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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

259 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 259
Hads: 328
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 6
Gots: 27 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 259 | Hads: 328
Photo of xpoweruser
3.32/5  rDev -18.4%
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

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Photo of damienblack
3.32/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of dukedevil0
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.38/5  rDev -17%
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.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -17%
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)

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of biking4beer
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Early 2008 Release.

Pours a hazy deep orange. Minimal whispy, white head. Would have like to seen more head on this one.

Smells super sugary. Orange, floral hops, and a prominent caramel to toffee aroma. You can almost smell the bitterness in this one.

I big fat grapefruit is thrown at you and smacks you across the head. We're not talking a regular old grapefruit, but it's one of those big Texas ones. There is prominent alcohol in this one, but that's not a bad thing. Pretty good actually. The sweetness shines through just a touch between the bitterness and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily. Creamy but yet a good level of carbonation to break everything up.

I wouldn't say that this is drinkable right now. I was glad I wasn't drinking the whole bomber. It's an interesting experience fresh, but when I revisit this one after some aging, I would bet the numbers will rise. It's definitely a super fresh beer right now, so beware.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of bilyboy65
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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Photo of jmalex
3.46/5  rDev -15%
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.

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Photo of ASymon13
3.52/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a reddish amber with a decent amount of white head that retains very nicely for the abv. The initial aromas are of bready malts, caramel and alcohol, but upon further inhaling hop tones of grapefruit and some citrus also play a key role. Alcohol is not overwhelming like some barleywines.

The flavor opens with bittering hops taking a front role, with some solid grapefruit flavor. That quickly gives way to the bready malts, and the caramel that was so prevalent in the nose is more subdued than I expected. The finish is almost entirely alcohol, which is rather disappointing.

The medium-full body and solid carbonation are fine for the style, but I really do not think this barleywine stands up to many of it's peers. It's good, but the flavors are almost a bit subdued, and the malt profile just isn't as complex as some others.

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Photo of Slynger
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy deep orangey amber with a cap of creamy off-white foam.

Boozy and malty, rich and bittersweet caramel and toffee, with some melon, prune, and stout citrus rind bitterness. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation, though it's not particularly smooth or creamy.

Not bad stuff, but not really something I need to try again.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Paid $8.99 for a bomber from Monument in Concord, CA. Poured into a snifter.

Inch and 3/4 frothy off white head after an aggressive pour. Burnt orangish brown color. Rather cloudy. Little head retention. Decent lacing. Mild carbonation.

Alcohol, raisins, other various dark fruits and some quality malts to help balance it out. A hefty, quality nose. There are some mild hop notes in there as well which came through more as it warmed.

This one is very alcoholic. I already know after I finish this bomber, I'm going to have a nice little buzz. A great balancing act; dark fruity, malty and hoppy all in great harmony.

The mouth is thick and somewhat grainy leading to a long aftertaste. Mild carbonation. Full body.

I could recommend a handful of Barleywines that I would put in a higher category than this one.

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Photo of ccrida
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into my Midnight Sun cervoise, the '08 OG is a clear copper with an olive tinged off white head that settles to a thick skim, leaving scattered sheets of foam. Served at cellar temp.

Smell is fruity apricot ale esters, citrus hops and alcohol.

Taste is not as rich as I remembered from last years, semi-sweet malt with a strong, tart citrus hop flavor and lingering bitter finish. Still very smooth and balanced for the size and younger age.

Mouthfeel is sticky, with a lighter body for a big BW.

Drinkability is good, though not the mind blower I recall from last year...perhaps my palate has matured, or maybe it's just a lesser execution.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.61/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pretty clear amber orange body with a nice thick light creamy tan head.
S- Big orange and grapefruit hops with a nice balance of sweet caramel body and a splash of alcohol. Almost a pineapple hint in there also. Seems like it's stronger on the light fruits than previous years.
T- Very different than the previous years of OG (and not to sure if it's for the better). Sweet caramel, booze, citrus hops, fruits, almost a grapefruit banana mixture? Little blend of some darker fruits in there too. Big bitterness left in the aftertaste and a little warming in back of throat.
M-Full chewy body with low smooth carbonation.
D- This is usually one of my favorite releases in the year especially since it's cheap for what it is so I can drink more of them. This seems a lot brighter than previous years and just doesn't have that Old Guardian flavor to it. The aftertaste still stays true to OG though. The thing it reminds me of the most is if you made a really strong OG and mixed it with a little left over VE 07 you get this. Kind of a disappointment this year, but we shall see what time will do to this one.

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Photo of JamesS
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light copper color (lighter than most barley wines I've had), with some very nice head and (rapidly diminishing) lacing. It has a very nice malty aroma, hints of caramel, but not really strong at all for the style. A very well done, deep, earthy taste, huge malt flavors. It goes down fairly well for a high abv brew. A very nice beer!

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Photo of enfield249
3.64/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very light and clear orange copper. A little to light for a barley wine I think.

S - Lots of alcohol and some spicy hop aroma.

T - Very spicy, both with the alcohol burn and hop spiciness. Just a little of maltyness you would expect.

M - Medium mouth feel. Not as full as I would expect for a barley wine

D - Meh. Pretty good, but I've had better barley wines.

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Photo of SeanRedd
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of bobsy
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Goregazm
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Appearance: Pours a thick golden color, like a mixture of apple and orange juice. Has a solid one-finger head which is nicely thick. It's bubbly and foamy, lasts awhile, and leaves some awesome lacing. A+.

Smell: Sweet, with a bitter tone to it. There is a very fresh and clean scent, heavy on the citrus and sweet alcohol. Has some caramel notes as well.

Taste: Strong with a bitter alcohol kick. Crisp and clean, with an emphasis on bitter hops. Has a slight caramel and fruit sweetness. Overall, the taste reminds me of an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but a little overcarbonated and it kills the creaminess. Aftertaste is very bitter and has a hefty malt feel.

Drinkability: This is a good, strong barleywine that fans of the style (or of Stone Brewing) should most definately enjoy. It may be a little strong for some, but the majority should find it a very good sipper. Very good.

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Photo of illidurit
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage. Bronze-amber color with a light beige head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is very strong and hoppy, with a backbone of toffee. Flavor is caramel and toffee maltiness with a dose of C hops and a rather over-the-top alcohol note. Definitely needs some age, but not too much lest the hops crap out. Body is a shade under thick, carbonation is perfect. Solid beer.

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Photo of Brez07
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beer BIF. Bomber poured into a snifter

Orange brown hue with a fair amount of head on the pour. Given the initial aroma upon opening and color, already thinking double IPA. Or maybe barleywine.

Nose confirms this is a barleywine. And an aged one to boot (although at this point in the game, it's not a reach for me to say that). Caramel, sweet bread, orange marmalade. Has a bit of that faded hop aroma, so I can narrow the style down to American barleywine.

Still a good amount of hops in the flavor, although basically all bitterness now with a little citrus juice to it. Good malt backbone along with caramel. Dry, fusel alcohol. Medium bodied, appropriate carb for the style

Another solid beer, but somewhat one dimensional at this stage of its life. Since the last beer was Stone, I'll take a stab in the dark and guess Old Guardian. Maybe 4-5 years old?

Reveal: Stone Old Guardian 2008. 5 years it is. Talk about a lucky guess with the age haha. Solid, solid beer

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had to review this beer in two sessions because at first sip I found it to be too hot and palate numbingly bitter. I did what I've found works in red wines as well when they are a bit "green." I corked it tight and left it in the fridge overnight. This review comes from the next day after it sat for a while.

Hazy dark copper color with a dense foam head of orange tinged tan bubbles. Little to no lace left, just an oily film.

Caramel malts hit the nose first followed by citris and pine notes.

Candied fruits and caramel up front, followed by a solid wall of citrus rind and grapefruit. Hot alcohol on the finish. This was near undrinkable one day ago, perhaps a slight bit of oxidation helped.

Full bodied, with medium carbonation, each sip leaves an oily film on your lips and in your mouth. Goes down smooth. I had to say it was below average when it came to drinkablility for now. It's too hot at this point in my honest opinion. The combination of over the top hops and alcohol dominated the more complex and subtle notes. I believe this could do with some aging before you are really able to enjoy it.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 259 ratings.