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

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

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

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

323 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 323
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 323 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beveritt
beveritt

Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 01:01:29 | More by beveritt
Photo of RodBurg
RodBurg

Missouri

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 01:11:10 | More by RodBurg
Photo of jordoo
jordoo

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poored into a pint glass.

It comes off a hazey red timted deep orange with an off white stack of thick sticky bubbles that leave some serious lace. Smell is carmal malt with some serious bready smells as well. I also get some fruity citrus and herbal hops. Taste is very carmal malted up front with a good buiscet malt throughout and some grapefruity citrus and herbal notes that linger on well in th dry finish. There is also a very boozey alcohol flavor that strengthens as it warms. Very thick coating like mouth feel that is nice.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 17:35:01 | More by jordoo
Photo of tronester
tronester

Oklahoma

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

Pours a cloudy amber with a medium tan head. Smells of perfumy malt. Taste is citrus hops up front followed by a solid malt backbone. There is an impressive bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is rich, carbonation slightly high. Quite drinkable, this beer drinks very well for over 11 percent ABV. I personally like the extreme hoppiness in the beer, but others may prefer this beer aged. Either way, this is another great beer from Stone IMO.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 01:29:12 | More by tronester
Photo of ShrLSU
ShrLSU

Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Cloudy orange color with that lightens as it gets higher in the glass. Nice head that settled on the pour and left beautiful lacing around the edges.

Smell - Very bready with some piny hop scents. A pungent malt and alcohol smell as well. Pretty well blended nose overall.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Bitter hops come out first followed by a bit of a citrus hop taste. The bitterness lingers into some sweet caramel malt taste. The alcohol bites a little but the bitter hops is probably the most prevelant.

Drinkability - This was a very hoppy barely wine. It's definitely a sipper. If this aged a little longer the malts and other flavors would be a bit better served. This was still a hell of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 05:20:50 | More by ShrLSU
Photo of ryrust5301
ryrust5301

Louisiana

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

Appearance - Murky and cloudy orange with lemon yellow highlights flowing around the edges. What made it impressive was the finger length tight white head that blew up at the end of the pour. A misty froth coats the top just adding to the beauty of this one. Very thick band forms a white halo around the top. Once again a fantastic looking brew.

Smell - Deep bready scent and caramel malt which is matched by a piny hop.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Bitter and biting on first taste. Hops are definitely pronounced, and have a bit of a citrus taste as well. Malt is very sweet and bready, most likely caramel based. The bitterness doesn't really ever go away and really hangs around throughout the entire experience.

Drinkability - This one looked citrusy on the pour due to the color, and it was a lot more hoppy than I like my barleywines. This one just needs some age to blossom more.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 05:00:18 | More by ryrust5301
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

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

Ultra-creamy head is big enough for the style, nearly an inch thick. Color is a fiery copper-red, like sunset with bubbles.

Aroma is a wonderful balance of pungent citrus-rind hops, gooey malt sweetness, vanilla extract, and nostril-flaring sherry-like fumes. I know it's 11.26%, but if the alcohol were less prominent in the nose, and the malt and--what the heck--the hops more so, it would be a perfect 5.

Flavor is intense. Alcohol and hops provide some extremity of flavor, challenging the taste buds to "take that" and "take that!" again. Not rough, just a whole lot of each. Luckily there's a truckload of malt thrown into the recipe, making for big, round, cherry-like sweetness and a buttery glide thanks to a hugely creamy texture, like melted warm ice-cream...but just enough carbonation to keep things from getting sluggish. More flavor: vanilla ice-cream with chunks of maraschino cherry, leafy green apple-spiced pipe tobacco, grassy astringency in the finish. It's a battle to the finish between bitter, hot, sweet and creamy. Everybody wins.

As consistently mindblowing as Stone usually is, I had always been somewhat let down with Old Guardian in previous years. This one perfects the balance it had previously been lacking. It's still just a bit on the crazy-alcohol side, with a heat to match, making it anything but an occasional visit to this snifter, but it tastes so damn good that I welcome the next meeting (it's my third 2008 this year, and I have one more--whoo hoo!). California takes over as the U.S. barleywine capital, if you consider Old Guardian, as well as Green Flash and Sierra Nevada's takes on the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2008 22:55:15 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Bierman9
Bierman9

New Hampshire

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

I picked up a 22oz bomber of OG '08 yesterday at Harringtons in Chelmsford ($5.95, though going up to $7.95 per their management). The bottle has the typical stream of consciousness blather on the back. I confess to not bothering to read it this time... nbd...

Poured into a chalice, it has a medium russet color, with some shiny copper highlights on the edges. The bier has a touch of haze within, and really needs a hard pour to get any head going. What there is consists of light beige bubbles, most of which cling to the perimeter of the glass, with a little bit of lace clinging to the sides. Scattered colonies of carbo here and there release slow moving streams of bubbles surfacewards. The nose is restrained, emitting a bit toffee and caramel-like aromas, and a hint of vanilla. Body is a medium-plus, and the bier is fairly smooth and creamy on the tongue.

Some semi-sweet malt notes hit the palate, with more toffee and caramel and, once more, suggestions of vanilla. Underlying all this is a rindy, piney layer of hops, which becomes quite evident at the finish. They coat the tongue and mouth and linger nicely. The ABV is quite well-hidden, scarily so. This bier reminds me in a way of the Smutty Wheat Wine, without the accompanying Smutty heat. Overall, a solid bier, though not in the class of past versions.

Prosit!!

3.95
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4

1077

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 22:56:35 | More by Bierman9
Photo of charlesw
charlesw

New York

4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So there I was... Assembling this swingset... And drinking this beer. And thinking about it, and all. And thinking, hey, this isn't bad! If I were to change it I'd make it a touch less sweet, maybe take down the harsh edge to the bitterness and up the hops in the nose (like, I couldn't smell any). Of course, less time might up the nose and more time might knock down the bitter. Crazy, huh? I still think that for the style it'd be a bit on the sweet side. Still, from memory, a decent enough replacement for Smutty - given the price and availability fo Smutty, eh? Oh, I suppose the color was oddly light, too, but, well, whatever. I can deal. It's a good beer. I'll seek it out again.

2007 bottle:
Pretty good. Interesting and weird! Pretty good. There is a bit of weirdness to the bitterness - some odd citrus twang - but overall it's decent. Mouthfeel is right on. So take the taste down a little and put the mouth up. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2008 01:34:33 | More by charlesw
Photo of jakon
jakon

Oregon

4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased for $6.99

This beer pours a glowing orange/amber color with a sizeable creamy white head.

The aroma on this one reminds me more of the '06 version than last year's.

Huge all the way around, I pick up sweet biscuity malt, marshmallow, caramel, alcohol, and a strong fruity hop presence even after 6 month's time.

The taste is very nice. Not as hot as the past few years, while seemingly more dynamic in the malt department. Tastes like cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon, candied oranges and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Thick and kinda syrupy. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is a great barley wine. My favorite OG vintage I've tried thus far.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2008 03:51:23 | More by jakon
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Pours a rich hazy orange amber with light head and lacing.

Smell is very nice, some fruit and bready malts with just a tinge of alcohol, with sweet dessert scents on the finish.

Taste follows suit. The sweetness, and a slightly chewy malt stucture, masks the alcohol content in this beer quite well. This is quite smooth for a barleywine of this strength. A bit too sweet overall, I'll try the other half tomorrow.

Feel is somewhat rich and smooth for a barleywine given the malt balance yielding a relatively easy drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2008 05:34:19 | More by HalfFull
Photo of mnj21655
mnj21655

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass.

Pours a relatively clear reddish copper in color with a minimal off white head with poor retention. Aroma is chocked full of malty sweetness with some light citrusy hop aroma. Taste is very malty. Relatively high malty sweetness. Some caramel flavors near the finish. Very high bitterness that underlies everything but really shines through in the finish. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming and becomes more noticeable as it warms. Mouthfeel is relatively full bodied, not quite syrupy but darn close with low carbonation. Drinkability is pretty darn good. At first i really didn't enjoy this beer very much but that changed after a few sips. When this brew was colder isn't wasn't nearly as characterful. As this beer warmed new flavors came alive.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2008 00:20:03 | More by mnj21655
Photo of JRed
JRed

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 01:00:32 | More by JRed
Photo of SeanRedd
SeanRedd

New Jersey

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

A dark renaissance. An elegant banquet of intellectual pairings. An aristocracy cut from a traditional recipe. Sweet tree bark, caramela sappy burn. A boozey squeeze disquised within a winter fruit basket. An after dinner accompaniment to Victorian after dinner refreshments. Outstanding...though it hurts.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 00:51:30 | More by SeanRedd
Photo of jdaelhousen
jdaelhousen

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 23:06:18 | More by jdaelhousen
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on Friday night. First time I've seen this in VT.

Color: Reddish-amber color with a one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and malty. Seems lighter than most barleywines as in the alcohol seems hidden.

Taste: Malty and bready with a light alcohol kick to it. Not too much warmth. Nice and hoppy but not in a way that overwhelms. Caramel and toffee show through in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Hops and alcohol warmth. Fairly thin and simple.

Drinkability: Definitely going to pick up a second bottle to age. I like it right now and I believe I'd like it even more after aging a bottle for a few months, etc. It seems nice and drinkable even at this stage. When compared to Vermonster (a local barleywine of the same style), this seems better rounded and if it improves with age, then it's a worthy investment of time and money. I like it.

Then again, Stone has never disappointed me.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 20:34:47 | More by Brad007
Photo of BucBasil
BucBasil

South Carolina

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

This is the Limited Early 2008 Release of the Old Guardian.

Appearance: Poured from the 22oz bomber into a large snifter. The beer is a murky brownish orange. Head grew to two fingers thick, but faded back down to about one finger, where it stayed for a while. Color was off-white/cream.

Smell: Fruit and pine are most noticeable in the aroma. Underneath, a complex malt profile lurks, reavelaing breadiness as well as creamy caramel and toffee. Very inviting.

Taste: Toffee and caramel are the introduction, showing hints of fruits. Citrus was also somewhat noticeable. Finishes very hoppy with big piney character. there's a lot going on in this brew, and with some age it would come together quite nicely I would image. But alas, I am unable to age my beer for a while.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, but breaks up with a nice subtle carbonation. Finishes really nicely.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2008 03:59:35 | More by BucBasil
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3

Florida

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a beautiful dark amber color with an awesome off-white head that sticks around forever leaving lacing all over the glass. The nose is very aromatic with a lot of malt, dark fruits, a good dose of hops and some alcohol. The taste starts out very smooth with a nice malty base, with the hops providing a nice bitterness in the finish along with some warming from the high alcohol content. The alcohol is definitely there in the taste, but it is pretty well hidden. I really enjoy the smoothness in this one, followed by the well integrated hops. Very nice indeed. Overall, Stone Old Guardian is an excellent barleywine that is highly recommended. I haven't tried this one aged yet, but it seems like it would really be nice in a few years. I have a couple more bottles that I plan on setting aside and allowing them to age for a few years.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2008 03:47:36 | More by cjgator3
Photo of EStreet20
EStreet20

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cracking open my first of this vintage. Forgot I;d been sitting on a few of these for a couple months.

22 Ounce bomber, oversived wine goblet.

A - Pours out a reddish/orange golden color. About a finger of white head forms and sits nicely.

S - Lots of fruits, along with a sugary smell with lots of booze in the background.

T - Alcohol is definitely present (no surprise) but the fruity taste does pull through here quite a bit. Hop bitterness presents itself as well, and really kicks in for the aftertaste. The booze is presnt throughout the whole drink and burns the belly a bit.

M - A nice full, coating mouthfeel.

D - Still quite hot, as I expect from this brew. Enjoyable nonetheless. I pulled it from my "cellar" (read beer fridge) at approximately 50 degrees and I'd say that's def the temp to get the flavors from here. I'm not touching another bottle of this for a year, and I think it'll pull together nicely.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2008 03:11:58 | More by EStreet20
Photo of Lepley
Lepley

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours thick and deep amber with ample cream colored head which clings to the glass. Its smell is sweet, malty and fruity. Its taste is sweet though its hop bitterness balances well. Its mouthfeel thick but smooth at the same time. As far as drinkability goes this beer is delicious, but I was pretty toasty after one so drinking another was out of the question.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2008 22:16:56 | More by Lepley
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber/ copper color with a small white head. In the aroma, small fruitiness, plumbishand kind of sugary. In the taste, plumbish and a bigger than expected hop presence. A smooth and big bodied mouthfeel, and a semi-dry plum and alcohol aftertaste. Big plum flavor, big hops, smooth and hides alcohol quite well.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2008 22:22:36 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of gpogo
gpogo

California

4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy red-orange amber with cream colored head that dissipates. The color is very pretty though.

A- Sweet malts and citrus hops. Very floral and sweet, slightly fruity.

T- Amazingly sweet, but so bitter at the same time. The bitterness seems to be contributed to with the high(11.26%) alcohol content. Leaves a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Full bodied, slick and syrupy all at the same time. Worked out great for this brew.

D- This beer was incredible. I've had barleywines before, but never have experienced anything like this. Such great strength in malt and hoppy bitterness, not to mention the 11.26ABV. This is definitely a sipping beer, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2008 01:09:42 | More by gpogo
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours an opaque honey golden orange, looking like it was just squeezed from a bear-shaped bottle. A full finger of fluffy yellow tan head sustains some time, and puffily. Ripply bands of lacing ring the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, the malt is caramel and sugar sweet, then blossoms with strawberry, melon, lemon, orange, and brisk pine. A touch of toffee and spice presage a warm funnel of alcohol.

Upon sipping, the malt is toasted and rich with sweet candy sugar and molten toffee. A fruit note plays a more general berry here, but again with a flash of melon. The hops are heavy with dry grapefruit and spicy crisp pine. Alcohol is hot and hefty. Biscuit, bread, and a tickle of clean esters glide into a long lingering and quite crisp dry bitterness. It's thick, rich, and comfortably good.

Full bodied, it's slick and syrupy, with an oily hop slide that ends up glowing in a clean way.

It's mighty mighty, letting it all hang out, but with some subtlety. It's fairly complex, with adept blending. In sum, it's a brawny batch of bodacious barley and hellacious hops. The ABV is especially muscular, and vascular as well, standing out and keeping a loose but real rein on consumption. It's a toasty tasty beastie, and it will be a task not drinking the other three I've got cellaring before they age very long. But I'll do my best.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2008 22:11:36 | More by Foxman
Photo of KoG
KoG

Nevada

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lively bubbles and a lasting head top the amber brew, keeping its head the whole way.

Smell is light, sweet malts, a little must and alcohol. Doughy at times, almost like fresh cookies.

Taste is great, light sweetness and not overtly bitter. Alcohol makes it presence known as it warms and spends more time on the palate.

The alcohol twinge comes in as you drink it making the finish a bit dryer as you go. Still easy to quaff.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2008 02:01:38 | More by KoG
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

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

Four-finger, frothy head on an orange-amber liquor. Cloudy. Thick lace on the glass.

Lots of rich caramel and brown sugar aromas. This is a sweet smelling beer with no noticeable hop. Sugary.

Surprisingly dry flavor; not at all like the aroma. Also, there's decent amount of hop bitterness in the swallow that has a lingering effect in the aftertaste. Predictably rich body with a balancing (read: high) level of carbonation. The alcohol creates an oiliness to the feel of the beer. Still, with the big flavor, this could be a deceptive beer.

Potent, but lovable, this is a hoppier version of the typical barleywine although you'd never know it in the smell.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2008 23:30:16 | More by smcolw
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.