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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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

259 Reviews
THE BROS
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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 IBUnit63
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sudsy, 2-3 finger head with better than average lacing. Body is a nice bronze color - a little cloudy.

Very floral, almost soapy hop aroma - more than expected for a barley wine. Quite mild, though, with a slight sweetness of malt and baked apples. Mellow and refined...really? A Stone product?

Heavy alcohol burn that's balanced well with hop backbone and finish. Not a lot of hoppiness in the front of the mouth; the sweetness is there - again, the apple pie undertones are there and pleasant. A little citrus is there also. As this warms, the hops, alcohol and malt all become more abundant in a solid trifecta.

Very tight on the mouth - nice pucker sensation from the hop bitterness and citrus acidity.

This is pleasant to drink, but very heavy - actually would have expected more from the producer in terms of the overall affront to the senses. (853 characters)

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

Pours a very cloudy orangey/amber color with a large inch and a half yellowed head. Nice retention.

The aroma is decent. some hop spiciness up front with some nice sweet malts. Some fruity esters and a bit of alcohol.

The taste is ok. It's rather aggressive. Pretty hot, with some sweet malts up front. Some pineapple in there too. A slight bitterness on the finish. Not my favorite barleywine, but I could definitely see why this has become such a popular cellar candidate. It seems it could be a great beer with several years on it.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, slightly syrupy, and fairly creamy. Carbonation is fairly light.

Drinkability is low to moderate. It's not a bad brew, but definitely aggressive in both taste and strength of alcohol. With some years in the cellar I imagine the drinkability would improve dramatically. (840 characters)

Photo of tronester
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber with a medium tan head. Smells of perfumy malt. Taste is citrus hops up front followed by a solid malt backbone. There is an impressive bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is rich, carbonation slightly high. Quite drinkable, this beer drinks very well for over 11 percent ABV. I personally like the extreme hoppiness in the beer, but others may prefer this beer aged. Either way, this is another great beer from Stone IMO. (443 characters)

Photo of drseamus
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber body with a touch of white head.

S: Strong malt aroma. I don't get much on the hop aroma.

T: Nice one-two punch of malt sweetness followed by hop bitterness. Good powerful flavor. I almost don't want to let this one age.

M: Not too thick at all, nice and medium bodied. Admittally, it's on the thicker end of medium, but still not too heavy.

D: Not bad at all. Very nice fresh. (395 characters)

Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a brown bomber into an oversized wine glass. Label is a standard paint on Stone, with long ramblings on the back. These ones are from the GABF 2007. 11.26 % ABV. I bought one to drink and one to cellar. We'll see if I need to pick up more.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of light tan head. Impressive considering the alcohol content and the oversized glass. This settles slowly into a few islands of foam. Impressive lacing. The beer itself is honey amber with a substantial chill haze.

Smell: Malt dominates the aroma. Caramel, bubblegum, and alcohol. Hops are barely noticeable.

Taste: Hops are more noticeable in the taste, well blended with malt. Some spiciness upfront, but bitter in finish. Even though this is listed as 95 IBU, the hops blend so well with the malt that they certainly are not overpowering. Malt is caramelly with a hint of sour. Not as sweet as in the aroma. The alcohol warms as it goes down, but is surprisingly well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation level, especially for a barleywine. Not bad, helps to keep the beer from being cloying. Good mouthfeel.

Drinability: A great beer to sip on a cool night. Too bad its August. I think this will get better with age as the alcohol and hops lose a little edge. Might have to pick up a few more. (1,315 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a Vintage Stone Tasting as part of an Old Guardian vertical (07,08,09).

A- Allowed to warm up to about 50 degrees and poured into a nice snifter. Beautiful deep amber color with a small white foam that leaves some lacing. A bit cloudy with a nice bubble stream.

S- Some floral and citrus hops and some yeasty biscuit scents as well. This one had WAY more hop presence than the 07 that I tasted just before it. Alcohol is present in the aroma but is kept in check with some piney apricot and brown sugar/caramel scents.

T- Light grapefruit and piney hop taste initially that gives way to a more noticeable malty sweet bread flavor. The hops do a decent job coming through but the age has knocked their bitterness down a bit. Spice and dark fruit flavors are present with a caramel sweetness and the slightest bit of a roasted finish.

M- Big and chewy with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- A decent brew that aged well with the hops putting up quite a fight for being over a year old. (998 characters)

Photo of cswhitehorse
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Old Guardian Early Spring 2008 release poured a autumn amber, hazy with a good two finger foam head. It has some real nice sea foam lacing.

The aroma was wonderful hoppy smell with slight esters coming up to greet the schnaze. Get some pine smell with a faint brown sugar.

The taste has a solid foundation with the barley malts with a nice bitterness and hop finish then back to a sweetness. The brew is perfectly carbonated for me and is light and very smooth. The over 11% is present but not overwhelming.

Definitely one of my favorite Barley wine's to date. I will have to recommend this to one of my friends that has not embraced the style. (653 characters)

Photo of JRed
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (716 characters)

Photo of becktone
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From notes 12-16-08

Done back to back with Dogfish Head Olde School

Eye: Really nice appearance. This one looks great. For starters the color is orange-amber and is pretty clear. The head is a creamy creature, with real nice retention, excellent formation and nice lacing. It holds a steady head after the pour (after its simmered down a bit) at about a finger's width. Lacing is real nice, thick rings, I mean sticking out form the inside of the glass connected by sheets.

Nose: Strong barley sweet malt presence, unlike DFH Olde School this one smells more like what I expect for the style. Big and malty with some alcohol to balance and support. But hey, you know DFH-"Off centered ales for off centered people." It was good, hell it was great, but I'll have to say this is more to style, not that I'm a style stickler or anything, but when I want a barelywine there are certain characteristics I want to taste, especially since I'm not a big barleywine fanatic. Once in a while I'm in the mood, and now this one is just about doing it for me with its "balanced aroma." Sweet malt is supported by a touch of graininess and some sweet caramel notes. The aroma reminds me of cookies cooking, some vanilla perhaps. I'll bet there's some toasted oats in here. Just a wonderful aroma, alcohol is hidden quite well. Overall this just smells excellent. Also a general aroma that reminds me of grain being mashed, if you're not a homebrewer then you're missing out. It's one of the most wonderful aromas there is. Hops top off the aroma, but are not in your face as most stone brews are when it comes to hops. Just got some bready character as well.

Tongue: First sip: alcohol is there, but not in as much quantity or intensity as the Olde School. After being swallowed an intense finish of toasty flavor lingers in the mouth. When I say intense I don't mean mind blowing, but as far as finishes go, I've never picked up toasty character this strong that lingers. Alcohol plays a role in the flavor, it weaves itself into the flavor of the beer, rather than being a predominant flavor itself. Graininess comes through and is easy to identify as well as toasted malts in the main flavor. Not as sweet as the DFH Olde School, and vastly different. Hops here have more of a floral and grassy flavor. Nice flavor but it pales to the complexity of the DFH Olde School, this may be more "stylisticlly correct" but it isn't as deep in terms of complexity and uniqueness. Its a great barleywine, but it doesn't stand apart from others that are just as good-I mean sure its much better than Mad River's Barleycorn and Bluegrass Bearded Pat, but is there anything that really makes it unique?...not really. This is just a good barleywine. Really hard to compare Stone and DFH, but on the otherhand it shouldn't be...both extreme brewers, but in a different spectrum. DFH going for outside the box, Stone going for breaking the box.

Feel and Drinkablity: Carbonation is low as it should be, everything in check as it should be with feel. Medium body with a dry finish. What I would like from this one is more warmth as it goes down, that really makes a beer like this much better, especially during the winter months when they are meant to be drunk. That's one the Olde School has up on Stone, this isn't warming. However, it isn't over the top alcoholic either. Even though after a few sips the palate became adjusted to the alcohol of the Olde School, it was still alcohol dominated for the first quarter-third of the bottle. This is one that I'll definitely pick up again. When I reach for a barleywine, and am in the mood, this is what I want. Sure DFH is good, but this is what I really want, well actually I think a mix of the two might be an interesting combo. That might be a winner for me. I like the depth and complexity, warmth and odd flavor of the DFH and the rock solid foundation of the Stone. (3,900 characters)

Photo of Bookseeb
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is an orange amber with minimal head. Smell is solfly sweet with malt dark fruits with little alchohol. Taste is rich with dark fruit, caramel, spices with a good hop bite. mouthfeel is syrupy with a lot of body.
Maybe not as rich as other Barleywines I've had, and Considering the ABV. I can sure taste the alchohol, but not as strong as I thought it would be. A very good brew and one I'd like to keep in the cellar awhile. (437 characters)

Photo of Gtreid
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Paul 68 this one! 22 oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Very cloudy, dark, orange, amber. About a 1/2 finger of off white, almost tan, cream colored head. Little lace, no retention.

A: Smells of roasted malts and earthy hops. Big alcohol aroma.

T: Hops up front, malts in the back. Again, alcohol dominates. But very nice.

M: Full body and oily. Next to no carbonation.

D: I thought this one was great, but different from other American Barleywines....ie Bigfoot, Old Ruffian, and Gnarleywine. Heavier on the hops, but a little lighter on the palate, and higher ABV. All and all a must try for barleywine lovers. Kudos to Stone for this very tasty concoction. Skal. (682 characters)

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

22-oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A = Slightly hazy amber, fair sized off white head with yellow-orange tint.

S = Strong fruity smells of orange, kiwi, dried pineapple, also as warms get some straw and toasted malts.

T = Taste follows from the smell, lots of ripe fruits, from orange and grapefruit to passion fruit and kiwi, then at mid-palate there is a good malt taste of toasted grains. The fruits flavors still predominate though and the finish is long and bitter.

M = Medium bodied, great foamy carbonation level when swished, good mouthcoating.

D = Good drinkability, I have several of these and look forward to trying them over the next few months (or couple years) (680 characters)

Photo of oelergud
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark 1 pint 6oz glass bottle. Red and gold silk screen showing the classic Stone Gargoyle holding a mug.
Cloudy semi translucent burgandy-orange body with moderate carbonation. Creamy lemon tinted head with lots of small bubbles. The retention and clumpy lace are rather impressive.
The smell is alcohol drenched caramel set on fire. Strong, intense, mouthwatering, sweet and intensely hopped. Nice baker's spices with almonds and nuts.
Very harsh and hoppy. Wild flower honey sweetness and piney hops, intense orange oil and alcohol burn and strong caramel, very complex.
Full body and good coating, finishes very dry. Lots of residual sugars.
Highly drinkable. Some time in the cellar should make this brew even better by smoothing out the alcohol and mellow the hops. Maybe 6 months or so will make this a perfect 5.

-Oelergud (830 characters)

Photo of BucBasil
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the Limited Early 2008 Release of the Old Guardian.

Appearance: Poured from the 22oz bomber into a large snifter. The beer is a murky brownish orange. Head grew to two fingers thick, but faded back down to about one finger, where it stayed for a while. Color was off-white/cream.

Smell: Fruit and pine are most noticeable in the aroma. Underneath, a complex malt profile lurks, reavelaing breadiness as well as creamy caramel and toffee. Very inviting.

Taste: Toffee and caramel are the introduction, showing hints of fruits. Citrus was also somewhat noticeable. Finishes very hoppy with big piney character. there's a lot going on in this brew, and with some age it would come together quite nicely I would image. But alas, I am unable to age my beer for a while.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, but breaks up with a nice subtle carbonation. Finishes really nicely. (876 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
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. (523 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 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 dnichols
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (1,021 characters)

Photo of BlindPig
3.61/5  rDev -10.6%
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. (1,111 characters)

Photo of dmamiano
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (379 characters)

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (486 characters)

Photo of changeup45
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (703 characters)

Photo of kegger22
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, reddish brown with a one finger head that faded to a thick skin. The aroma was largely malt. The taste was sweet with very little hop presence, maybe just a little pine needle aftertaste. The feel was medium bodied with mild carbonation. Drinkability was good for a high ABV. (292 characters)

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 mdwalsh
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wife brought this back from PA just before Christmas, planned to cellar it longer, but my brother happened to get me the matching glassware (unknowlingly), and I'm anal about the first thing I drink from branded glassware is that beer. So, here goes.

A: Orange-brown coloring with a one finger, almost yellow/tannish head and good laing. It's rather cloudy though and the head has no dexterity.

S: It smell's like Caramel dipped hops. I'm really amazed at how strong the hops still are. As I think further, it reminds me of cooking honey, in particular a honey-cream sauce I make for vegetables.

T: Still, a lot of honey, my wife compares it to the smell of extracting honey from the comb. The hops from the nose are gone and it is just super smooth, nothing biting at all, not even alcohol. Really smooth.

M: Light, but not BMC light, just very nice.

D: Remarkable, particularly at the ABV. This is why you cellar beers. (926 characters)

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