Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 323 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
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.
04-26-2011 19:43:55 | More by liamt07
4.45/5 rDev +9.1%
Been waiting three years to try this bad boy. My mouth is drooling. Cracked open and poured into my LA Craft Beer Week glass. Pouring...still carbonated. Awesome. Very little head and quickly dies away. Appearance is hazy copper with golden.
The smell is absolutely delicious. Sweet sweet malt. There are pretty much no hops on the nose. The taste only confirms this. It is a sweet malt extravaganza in your mouth. This is outstanding. The mouthfeel is surprisingly exceptional...very nicely bodied. The hops have pretty much faded away entirely. This is such a nice drink
Cracking it open is kind of sad because it's the only bottle of the 2008 I had, but the three year wait was clearly worth it. Will definitely be saving the other vintages for a few years
03-16-2011 01:36:49 | More by UnknownKoger
4.13/5 rDev +1.2%
Pours a very cloudy amber color with a small white head. When held up to light, it has a beautiful orange hue to it. This beer smells AMAZING! I've only had this beer fresh, so this aging has done great things for the nose. I get amazing malt and dark fruits (figs, dates, prunes, raisins). Strong caramel and a lovely buttery scent. This smells absolutely delicious! Taste is awesome as well! Still contains a bit of hoppiness... Not nearly as much as it does fresh though. The caramel, dark fruits, and malt blend together superbly. Even after this amount of time, there is still a bit of booziness at the end of the taste, followed by more buttery dark fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and not too syrupy. Very full. Drinkability is fairly high for such a big beer.
01-24-2011 07:22:24 | More by DovaliHops
4.35/5 rDev +6.6%
from notes 12/4/10
A: pours cloudy dark yellow/tan. little to no head, a thin white sheen is present
S: hops have mellowed, barley malt smells very sweet.
T: very sweet, hops are very mellow, alcohol is noticeable. age makes a nice smooth flavor to this.
M: thick and coating, long lingering flavor, low carbonation.
D: very sippable, almost makes me wonder what/how it would taste with two more years on it.
01-14-2011 01:10:05 | More by rootbeerman
3.28/5 rDev -19.6%
Appearance: Dark amber color. Off-white creamy head. Cloudy body with sediment.
Aroma: Complex and rich malt aroma. Caramel, toffee, dark fruit, citrus and butterscotch sweetness dominate. Floral and Piney hops are noticeable.
Taste: Complex malt character with nice caramel, toffee, dark fruit and chocolate notes. Bitter hop bite with strong pine notes, a little spice, hops have mellowed out with aging. Even though this is a very high ABV beer, the alcohol flavor is fairly mellow due to the aging but is still noticeable, warms going down, very nice.
Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth, full-bodied and syrupy. Light carbonation.
Drinkability: Solid Barley Wine that has mellowed out and become complex with aging, hop flavor has held up pretty well surprisingly, but still not as complex as I would like for this style.
Bottle opened on 1/3/11
01-04-2011 03:34:10 | More by xpoweruser
4.58/5 rDev +12.3%
A- Rich cloudy amber with thin white head.
Ar - Strong honey and rich malty hops
T - Rich and strong complexity reflective of aroma. A pleasing balance of eclectic bitter hops and rich honey flavors, balanced with a firm malt backbone.
M - Smooth, with near perfect viscosity relative to flavor.
D - Excellent. The alcohol is prevalent and the beer is heavy. But the bitter hop flavor lingers for a perfect length dissipating just in time for the next sip!
12-30-2010 00:33:36 | More by Kitt
4.18/5 rDev +2.5%
Just happened upon a bottle of this "store cellared" vintage and snapped it up. The time resting in the bottle has done well for this beer - mellowing what I recall as a rather rough fresh vintage. Broad caramel malt with hopping that has smoothed out quite a bit over time - the beer is now drifting a bit in the direction of an English barleywine. Big alcohol content has folded nicely in.
11-18-2010 14:34:37 | More by Brent
4.03/5 rDev -1.2%
40th review on BA
Bottle to Stone Pint
App- Hazy amber with a thin 1/2 inch head that was a bit beige and was quickly gone.
Smell-The 1st first smell takes me to oranges caramel and butterscotch candies.
Taste- So it's almost 3 years old and its drinking very well. It has a very mild malt sweetness as well as a a hoppy bitterness and just a touch of a light taste of alcohol.
Mouth- Carbonation is very clean and it's very clean. The flavors stay on the back of the mouth for a long time.
Drink- It's very good and drinking well for being 2 years old.
11-07-2010 04:36:39 | More by FosterJM
4.33/5 rDev +6.1%
I managed to pick this brew up for $6. It already has 2years of aging on it and it was definitely a pretty awesome and rare find.
This beer poured a beautiful burnt amber with a finger high off-white head. Thick lacing smothered the glass. The initial smell of the beer was powerful and could be smelt as soon as the bottle was opened. The scent was that of dark fruits, malts and a slightly masked citrus. The initial taste of the beer was that of the dark fruits, as well as an interesting malt presence. The malts were that of a burnt caramel. What followed was the hop presence which seemed in the range of citrus hops, and some pineyness to give it some earthy tones. The finishing flavor is that of spices, as well as a nice kick from the alcohol, which is something very noticeable about this brew. This beer has a medium body with light to medium carbonation.
All I can say is wow, this is a very good beer. It seems that I need to get a 2010 brew of this to get an idea of how this beer initially tastes. Definitely recommend this one to the B arleywine fans out there.
10-02-2010 01:47:00 | More by Mancer
4.65/5 rDev +14%
Bottled in January 2008, so this one's got 33 months of aging under it's belt.
A: Copper body with a big tan head.
S: Boozy with a very sweet dark fruit base. Very slight hop which seems to have been mellowed by the aging. Still an interesting and complex smell. Big grapefruit and plum notes. It also has a fig whiff.
T: Certainly altered by the aging. The big pine hop that is in a fresh batch is very much mellowed out. The dark fruity malt is now the dominating force. Still lots of earthy flavors and a caramel hint. I would say that the aging has slightly diminished the taste as I prefer that big prickly hop quality.
M: Where the aging has somewhat hurt the taste, it's made this brew better in the feel department. It's not nearly as harsh due to the mellowed hop. It's also taken on a very syrupy almost stout feel and is extremely smooth.
O: Drinkable brew for sure. Be careful because the ABV will kick your ass.
09-16-2010 00:49:22 | More by bundy462
3.95/5 rDev -3.2%
On-tap at Flying Saucer as part of a 4 year vertical, '07-'10. Served a crisp orange with a quickly diminishing head. Aroma is a mild blend of caramel malts and subtle citrus hops. The taste is a bit of sweet caramel malts and mild alcohol with a trace of citrus hops. The bee is somewhat on the heavy side, but the alcohol is quite smooth. This one was certainly enjoyable, but clearly shows that it still needs a few more years to really smooth out.
08-29-2010 00:29:11 | More by atsprings
3.95/5 rDev -3.2%
Appearance-Pours a dark caramel amber into the glass giving rise to some small head which leaves just the slightest dab of a ring of lacing. Much lighter color than I was anticipating.
Aroma-Sticky toffee and caramel aromas followed by some fusel alcohol; it isn't as wowing as I had hoped, it still smells good but it's fairly one dimensional.
Taste-Follows the nose with toffee notes followed by some piney hoppy bitterness and, again, that bite of tongue numbing alcohol on the back end. This tastes to me almost like a watered down version of Double Bastard with the sweet and bitter aspects watering each other down rather than outright competing with one another and with more alcohol to make up for this discrepancy; I was expecting something so much more out of this.
Mouthfeel-They nailed this at least, it's full, rich and syrupy just like a barleywine should be.
Drinkability-Meh, it's by no means undrinkable and in fact I do like it but it's rather sub-par by Stone's standards.
08-15-2010 20:18:40 | More by Manoftyr
4.03/5 rDev -1.2%
A - Burnt orange/amber with a red-orange color. Small bubbly white head that disappears fast and leaves almost no lacing behind.
S - Strong caramel and malt aroma with touches of pine and citrus hops coming through. Vague hint of alcohol. Pretty sweet and a bit of a sugary aroma as well, although there is some bitterness that cuts that a bit.
T - Initial caramel sweetness. This quickly gives way to a piny (and a bit of citrus) bitterness. Mid-sip to finish there is some spiciness, alcohol, and a touch of malt flavor. Some floral/herbal hop flavors also start to come out a bit. Very slight apple fruitiness. Fairly sweet finish. Strong mixing and contrast of hops (particularly pine but some citrus, floral and herbal) and a sweet caramel/toffee malt.
M - On the fuller side of medium body and on the lower side of carbonation (however given the style, it is about average carbonation). Has a nice velvety, full, texture in the mouth.
D - Between the strong hops (even after a couple of years), sweet, sticky malt, and the ABV and noticeable alcohol taste, this isn't the most drinkable beer. Very strong on the palate. I didn't struggle to finish the bottle, but after I did, I was done for the night. That said, given the style and what the beer is meant to be, it is fairly drinkable.
Notes: Early 2008 Vintage. Overall I enjoyed this beer, but I wasn't wowed by it. Still had a pretty strong hop and alcohol presence after a couple of years aging. This is a strong barleywine. Like I said, I enjoyed it, and it is a good barleywine, but given the price, I probably won't get it again (although maybe another vintage to compare).
06-06-2010 13:17:04 | More by FreshHawk
4.45/5 rDev +9.1%
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.
04-27-2010 07:07:43 | More by dwilson01
4.13/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
04-04-2010 17:43:16 | More by KickInTheChalice
2.3/5 rDev -43.6%
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.
04-03-2010 08:18:58 | More by Arbitrator
4.38/5 rDev +7.4%
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.
02-21-2010 21:18:57 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
3.3/5 rDev -19.1%
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.
01-22-2010 02:43:49 | More by maximum12
4.3/5 rDev +5.4%
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.
01-18-2010 20:08:32 | More by mdwalsh
4.47/5 rDev +9.6%
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.
12-20-2009 19:05:15 | More by hosehead83
4.13/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
12-19-2009 05:03:59 | More by jzeilinger
3.88/5 rDev -4.9%
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.
12-13-2009 23:27:05 | More by kingcrowing
3.65/5 rDev -10.5%
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.
12-01-2009 15:08:14 | More by bobsy
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
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.
12-01-2009 07:06:33 | More by olympuszymurgus
4.25/5 rDev +4.2%
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.
11-22-2009 21:37:05 | More by bheilman
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.