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

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

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

324 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 324
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.29%
Wants: 7
Gots: 26 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.26% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 324 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beveritt
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%

Presentation: Poured from a brown bomber into an oversized wine glass. Label is a standard paint on Stone, with long ramblings on the back. These ones are from the GABF 2007. 11.26 % ABV. I bought one to drink and one to cellar. We'll see if I need to pick up more.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of light tan head. Impressive considering the alcohol content and the oversized glass. This settles slowly into a few islands of foam. Impressive lacing. The beer itself is honey amber with a substantial chill haze.

Smell: Malt dominates the aroma. Caramel, bubblegum, and alcohol. Hops are barely noticeable.

Taste: Hops are more noticeable in the taste, well blended with malt. Some spiciness upfront, but bitter in finish. Even though this is listed as 95 IBU, the hops blend so well with the malt that they certainly are not overpowering. Malt is caramelly with a hint of sour. Not as sweet as in the aroma. The alcohol warms as it goes down, but is surprisingly well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation level, especially for a barleywine. Not bad, helps to keep the beer from being cloying. Good mouthfeel.

Drinability: A great beer to sip on a cool night. Too bad its August. I think this will get better with age as the alcohol and hops lose a little edge. Might have to pick up a few more.

beveritt, Aug 22, 2008
Photo of RodBurg
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%

08 release obtained from Tom's Farm in Corona on my way home from work.

Poured this into a pint glass, cloudy with a deep orange/amber hue. Gave me a nice cream colored, two finger head that left beautiful lace rings down the sides of the glass as it was drunk.

Initial smell is an intense bready malt with hoppy grapefruit and alcohol close behind.

Taste of hard hitting caramel malt and citrus hop bitterness. Warmth of the alcohol content is there as well.

Another wonderful brew from Stone. My first plunge into the barleywine world and it didn't disappoint. Drinkability is a bit limited due to the alcohol but I could still definitely throw back a couple of these. Good stuff.

RodBurg, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%

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.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

'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.

JohnGalt1, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of peabody
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

Pours out like a cloudy iced tea with one finger of suds that stick to the rim of the Stone Barleywine glass. Nice to have the right glass.
Smell is a little weak but it is a bit cold.
Taste is strong caramel sugar with just a dash of slight bitterness followed by the alcohol which is very strong here. Mabey if it rests for a year or so it might be a little better.
Mouthfeel is really clean here and this is a well made barley wine. The 2007 was just a tad better than this when it was new but both are top notch.

peabody, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of rayjay
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rayjay, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of ndekke39
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

Got ahold of a bomber from the "Limited Early 2008 Release." Decanted into a pint glass. Pours a cloudy yellow-orange with a small white head. Lots of lacing on the glass.

Aromas of honey and syrup up front. Piny. Toasty grain aroma. Citrus and pine hops.

Flavors start out big, bold, and roasty. Some nice prickly hop flavors. Again, the sweet honey and grain, too.

Medium-bodied. Thicker mouthfeel.

Pretty good barley wine. I'd be curious to get another bottle and let it age a bit. Definitely worth trying a couple times.

ndekke39, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of watchnerd
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

Hmmm, not exactly what I think of when I think of a barley wine.

This is more like an 'Imperial IPA', if there was such a thing. It's pretty dang hoppy and, despite what the other reviewers say, I don't find the alcohol particularly well hidden, reducing the drinkability.

Overall, I'd say it's not exactly a barley wine, and decently enjoyable, but not quite on par with some of Stone's other offerings.

watchnerd, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of 100floods
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

2008 edition, drank on 9/22/08, aged roughly 9 months (could be more)

This will be my third 2008 Old Guardian. The first two I drank when they were much younger, practically right after it was released.
It pours with a rich copper hue with a pale white head. There is almost no initial aroma, but some hops and a little alcohol make their way to my nose.
The first few sips remind me of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot. This beer contains similar characteristics to the essential west coast BW, but it lacks the intensity, not to say it's a weak one though.
I'm assuming this beer was modeled after bigfoot because it has the same hop characteristics, perhaps not as much (9 months of aging a bigfoot does not yeild any difference).
You can tell this beer has mellowed out a bit, but it still has some bite to it. There is a slight citrus flavor that I was was balanced out by some sugar flavors, but it works well with the hops. After letting it sit, I could taste the alcohol a little more.

This is a good BW. It covers the basics of the west coast style and I think stone tries to put in a few twists and turns to make it unique. I am curious to see how this beer turns out in another year or so.

100floods, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

22 oz. bottle.

Tried Jul 2008.

Pours with a light yellow head. Minimal carbonation. Clear coppery color. Smells of caramel, alcohol, bananas and brown sugar. Starts with a lot of up front alcohol. Quite bitter. Some banana, honey, caramel and resin. Alcohol is noticeable throughout. Medium body. Finish is resin and alcohol.

htomsirveaux, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of Fermenticusrex
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%

Stone old guardian 2008 vintage
Poured from 22 oz bottle into mad elf tulip
Appearence hazy copper/orange
Smell lots of sweet malt and raisins
Taste sweet malt, raisins, caramel, bitter orange peel, pepper
Mouthfeel thick and syrupy, high carbonation helps balance
Overall nice barley wine aged well, would have like to try it fresh but can't travel back in time.

Fermenticusrex, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of PintOHops
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

PintOHops, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of GoreStorm
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%

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.

GoreStorm, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of kurtissellen
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%

Like the big bottle really forces you to commit. Dirty beige head with large bubbles just over a fingers length tall and lace that really clings to the glass. Looks the color of ice tea and has a kind of a bready smell to it. At first a roasted malt flavor hits you followed by the alcohol then the bitterness of the hops kicks in and leaves a lingering flavor. I could start to feel the effect of the alcohol by the time I was halfway thru my second glass. Not quite as sweet a barleywine as I would like but still very good.

kurtissellen, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of FrognutUnl
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

A - Pours with minimal head that has pretty good hang time.Nice clear amber color

S -Sweet, nearly molasses smell with mild notes of grapefuit

T - Sweet with undertones of molasses and alcohol yet the bitterness of the hops still comes through in moderate fashion.

M - Nice and thick just as one would expect from the style.

D - Barleywines are quickly becoming my favorite style and this one certainly hits the mark for me.

FrognutUnl, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

Appearance - Deep but clear amber. The head is solid and fairly long-lasting for a beer of this gravity.

Smell - Earthy hops and sweet caramel malts. The hop presence is pretty bold, disguising the high ABV.

Taste/mouthfeel - Very rich. Caramel malts are nicely balanced by a strong hoppy bitterness. Estery notes hide in the background, bringing to mind pineapple and mango. Sweet but not cloying; the finish has a slight drying quality that keeps you coming back for more. Full-bodied with a semi-crisp carbonation.

largadeer, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of Bananaman
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

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

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

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

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

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

Bananaman, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of joekfsu
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

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.

joekfsu, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of GordonQuid
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

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.

GordonQuid, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of ckeegan04
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

A - Dark orange/amber in color. One finger light brown, almost yellowish, head. Little retention and little lacing.

S - Alcohol and a caramel malt sweetness. Hint of earthy hop in the background but the malts and alcohol definitely dominate.

T - Alcohol up front and some malt sweetness. Roasted caramel. Alcohol definitely dominates the flavor though. Might be a good one to cellar for a while and see if it mellows some. This beer improves greatly as it warms. Alcohol becomes less dominate and a sweetness of dark fruits really starts to take over.

M/D - Full bodied and somewhat chewy. A stronng barleywine that is a little rough around the edges. I would definitely like to pick one up and cellar for a year or so.

ckeegan04, May 28, 2008
Photo of dnichols
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

I poured an aggressive 12 ounces of a bomber into a pint glass.

A: It poured a hazy and bubbly amber orange body with a modest half finger light tan head. The head receded to an even cover over the liquid and left a temporary layering of lacing around the collar of the glass.

S: It had an unexpected citrus (tart orange and white grapefruit) hops with a burst of sweet caramel malts.

T: It was a signature Stone produce that constructed a hop and malt profile that was very well balanced. The malts were sweet, syrupy and had a hint of caramel. The hops were citrusy (both sweet and bitter). It had a nice balanced carbonation and finished warm and clean with little residual aftertaste.

M: It was medium to full-bodied with moderate carbonation, and a clean warm finish.

D: I was a bit overwhelmed by the hops that seemed to dominate and distract from the overall experience. It is a unique barleywine that leaves a memorable impression worth experiencing. However, it is not one I will take long into a session.

dnichols, Apr 02, 2008
Photo of JRed
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

Stone has yet another badass brew under its belt. The Old Guardian is the definition of "heavy duty" brewing at its finest. To put it into perspective, I'm not a fan of barley wines but this one is a great beer to consider if you are. The light amber color can be deceiving, take a sip and I hope you're wearing boxing head gear because this beer is trying to back you up against the ropes. You just cut open the gargoyle and there's nothing but alcohol hitting you back. 11.26% in a beer, I hope you're ready to be staring up at the lights. Carbonation attacks the tongue while the bitterness jabs your uvula like a speed bag. Going...going...GONE! And the winner is Old Guardian by KO. I definitely want a rematch.

JRed, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of caddybuyer
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

Poured from a bomber into my Chimay Chalise.

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

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

S-Sweet apricot malts and yeast

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

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

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

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

caddybuyer, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

Classic great barleywine. Medium red grapefruit colour, with lasting off-white head. Aroma of barley and malt. Maly-barley aroma. An above average hoppy barleywine with very good mouhfeel. Fruit, caramel taste a and above average mouthfeel.Middle of road in a great roster of barleywines.

Sammy, May 18, 2009
Photo of charlzm
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

2008 bottle, consumed 01/31/08. Yes, it's young, but I'll probably revisit this vintage several times over the coming years.

Coppery pour, off-white one- finger head. Aroma is grapefruit hops with tobacco notes and some kind of fruit (apricot or plum). Thick mouthfeel, almost syrupy. Mild astringency, some alcohol burn. Flavor is a massive dose of bitter hops immediately, with a bit of medicinal cherry cough drop in there, too. The bitterness subsides fairly quickly (or else my palate is just too blasted to taste the enormity of the hops for long) but lingers as the primary note in the background.

This will improve with age, to be sure.

charlzm, Mar 06, 2008
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.