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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.

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

321 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 321
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%


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: 321 | Reviews: 260 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dwilson01
dwilson01

California

4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my arrogant bastard pint glass, amazing find this brew was mistakenly underpriced on the shelf, and a spring 2008 release to boot!

appearance is thick and malty, let me reiterate that, THICK and MALTY, the carbonation bubbles literally move slowly up through the brew to make their way to the top. Nice head, recedes evenly with a thin film on top with a distinct clingy quality on the glass.

The smell is sweet caramel and buttery toffee, grapefruit/citrus hop scents, a hint of that alcohol "hotness" that barleywines have in the end. Gotta give high here again, I keep going back to smell it over and over, it does refresh my nasal passages quite well for being 2 years old

Extreme complexity to the taste, a sweet buttery toffee definitely comes to mind following from the original scent although the caramel not so much. The alcohol esters are hidden from my palate by the immense amount of hops thrown in this bad boy. Tons of hop flavors intermingling; grapefruit, overripe orange, pine, and even some spring floral as well. The end following the hopping is the herb and spice flavors that hit with the carbonation, the fresh kind of herbs, sweet basil, thyme, fresh cut green onion...told you there was a lot

This beer probably has the biggest, thickest, most badass mouthfeel of any brew I have had. Not to say it's my favorite, but for this style of beer there is no competition. I don't taste the alc esters due to the hop+spice abundance, but i feel the alcohol hotness especially in the back of my throat on the swallow.

Drinkability, dude...if this beer were smooth and easy to drink then people would be dead. It's a sipping beer, so thick feeling it's gnarlier than a stout. Huge body, absolutely amazing amount of hops to counterbalance that and come through in the nose and flavor. Spicing to mask the estery flavors of the 11.26% in here...great one, it gets better with age, much better.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2010 07:07:43 | More by dwilson01
Photo of KickInTheChalice
KickInTheChalice

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a snifter.

Appearance: Different than the '07, it has a hazy amber color with a touch of caramel. A thin head remains and surprisingly leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Strong citrus hop nose, with lighter toffee malt notes.

Taste: Not a ton of fruit pushing through. Caramel toffee malt front drips of sugar, with grapefruit hops toward the end. A small hop aftertaste. A better balance with aging.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with an average level of carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, easy, relaxing. A little bit sweet for my taste, though. And, as always, watch out for the ABV.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2010 17:43:16 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

2.3/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2008 vintage purchased for $8.

A: Pours a hazy burnt orange body with a finger of short-lived off-white head. It vanishes so fast that I barely even knew it was there; only a ring of big agitation bubbles remain after 30 seconds.

S: My first whiff reminds me of those mini oranges that I love so much. Then caramel and butterscotch.

T: I'm surprised that the hop flavor is still there, though it is obviously faded. Orange, tangerines, and stone fruit more than grapefruit. It is very caramelly with a toffee and honey sweetness rounding it out. After a while it becomes cloying and tough to choke down.

M: Full-bodied in flavor, but very low carbonation, almost English Barleywine-like. For whatever reason, I still notice the alcohol, which has a light solventy / medicinal character to it in the finish. It's not strong, but it's noticeable and unpleasant.

D: This beer doesn't age well, in my opinion. It simply doesn't have the malt complexity to emerge as the hops fade away. It was an interesting experiment, but I won't be seeking vintage Old Guardian in the future. Fresh only for this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2010 08:18:58 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had a bottle of this fresh in February 2008 but I had to re-review it 2 years later because it benefited so well from cellaring.

22oz bomber, served in a snifter.

L - hazy, burnt orange color with a off-white head that thinned to a ring leaving spotty lacing.

S - sweet malts and the citrus hop aroma is still there, I'm impressed.

T - the malty sweetness, hoppy bitterness and light taste of alcohol are so very well balanced, delicious.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel and gentle warming.

D - easy to sip fresh or a couple of years down the road when properly cellared.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 21:18:57 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An almost two-year old bottle of Old Guardian sent my way by an East Coast BA. I do wonder why this beer merits its own designation every year? Oh well.

Pours Mississippi muddy, about as turbid a beer as I've seen, even with a gentle pour excluding the bottom muck. Rusty & flat. Wicked booze in the nose, not much else.

Old Guardian is nothing if not old. Pungent, solventesque taste is rather over-the-top, tempered by a square of caramel & deep, hard-dirt fruit in the background. Touch of yeast, bit of day-old bread. Very flat & slick in the mouth, lack of carbonation is either from age of high ABV. Either I'm getting old or not eating enough, because this one's warming me up in a hurry after an evening out on the ice.

Pretty decent beer, but it feels like I'm missing out on something reading the other reviews, & I believe I will not be buying any more barleywines any time soon - I believe I've lost my taste for them. If this happens to IPAs there might need to be a medical intervention of some sort.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 02:43:49 | More by maximum12
Photo of mdwalsh
mdwalsh

Iowa

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wife brought this back from PA just before Christmas, planned to cellar it longer, but my brother happened to get me the matching glassware (unknowlingly), and I'm anal about the first thing I drink from branded glassware is that beer. So, here goes.

A: Orange-brown coloring with a one finger, almost yellow/tannish head and good laing. It's rather cloudy though and the head has no dexterity.

S: It smell's like Caramel dipped hops. I'm really amazed at how strong the hops still are. As I think further, it reminds me of cooking honey, in particular a honey-cream sauce I make for vegetables.

T: Still, a lot of honey, my wife compares it to the smell of extracting honey from the comb. The hops from the nose are gone and it is just super smooth, nothing biting at all, not even alcohol. Really smooth.

M: Light, but not BMC light, just very nice.

D: Remarkable, particularly at the ABV. This is why you cellar beers.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2010 20:08:32 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of hosehead83
hosehead83

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a cellared "2008" bottle into my Arrogant Bastard pint glass
Cloudy, orange/amber in color, with a half-inch head of foam
Aroma-Definite malt presence, faint citrus
Taste-Big malt onrush followed by a steady hop backbone. Incredibly smooth and easy-drinking for the strength. Warning! Take it slow or you will be ambushed by the 11.26ABV!!
If you let it warm,the alchohol asserts itself, leaving a warm afterglow in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 19:05:15 | More by hosehead83
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lighter in color than a typical barley. Clear, amber red with a creamy head. Smells od vanilla, raisins, grassy and earthy notes, malts, caramel and toffey nose. Tastes of a slightly caramelized malt up front with a slight hint of toffee, raisins, and vanilla. After the sweetness lingers for a brief moment the hop jump in to remind you this is a West Coast barley wine. The Guardian is the hoppiest barley I've had to date, I absolutely love it. The smell is deceptive, maybe it was served too cold? I don't detect alot of aroma and is not very pronounced. From a taste perspective, it's completely opposite being far more intense. The beer is very smooth and produces slight priclies on the tongue, heavy in body. Very drinkable, it's the quintassential hopped up West Coast version of a barley. A nice change of pace, I love it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2009 05:03:59 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a 8oz snifter.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden/amber color and a thin white head. Nose is sweet, malty and it has some light hoppiness and almost no booze.

Taste is a bit boozy but not too bad for over 11%, It's crisp and pretty smooth has a light hottness that lingers for a while. One of the first barleywines I've ever had and it's great to come back to it.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 23:27:05 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of bobsy
bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage picked up in Buffalo, and sat stoppered in my fridge for the past two days as I was in no state to finish it at Saturday's barleywine tasting. I've not used stoppers often, and I'm surprised that this beer doesn't seem to have degraded at all. I will be using them for bigger bottles more often from here on out.

Pours a slightly clouded cider with a brief bubbly cream coloured head, which eventually settles down to a wispy film, and leaves a few spots of lace on the glass. The slight lack of clarity is a little surprising, but I do note some sediment at the bottom of the glass, so it may well be fine yeast particulate in suspension. The aroma is surprisingly subdued for a big barleywine, and while its pleasant, it doesn't leap out of the glass like most Stone products. An earthy caramel base supports some light zesty hops, but there's not much else to be smelled, which is a touch disappointing.

The flavour turns things up a notch, and makes the letdown of the aroma seem like a distant memory. Strong caramel lasts from the moment the liquid hits the taste buds to long after the warming sensation in the throat has subsided. Its grounded (pardon the pun) by a distinct earthiness, and the occasional hint of toasted nuts. Zesty, resiny hops provide a good level of bitterness, and they've not really started to fade too much. Some alcohol is present in the finish, though considering the weight its fairly well. The mouthfeel is great, and considering this bottle has been wine stoppered for almost two days, the carbonation is still at the perfect level. The body is rich and full, without becoming too sticky and cloying, largely thanks to a good stream of CO2 which lightly prickles the taste buds.

This barleywine doesn't wow me, but it's a good enough example of the style. Its just you expect so much more from Stone, and this one doesn't deliver on the usual fronts. I'd say it would be better fresh, when the hops are more aggressive, but I've heard the alcohol is too in your face at that point. With more age they'll drop out all together, and I don't think there's enough interest in the malt base to make this anything more than average at that point. With that in mind, she's probably in her sweet spot right now. I won't be buying another bottle though - Stone have too much great stuff to linger on the ones that are only good.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2009 15:08:14 | More by bobsy
Photo of olympuszymurgus
olympuszymurgus

California

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- light for a barley wine style. almost like a blond. nice carbonation.

s- caramel and alcohol. smells like a classic barley wine.

t- oh, delicious. the hops, the alcohol, and the caramel flavors intermingle beautifully.

m- long, smooth hang.

d- very nice. a splendid beer to share with friends.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2009 07:06:33 | More by olympuszymurgus
Photo of bheilman
bheilman

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been in my "cellar" for at least 12 months. I am comparing it directly to a 10 month old sierra nevada bigfoot. Fairly light in color compared to most barleywines. Almost tan like a natural leather belt. The smell is not that present but does give me an idea of caramel. The taste is fantastic. Some citrus, lots of caramel, maybe some nut and a little chocolate/coffee. The aftertaste has a nice hops balance. The beer is drinkable, but only in the sense that all barleywines are drinkable. The taste is nice and smooth, so I could probably handle a couple of these but would probably want to switch flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 21:37:05 | More by bheilman
Photo of mfkr
mfkr

Sweden

4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle in a tulip glass.

A - Hazy amber colored with a thin head that quickly dissapears and leaves a good lacing.

S - A very faint smell of caramel, alcohol and spices.

T - Lots of hop flavor, alcohol and caramel.

M - Medium body with gentle carbonation.

D - A really nice experience.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2009 11:06:36 | More by mfkr
Photo of PartyBear
PartyBear

United Kingdom (England)

3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought from Beers of Europe (Kings Lynn, UK), and poured from a cellar temperature bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Warm amber coloured body, with a fluffy off-white head, which shows good lacing and retention. No visible carbonation whatsoever.

Aroma: There is a dry barley scent, which is strong at first with lots of oats. This makes way for a slight sweet hit before a potent alcohol aroma takes over.

Taste: The first flavours that come through are oats and wheat, with a hint of sweetness. In the middle the taste drys out and becomes very earthy and hoppy. The aftertaste is slightly perfumy, with an enduring punch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The feel is light considering the ABV, with an almost greasy texture, which projects a well rounded smoothness.

Drinkability: The alcohol is fairly heavy in the finish, which would normally destroy the drinkability, however, the flavours as a whole work past this making it incredibly moreish. This is my first Old Guardian, and I'm now pretty intrigued as to how the other years match up.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2009 23:21:23 | More by PartyBear
Photo of Kallessin
Kallessin

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy orange/apricot color. It almost has a cider appearance. Has a tan head with a slight orange tinge to it, but it goes away very quickly.

Has a very fruity/spicy yeast aroma. The booze is obvious but not overpowering. There's some sweet cotton candy, vanilla and almonds?? in there as well.

A lot of sweetness with fruity esters and spiciness up front. Then plenty of malitness that goes to a moderate amount of hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is very toned down, which was a little surprising from the aroma. Not a very complex tasting beer but very enjoyable.

It's very smooth and full bodied. There's a little carbonation bite with a warming sensation and only a very slight burn on swallow. There's a little lingering dryness.

This beer is dangerously easy to drink. It should be a sipper but it's easy to forget the alcohol content. It's fairly well balanced between the fruity spice, sweetness and bitterness. A nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 14:38:28 | More by Kallessin
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale Stem Glass. Thanks go out to Sweemzander for this aged beer! Cheers to my #400! 11.26% ABV. "Limited Early 2008 Release."

A - Hazy and dirty orange-ish amber, it's not much to look at. The thin head is a light cream color that pops up right away and sinks to a thin layer and ring. No lacing left on the glass.

S - This barley wine has a funky old basement nose to it on the first sniff that's oddly inviting and nostalgic. The intensely complex aroma has a boozy nose that's heavy with toasted malts. Fruity esters as well that hint at sweet melon but lean more towards plump raisins. Rich and foreboding aroma.

T - The noticeable boozy nose is immediately absent from the flavor which a) worries me and b) is probably due to it's age. The fruity esters mirror the nose are pair well with the abounding malts which have a lot of breadiness to them with a touch of yeast flavor. Deep flavor but maybe just a touch too mellow? Further on in the bottle the alcohol became more evident (just slightly) as a solvent-like smell came out. I also noticed a bit later on that there is a pungent floral hop aroma and flavor that was initially masked by the other things I was picking up. Well balanced for certain.

M - Smooth and rich but not syrup-like. It's well carbonated but doesn't give a feeling of carbonation. Sweet all the way through with a light alcohol warming finish.

D - With the first sip i was incredibly worried there was a lack of booziness in the flavor but it started coming out later on. That could lead to a serious "problem". It's one hell of a drinkable barley wine but that could be attributed to age. Either way it's still very good. A precursor to the many winter warmers to come! :D

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 03:55:36 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of kegger22
kegger22

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, reddish brown with a one finger head that faded to a thick skin. The aroma was largely malt. The taste was sweet with very little hop presence, maybe just a little pine needle aftertaste. The feel was medium bodied with mild carbonation. Drinkability was good for a high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2009 18:11:33 | More by kegger22
Photo of wiseguy142
wiseguy142

New York

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't get to enjoy Stone's beers as often as I should.. they're a bit pricey, they come all the way from the west coast, and I'm not a rabid hophead like a lot of us out there. But given their prowess with high-alcohol, hop loaded beers, when it came time for me to buy some barleywines I definitely wanted to try this one.

Pours very hazy peach orange colored.. very hazy. Didn't think they bottle conditioned. Maybe they don't and something's wrong. Not getting an outrageous head on my pour, but the small frothy head looks very west coast.. apparently heads can be west coast. Soda like bubbles coming up from the bottom.

When I popped this open I felt like I was opening a liquor bottle that I could smell from a couple feet away. Very heavy on the malt. Reminds me of Christmas for some reason. And Victory's Old Horizontal that I also just had a 6-pack of.

Taste is very sweet and loaded with alcohol. Sounds like a good combination. Very similar to Old Horizontal but with more hints of wood, although I don't think this has gone anywhere near a barrel. A bit of a pucker up candy taste towards the end. Obvious usage of those crazy high alpha acid hops that just make it bitter as hell. I think I was hoping for more of a double IPA for some reason. Has a bit of creaminess to it from age which makes it very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2009 01:02:18 | More by wiseguy142
Photo of matt20102
matt20102

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I opened this bottle, quite unsure of what to expect, but with fairly high hopes. After all, Stone has yet to let me down when it comes to extreme styles (even when a particular variety doesn't make my 'jump at it when I see it in a bar' list, I can appreciate the quality of the brew.

This bottle was stored for about 2 years (even though it is 09/2009 and the bottle is called 'early 2008 release'; perhaps my tag was wrong?). Poured into a glass, it shows an unusually uniform color- about 15 SRM. It's surprisingly uniform in color, actually. (The beer is fairly light in color but has the light-stopping power of a stout. I've never seen anything quite like it).

The bottle opened with a pop and pours with a a thick head for such a strong beer; within a few minutes the head recedes to the edge of the glass and remains indefinitely. The first taste is of malt, pleasantly roasted or burned malt, and a generic hoppy bitterness which quickly changes to Stone's infamous grapefruity cascade hops flavor. Thia is a Stone product, alright. What's surprising is that there is no alcohol taste- at all! For a beer this strong, that's a little surprising and not at all unwelcome. The mouthfeel goes quickly from thick and malty to rather thin; the overwhelming aftertaste is of grapefruit followed by grapefruit & copper.

This beer is not for the faint of heart; about half-way through the bottle I can already feel the effects of it's 11.26% abv. Finishing this bottle off is rather like 4.5 5% beers. That being said, the beer is quite drinkable and I would happily buy another, if I could find it, or Stone's next limited edition Barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2009 21:32:13 | More by matt20102
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. No bottled date, except for mentioning it to be an early 2008 release. . .

(A)- Pours a murky reddish amber color with a decent off-white to light orange head formation with some good lacing. This beer actually cascaded for a good ten seconds after initial pour!

(S)- Caramelized brown sugar with woody pine. Assorted flowery apples as well.

(T)- Piney hop bite that is really really dry, in fact, its massive! Light citrus of grapefruit but otherwise has just massive hop flavors with the beginnings of the malt poking through. Some interesting cider components within the malt character.

(M)- Seriously dry and hoppy. Rather thick in its texture. Good carbonation level. Mouthcoating hops. A tad hot and boozy on the finish. Pretty sweet as well.

(D)- Perhaps one of the hoppiest beers I have had to date, which is saying something since this is about 18 months old! This could age for years and years considering how strong it still is. I would probably give it another couple to sit before I would revisit it again. Definitely a great barleywine, but it really hit me hard in the alcohol level; share with a friend!

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2009 07:28:17 | More by sweemzander
Photo of alovesupreme
alovesupreme

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008
Tawny brown with an off white head. Great lacing with sediment on the bottom.
Caramel covered apples with orange rind,honey and alcohol.
Hops are still very present in this fine ale. A slight caramel flavor comes through along with plenty of citrus and citrus rind. Bread and apples make an appearance with a strong alcoholic presence.
Full body with sufficient carbonation.
A good beer that I am sure will improve with age. I would like to try one from my case every 2-3 years.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 05:26:39 | More by alovesupreme
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rosy apricot infused with molten copper. The large lid is both creamy and bubbly, with a color that is some combination of pastel gold and skinless almond. Thick sheets of finely stippled lace cling to the sides of the glass, resulting in eye candy status.

The malts don't contribute much to the aroma and the hops aren't exactly filling the room. The beer smells a bit earthy, with a faint hint of ethanol. Would dry hopping have helped? In spite of a few 4.0s over the years, I've never been that impressed with Old Guardian's nose.

Thankfully, the flavor gives a better accounting of itself. It's hard to know when to drink these brews. They tend to be hot when fresh and the hops fade too much when they're cellared too long. It looks like this 'Early 2008 Release' is in a feel good zone right now, a few months shy of its second birthday.

The prodigous malt backbone provides a 'sugar cookies drizzled with melted caramel' vibe, along with a toasted-earthy-nuttiness that suggests the use of Munich malt (or something in that spectrum). The hops deliver a generous amount of pithy bitterness, with a citrus zest flavor that isn't distinct enough to hazard any specific guesses. It isn't obviously Cascade... or Simcoe... or Amarillo... etc.

If the suggestion box is open, I like to see Stone knock the ABV back a few percentage points. For some reason, this particular beer has never had its alcohol masked very well, no matter how long it's aged. Tongue numbing is not conducive to appreciating a flavor profile that is on the edge of being personality challenged.

The mouthfeel is all kinds of excellent. It's full and crushed velvet plush without being heavy or syrupy in the least. The finish is slightly sticky, but then how could it not be, given all that malt? Ideal carbonation helps immensely and is most likely the key to the whole shootin' match.

As always, I want to like Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale more than I do. The brewery isn't about to change things up in a major way at this point, so I'll just have to resign myself to buying one (and only one) bomber each year.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2009 14:52:27 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Bung
Bung

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Thick, near opaque orange pour. Some cream colored bubbles at first, then pretty much nothing. Malt, caramel covered apple and citrus aroma. Some booze and light pine. The taste has a lot going on. Caramel/toffee and malt bases. Some red fruits, yellow raisin, citrus and tea/tobacco. Mouthfeel is solid, but carbonated enough to keep it from being syrupy. A little piney hops middle through the finish give this a nice bitter clean finish. More than this would be too much for me, I think the age did good here by me. Drinkable enough for a large warming beer. Still refreshing enough to drink on a summer night.
I don't know if there is a better way of describing this than saying it's a perfect mix between and English and American(west coast) barleywine. I was really expecting a hop bomb barleywine, boy was I pleased to find different. The year and half probably also helped, but I'm guessing this one was pretty balanced from the beginning.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2009 01:48:46 | More by Bung
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours an intense, cloudy, and quite hazy golden color. At least two fingers of head when I pour hard and a great amount of lacing. I honestly was afraid to drink this at first because it was so incredibly hazy in the glass after pouring it.

Smell - Pine, just a touch of alcohol, and a very pleasant sweetness. It is by no means "sweet" smelling as in sickly like cough syrup but a great balance of hoppiness and sweetness. Honestly, I can smell a bit of honey in this and the aroma is just delightful.

Taste - The taste is just delightful. I bought this at a local place that had the 09 and 08 versions and they recommended I get the 08. How right they were. The hops are present but have toned down quite a bit (from what I can tell) and there is a faint tinge of alcohol but honestly, for being over 11% abv I do not taste it much. The warmer it becomes the more complex the taste becomes.

Mouthfeel - One word - creamy. Quite thick, carbonated, and overall just extremely enjoyable.

Drinkability - More so than I wish it to be. For being such a high abv, the drinkability of this is unbelievable. I am most pleasantly surprised by this brew - it is impressing me more than I can express. All I know is that I need to go and pick up the remaining 08's that my local shop has because this is quickly becoming one of my favorite offerings by Stone. Amazing job on this year. I need to buy a 09 now to see how they compare.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2009 01:54:39 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of mdagnew
mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle bought online from BeerofEurope.co.uk...

Poured a deep coppery russet colour. Creamy head with some coppery tinges poured quite thick and rocky then faded to nice light ring around the edge of the glass. Barely any carbonation... some light frothy lacing...

Aroma - Lots of spicy piney hops, peppery, herbal notes, caramel / toffee sweetness, some burnt sugar notes, spicy fruits (raisins, oranges, some light figs, grapefruit), strong resinous notes, some saltiness, toasted bread, biscuity malts, woody, some faint leathery traces, grassy, quite a lot of alcoholic esters when the glass is given a light swirl...

Taste - Very strong peppery / spicy / piney hops to the fore followed by lots of toffee and caramel malt sweetness, earthy notes, spicy fruits (bitter oranges (strong marmalade hints), tart apples, some figs, raisins), dark muscovado sugar traces, burnt sugar, yeasty traces, herbal, some anise, toasted bread, alcohol is noticeable..

M&D - Quite sharp initially then mellows to quite a syrupy smoothness. Medium bodied... At 11% certainly not the most drinkable beer and one bomber is more than enough...

Overall - An excellent and very American barleywine and another top notch brew from Stone... recommended...

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2009 08:00:17 | More by mdagnew
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 321 ratings.