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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 JDV
2.3/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle generously shared by MiguelMandingo. Thanks!

Pours dark amber to copper with a fair amount of transluscency. Smell is very mildly malty with a hint of alcohol and almost what I would expect an oxidized beer to be like. Taste is equally mild flavorwise with a hint of maltiness, balancing hops, but a subdued flavor overall with good bitterness on the finish and a noticeable alcohol presence. I found this to be very lackluster, and bland on the whole, unfortunately.

JDV, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of Arbitrator
2.3/5  rDev -43.6%
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.

Arbitrator, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of Flyer
2.9/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I think the beer I had was fresh, and I'm pretty sure this could use some cellaring. The nose is cereal and band-aid, and that ain't good. The color is nice and coppery, with a fair head. First sips are some caramel and earthiness, but then you're hit with some fairly intense brackish bitterness. This latter soon dominates the palate. I like bitterness, but not this bitterness. I got some alcohol-y brandied fruit on the finish, which is definitely good, but it struggled to break through that brackish taste. As I got through the bottle it seemed that big mouthfuls brought out more of the good flavors, but really, who wouldn't rather sip a barleywine? So I can't recommend this, but again, maybe with age...

Flyer, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of seangroves
2.93/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a 6 oz sampling glass.

Appearance:
Dark amber in color, very clear with very little head.

Smell:
Very hoppy and fruity in smell, seems to be a good balance and the aroma is very inviting.

Taste:
Taste the hops throughout very strongly, similar to that of an IPA, with little taste of fruit from the yeast nor any maltness at all, strictly hops. Quite bitter. Powerfully hoppy.

Mouthfeel:
Medium to heavy bodied with a good smoothness.

Drinkability:
I don't think I would drink another one of these due to the intensity of the hops and powering bitterness that only increases with consumption.

seangroves, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of dmsohyea
3/5  rDev -26.5%

dmsohyea, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of monitorpop
3/5  rDev -26.5%

monitorpop, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of jenray
3/5  rDev -26.5%

jenray, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -26.5%

rab53, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pt. 6 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice orange/red color with a thick beige head that stays for a while.

S - Sweet, apple smell. Not much other than fruit.

T - Strong alcohol flavor, a little sweet.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - The alcohol flavor is way too much.

jeffmonarch, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of Nutleybeer
3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured with a mild head, a little foam lingers on top of the glass as the head evens itself out. A cloudy/foggy dull orange color, minimal carbonation.

Thick lacing clings to the side of the glass as you take a sip.

You need to expect extremeness when drinking anything from Stone. This barleywine certainly packs a punch. You taste the 11+ ABV for sure. Not for the faint of heart (or less experienced beer drinker)! Much more hoppy than I would imagined, relatively strong...very reminscent of their IPA.

A strong smell. A combination of hops and candy-like overtones. A very intense flavor, but I think I would have preferred a bit less hoppiness/floraliness. This seems to dominate the taste a bit too much.

Nutleybeer, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of sweetbrew82
3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle into a snifter; no freshness date

P: Poured out rich gold from the bottle, and sits a hazy deep amber with tangerine highlights. 1 1/2 inch head was off-white, tightly compacted, and frothy. It did disappear pretty quickly to form a halo on top, with not much lacing.

A: Bready malts, citrusy & earthy hops, yeast, toffee, caramel, and alcohol...lots of alcohol!.

T: Starts with sweet caramel malts, a little toasted barley, and a hop kick made up of mostly grapefruit & orange peels. Malts are definitely on the top layer of flavors, but the hops do a commendable job of providing a backdrop to the grain bill. The middle gives rise to some good toffee flavors and an insane alcohol presence that blisters the tongue throughout the rest of the experience. The finish is dry and features a hint of yeast, while being joined by the ever-building creshendo of alcohol that sets a 4 alarm blaze in the chest and throat.

M: Full-bodied and viscious, yet smooth with a bit of graininess. Gently carbonated.

D: The 11.26% ABV, and heavy presence thereof, puts a bit of a damper on things in this department. 22 oz.'s was a struggle.

Notes: This is way too boozy for me to consider it a good example of the style. I mean, I understand that barleywines are supposed to be sippers, but the overwhelming ethanol just ruins this beer when it's this fresh. Had some good flavors and that signature Stone character to it, but it feels really raw right now. I need to buy another to age, as I think that would really help to mellow the alcohol and unwrap some of the more subtle flavors. Not recommended when fresh!

sweetbrew82, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up on a whim, Stone usually runs pretty good.

Poured a deep orange with a slight reddish hue, thin white head, more or less nonexistant. Retention is not so great, what head there is lasts only minutes.

Smells of oak, sweet malt, very spicey.

Taste is very sharp, sweetness of malt is overpowering. Oak and spice comes across pretty stong, and hop is a bit milder than I expected.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweet and sharp. Carbonation is where it should be, pretty light.

Drinkability here is average. I've had better barley's but this isn't terrible, just not my style.

LumpyGuitar, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of humanawho
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - nice amber/gold color and great head retention and lacing

S - a little candylike sweetness and very faint hoppy flower aroma

T - nothing stands out in the taste, it has nice sweet taste and still has a slight bitter finish, kind of a peachy taste in the background

M - nothing to complain about with the body just what you would expect from this type of beer which is good

D - no alcohol taste and nothing else is too out of the park so it is pretty drinkable and pretty good balance

sampled after some aging

humanawho, Oct 13, 2008
Photo of xpoweruser
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

xpoweruser, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of damienblack
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Short review going off memory from last night. Pours light brown, like an apple juice. A bit of head, nothing lasting, nothing super impressive. Smell of sweet fruit like peach, or pear, but overpowered completely by the hops. Huge hop nose, which carries through to the taste. You would get a hint of the nice malt body, and then piney, grapefruity hops would just demolish it. Between the hops and the boozeyness of the finish, tough to drink. A sipper that I actually drainpoured the end of. I didn't really get a lot of carbonation in mine, but it was nice and chewy. It boggles my mind how this can have just 5 IBUs more then Stone IRS, yes that is super smooth and balanced and this is so... not. Very disappointing to me.

damienblack, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of maximum12
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

maximum12, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of dukedevil0
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber from Party Source in Newport, KY.

A: Pours a hazy unfiltered orange amber with white frothy head that reduces down to a film and leaves good lacing.

S: Smells old sweet caramel malts and sweet fruits, but not very citrousy. Slight alcohol scent.

T: Similar to smell with more alcohol in the flavor, a bite that almost tastes sour with some of the hop bitterness i'm used to in other Stone beers.

M: Pretty thick considering I didn't expect it. Good amount of carbonation with some warmth.

D: If I enjoyed this style of brew, which I'm starting to think I don't, it'd be higher, but I'm just not feeling this.

It tastes too much like Founder's Red's Rye, or Alpha Kong or Prohibition Ale to me and I didn't like those much. The "sour" type flavor really puts me off.

dukedevil0, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from the cellar. 2008 vintage, purchased at the Village Pump the first year Stone made it to MD.

A mildly hazy ruby red with a dense, beige head that falls off to a ring leaving little lacing, this looks decent. The nose is still Hoppy with plenty of bitterness and some stale grapefruit juice. A moderate crystal malt character is present with toffee and caramel. Some honey and cotton candy are present. That almond like nuttiness that the better barleywines have is missing here.

The palate opens with a blend of mild bitterness and moderate sweetness. Toffee, oxidized honey, a little paper, and a little bit of sherry are present. Caramel, brown sugar with a touch of stale crystal malt is also present. Sticky sweet and full in body, this beer is mildly carbonated. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, though it does have a pleasing warmth. Carbonation is moderate. The bitterness and sweetness do clash, especially on fresh pours. As it breathes, the bitterness does fade, bringing out the honey, toffee and mildly nougat flavors out front. Decent.

DefenCorps, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.34/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one on the beer bus to San Diego.

Pours a murky orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, cardboard, toffee, and citrus aromas. Taste is much the same with cardboard and citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable but is showing some noticeable signs of oxidation unfortunately.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 30, 2013
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with a white head that sticks around as a ring. Starts out hot, both in aroma and taste, but it mellows as it opens up and breathes. Once it calms a bit, there is still some vodka like alcohol and some sweet, sugary malt and some apricot and pear. The taste is still somewhat hot and there is a sustained bitterness and quite a bit of citrus from the hops. Big, and not really sweet, but there is a bit of breadiness in the end. Mouthfeel is bitter, a little bit thin, and not all that smooth. Kinda like dinking a shot of vodka in a double IPA- not all that barleywine like. Eh.

Georgiabeer, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of Murchmac
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much like Buster Pointdexter this beer is hot, hot, hot.

Pours like it's walking on sunshine, not katrina, but the waves of honey orange with little lacing but a nice head that stays.

You get some of that classic barleywine malty sugar smell right now, alcohol. not much else for me.

Tastes vary from good to mediocre. It's too hot for the hot tub right now.

Lingering alcohol aftertaste. decent mouthfeel for a barleywine

Not too impressed, i usually love everything stone does, this is a letdown. Hope it ages well.

Murchmac, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 12/20/08. Bottle, ~Jan 2008. Pours a murky brown with a very small white head. Aroma of raisins, lots of raisins, and sweet caramel malt. Flavor is also quite malty with some brown sugar and iced tea. Tastes pretty much as I would expect from an aged barleywine. A decent beer, although to be honest this is not my favorite style of beer. Interesting though.
6/4/7/4/14 (3.5/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a ruddy brown with a nice creamy head. Decent retention. Okay lacing. Smells of doughy malts, grassy hops, slight alcohol fumes. Taste is of a huge doughy malt backbone, sweet, balanced out with a nice hop bitterness. Dark fruits, figs, definite alcohol bite to it. Mouthfeel is heavy but not too syrupy. Decent carbonation. Fairly drinkable.

Doomcifer, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of bilyboy65
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I don't know about this beer. For a barley wine it's not really like a wine at all. I suppose I should be greatful for that since I don't like wine generally. Pours a light brown with a minuscule head. Leaves nothing on the glass. The nose and taste are quite the same in that its of brown sugar and diactyl. There really isn't the sweet wine taste of most barley wines i'm used too. Maybe it's just the way it should be. Drinkability isn't bad though. Could enjoy a few bombers of this.

bilyboy65, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of jmalex
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have a working vertical of Old Guardian in the cellar, but I figured I'd better try it when it's somewhat fresh.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip a very hazy medium amber with some reddish highlights. The head starts at about a finger's height and shrinks down to nearly a full covering on the surface.

SMELL: The aromas aren't particularly intense but the malt and hops seem to be in nice balance. The hops are west coast style (of course) and fairly resinous. The malt base is clean with a few caramel notes. Alcohol factors in quite a bit and is fairly conspicuous in the background.

TASTE: A really sweet, caramelly malt base kicks you in the face initially. But the hops are right behind it providing a much-needed bitterness to balance the beer out. The finish gets back to the malty side of things along with a little alcohol heat.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full bodied and a little sticky and slick. The carbonation is on the lower end.

DRINKABILITY: Not too bad for such a big beer. It will only improve with time, and as it is the alcohol is decently hidden though some still stands out.

It's ok now, but I can't wait to get my vertical going. Who knows how many years this will stand up to.

jmalex, Sep 28, 2008
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.