Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 323 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
4.03/5 rDev -1.2%
Serving: Bottle in a tulip glass.
A - Hazy amber colored with a thin head that quickly dissapears and leaves a good lacing.
S - A very faint smell of caramel, alcohol and spices.
T - Lots of hop flavor, alcohol and caramel.
M - Medium body with gentle carbonation.
D - A really nice experience.
10-30-2009 11:06:36 | More by mfkr
United Kingdom (England)
3.9/5 rDev -4.4%
Bought from Beers of Europe (Kings Lynn, UK), and poured from a cellar temperature bottle into an oversized wine glass.
Appearance: Warm amber coloured body, with a fluffy off-white head, which shows good lacing and retention. No visible carbonation whatsoever.
Aroma: There is a dry barley scent, which is strong at first with lots of oats. This makes way for a slight sweet hit before a potent alcohol aroma takes over.
Taste: The first flavours that come through are oats and wheat, with a hint of sweetness. In the middle the taste drys out and becomes very earthy and hoppy. The aftertaste is slightly perfumy, with an enduring punch of alcohol.
Mouthfeel: The feel is light considering the ABV, with an almost greasy texture, which projects a well rounded smoothness.
Drinkability: The alcohol is fairly heavy in the finish, which would normally destroy the drinkability, however, the flavours as a whole work past this making it incredibly moreish. This is my first Old Guardian, and I'm now pretty intrigued as to how the other years match up.
10-26-2009 23:21:23 | More by PartyBear
3.98/5 rDev -2.5%
Pours a very hazy orange/apricot color. It almost has a cider appearance. Has a tan head with a slight orange tinge to it, but it goes away very quickly.
Has a very fruity/spicy yeast aroma. The booze is obvious but not overpowering. There's some sweet cotton candy, vanilla and almonds?? in there as well.
A lot of sweetness with fruity esters and spiciness up front. Then plenty of malitness that goes to a moderate amount of hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is very toned down, which was a little surprising from the aroma. Not a very complex tasting beer but very enjoyable.
It's very smooth and full bodied. There's a little carbonation bite with a warming sensation and only a very slight burn on swallow. There's a little lingering dryness.
This beer is dangerously easy to drink. It should be a sipper but it's easy to forget the alcohol content. It's fairly well balanced between the fruity spice, sweetness and bitterness. A nice beer.
10-18-2009 14:38:28 | More by Kallessin
3.98/5 rDev -2.5%
22 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale Stem Glass. Thanks go out to Sweemzander for this aged beer! Cheers to my #400! 11.26% ABV. "Limited Early 2008 Release."
A - Hazy and dirty orange-ish amber, it's not much to look at. The thin head is a light cream color that pops up right away and sinks to a thin layer and ring. No lacing left on the glass.
S - This barley wine has a funky old basement nose to it on the first sniff that's oddly inviting and nostalgic. The intensely complex aroma has a boozy nose that's heavy with toasted malts. Fruity esters as well that hint at sweet melon but lean more towards plump raisins. Rich and foreboding aroma.
T - The noticeable boozy nose is immediately absent from the flavor which a) worries me and b) is probably due to it's age. The fruity esters mirror the nose are pair well with the abounding malts which have a lot of breadiness to them with a touch of yeast flavor. Deep flavor but maybe just a touch too mellow? Further on in the bottle the alcohol became more evident (just slightly) as a solvent-like smell came out. I also noticed a bit later on that there is a pungent floral hop aroma and flavor that was initially masked by the other things I was picking up. Well balanced for certain.
M - Smooth and rich but not syrup-like. It's well carbonated but doesn't give a feeling of carbonation. Sweet all the way through with a light alcohol warming finish.
D - With the first sip i was incredibly worried there was a lack of booziness in the flavor but it started coming out later on. That could lead to a serious "problem". It's one hell of a drinkable barley wine but that could be attributed to age. Either way it's still very good. A precursor to the many winter warmers to come! :D
10-15-2009 03:55:36 | More by BeerFMAndy
4.28/5 rDev +4.9%
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.
10-04-2009 18:11:33 | More by kegger22
4.1/5 rDev +0.5%
I don't get to enjoy Stone's beers as often as I should.. they're a bit pricey, they come all the way from the west coast, and I'm not a rabid hophead like a lot of us out there. But given their prowess with high-alcohol, hop loaded beers, when it came time for me to buy some barleywines I definitely wanted to try this one.
Pours very hazy peach orange colored.. very hazy. Didn't think they bottle conditioned. Maybe they don't and something's wrong. Not getting an outrageous head on my pour, but the small frothy head looks very west coast.. apparently heads can be west coast. Soda like bubbles coming up from the bottom.
When I popped this open I felt like I was opening a liquor bottle that I could smell from a couple feet away. Very heavy on the malt. Reminds me of Christmas for some reason. And Victory's Old Horizontal that I also just had a 6-pack of.
Taste is very sweet and loaded with alcohol. Sounds like a good combination. Very similar to Old Horizontal but with more hints of wood, although I don't think this has gone anywhere near a barrel. A bit of a pucker up candy taste towards the end. Obvious usage of those crazy high alpha acid hops that just make it bitter as hell. I think I was hoping for more of a double IPA for some reason. Has a bit of creaminess to it from age which makes it very drinkable.
09-22-2009 01:02:18 | More by wiseguy142
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
I opened this bottle, quite unsure of what to expect, but with fairly high hopes. After all, Stone has yet to let me down when it comes to extreme styles (even when a particular variety doesn't make my 'jump at it when I see it in a bar' list, I can appreciate the quality of the brew.
This bottle was stored for about 2 years (even though it is 09/2009 and the bottle is called 'early 2008 release'; perhaps my tag was wrong?). Poured into a glass, it shows an unusually uniform color- about 15 SRM. It's surprisingly uniform in color, actually. (The beer is fairly light in color but has the light-stopping power of a stout. I've never seen anything quite like it).
The bottle opened with a pop and pours with a a thick head for such a strong beer; within a few minutes the head recedes to the edge of the glass and remains indefinitely. The first taste is of malt, pleasantly roasted or burned malt, and a generic hoppy bitterness which quickly changes to Stone's infamous grapefruity cascade hops flavor. Thia is a Stone product, alright. What's surprising is that there is no alcohol taste- at all! For a beer this strong, that's a little surprising and not at all unwelcome. The mouthfeel goes quickly from thick and malty to rather thin; the overwhelming aftertaste is of grapefruit followed by grapefruit & copper.
This beer is not for the faint of heart; about half-way through the bottle I can already feel the effects of it's 11.26% abv. Finishing this bottle off is rather like 4.5 5% beers. That being said, the beer is quite drinkable and I would happily buy another, if I could find it, or Stone's next limited edition Barleywine.
09-06-2009 21:32:13 | More by matt20102
3.93/5 rDev -3.7%
22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. No bottled date, except for mentioning it to be an early 2008 release. . .
(A)- Pours a murky reddish amber color with a decent off-white to light orange head formation with some good lacing. This beer actually cascaded for a good ten seconds after initial pour!
(S)- Caramelized brown sugar with woody pine. Assorted flowery apples as well.
(T)- Piney hop bite that is really really dry, in fact, its massive! Light citrus of grapefruit but otherwise has just massive hop flavors with the beginnings of the malt poking through. Some interesting cider components within the malt character.
(M)- Seriously dry and hoppy. Rather thick in its texture. Good carbonation level. Mouthcoating hops. A tad hot and boozy on the finish. Pretty sweet as well.
(D)- Perhaps one of the hoppiest beers I have had to date, which is saying something since this is about 18 months old! This could age for years and years considering how strong it still is. I would probably give it another couple to sit before I would revisit it again. Definitely a great barleywine, but it really hit me hard in the alcohol level; share with a friend!
08-29-2009 07:28:17 | More by sweemzander
4.1/5 rDev +0.5%
Tawny brown with an off white head. Great lacing with sediment on the bottom.
Caramel covered apples with orange rind,honey and alcohol.
Hops are still very present in this fine ale. A slight caramel flavor comes through along with plenty of citrus and citrus rind. Bread and apples make an appearance with a strong alcoholic presence.
Full body with sufficient carbonation.
A good beer that I am sure will improve with age. I would like to try one from my case every 2-3 years.
08-16-2009 05:26:39 | More by alovesupreme
3.88/5 rDev -4.9%
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.
08-01-2009 14:52:27 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.33/5 rDev +6.1%
22 oz. Thick, near opaque orange pour. Some cream colored bubbles at first, then pretty much nothing. Malt, caramel covered apple and citrus aroma. Some booze and light pine. The taste has a lot going on. Caramel/toffee and malt bases. Some red fruits, yellow raisin, citrus and tea/tobacco. Mouthfeel is solid, but carbonated enough to keep it from being syrupy. A little piney hops middle through the finish give this a nice bitter clean finish. More than this would be too much for me, I think the age did good here by me. Drinkable enough for a large warming beer. Still refreshing enough to drink on a summer night.
I don't know if there is a better way of describing this than saying it's a perfect mix between and English and American(west coast) barleywine. I was really expecting a hop bomb barleywine, boy was I pleased to find different. The year and half probably also helped, but I'm guessing this one was pretty balanced from the beginning.
07-30-2009 01:48:46 | More by Bung
4.6/5 rDev +12.7%
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.
07-29-2009 01:54:39 | More by SpdKilz
United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
4.22/5 rDev +3.4%
650ml bottle bought online from BeerofEurope.co.uk...
Poured a deep coppery russet colour. Creamy head with some coppery tinges poured quite thick and rocky then faded to nice light ring around the edge of the glass. Barely any carbonation... some light frothy lacing...
Aroma - Lots of spicy piney hops, peppery, herbal notes, caramel / toffee sweetness, some burnt sugar notes, spicy fruits (raisins, oranges, some light figs, grapefruit), strong resinous notes, some saltiness, toasted bread, biscuity malts, woody, some faint leathery traces, grassy, quite a lot of alcoholic esters when the glass is given a light swirl...
Taste - Very strong peppery / spicy / piney hops to the fore followed by lots of toffee and caramel malt sweetness, earthy notes, spicy fruits (bitter oranges (strong marmalade hints), tart apples, some figs, raisins), dark muscovado sugar traces, burnt sugar, yeasty traces, herbal, some anise, toasted bread, alcohol is noticeable..
M&D - Quite sharp initially then mellows to quite a syrupy smoothness. Medium bodied... At 11% certainly not the most drinkable beer and one bomber is more than enough...
Overall - An excellent and very American barleywine and another top notch brew from Stone... recommended...
07-21-2009 08:00:17 | More by mdagnew
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
A very good beer. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into two wide-mouth goblets to split the bottle with my great buddy Nat who is about to move away. Copper-orange color with no head to speak of. Somewhat hazy with some legs as it sticks to the sides of the glass.
Aroma of raisins and dark fruit for me - definitely a lot of malt but I'm not getting much in the hops department. Taste backs up the aroma - HUGE on the malt presence. A big beer for sure - dark fruits again but now the hop flavor begins to come through, which of course reminds me that I am, after all, drinking a Stone brew. Sweet malty presence is offset with an earthy/woodsy hop bitterness and flavor. As it warms, the spiciness of the hops begins to shine a bit more and the alcohol warmth really begins to show. Hop bitterness lingers well into the aftertaste.
Body is somewhat slick, yet chewy, but somehow there is a lively carbonation on the tongue.
Overall, definitely recommend. A big beer for sure, and as I've tried a lot of the Stone IPA/DIPA and have enjoyed their hop monsters, this was a bit of a change of pace to enjoy their Malt Monster. Complex, flavorful and certainly enjoyable as a late-night sipper reminiscing with old friends.
07-05-2009 22:21:46 | More by kevinglin
3.45/5 rDev -15.4%
I don't know about this beer. For a barley wine it's not really like a wine at all. I suppose I should be greatful for that since I don't like wine generally. Pours a light brown with a minuscule head. Leaves nothing on the glass. The nose and taste are quite the same in that its of brown sugar and diactyl. There really isn't the sweet wine taste of most barley wines i'm used too. Maybe it's just the way it should be. Drinkability isn't bad though. Could enjoy a few bombers of this.
06-24-2009 03:36:05 | More by bilyboy65
4.85/5 rDev +18.9%
Served in a pint glass.
Appearance: Beautiful red and orange tones, clean white head, spectacular lacing.
Smell: Floral, fruity, bitter. This beer has a strong hops nose that I found refreshing. Also, there is a strong alcohol sent initially, but this largely vanished as I drank.
Taste: Powerful, full flavor. Extremely beautiful and satisfying floral notes makes this beer surprisingly fresh. Strong alcohol taste comes on very smooth cleansing the palate and drying the mouth like a nice vodka. A truly unique experience.
Mouth Feel: Warm, crisp, a bit tart.
Drinkability: Quite complex, this beer requires a bit of work from the drinker, but 11.2% more than 2 pints would be too much regardless.
06-21-2009 05:12:48 | More by x63x77
4/5 rDev -2%
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.
06-20-2009 03:43:21 | More by colts9016
4.13/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
06-08-2009 14:05:01 | More by projectflam86
4.33/5 rDev +6.1%
Poured from a 22oz brown bottle into an oversized wine glass. No freshness date but etched front label reads "Limited Early Sping 2008 Release." Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.
A: Pink grapfruit hue with 1/2 finger off white head with avergae retention for style and no lacing.
S: A multitude of caramel and pale malt are coupled with floral, spicy, and spicy hops. Alcohol is perceptible but not strongly present.
T: A delicious hoppy American barleywine with superb citrus and spicy, earthy hops flavor matched with big time maltload. Not really remarkable but enjoyable all the same. The alcohol is there but pretty well hidden for < 11% ABV.
M: Smooth, low carbonation barleywine which is easy to drink.
D: A very nice but not a standout barleywine. If you are a hoppy barleywine lover, then this is a good pick for you, but probably a year too late at this point.
06-07-2009 03:08:44 | More by argock
3.73/5 rDev -8.6%
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.
06-04-2009 20:48:41 | More by BeerCon5
3.78/5 rDev -7.4%
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.
05-18-2009 22:04:10 | More by Sammy
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
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.
05-17-2009 02:57:47 | More by Wetpaperbag
4.18/5 rDev +2.5%
Pours a murky hazy amber/brown into a snifter with a small off-white head.
Nose is malty sweetness, dark fruit and bread, some alcohol, and a good amount of hops still coming through on this year old bottle - grapefruit and a bit of pine.
Mouth is full bodied with low to medium carbonation and some silky oiliness from the hops.
Taste is a nice blast of bitter hops and grapefruit, with a solid bready malt backbone. Some subtle caramel sweetness mixing in as it warms.
Drinkability is good. There's quite a bit of bitter hoppiness here, but it's balanced somewhat nicely by the malts. Alcohol is not all that apparent, making this 11+% ABV brew a dangerous beast.
Overall this is quite a nice barleywine. I wish I had had it closer in time to the 2006 bottle I recently had so that I could compare, but from what I remember this is quite a bit more hoppy. Looking back at my review, it looks like the 2006 lost its hops in favor of alcohol, so I'd say this is a solid improvement. I've only recently truly acquired a taste for barleywines, but this Old Guardian is quite nice. Since I've now had a 1 year old bottle and a 3 year old bottle, and the fresher was better, I'd like to pick up a fresh bottle sometime soon. Another solid brew from Stone.
05-14-2009 02:44:58 | More by frothyhead
4.1/5 rDev +0.5%
I don't drink a whole lot of Barley Wines, but I do enjoy them. These Stone products are new to my area and I am liking.
A- Cloudy pumpkiny color with nice head, about a fingers worth.
S- Malty/Hoppy aroma, but in a good way
T- The hops are more present than the malts.
M- Super carbonated with a bittersweet aftertaste.
D- I think this Barley Wine is very easy drinking. Tasting this beer without knowing the alcohol content, I would guess lower than it is.
I will buy more and age for about a year.
05-08-2009 23:36:01 | More by jbone78
3.3/5 rDev -19.1%
Short review going off memory from last night. Pours light brown, like an apple juice. A bit of head, nothing lasting, nothing super impressive. Smell of sweet fruit like peach, or pear, but overpowered completely by the hops. Huge hop nose, which carries through to the taste. You would get a hint of the nice malt body, and then piney, grapefruity hops would just demolish it. Between the hops and the boozeyness of the finish, tough to drink. A sipper that I actually drainpoured the end of. I didn't really get a lot of carbonation in mine, but it was nice and chewy. It boggles my mind how this can have just 5 IBUs more then Stone IRS, yes that is super smooth and balanced and this is so... not. Very disappointing to me.
04-28-2009 03:39:43 | More by damienblack
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.