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
91
outstanding

328 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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 dmamiano
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of PatronWizard
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me first barleywine. Poured for lunch....

Looks like caramel. Not caramel colored. It looks like caramel in a glass. With a thin white head. Bubbles are moving oh so slow. As you would expect them to in pure caramel.

Smell is all malts to me. Caramel malts. Did I accidentally buy a bottle of caramel?

Taste is ... caramel. Maybe it's me. Actually caramel flavor isn't too strong but it's there. Very sweet up front. Nice, moderate, and welcomed bitterness at the end, then the alcohol warms you up a degree or three.

Thick, full bodied.

At 11.26% (thanks to God) this is incredibly drinkable. Alcohol is noticeable but not debilitating. Of course, I'm about to put down this whole bomber by myself so let's see.

Overall: barleywines are cool

Photo of Silenus89
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to my Stone pint glass. Reddish hazy copper looking appearance with an off white head with superb lacing.

Smelled lots of malts, fruits, hops and a bit sugary.

The taste is bitter but sweet that was amazing. Thick and warming with alcohol.

This was my first barley wine ive had and it left a very good impression on me. I love this beer! i need to have it again. Highly recommended

Photo of JBuff41413
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first ever Barley Wine and I didn't know what to expect.

A- Pours a hazy but deep amber color, with 1 inch of beautiful off white creamy head. Retention is decent and the lacing just clings to the glass.

S- This is an amazing smelling beer. Fresh baked bread, caramel, hoppy, warm spicy alcohol, and slight amount of citrus as the beer warms. Perfect!!

T- It does not disappoint. Sweet caramel malts up front, a little spicy and some dried fruits poke through. It finishes a little bitter and then the alcohol slowly warms your chest.

M- Full body mouthfeel, nice and creamy

D- It is a very intense beer and because of that i could probably drink 2 and that would be pushing it. It is 11.26% ABV and it hides it extremely well...so this one will sneak up on you.

This is my first ever Barley Wine and won't be my last. GREAT beer. I'm going to get a couple more drink one and age the other one for a few years.

Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up on a whim, Stone usually runs pretty good.

Poured a deep orange with a slight reddish hue, thin white head, more or less nonexistant. Retention is not so great, what head there is lasts only minutes.

Smells of oak, sweet malt, very spicey.

Taste is very sharp, sweetness of malt is overpowering. Oak and spice comes across pretty stong, and hop is a bit milder than I expected.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweet and sharp. Carbonation is where it should be, pretty light.

Drinkability here is average. I've had better barley's but this isn't terrible, just not my style.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a 22 oz. Terrapin snifter.

Appearance: A hazy and dull looking reddish-brown beer with a foamy, tan, creamy one-finger head with average retention and some nice sheets of lacing, if a little runny. Gets definite points for head, but loses a little in the color department.

Aroma: Surprisingly mild (despite many reviews to the contrary - perhaps it's my glass, or an old bottle), but pleasant. Spicy, leafy, herbal, earthy hop notes and caramel malts. Hop notes come out a little more as it warms, with grapefruit slowly emerging.

Taste: Not nearly as hoppy as I was expecting, actually - at least, not for a Stone brew! But maybe that's the age of the bottle. A pretty sweet roasted malt backbone - lots of caramel, sweet pale bready notes - and some solid but not overly hoppy or bitter notes participate in a great balancing act here. The bitterness is mild but persistent, and the hop notes - mainly herbal and earthy notes, though there are some light citrus overtones - are pleasant. A surprisingly well-hidden alcohol presence (11.26% - both high and calculated to a surprisingly precise number of decimal places). Improves drastically as it warms, though I'm beginning to wonder how much of the "warmth" improvement of a beer is really improvement and really "I've consumed more of this beer by the time it's warmed and am slightly more intoxicated by this point." Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Fine-bubbled, creamy, milky, a little oily from the hops, full-bodied, and fairly thick and syrupy but not as thick as it could be given its malt content.

Drinkability: A good barleywine, though not my absolute favorite. I've heard this one was better in years past, but since they do change the recipe every year, who knows what's in store in the future. Alcohol's definitely up there, but largely well hidden - aging this one for a year might mellow out the alcohol a little, but given it's not as highly-hopped as many American barleywines, it might mellow out a little too much. Who knows. I'll buy one and give it a shot. Recommended, though - definitely not bad.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of changeup45
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of JamesS
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light copper color (lighter than most barley wines I've had), with some very nice head and (rapidly diminishing) lacing. It has a very nice malty aroma, hints of caramel, but not really strong at all for the style. A very well done, deep, earthy taste, huge malt flavors. It goes down fairly well for a high abv brew. A very nice beer!

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

A: Orange body with a thin white head

S: Candy fruits, citrus faint hops

T: Sweet malty, alcohol, hops in the finish

M: Smooth creamy, balanced, warming alcohol, mmm

D: For a barley wine at 11.26% I'd say it's highly drinkable. The alcohol is not over powering, very balanced, but I've only got one left... I think this beer might go well with a cigar.

Photo of Goliath
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of RodBurg
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

08 release obtained from Tom's Farm in Corona on my way home from work.

Poured this into a pint glass, cloudy with a deep orange/amber hue. Gave me a nice cream colored, two finger head that left beautiful lace rings down the sides of the glass as it was drunk.

Initial smell is an intense bready malt with hoppy grapefruit and alcohol close behind.

Taste of hard hitting caramel malt and citrus hop bitterness. Warmth of the alcohol content is there as well.

Another wonderful brew from Stone. My first plunge into the barleywine world and it didn't disappoint. Drinkability is a bit limited due to the alcohol but I could still definitely throw back a couple of these. Good stuff.

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

22oz bottle poored into a pint glass.

It comes off a hazey red timted deep orange with an off white stack of thick sticky bubbles that leave some serious lace. Smell is carmal malt with some serious bready smells as well. I also get some fruity citrus and herbal hops. Taste is very carmal malted up front with a good buiscet malt throughout and some grapefruity citrus and herbal notes that linger on well in th dry finish. There is also a very boozey alcohol flavor that strengthens as it warms. Very thick coating like mouth feel that is nice.

Photo of tronester
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of ShrLSU
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Cloudy orange color with that lightens as it gets higher in the glass. Nice head that settled on the pour and left beautiful lacing around the edges.

Smell - Very bready with some piny hop scents. A pungent malt and alcohol smell as well. Pretty well blended nose overall.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Bitter hops come out first followed by a bit of a citrus hop taste. The bitterness lingers into some sweet caramel malt taste. The alcohol bites a little but the bitter hops is probably the most prevelant.

Drinkability - This was a very hoppy barely wine. It's definitely a sipper. If this aged a little longer the malts and other flavors would be a bit better served. This was still a hell of a beer.

Photo of ryrust5301
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Murky and cloudy orange with lemon yellow highlights flowing around the edges. What made it impressive was the finger length tight white head that blew up at the end of the pour. A misty froth coats the top just adding to the beauty of this one. Very thick band forms a white halo around the top. Once again a fantastic looking brew.

Smell - Deep bready scent and caramel malt which is matched by a piny hop.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Bitter and biting on first taste. Hops are definitely pronounced, and have a bit of a citrus taste as well. Malt is very sweet and bready, most likely caramel based. The bitterness doesn't really ever go away and really hangs around throughout the entire experience.

Drinkability - This one looked citrusy on the pour due to the color, and it was a lot more hoppy than I like my barleywines. This one just needs some age to blossom more.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ultra-creamy head is big enough for the style, nearly an inch thick. Color is a fiery copper-red, like sunset with bubbles.

Aroma is a wonderful balance of pungent citrus-rind hops, gooey malt sweetness, vanilla extract, and nostril-flaring sherry-like fumes. I know it's 11.26%, but if the alcohol were less prominent in the nose, and the malt and--what the heck--the hops more so, it would be a perfect 5.

Flavor is intense. Alcohol and hops provide some extremity of flavor, challenging the taste buds to "take that" and "take that!" again. Not rough, just a whole lot of each. Luckily there's a truckload of malt thrown into the recipe, making for big, round, cherry-like sweetness and a buttery glide thanks to a hugely creamy texture, like melted warm ice-cream...but just enough carbonation to keep things from getting sluggish. More flavor: vanilla ice-cream with chunks of maraschino cherry, leafy green apple-spiced pipe tobacco, grassy astringency in the finish. It's a battle to the finish between bitter, hot, sweet and creamy. Everybody wins.

As consistently mindblowing as Stone usually is, I had always been somewhat let down with Old Guardian in previous years. This one perfects the balance it had previously been lacking. It's still just a bit on the crazy-alcohol side, with a heat to match, making it anything but an occasional visit to this snifter, but it tastes so damn good that I welcome the next meeting (it's my third 2008 this year, and I have one more--whoo hoo!). California takes over as the U.S. barleywine capital, if you consider Old Guardian, as well as Green Flash and Sierra Nevada's takes on the style.

Photo of Bierman9
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a 22oz bomber of OG '08 yesterday at Harringtons in Chelmsford ($5.95, though going up to $7.95 per their management). The bottle has the typical stream of consciousness blather on the back. I confess to not bothering to read it this time... nbd...

Poured into a chalice, it has a medium russet color, with some shiny copper highlights on the edges. The bier has a touch of haze within, and really needs a hard pour to get any head going. What there is consists of light beige bubbles, most of which cling to the perimeter of the glass, with a little bit of lace clinging to the sides. Scattered colonies of carbo here and there release slow moving streams of bubbles surfacewards. The nose is restrained, emitting a bit toffee and caramel-like aromas, and a hint of vanilla. Body is a medium-plus, and the bier is fairly smooth and creamy on the tongue.

Some semi-sweet malt notes hit the palate, with more toffee and caramel and, once more, suggestions of vanilla. Underlying all this is a rindy, piney layer of hops, which becomes quite evident at the finish. They coat the tongue and mouth and linger nicely. The ABV is quite well-hidden, scarily so. This bier reminds me in a way of the Smutty Wheat Wine, without the accompanying Smutty heat. Overall, a solid bier, though not in the class of past versions.

Prosit!!

3.95
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4

1077

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

So there I was... Assembling this swingset... And drinking this beer. And thinking about it, and all. And thinking, hey, this isn't bad! If I were to change it I'd make it a touch less sweet, maybe take down the harsh edge to the bitterness and up the hops in the nose (like, I couldn't smell any). Of course, less time might up the nose and more time might knock down the bitter. Crazy, huh? I still think that for the style it'd be a bit on the sweet side. Still, from memory, a decent enough replacement for Smutty - given the price and availability fo Smutty, eh? Oh, I suppose the color was oddly light, too, but, well, whatever. I can deal. It's a good beer. I'll seek it out again.

2007 bottle:
Pretty good. Interesting and weird! Pretty good. There is a bit of weirdness to the bitterness - some odd citrus twang - but overall it's decent. Mouthfeel is right on. So take the taste down a little and put the mouth up. Good stuff.

Photo of jakon
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased for $6.99

This beer pours a glowing orange/amber color with a sizeable creamy white head.

The aroma on this one reminds me more of the '06 version than last year's.

Huge all the way around, I pick up sweet biscuity malt, marshmallow, caramel, alcohol, and a strong fruity hop presence even after 6 month's time.

The taste is very nice. Not as hot as the past few years, while seemingly more dynamic in the malt department. Tastes like cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon, candied oranges and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Thick and kinda syrupy. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is a great barley wine. My favorite OG vintage I've tried thus far.

Photo of HalfFull
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Pours a rich hazy orange amber with light head and lacing.

Smell is very nice, some fruit and bready malts with just a tinge of alcohol, with sweet dessert scents on the finish.

Taste follows suit. The sweetness, and a slightly chewy malt stucture, masks the alcohol content in this beer quite well. This is quite smooth for a barleywine of this strength. A bit too sweet overall, I'll try the other half tomorrow.

Feel is somewhat rich and smooth for a barleywine given the malt balance yielding a relatively easy drinkability.

Photo of mnj21655
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass.

Pours a relatively clear reddish copper in color with a minimal off white head with poor retention. Aroma is chocked full of malty sweetness with some light citrusy hop aroma. Taste is very malty. Relatively high malty sweetness. Some caramel flavors near the finish. Very high bitterness that underlies everything but really shines through in the finish. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming and becomes more noticeable as it warms. Mouthfeel is relatively full bodied, not quite syrupy but darn close with low carbonation. Drinkability is pretty darn good. At first i really didn't enjoy this beer very much but that changed after a few sips. When this brew was colder isn't wasn't nearly as characterful. As this beer warmed new flavors came alive.

Photo of JRed
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of SeanRedd
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark renaissance. An elegant banquet of intellectual pairings. An aristocracy cut from a traditional recipe. Sweet tree bark, caramela sappy burn. A boozey squeeze disquised within a winter fruit basket. An after dinner accompaniment to Victorian after dinner refreshments. Outstanding...though it hurts.

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