1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 259
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
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).

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!

Photo of dukedevil0
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber from Party Source in Newport, KY.

A: Pours a hazy unfiltered orange amber with white frothy head that reduces down to a film and leaves good lacing.

S: Smells old sweet caramel malts and sweet fruits, but not very citrousy. Slight alcohol scent.

T: Similar to smell with more alcohol in the flavor, a bite that almost tastes sour with some of the hop bitterness i'm used to in other Stone beers.

M: Pretty thick considering I didn't expect it. Good amount of carbonation with some warmth.

D: If I enjoyed this style of brew, which I'm starting to think I don't, it'd be higher, but I'm just not feeling this.

It tastes too much like Founder's Red's Rye, or Alpha Kong or Prohibition Ale to me and I didn't like those much. The "sour" type flavor really puts me off.

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

Apricot colored with a white head sitting atop it; spotty lacing and little head retention. Pine, strawberries, caramel, and even some mint in the aroma. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, some citrus, and some strawberries in the taste. Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden for 11+%. I always look forward to trying this every year, the 2007 was a bit disappointing, but the 2008 was quite enjoyable.

Photo of burnstar
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | 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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 12/20/08. Bottle, ~Jan 2008. Pours a murky brown with a very small white head. Aroma of raisins, lots of raisins, and sweet caramel malt. Flavor is also quite malty with some brown sugar and iced tea. Tastes pretty much as I would expect from an aged barleywine. A decent beer, although to be honest this is not my favorite style of beer. Interesting though.
6/4/7/4/14 (3.5/5)

Photo of GordonQuid
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a freshly washed sifter. Hazy bronze/amber, small 1/4 inch head with moderate lacing.

Smells piney, grapefruit with a heavy note of caramel pineapple.

Taste is an overpowering display of conflict (not in a bad way). Strong alpha hop characteristics conflicting with belgian triple malt characteristics. Mind blowing strong in character. Strong alcohol notes in the finish that lingers. FULL bodied beast of a barley wine.

I will let my other two bottles sit for a year, should be interresting.

Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a rocky head that leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Although the caramel backbone tries to poke its way through, the piney bitterness has won the battle (but not the war, as in a few years, the caramel will dominate)

Taste: Both the piney bitter flavors and the underlying caramel and fig battle it out and reach a draw by mid-palate; after the swallow, the battle continues and I would have to call it a draw again, but there is quite a bit of hops for the malts to overcome

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation and plenty of warmth

Drinkability: In time, things will settle down, but right now, this beer battles it out over the tastebuds

Thanks, DRINKNDRIVE, for the opportunity

Photo of tadowdaddy
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Very cloudy bronze beer with huge 2.5 inch head that has a ton of retention and a ton of spider like lacing.

S- Delicous. Toffee malt and a ton of hops. Citrus (most especially grapefruit) and piny hops are the complete backend of this beer.

T- Almost like a DIPA, but a ton more balanced. This may be the best beer I've ever had. Starts out with a ton of caramel and toffee malt, followed by a HUGE hop profile like a DIPA. Very bitter, but very balanced. Never tasted anything like it. Love it.. First 5.0 I've ever given.

M- Thick and chewy... May be the thickest BW I've had. Delicious. Leaves a nice bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

D- Not very.. too thick. However, the extreme hops and balanced malt make this "drinkable" from an overall sense. Not session drinkable, but delicious drinkable.

This may move to the top of my list as my favorite beer ever. Very glad I have another bottle in the cellar. Can't wait to have it 2 years from now.

Photo of seangroves
2.93/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a 6 oz sampling glass.

Appearance:
Dark amber in color, very clear with very little head.

Smell:
Very hoppy and fruity in smell, seems to be a good balance and the aroma is very inviting.

Taste:
Taste the hops throughout very strongly, similar to that of an IPA, with little taste of fruit from the yeast nor any maltness at all, strictly hops. Quite bitter. Powerfully hoppy.

Mouthfeel:
Medium to heavy bodied with a good smoothness.

Drinkability:
I don't think I would drink another one of these due to the intensity of the hops and powering bitterness that only increases with consumption.

Photo of yesyouam
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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)

Photo of Brewsmith
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Release from a 22oz bottle purchased locally at original time of release. Aroma is rich and malty with some hop spice. Color is amber with a small beige head, slightly hazy. Flavor is fairly bitter but balances with the malt. Some fruit and some caramel/honey. Not too sweet. Hops are piney. Some alcohol present. Thick but not too viscous. Finish lingers but dries in the end which is nice for a beer this big. I can't wait to try this again in a couple years once it has a little more age on it.

Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep orange/brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, caramelized malts, citrus, brown sugar and some alcohol.

T: The taste hits with a burst of hops bitterness, which I thought would be more toned-down since the beer has been sitting for almost a year. There are sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus. The malt character is very hearty and there's a significant alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, the only difference that I see between this beer and the 2007 release is that the hops presence is a little stronger in this release, but that's mostly because of the extra year of aging. Overall, this is an excellent high-powered beer to drink for a long time.

Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber brown color with thick, foamy white head. Strong alcohol presence in the aroma as well as roasted malts and a bitter hoppiness. The two years of aging really opened this beer up and there is a pleasantly surprising amount of hops balancing out the maltiness and strong alcohol taste. Amazing!

Photo of jdubjacket
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bomber of this three ways the day before Thanksgiving. Pours a copper brown color with minimal lacing or head retention. Smell is dried fruit, lots of hops... and alcohol. Taste is dried fruit and much hoppier than I want in a barleywine. Moderate carbonation in the mouthfeel. Drinkability is good, but the alcohol may be too much for some.

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Limited early 08 release"...eagerly annually awaited nectar, pours clear medium amber, darker eggshell head, leaves spotty lace, loads of candied fruit, some smoke and devilish alcohol in the nose. Big and bold, yet surprisingly smooth and mellow tasting for such a young barley wine. Super velvety on the tongue, with waves of malt, more fruit, and snappy alcohol clearing the tongue late. Simply outstanding....Will only get better with time...

Photo of Slynger
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy deep orangey amber with a cap of creamy off-white foam.

Boozy and malty, rich and bittersweet caramel and toffee, with some melon, prune, and stout citrus rind bitterness. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation, though it's not particularly smooth or creamy.

Not bad stuff, but not really something I need to try again.

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

This beer is slightly cloudy and a dark amber in its appearance. The aroma is very slight with just a few hints of hops and sweet roasted malt. The taste is excellent. The hops and malts are very well balanced. Though it does have a little more bitter hops than traditional barley wines. The flavors are bold, but not overpowering and you really don't notice that this brew is 11% alcohol. The mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is low and the liquid is thick. It feels like a strong beer. The combination of all these makes this a superb beer.

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

NOTHING OLD ABOUT IT

Appearance: Pours a thick golden color, like a mixture of apple and orange juice. Has a solid one-finger head which is nicely thick. It's bubbly and foamy, lasts awhile, and leaves some awesome lacing. A+.

Smell: Sweet, with a bitter tone to it. There is a very fresh and clean scent, heavy on the citrus and sweet alcohol. Has some caramel notes as well.

Taste: Strong with a bitter alcohol kick. Crisp and clean, with an emphasis on bitter hops. Has a slight caramel and fruit sweetness. Overall, the taste reminds me of an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but a little overcarbonated and it kills the creaminess. Aftertaste is very bitter and has a hefty malt feel.

Drinkability: This is a good, strong barleywine that fans of the style (or of Stone Brewing) should most definately enjoy. It may be a little strong for some, but the majority should find it a very good sipper. Very good.

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

Another beer from Uptown from the Stone launch party. Again I left my notes behind from this one so I am going off memory altough it was within a day.

Color was a fairly light amber, some cloudiness. Head was reduced. The lacing around where the head was superb, the further down it went the weaker it got very quickly. After about 1 third there was no lacing.

Smell had a hoppy aroma but not overpowering. There was a sweet alcohol smell that was more dominant.

Some resiny hops. Tasted very much like pineapple. I think this is the sensation I get from Molasses (still a theory right now). Very pleasant and very drinkable. Was definately heavy with the alcohol content. However I could have done another, it was always a pleasure drinking it. Could definately feel it though!

Photo of thejewthatbrews
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into glass.

Pours an orangy, amber-ish color with exceptional clarity. Slightly off-white head, inch high, with very sticky lacing. Five minutes after the first drink it's still here.

Malty sweet aroma, with a faint hop aroma, and a definate alcohol note.

Malt upfront when first tasted, followed by a slight hop bitterness, then alcohol, then a very slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol does not burn, but is very noticealbe. Malt character definately dominates, with a slight hint of caramel and a bit of dried plum(not sure if that's the best way to desribe it).

Drinkable, in appropriate doses. Definately sippable, even "quaffable" (stupid word), but would be best accompanied by food. Had in unison with a cheap club sandwich, and it complemented the sandwich very well.

Thick mouthfeel, almost sticky "after-feel", but not enough to make me stop.

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

"Limited early 08 release"

A - Orangy rust color. Small white/orangy head that fades.

S - The smell isn't that strong. There alcohol scent is surprisingly subtle, and then I pickup some butterscotch and caramel.

T - Caramel up front, some butterscotch and a strong alcohol overtone.

M - Medium alcohol burn, sticky and a medium body.

D - Would only have one bottle due to the strong ABV, but its a great sipper. I'd rather have some other barleywines over this one though.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of everetends
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber I got at Pearl Street Beverage in Burlington, VT. Poured in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a somewhat hazy but mostly clear dark amberish orange. Head is rather subdued with just a quarter inch coming from a rather vigorous pour. What little is there does have some nice retention. Lacing is soapy and somewhat clingy. Not a bad brew to look at.

S: Lots of malt in this nose. Very nice. Carmel and toffee coming through pretty nicely. Plenty of booze coming through as well. There are some notes of prune and raisin in there as well.

T: Taste is also of some big time sweet, candy malt. Toffee is so creamy in the taste and call me crazy, but I taste a touch of chocolate. Like crunching on a Skor bar as a kid. Very nice. The booze is there but it is just enough. A touch of apple, prune and raisin in there as well. Very damned tasty.

M: Medium to full in body and this is seriously creamy. This is what I want when someone tells me a beer is creamy. Coats and lets you know what it has to offer. Carbonation is a bit up there but it works here, allowing you to deal with the alcohol presence and making it easy to drink.

D: Fairly easy to drink thanks to all of its high marks in aroma, feel and taste. This beer is pretty damned good and I see why so many talk it up so much. Once I am able to, I will keep a few of these on hand. Strong and solid brew. Lovin it.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.