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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

324 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 324
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.29%
Wants: 7
Gots: 26 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 324 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of damienblack
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

damienblack, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of rayjay
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I personally don't see why this beer is reviewed as a vertical; I don't think it's that different from year to year, at least no more than many other seasonals that aren't categorized this way. Anywho, thanks for the birthday present Heather! Complete with an "I love you" ribbon!

Deep amber with a small cap of sticky foam. Fine haze. Lots of pale malt is evident.

Smells of malt with a capitol M. Hope you like malt! A bit of alcohol comes through too, along with lots of NW hops (chinook?). A big old fermented Xmas fruitcake.

First sip reveals first runnings galore. Sticky as hell and dense as tar. Chewy and meaty. Alcohol shows no mercy and is not ashamed to show itself. Tons of hops in here, and dry hopped to oblivion, all bastardized by the huge malt body. I mean HUGE.

Carbonation is on the low side of medium, I think good for the beer. Loads of fruity esters and hot alcohol including higher alcohols. A rude beer in terms of manners, seemingly unsophisticated and wild. Reminds me of B grade homebrew.

Don't get me wrong, I like it. It's just a big beer in every way.

Barley wine fans should love this. Definitely not for everyone though. If your a fan of big beers that show their strength then this is your beer. As for barleywine standards, it certainly makes it's mark, and is well made, but I prefer more subtle examples.

rayjay, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of taez555
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

taez555, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of caddybuyer
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into my Chimay Chalise.

Drink this a cellar temperature, folks! I began a review of this when it was a bit colder and the warmup made all the difference.

A-When chilled, a cloudy Apricot copper with an almost non existant head. When it warms up, it has a marked clarity and a slick looking creamy white head....very pretty.

S-Sweet apricot malts and yeast

T-Extremly sweet and alcoholic. Malt and dark fruits and malts, Slight hop bitterness in the finish. The alcohol bite mellows as this warms, but it always present.

M-Well balanced overall with a slick mouthfeel and moderate carbonation.

D-This is decent and drinkable. The label says early 2008 release, so it has had a year to age. I have another in the cellar and will age that another year to see if it mellows a bit more to allow the alcohol to blossom this into something truly remarkable. Worth checking out if you like the style. Cannot drink more than one of these in a sitting however.

Re-review of the cellared bottle on 1.19.11. Age has definately improved the scores at least a half a point, any booziness has receded and it is all sweetness and good, but I think this could even get better as the years go on. Alas, I have no others. Time to buy the current batch and let it sleep.

caddybuyer, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark deep copper with a nice creme head. Smell is structured on a nice backbone of mineral and earth. You get hints of fruit, alcohol, and hops off of that backbone. I like it. The taste continues the trends set in the smell. AT first it is a bit simple tasting but the flavor starts to deconstruct quickly as you continue drinking it and you can appreciate the different fruit, malt, and hop notes that combine to the seemingly simple first impression. The beer was a little hot and a bit fizzy for my liking, but overall I thought the 11% was hidden pretty well and I would certainly look forward to this beer in the future. Stone continues to impress.

SwiftyMcBeer, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy copper with a giant white head. This is the kind of brew you just want to hold up next to a macro lager and say "See, this is what beer is supposed to look like."

Sweet and sour citrus fruits, crisp tea-like herbs, and clean caramel are apparent in both the taste and aroma. Toasted grains and some light spices round out the complex list of flavors.

The crisp, bubbly mouthfeel and variety of flavors masks the high ABV well. Another great beer from Stone.

ElGrecoVerde, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

RblWthACoz, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky orangish copper with a medium persistant off white head. Lots of lacing. Aroma is very sweet caramel, many fruit notes- pears and plums, a bit of alcohol and a touch of earthy yeastiness. Taste is similar to the smell. A very solid but not overpowering carmelly sweetness again with lots of fruit notes. A nice light bitterness in the finish balances this out well. A bit herbal neer the end as well with some slight alcohol warmth. Lightly carbonated and creamy. Overall very pleasant and pretty drinkable for the style and strength.

HopEnthusiast, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of bum732
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

bum732, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of MaduroMike
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden/ amber with a frothy off white head. Almost no retention.

S- Aroma of sweet bready malts. Hints of fruit, alcohol and yeast.

T- Sweet caramel malt, non citrus fruits, a bit of alcohol. Nice balance of bitter hops to finish.

M- Medium body, creamy with a touch of bitterness. Good amount of carbonation.

D- Sweet, tangy, and bitter. Not really my style right now. I would need to be in the mood for it.

MaduroMike, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of becktone
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

becktone, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of Frosty80
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: hazy caramel

Smell: slightly hoppy; dark fruit

Taste: slight hoppiness throughout, but a little more prominent in the finish. nice sweetness and dark fruit

Mouthfeel: smooth. low carbonation. low-full body

Notes: one of the first barleywines i had and still one of my favorites. i dont like a lot of hops to my barleywines and this one pushes it, but its still great

Frosty80, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev -2%
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.

drtth, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of PintOHops
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance/Smell - Appears a thick clouded orange/amber with lite carbonation and a quarter of an inch frothy head. Pretty decent retention that leaves a bubble or soapy like ring and no lacing. Smells of loads of pungent alcohol mixed in with some pleasant fruity dates. Sweet cake like malt is present, as well as some aromatic hopy notes. Sweeter malty notes & more pungent alcohol is present as it warms.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tastes of some nice grape and raisiny flavors, along with sweet malty undertones. Finishes with lots of alcohol and alcohol burn, and a nice burnt like bitterness that lingers. Allot more alcohol burn in the throat as it warms. Mouthfeel is sorta silky, smooth, definitely thick and full bodied.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - This beer is a little rough in the drinkability, because of the very high ABV. I would enjoy about one of these in a great while. These things have to be carefully sipped and savored for sure! I didn't really enjoy all the alcoholic flavors, and of course the burn of it going down the throat.

Still I'm happy to of tried it, very good, you should definitely grab a sample of this if you can. Cheers!

PintOHops, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of Bananaman
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me and my friend were a bit sceptical about drinking this beer so early at first. And it proved that this one probably would be a lot better in a couple of years, luckily enough we have one more bottle left.

The beer pours a amber color with a big beige head, it looks really nice! And the bottle is classy as always from Stone Brewing.

Aroma has notes of those typical American hops and some fruit-candy-thingy going on. Notes of caramel and rosted malts aswell. Really nice smell actually!

The taste is not as hoppy as one might think at first. It's rather more malt dominated with lots of caramel and fruit candy notes. The only problem is that it doesn't feel mature enough to drink.

A good beer anyway, not the best I've had from Stone, but I think this one would be great in a couple of years.

Bananaman, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This barleywine style ale was released in 2008 and I had the joy of sampling it on-tap at the American Flatbread Stone event. My goblet was delivered to me a deep amber/garnet color with a short lived head. The retention of the collar was good however and the lacing scattered. The aroma was surprisingly light, alcohol esters and heat with a general sweetness of floral hops and ripened fruit. The flavors blew me away. Vanilla, caramel malt, floral and citrus hops, oak, nuts, especially hazelnuts, pears, apples along with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar. As it warmed up the alcohol appeared more prominently but at 11.26% it was astoundingly well-hidden. Dangerous! The mouthfeel was very smooth, the carbonation delicate and the body medium/full. As complex as an aged cognac yet highly drinkable. Wow.

thekevlarkid, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

zeff80, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of illidurit
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage. Bronze-amber color with a light beige head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is very strong and hoppy, with a backbone of toffee. Flavor is caramel and toffee maltiness with a dose of C hops and a rather over-the-top alcohol note. Definitely needs some age, but not too much lest the hops crap out. Body is a shade under thick, carbonation is perfect. Solid beer.

illidurit, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of bonkers
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

bonkers, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of supercolter
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally, finally, finally got to try one of these. Appearance is really good with a nice colr and large head. Also some nice spiderweb lacing to accompany it. Smell and taste are very similar. A nice soothing fruity taste and then a blast of alcoholly hops. Mouthfeel is quite good as well. Nice and heavy and still some carbonation. Drinkability is a bit lower as expected given the style.

supercolter, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

htomsirveaux, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of TLove
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stone Brewing Co. has released a wonderfully-balanced and delightfully complex barley wine style ale.

Apparently seen by many of my barley wine-drinking bretheren as a weak brou, I must disagree. The color and light tones of fruit and nuts in the smell are certainly indicative of a lighter barley-style ale, however, the light maltiness in the mouth is balanced by the strength and presence in the taste of the malt alcohol. This tastes a lot stronger than it is, but that does not detract from the plum overtones and fantastically-round finish. The beer rolls quite well from the front of the tongue to the throat and presents a good balance between the fruit, the oats, the roasted hops, the 11.25% ABV, and the notable maltiness.

Certainly worth the $7 I paid for it, Stone comes through once again.

TLove, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of BeTheBall
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a nice foamy head. Excellent lacing as the glass emptied. Smelled of tofee and vanilla, with a slightly alcohol aroma as well, but in a nice way. I got huge vanilla on the tongue with a nice warming effect from the high ABV, just enough hops to balance things out, but not a hoppy beer per say. Mouthfeel was very staisfying. Drinkability is good due to the smoothness and excellent taste, but the buzz comes quickly, so be careful. One of the best Barleywines in bottle I've ever had.

BeTheBall, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of JoeBloe
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

finished a 22oz bomber over the course of 3 hrs -a real tasty barley wine ale - a bit too easy to drink for the style i'm familiar with - pours hazy , i can get a 1 finger head with a vigorous pour-
great aromas, nice flavor , you know the alcohol is present but it's nicely hidden - this bomber went from 40 degrees to room temp throughout the 3 hr drinking process, i think i like the room temp glass better than the first or second - good stuff -next time i'll try the first glass a little warmer - i'm following this with a dfh olde school barley wine (the hard stuff).

JoeBloe, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of sweetbrew82
3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle into a snifter; no freshness date

P: Poured out rich gold from the bottle, and sits a hazy deep amber with tangerine highlights. 1 1/2 inch head was off-white, tightly compacted, and frothy. It did disappear pretty quickly to form a halo on top, with not much lacing.

A: Bready malts, citrusy & earthy hops, yeast, toffee, caramel, and alcohol...lots of alcohol!.

T: Starts with sweet caramel malts, a little toasted barley, and a hop kick made up of mostly grapefruit & orange peels. Malts are definitely on the top layer of flavors, but the hops do a commendable job of providing a backdrop to the grain bill. The middle gives rise to some good toffee flavors and an insane alcohol presence that blisters the tongue throughout the rest of the experience. The finish is dry and features a hint of yeast, while being joined by the ever-building creshendo of alcohol that sets a 4 alarm blaze in the chest and throat.

M: Full-bodied and viscious, yet smooth with a bit of graininess. Gently carbonated.

D: The 11.26% ABV, and heavy presence thereof, puts a bit of a damper on things in this department. 22 oz.'s was a struggle.

Notes: This is way too boozy for me to consider it a good example of the style. I mean, I understand that barleywines are supposed to be sippers, but the overwhelming ethanol just ruins this beer when it's this fresh. Had some good flavors and that signature Stone character to it, but it feels really raw right now. I need to buy another to age, as I think that would really help to mellow the alcohol and unwrap some of the more subtle flavors. Not recommended when fresh!

sweetbrew82, Jan 04, 2009
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.