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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

259 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 259
Hads: 328
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 6
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.26% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 259 | Hads: 328
Photo of IBUnit63
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sudsy, 2-3 finger head with better than average lacing. Body is a nice bronze color - a little cloudy.

Very floral, almost soapy hop aroma - more than expected for a barley wine. Quite mild, though, with a slight sweetness of malt and baked apples. Mellow and refined...really? A Stone product?

Heavy alcohol burn that's balanced well with hop backbone and finish. Not a lot of hoppiness in the front of the mouth; the sweetness is there - again, the apple pie undertones are there and pleasant. A little citrus is there also. As this warms, the hops, alcohol and malt all become more abundant in a solid trifecta.

Very tight on the mouth - nice pucker sensation from the hop bitterness and citrus acidity.

This is pleasant to drink, but very heavy - actually would have expected more from the producer in terms of the overall affront to the senses.

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Photo of bebopkola
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color surprisingly light in color for a barleywine. Smells of grapefruit and other citrus upfront with some sugar carmel finishing it up. Probably the hoppiest barleywine I've ever tasted which is no surprise coming from stone but it's a bit to much in my opinion. As it warms up the hops seem to mellow out and hints of spice and sugar carmel come up. Overall, not my favorite barleywine this season but definatley a good one. Taste wise it's a bit all over the map. This barleywine definatley needs some aging to mellow out and unify the brew.

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Photo of Dmann
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

By far my favorite edition of Old Guarding yet! The pour was slightly cloudy but had great carbonation and a beautiful frothy white head. The smell was of tangy sweet malt and spices and a bit of earthiness as well. The flavor blew me away with a perfect mix of dirty malty sweetness and just enough alcohol and hop bite to round it out. Mixed in with a nice buttery, yet perfectly carbonated mouthfeel and you have one of the quintessential Barleywines ever brewed! Will taste great now and will taste great with a bit of aging no doubt. Get your hands on it while it lasts!

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had to review this beer in two sessions because at first sip I found it to be too hot and palate numbingly bitter. I did what I've found works in red wines as well when they are a bit "green." I corked it tight and left it in the fridge overnight. This review comes from the next day after it sat for a while.

Hazy dark copper color with a dense foam head of orange tinged tan bubbles. Little to no lace left, just an oily film.

Caramel malts hit the nose first followed by citris and pine notes.

Candied fruits and caramel up front, followed by a solid wall of citrus rind and grapefruit. Hot alcohol on the finish. This was near undrinkable one day ago, perhaps a slight bit of oxidation helped.

Full bodied, with medium carbonation, each sip leaves an oily film on your lips and in your mouth. Goes down smooth. I had to say it was below average when it came to drinkablility for now. It's too hot at this point in my honest opinion. The combination of over the top hops and alcohol dominated the more complex and subtle notes. I believe this could do with some aging before you are really able to enjoy it.

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Photo of joekfsu
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 2008 edition. Pours a clear copper with 2 cm off-white head. Aroma of malt, apples, grapes, and alcohol. Flavor is spiked apple juice with a slight hint of hops on the backend. Finishes hoppy and alcoholic. Light lacing, light carbonation, medium body, strong alcohol presence. Drinkable, more so to say you have tried it than anything else.

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Photo of shroompod
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange , small head , some lacing.

Aroma is subtle , piny , some sweet malt coming through.

This beer surprised me with a heavy grapefruity bitterness, Malt backbone comes through ,although slight.

Mouthfeel is thick , sweetness is cut by the generous hopping rate.

One bomber is enough for the night , but I will be drinking this again.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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Photo of Rezzin
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I gave this beer 4's across the board. I may have to come back and re-grade this as I shared this with a brewing buddy and of course, we drank from plastic red cups again. He really needs to start doing dishes :)

A - No comment on the appearance other than it seemed to be a light copper color.

S - The aroma was really nice. Really sweet with a nice spicy hop aroma, caramel and toast notes.

T- This beer could use some aging but was actually really good even when this young. The flavor was malty, caramel, with just the right amount of hop bitterness. I would have actually preferred it to be a little more as I thought the hop bitterness balanced well with the malt at this age.

M - The mouthfeel was typical of a barleywine - full bodied with some alcohol warmth.

D - I personally feel this is great while young. I think it would age well but I'm so sure if the hops would carry through in a couple of years. I plan on picking up a few more bottles to find out :)

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The color is just what you'd expect--clear, pretty copper. The light tan head puffs up, but thins and disappears quickly, leaving very little lacing on the glass. The smell is very sweetly alcoholic. More than any beer I've had before, this brew has a second kick after swallowing that is a very different experience from when the beer is in-mouth. (This isn't the same thing as "aftertaste" or even "finish" as I normally use those terms.) The taste is very big--lots of hops up front, lots of sweet malty flavor as the beers sits in your mouth, and very sweet alcohol in the aftertaste.

I should have paired it with a dessert. Last year I had the 2007 brew with bread pudding at the Stone Restaurant. It was great! Something like that would have been nice this time, too, I'm sure. My advice: plan to share a bomber. This isn't a beer to drink in quantity.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange with a light tan head that was barely present until I poured the last inch into my chalice with some force. Head dissapears fairly quickly.

I usually let it warm up to my prefered 55F for barleywines and belgians, but it was just a bit colder upon pour than I would have liked. Maybe 45?

Aroma began faily mild until it warmed up. Cooked fruit (apples, pear, banana). Alcohol bite is notable in the aroma. Bready burnt malt there too.

A nice bitter kick is laid down right as the malt and fruit flavors rescind. Alcohol is right up front too, and warms all the way down. The 11% is hard to find though

Good carbonation despite the lack of head. Surprising hop kick for a barleywine, resin coating across the mouth, with the usualy hoppy pine/citrus punch.

I really like Stone, but I think this is one of my least favorites, which is still saying it's a damn fine beer, haha. I plan to get another bottle and cellar it until next year to try side-by-side with the 09.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22-oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A = Slightly hazy amber, fair sized off white head with yellow-orange tint.

S = Strong fruity smells of orange, kiwi, dried pineapple, also as warms get some straw and toasted malts.

T = Taste follows from the smell, lots of ripe fruits, from orange and grapefruit to passion fruit and kiwi, then at mid-palate there is a good malt taste of toasted grains. The fruits flavors still predominate though and the finish is long and bitter.

M = Medium bodied, great foamy carbonation level when swished, good mouthcoating.

D = Good drinkability, I have several of these and look forward to trying them over the next few months (or couple years)

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Photo of mattster
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 22 oz Bomber into Snifter glass.

Color is amber brown, good hue... Head formation is a nice small bubble layer that doesn't hold long. Some lacing on glass.

Smell is of Carmel malts and subtle hoppyness.

Taste is nice and hoppy, with subtle fruit hints. Alcohol says "hey" but is not a nuisance. Good taste, expected something much stronger though.

Body is nice and full, and bubbles don't attack making for a nice smooth brew. Very easy to drink, finishes quite well.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much like Buster Pointdexter this beer is hot, hot, hot.

Pours like it's walking on sunshine, not katrina, but the waves of honey orange with little lacing but a nice head that stays.

You get some of that classic barleywine malty sugar smell right now, alcohol. not much else for me.

Tastes vary from good to mediocre. It's too hot for the hot tub right now.

Lingering alcohol aftertaste. decent mouthfeel for a barleywine

Not too impressed, i usually love everything stone does, this is a letdown. Hope it ages well.

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Photo of xgabe
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours thick, very viscous, very inviting. Hazy bright orange amber.

S: caramel sweetness comes through from the malt. Not too much of a presence from the hops, which being a DIPA fan, is something I'm used to expecting from most beers (especially Stone brews), but given the style, it is within the definitions. They still make their presence known, though nowhere near in the levels of Ruination.

T: Wow. First time with Old Guardian. Full repertoire of malt sweetness. It fits the description on the bottle of "tons and tons of barley". You've got to try this one yourself and muse through the intricacies.

M: Oh so gloriously full bodied.

D: Very much so. The kind of sipper I would really enjoy with a great book. Oh man... I've got to go out and age a couple of these.

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Photo of jeffmonarch
3.05/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pt. 6 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice orange/red color with a thick beige head that stays for a while.

S - Sweet, apple smell. Not much other than fruit.

T - Strong alcohol flavor, a little sweet.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - The alcohol flavor is way too much.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'08 22oz picked up at the Coop today for about $6.. poured into my New Belgium snifter.

Very long lasting 2 finger light yellow head.. left ribbons of lace above a slightly hazy light amber/dark gold brew.

Nose is bready malts ... whaffs of caramel .. maybe some earthy/spicy hops .. but a bunch of spicy alcohol .. where are the (American) hops???

Flavor is again pale/toasted malts with a very generous bitter backbone.. big fruity yeast esters .... biscuit malt characteristics ... but really the only thing going on here in a big way is the alcohol. As it warms, an oily hop presence makes itself known.. but again .. this is not a prototypical American hopped BW .. Almost no "C" hops .. more of a "Stone" version of an English BW... fairly thick .. but I think if I burped I may be able to light the fumes... I would swear that there was a small but relevant rye component adding to the spicy flavor.

Don't get me wrong .. this is certainly a pretty good barleywine .. but absolutely does not seem "West Coast" ... Body is big .. alcohol is huge .. malts (pale) are big .. but the traditional left coast hop aroma/flavor profile is nonexistent. If the alcohol wasn't so up front, I could easily drink quite a few of these until my knees buckled.. very drinkable for sure.

What is killing me on this one is, "Will it cellar? Or, Should I drink the hell out of the right now?" I am pretty sure the booze will mellow significantly .. but approaching the bottom of the bottle, I am starting to forgive all my above problems with the '08 OG and beginning to appreciate it for something that is completely different than previous years.

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Photo of GoreStorm
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poors a copperish red with a two finger head that slowly shrinks to a nice lace. pretty good looking brew, stone also has awesome presentation with their artwork and i'm very fond of reading the stories on the back of the bottles. smells malty and bready with a hint of spicyness and alcohol. pretty smooth for a barleywine at this ABV, nice grainy and malty flavor with a bit of alcohol in the finish, not too much hops come through for me and i kind of like that. not as aggressive of a mouthfeel as i'm used to with barleywines, sparkly, nice though. high alcohol, but smooth and tasty, i could do a few of these. i'm pretty sure these would age allright, i doubt one would sit in my fridge for more than a week though.

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Photo of pershan
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a cloudy, medium amber into a 12-oz pilsner glass. The smell was of fruity malt, with just a whiff of yeast. The beer had a huge alcoholic component (no attempt to mask the 11.26% ABV), which, by the way, seems incredibly accurate for an ABV label on a bottle - I don't think I've ever seen it taken out to 2 decimal places, but I digress. There IS a lot of hop bitterness in the finish, but this beer still seems pretty raw. A few years in the cellar, and the alcohol and hops will have time to blend and mellow and then this ale will be truly awesome.

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Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel with 3 fingers of fluffed up sand colored head. Good lacing & very good head retention

S: Slight breadyness & that's it

T: A bit of caramel, some fruityness & herbal, leafy & piney hops up front. Boozey warmth, plus grapefruitty hops come through as this warms. Finishes dry, with grapefruitty & leafy hops & a bit of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, breadyness, plus a bit of apricots, figs, & apples

MF: Very chewy with low carbonation & good balance, with a nice warming sensation

Drinks very easy for the abv, a pretty good Barley Wine, especially for the money, let this one warm way up

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Photo of Tdizzle
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage poured into my Dogfish Head snifter.

A- This beer pours a slightly hazy orangish-amber color with a nice off-white head that produces some spotty lacing as it settles.

S- Sweet malts and lots of citrusy hops. The alcohol is very prominent in the aroma.

T- Everything that the aroma promised. Malty sweetness gives way to some intense bitterness. Very boozy, yet the alcohol isn't overpowering. You can feel the heat as it goes down.

M- A rich, smooth feel with some light carbonation.

D- At 11.26%, this drinks pretty well. The hop bitterness prevents the alcohol from becoming cloying, but there is still a rather harsh quality to this beer. It's hard to say exactly what it is, but it's just abrasive. This is a beer that is best appreciated with some age on it.

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Photo of Oisin
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color like that of gem quality amber. Agressive pour produced a creamy head that left lacing all the way to the last mouthful.

Rich, sweet notes with wafts of hop florals. Not nealry as hoppy as a couple years back--two, three years maybe. It seems that starting from '07 OG has become very refined--not to my liking. What happened to that big green flavor and aroma of years past?

Mouthfeel is active and lively, almost makes this high octane ale quaffable--in fact, it is. Very drinkable for the ABV.

This beer is beautiful, but I feel that it has changed. But still great.

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Photo of kleffman
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First pouring of the 2008 batch for me. Recently had some 2004 as well as 2007 so I've got a lot to compare it to. Poured into my Old Guardian glass, obviously.

Nice clear golden amber pour with a heavenly head that lingered with plenty of lacing. Is it weird if I get a little horny looking at it?

Sweet caramel, hops and some bready malt aromas blending with a pretty generous alcohol aroma.

Taste quickly overwhelms the tastebuds with a citrus hop and sweet malt base, some fruity flavors I can't place and definite alcohol presence. Not hot though, like some years tend to be a little.

Divine mouthfeel as always from a big creamy beer like this. I always love this offering and look forward to having some fresh and aging a few bottles for the next year. This year is no exception and it seems to be even better fresh than usual. Same with Double Bastard this time around...something is going on over at Stone that is cleaning up their beers. Pre aging before release? I'm probably just a drunk that doesn't think a beer is "boozy" anymore.

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Photo of prototypic
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a cloudy golden brown color (slightly orange tint to it) with a thick two finger, off-white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell: Initially, dark fruit and citrus aromas provide a very sweet smell. Hops are certainly piney and very notable. Caramel and toffee malts creep in and permeate the nose from there on out.

Taste: Caramel malt flavors arrive first and provide a sweet, malty flavor. Citrus and dark fruit flavors blend well and add more sweetness. Hops kick in a bitter factor and balance it out pretty well. Slight yeasty taste on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium to thick. Definitely a sipping beer. Very well carbonated. It's strong, but relatively drinkable for a beer of its stature. Definitely wouldn't drink more than one bomber in a sitting though. Overall, it's very, very good. It actually does seem a little better than least year's release, if memory serves correct.

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Early 2008 version poured into a Stone Old Guardian tulip glass for a perfect union of beer and serving container (finally!), reviewed during the 2008 Super Bowl (woo hoo)

Appearance is super clear bright orange hue, head is a good amount of white, condensed creamy foam, great swaths of lacing on the glass

Smell is fairly muted for a barleyiwine, some subtle caramel malts and a mix of pine/grassy/floral hops, tinges of alcohol

Taste is pure Stone, big pine resin hops and caramel malts mix together initially, transitions to some grassy sweet floral tones, finishes with sweet malt and alcohol warming

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, thick oily texture coats the mouth region, nice ample carbonation

Drinkability is good, this is a surprisingly sweet and mild barleywine and the 11+%abv is very subtle, a good candidate for aging- while it is solid now I can imagine that it may move into the exceptional range with a few years of aging as noted by some of the aged OGs at the most recent Stone Storm

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Photo of bunnyhustle
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one just seemed to need a tulip glass to best enjoy it. Pours a mostly clear amber with somewhat thick off-white head with mediocre retention, some lacing. Smell is of grapefruit, pineapple, and citrus, a bit of alcohol as well. Taste is interesting, a little more complex than I personally expected. At first there is a citric, grapefruit bite to it with a touch of malty sweetness. As it hits the back of your tounge there is a somewhat strong hop presence and the warming taste of alcohol. A somewhat oily and bitter feeling is left behind in the mouth. Overall the taste is pleasant and the alcohol is not a pronounced as I expected. Mouthfeel is medium and for the style this is very drinkable. As everyone else mentioned, I'm curious to see how this ages, but for now it was an enjoyable brew.

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