but that's mostly because of the extra year of aging. Overall, this is an excellent high-powered beer to drink for a long time.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this puppy from IntriqKen from what I believe was my first trade ever.

Pours a slightly fogy amber with a thicker and nice crème head. Nose is chalky with figs and raisins clearly evident. Barely evident alcohol tones. Smells nice. Flavor is slightly hot and burning it seems. Nice sweet tones are there. Raisins are fairly noticed as well. Feel has a carbonation that strikes me as a bit too full. Liquid is slick and smooth though. Overall I like this barley wine much more than I had anticipated. The detractors are the alcoholic aftertaste and being able to notice it and the carbonation that bites too much. This in 2-3 years would probably be quite good.

Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel with 3 fingers of fluffed up sand colored head. Good lacing & very good head retention

S: Slight breadyness & that's it

T: A bit of caramel, some fruityness & herbal, leafy & piney hops up front. Boozey warmth, plus grapefruitty hops come through as this warms. Finishes dry, with grapefruitty & leafy hops & a bit of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, breadyness, plus a bit of apricots, figs, & apples

MF: Very chewy with low carbonation & good balance, with a nice warming sensation

Drinks very easy for the abv, a pretty good Barley Wine, especially for the money, let this one warm way up

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak chalice with a copper bronze body simply shining when held up to the light a large cream hued head forms thick with fine bubbles and slow pouring head retention. Head retention is great with thick even chunks of lacing between sips. Aroma has huge malt ripened edges that are far removed from the early days of Stone Old Guardian this is a new take on it, not in a subdued way but just different I'm getting strong streams of sweetness including orange and other citrus peel marmalade notes really sweet and viscous at it's best with big herbal and more citrus layers of hops flooding my senses. Flavor is subdued if that makes sense much more unfiltered appearance in past years always looking mahogany brown these year it glows with clarity. At $6.99 a bottle it's amazing but I'm asking myself is the same brew I've come to expect from Stone, not at all but I like the changes it's lighter with more honey biscuit malt less straight abrasive hoppiness the kinda change I expect with growth. BTW this bottle gives a shout out to the crew in Cincinnati that gave me access to this beer thanks George and company at Cavalier thanks for yelling at Greg during GABF while he was writing this label in turn creating a relationship between your distributor and their brewery forever. Mouthfeel is full bodied syrup like in texture one fine ale that I can't give enough approval to carbonation is even with the big waves of malt and hop complexity, damn good. Drinkability is easy enough to wax off a big bottle but if your really serious come and represent with this beer at a tasting in small portions and try to wrap your mind around all of the flavor aspects another complex strong barleywine from the west coast, like we need any more of those.

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Four-finger, frothy head on an orange-amber liquor. Cloudy. Thick lace on the glass.

Lots of rich caramel and brown sugar aromas. This is a sweet smelling beer with no noticeable hop. Sugary.

Surprisingly dry flavor; not at all like the aroma. Also, there's decent amount of hop bitterness in the swallow that has a lingering effect in the aftertaste. Predictably rich body with a balancing (read: high) level of carbonation. The alcohol creates an oiliness to the feel of the beer. Still, with the big flavor, this could be a deceptive beer.

Potent, but lovable, this is a hoppier version of the typical barleywine although you'd never know it in the smell.

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Mugs Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden orange in color with a thin off-white head. The head reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Lots of very sweet malts with caramel and toffee notes. Also, there are some subtle pine hops present as well.

T: Very sweet with a lingering pine bitterness in the finish. Caramel and toffee notes upfront with intense pine hops in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky.

O: This beer tastes great with some age on it. After having both this beer and the 2012 version of it this week, I much prefer the 2008 with the age on it. Very nice sipping beer.

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/25/08- Purchased at Ledger's in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, 2008 release. Poured into my Old Guardian glass.

Appearance- Brown, cough sytup orange colored pour. 1/4 inch head with light lace traces.

Smell- Fresh hot grapefruit hops, light fusel alcohol nose with a suprising caramel malt nose.

Taste- Stone has officially gone soft! A Old Guardian perfectly fresh that is balanced?!? Hops come through as a sweet and prickly grapefruit flavor, but here comes caramel malt right behind and almost it's equal! Seems like a fair amount of alcohol, but not as much as usual.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, a touch creamy and nice and smooth.

Drinkability- One of the better vintages for sure. Not hot as most right out of the bottle.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.16/5  rDev +2%
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.

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 Georgiabeer
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.

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 barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky orange with a small white head. Smells of malt and pine. Nice combination.
Taste is unusually grapefruity and pine-y for a Barleywine. Lots of hops, malt and very young. A year or twon this and it would be a beast!! What a good barleywine but it needs some more maturity before I call it Great.

Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Mahaffey's last night.

The beer pours a brownish toffee flavor with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just some sweet malt with some underlying hoppy bitterness. I had a hard time with this beer on the palate, and I really think it needs more time to come together. The beer shows a huge marriage of hops and malt, with the hoppy bitterness winning the day. The beer comes across as quite dry for a barley wine, and at present I thought the abv. was entirely too noticeable. I ultimately couldn't finish my 10 ounce glass of beer, as the high abv. finally just wore me out.

This beer reminds of certain wines that are either too tannic or just closed up. That's what I thought of this beer... the flavor profile is a bit closed right now; I'm sure in a couple of years it'll turn into something sublime. For now it just isn't a very enjoyable beer to drink, though I think that will change over time. Oh well...

Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The odyessy continues. Not too quickly though, I'm too old for this stuff…

A: The barleywine is a golden orange, brighter at the base with a bit of a glow. Still transparent. The ale sports a thick head, over two fingers with plenty of lace.

S: Mellow. Still hoppy but the the aroma isn't a blast of malts and hops. Pepper and citrus are present but it seems like I have to search for them.

T: Plenty of caramel in the first sip, possibly even some smoky rye flavors. The grains are lightly toasted but quite strong. Even the hops, restrained in the nose, stand out with a little more power. They are citrusy, pepper in tow, and still reasonably fresh. A nice wall of malt pops up near the finish but the ale still comes across as young. A lively citrus presence, hops definitely but quite sugary, sees the ale away. I like that the maltiness isn't as intense as the '07 and '06 versions.

M: The hoppiest of the three. Not surprising as it is the youngest. Also the nicest finish, not nearly as intense either.

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 328 ratings.