1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.05%
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:
Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheBierBand
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH. I poured the contents into a pint glass to form a 1-1/2" head of dense, off-white foam. The head lasted and lasted and left thick, sticky lace down the sides of the glass as I drank. The beer itself was clear, iced tea colored and had tiny, micron sized floaties hanging in suspension (I LOVE FLOATIES!) Gotta give this a "5" for appearance!

The nose is nice. Typical for most barleywines I've tasted. Big sweet malt smell. This one even has a hint of spice... maybe a little cinnamon.

Taste: Bready, malty but with a nice hoppy balance. There is a bit of a smokey flavor too. Alcohol is well-hidden at 11.26% abv. The lingering taste is hops (at the end).

Mouthfeel: Really nice! Creamy, smooth, robust....everything you could ask for in a barleywine. I would say.... just a step down from INSANITY by Weyerbacher (which is an ENGLISH style Barleywine).

Drinkability: Very good for a barleywine with 11.26% abv. This is a sipper.... but it's not going to knock you out.

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

A: Orange body with a thin white head

S: Candy fruits, citrus faint hops

T: Sweet malty, alcohol, hops in the finish

M: Smooth creamy, balanced, warming alcohol, mmm

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

Photo of BrunEngr
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of 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 krabriter
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of josssmith
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of DCon
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of nrs207
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip. No idea how this was aged. I picked it up from a bottle shop a couple weeks ago.

A - Beatiful cloudy dark orange color. Half a finger of off white head. Doesn't leave a lot of lacing.

S - Dark, sweet fruits. A little bit of hop character remains after 4 years, but if it was there originally it's certainly in the background now. The 11.26% abv is nowhere to be found. Just a touch remains, but for such a high abv, it's basically non-existent.

T - More of the same. There's just a hint of alcohol, but the taste is dominated by sweet and dark fruit. They blend together really well. After 4 years, this is just a big bready, caramel, and fruit dominated beer. I really enjoy what it's like now. I've never had such an old beer, but the alcohol character barely being there amazed me. It stepped aside to let the flavor of this beer come out, and I really loved the flavor.

M - So smooth and absolutely no alcohol. Definitely still a sipper. It's a big beer no doubt.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. It's not my favorite style, but it was a really nice step away from the usual. I have to give credit where it's due, and they really made this to stand up to years on a shelf. I'll be going to grab some more of this soon. If you can find it, I'd recommend doing the same.

Photo of buckyp
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of claytong
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of becktone
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of cowboy83
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

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

The Old Guardian Early Spring 2008 release poured a autumn amber, hazy with a good two finger foam head. It has some real nice sea foam lacing.

The aroma was wonderful hoppy smell with slight esters coming up to greet the schnaze. Get some pine smell with a faint brown sugar.

The taste has a solid foundation with the barley malts with a nice bitterness and hop finish then back to a sweetness. The brew is perfectly carbonated for me and is light and very smooth. The over 11% is present but not overwhelming.

Definitely one of my favorite Barley wine's to date. I will have to recommend this to one of my friends that has not embraced the style.

Photo of PhineasGage
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of jvillefan
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of hpthebull
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of WOLFGANG
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared with Chris, Adam and Pino at Volo, split into some wine glasses. 22oz, ABV as stated.

Pours an amber brown, khaki head leaves a big collar with a thin film of head. Unfiltered and big legs on this one. Nose has some caramel and toffee, citrus hops can be sensed but feel muted in the overall spectrum. Taste has big toffee notes, some candied flavour, bitter hops notes come after the fact. Great full and creamy feel, with a significant sweetness that doesn't even come close to cloying. Great feel that lingers immensely, alcohol is felt but not at all tasted. Great drinkability again. Fantastic.

Photo of Lothar666
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- An aggressive pour yielded a light, translucent orange-ruby-red body with a two finger thick, creamy off white head. Small traces of sediment were barely visible, and this one was much lighter and more carbonated than I expect in a barleywine. Lacing was thick and sticky, coating the sides of my snifter.

S- Very fruity- Apples, raisins, pears, grapes, with strong alcohol and very sweet malts thrown in for good measure.

T- Flavors are extremely subtle, complex and very well blended, producing a flavor profile full of dry grapes, other fruits, sweet malts and toffee. Hops round this out to finish off with an extremely well balanced flavor profile that hides the alcohol content very well.

M- Smooth- almost too smooth to be a barleywine. Very well carbonated, dry and sticky at the same time with just enough tingle in the finish.

D- Watch out, this Old Guardian is a sneaky bastard. He disguises his alcohol content so well that you don't know what hit you until you stand up. This is an absolutely fabulous and highly drinkable beer.

NOV 2013 UPDATE-
Had another one of these tonight after aging it for several years. 100% worth the wait, but a very different experience. A slightly weaker head over a darker and significantly more opaque body. Dry grapes have been reduced to only a slight tartness, replaced almost entirely by the toffee and brown sugar flavor and mouthfeel complete with a delicious powdery feeling on the roof of the mouth. As smooth as this one was before it only improved with age.

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

Early 2008 release.

Pours a healthy amber chestnut wood color. Thinner head... Aroma is sweet and pleasant, not a tinge of alcohol. Taste is very smooth... hops were used gently. This beer is full of flavor and it a balanced example of a barleywine. Decent clarity. Low to moderate carb.

Nearly a perfect BJCP style match!

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

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Dark orange, with an off-white head. Left decent lacing.

Smell: Lots of barley malt. Smooth and strong, almost creamy alcohol aroma.

Taste: Alcohol is upfront but doesn't get in the way of enjoyment of this barley wine.

The most drinkable barley wine that I've ever had.

Photo of jdaelhousen
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an orange/amber color producing little carbonation and a solid white head.

Aroma consists of a boozy, fruit aspect of cherry, apricot, rye, and wheat. There is also a distinct candy-sugar essence in the trailing nose.

Taste has a very sugary sweet flavor initially all the way into the center where a grainy rye flavor presents itself. From start to finish, this beer is noticeably boozy, and the finish produces a waft of warmth on the palate from the high ABV.

Aftertaste produces a tart bitterness to counter the sweetness, and the 2 mingle on the palate with the alcohol, for several seconds after the swallow. Smooth and surprisingly palate refreshing, this beer is a true winner.

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

Orange with a light haze and thin cap of fine, off-white bubbles. Spotty lacing right off the pour and a few larger bubbles formed a solid collar. Great head retention. Malty aroma, lots of cereal grain and caramel, quite bready. Light fruit character and hops in the nose. Nicely balanced flavour with a solid malt backbone, caramel and grain, plus some citrusy hops that appear part way through and become a little spicy towards the end. Fruit was evident up front. Bitterness was strong without being aggressive and lingered in the finish, along with a bit of pine resin. Alcohol added to the flavour profile in the finish. Full bodied with creamy carbonation, really smooth. This stuff is dangerously drinkable. I really like this year's batch - it's really balanced for being young. I'll definitely be picking more up.

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!

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