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 SpdKilz
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours an intense, cloudy, and quite hazy golden color. At least two fingers of head when I pour hard and a great amount of lacing. I honestly was afraid to drink this at first because it was so incredibly hazy in the glass after pouring it.

Smell - Pine, just a touch of alcohol, and a very pleasant sweetness. It is by no means "sweet" smelling as in sickly like cough syrup but a great balance of hoppiness and sweetness. Honestly, I can smell a bit of honey in this and the aroma is just delightful.

Taste - The taste is just delightful. I bought this at a local place that had the 09 and 08 versions and they recommended I get the 08. How right they were. The hops are present but have toned down quite a bit (from what I can tell) and there is a faint tinge of alcohol but honestly, for being over 11% abv I do not taste it much. The warmer it becomes the more complex the taste becomes.

Mouthfeel - One word - creamy. Quite thick, carbonated, and overall just extremely enjoyable.

Drinkability - More so than I wish it to be. For being such a high abv, the drinkability of this is unbelievable. I am most pleasantly surprised by this brew - it is impressing me more than I can express. All I know is that I need to go and pick up the remaining 08's that my local shop has because this is quickly becoming one of my favorite offerings by Stone. Amazing job on this year. I need to buy a 09 now to see how they compare. (1,440 characters)

Photo of bum732
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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

A very good barleywine. The hops weren't really present in the aroma, but came through in the taste. A nice bitterness cuts through the rich toffee malt. Still, this is a huge beer and the toffee flavor is a bit much. (591 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Limited early 2008 release'.
22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tulip.

A glowing, faint oak in color beneath a densely creamy white head that barely budges. Thin and patchy lacing with pretty solid strength.

Sweet vanilla with notes of honey. Aged, vinous fruit: peach, pear, apple. Young rum-like alcohol aroma. A lot of ripe, intense hop oils imparting a slick citrus.

Sweet, creamy malt base with caramel and milk chocolate under a wave of vanilla; rich toffee. The alcohol presence is intense and immature, but also quite complex as it works through the sea of filmy, oily hop bite adding nice subtleties to the citrus notes. The slick bite is followed by notes of rum and vanilla.

Full bodied; slick, oily, creamy. Not quite in complete balance, but given how intense the flavor components are, the body is quite impresive.

Unique in its vanmilla-laden malt flavor for the style. Not quite ripe, but very flavorful. A yearly accomplishment from Stone. (962 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap @ Stone Beer Gardens. Clear amber pour with a squatty tan head. Floral aroma with pine resin and malt. Subtle malt and resin hop blend throughout. More grapefruit and pineapple flavors as the earthy malt appears. Kind of a peat character. Chewy, woodys, without being syrupy. A nice brew from Stone. (303 characters)

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

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. The beer pours an amber/orange color with an average white head. The aroma is of dark candied fruit, maybe a hint of orange marmalade. The flavor is of rum soaked dates with a phenolic, lingering finish. The beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer is a sipper due to high ABV. I enjoyed this one. I was suprised not to pick up any hops since Stone normally loves hops. I felt this was very balanced. (469 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 kingcrowing
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a 8oz snifter.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden/amber color and a thin white head. Nose is sweet, malty and it has some light hoppiness and almost no booze.

Taste is a bit boozy but not too bad for over 11%, It's crisp and pretty smooth has a light hottness that lingers for a while. One of the first barleywines I've ever had and it's great to come back to it. (385 characters)

Photo of ckeegan04
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

M/D - Full bodied and somewhat chewy. A stronng barleywine that is a little rough around the edges. I would definitely like to pick one up and cellar for a year or so. (722 characters)

Photo of yesyouam
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stone Old Guardian (Early 2008) is a crystal clear, sparkling, viscous, red-orange-brown ale with a frothy light beige head with oily bubbles. The head has an eggy consistency and leaves great lacing. The aroma holds a deep, round sweetness. There are grassy, herbal, medicinal, cough drop elements in the aroma. It has a smooth full body with a crispy finish. It's a touch gritty and sharp at the end. It has good flavor balance. It's very bitter like lime and orange peel. It is sweet and boozy like candy. It has a hot rumble at the finish. A great barleywine! Age it!
(rated Apr 15, 2008) (592 characters)

Photo of nrs207
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip. No idea how this was aged. I picked it up from a bottle shop a couple weeks ago.

A - Beatiful cloudy dark orange color. Half a finger of off white head. Doesn't leave a lot of lacing.

S - Dark, sweet fruits. A little bit of hop character remains after 4 years, but if it was there originally it's certainly in the background now. The 11.26% abv is nowhere to be found. Just a touch remains, but for such a high abv, it's basically non-existent.

T - More of the same. There's just a hint of alcohol, but the taste is dominated by sweet and dark fruit. They blend together really well. After 4 years, this is just a big bready, caramel, and fruit dominated beer. I really enjoy what it's like now. I've never had such an old beer, but the alcohol character barely being there amazed me. It stepped aside to let the flavor of this beer come out, and I really loved the flavor.

M - So smooth and absolutely no alcohol. Definitely still a sipper. It's a big beer no doubt.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. It's not my favorite style, but it was a really nice step away from the usual. I have to give credit where it's due, and they really made this to stand up to years on a shelf. I'll be going to grab some more of this soon. If you can find it, I'd recommend doing the same. (1,313 characters)

Photo of peabody
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out like a cloudy iced tea with one finger of suds that stick to the rim of the Stone Barleywine glass. Nice to have the right glass.
Smell is a little weak but it is a bit cold.
Taste is strong caramel sugar with just a dash of slight bitterness followed by the alcohol which is very strong here. Mabey if it rests for a year or so it might be a little better.
Mouthfeel is really clean here and this is a well made barley wine. The 2007 was just a tad better than this when it was new but both are top notch. (516 characters)

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

Pours a very cloudy amber color with a small white head. When held up to light, it has a beautiful orange hue to it. This beer smells AMAZING! I've only had this beer fresh, so this aging has done great things for the nose. I get amazing malt and dark fruits (figs, dates, prunes, raisins). Strong caramel and a lovely buttery scent. This smells absolutely delicious! Taste is awesome as well! Still contains a bit of hoppiness... Not nearly as much as it does fresh though. The caramel, dark fruits, and malt blend together superbly. Even after this amount of time, there is still a bit of booziness at the end of the taste, followed by more buttery dark fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and not too syrupy. Very full. Drinkability is fairly high for such a big beer. (781 characters)

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

22 oz. bottle.

Tried Jul 2008.

Pours with a light yellow head. Minimal carbonation. Clear coppery color. Smells of caramel, alcohol, bananas and brown sugar. Starts with a lot of up front alcohol. Quite bitter. Some banana, honey, caramel and resin. Alcohol is noticeable throughout. Medium body. Finish is resin and alcohol. (327 characters)

Photo of Wildman
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's version poured a clear medium amber color and formed a nice off white foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, pine and caramel. The flavor was of malt, caramel, grapefruit and and pine. The body was medium and creamy. The finish was slightly bitter. I found this year's batch to be less raw than previous years, although I imagine aging would definately refine it. (455 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish-orange body with a moderate lasting offwhite foamy head... decent lacing..

S: Real sweet fruity malts.. some slightly peppery notes..

T: Nice bready malt base... almost like like a nice roll with a mixed fruit preserve on it... some hop bitterness for finishing... alcohol is virtually hidden

M: Smooth.. refreshing moderate body..

D: Given the lack of alcohol in the nose and taste this monster is excellent.. (425 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from Notes. Tasted 1/24/09

This beer poured an amber, thick honey, tan, nectar type body with a small white head.

Nose is thick with sweet malt and caramelly with a touch of sweetness.

Taste is pure malt syrup. Thick and very heavy. Carmel, bread malt, dark caramel syrup. Very bitter with lots of muted citrus peel and some soft muted grapefruit. Classic American Barleywine. Big Malt, Big bitterness. The bitterness is a little much even after a year of aging, still... very good. Finishes with a long lingering bitterness.

As always, Stone makes a fabulous BW. Year and year it continues to kick ass and be one of the best. (639 characters)

Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Early 2008 release, lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Pours a dark, slightly hazed, amber color with ½" off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving behind think film of foam, a ring of foam, and some speckled lacing on the glass.

Smell: As soon as the bottle is opened the aromas of grapefruit and pine spread into the room. The hops in this one are clearly alive and well. A closer sniff picks up the caramel malt presence and some alcohol in the mix.

Taste: The hops are clearly still here more than a year after bottling with a strong citrus/grapefruit/pine taste that fills the mouth. But the malts also weigh in with some caramel and toffee sweetness. The presence of the alcohol is detectable as well. Overall the balance is quite good with no single flavor damping out the others, and over time the malt backbone stands out more and tastes better and better as the palate adapts to the hops.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly creamy with little carbonation present. The finish is long, dry, and bitter with the hops.

Drinkability: While I'm enjoying sipping this barleywine I'd not try to drink more than this one bomber in an evening and would save another for a special occasion. I'd say with a year more of bottle age the flavors will be even more well integrated and balanced. Beyond that I'd predict the malt backbone takes over and leaving the hops in the dust. (1,484 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours an opaque honey golden orange, looking like it was just squeezed from a bear-shaped bottle. A full finger of fluffy yellow tan head sustains some time, and puffily. Ripply bands of lacing ring the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, the malt is caramel and sugar sweet, then blossoms with strawberry, melon, lemon, orange, and brisk pine. A touch of toffee and spice presage a warm funnel of alcohol.

Upon sipping, the malt is toasted and rich with sweet candy sugar and molten toffee. A fruit note plays a more general berry here, but again with a flash of melon. The hops are heavy with dry grapefruit and spicy crisp pine. Alcohol is hot and hefty. Biscuit, bread, and a tickle of clean esters glide into a long lingering and quite crisp dry bitterness. It's thick, rich, and comfortably good.

Full bodied, it's slick and syrupy, with an oily hop slide that ends up glowing in a clean way.

It's mighty mighty, letting it all hang out, but with some subtlety. It's fairly complex, with adept blending. In sum, it's a brawny batch of bodacious barley and hellacious hops. The ABV is especially muscular, and vascular as well, standing out and keeping a loose but real rein on consumption. It's a toasty tasty beastie, and it will be a task not drinking the other three I've got cellaring before they age very long. But I'll do my best. (1,352 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a snifter.

Appearance: Different than the '07, it has a hazy amber color with a touch of caramel. A thin head remains and surprisingly leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Strong citrus hop nose, with lighter toffee malt notes.

Taste: Not a ton of fruit pushing through. Caramel toffee malt front drips of sugar, with grapefruit hops toward the end. A small hop aftertaste. A better balance with aging.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with an average level of carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, easy, relaxing. A little bit sweet for my taste, though. And, as always, watch out for the ABV. (598 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first few I've tried from Stone have been so damn good that I was impelled by forces beyond my control to grab this. It did not disappoint. Old Guardian pours a slightly cloudy amber with two fingers of off-white head, leaving plenty of amazingly proportioned lacing on the glass--excellent. The nose emits good aromas, but is too faint. Fruit is first and foremost, followed closely by a decent whiff of hops. I'd like more, please.

The taste brings it all home well. Though this does have a bite, it's a bit sweeter and fruitier than I expected. Lots of citrus, the hops are present and accounted for, and the spice is good also--pepper and perhaps cinnamon. The alcohol warms rapidly but is never overbearing, maintaining some restraint and allowing one to enjoy this high-test barleywine (11.26%). Terrific.

Some bite emerges with the mouthfeel, a pleasant mix of hops and spice coating the tongue. Surprisingly drinkable for its potency, but not given the sweet flavor relative to the several barleywines I've had. Another hit from Stone, which has quickly emerged as one of my favorite American breweries. (1,117 characters)

Photo of BeerCon5
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Fruity scent with very pronounced alcohol.

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

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

Average drinker. Very flavorful and interesting, though tough to drink more than a bomber. (352 characters)

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Guess I oughta review one of these eventually.

Pours a very nice looking amber and orange color with a large fluffy off white head that leaves good lacing. Nose is some big maltiness, hops, some dark fruit or peachiness and a bit of spice. Flavor starts out with a big malt presence, followed by some savage hoppery and a good spice kick. dark fruit, some light caramel and candy sugar. Hops finish it up with a nice bitter kick. Mouthfeel is thinner than I would like in a BW, but nice and viscous, and most certainly tolerable. Drinkability is outstanding for the abv. Overall a solid representation of the american barleywine style. A good one, and a go to for an easy choice in the realm of american BW. Good beer. (719 characters)

Photo of colts9016
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a BIF, poured into a snifter at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A nice one finger ivory head that is creamy and a little foamy. The head has no retention. The body of the beer is a reddish amber hue with a copper tint. There is some very small bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass. The clarity of the beer is hazy, but light is visible.

Nose: A nice rich maltiness, there is some citrus, wood, and floral esters. There is phenols, a alcohol/solvent aroma, a gentle sweetness, hint of caramel and a little yeasty.

Taste: A very rich malt flavor, with citrus, wood, floral esters, some phenols, alcohol, a gentle sweetness, hint of caramel and a little yeasty.

Overall: The mouth feel of the beer is waming from the alcohol, some carbonation but it is gentle on the tounge and a little astringent. The body of the beer is medium, and the finish is medium full. This is another really good beer from Stone. There is not much to critic, except that I wish that flavor was a little brighter. (1,012 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: cloudy orange/gold body. very creamy off-white head, great retention, beautiful lacing.

s: wonderful aroma of barley and alcohol. you can tell there is a lot of malt in this one.

t: mmmm...NOW THAT IS A BARLEYWINE! a terrific representation of the style. has that wonderful malt/alcohol flavor only sen in barelywines. Hops sneak up on you, but are not overwhelming.

m: very creamy, smooth, and rich. low to medium carbonation.

d: That's some good stuff. I LOVE the maltiness of this beer. Tastes more like a British version than an American one. I will certainly be buying more of this! (594 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)

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