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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
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Reviews: 259 | Hads: 328
Photo of jdubjacket
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bomber of this three ways the day before Thanksgiving. Pours a copper brown color with minimal lacing or head retention. Smell is dried fruit, lots of hops... and alcohol. Taste is dried fruit and much hoppier than I want in a barleywine. Moderate carbonation in the mouthfeel. Drinkability is good, but the alcohol may be too much for some.

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Photo of GordonQuid
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of GoreStorm
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'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.

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Photo of peabody
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Bananaman
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of ndekke39
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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!

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Photo of 100floods
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of rayjay
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of watchnerd
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of badbeer
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apricot colored with a white head sitting atop it; spotty lacing and little head retention. Pine, strawberries, caramel, and even some mint in the aroma. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, some citrus, and some strawberries in the taste. Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden for 11+%. I always look forward to trying this every year, the 2007 was a bit disappointing, but the 2008 was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Tdizzle
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage poured into my Dogfish Head snifter.

A- This beer pours a slightly hazy orangish-amber color with a nice off-white head that produces some spotty lacing as it settles.

S- Sweet malts and lots of citrusy hops. The alcohol is very prominent in the aroma.

T- Everything that the aroma promised. Malty sweetness gives way to some intense bitterness. Very boozy, yet the alcohol isn't overpowering. You can feel the heat as it goes down.

M- A rich, smooth feel with some light carbonation.

D- At 11.26%, this drinks pretty well. The hop bitterness prevents the alcohol from becoming cloying, but there is still a rather harsh quality to this beer. It's hard to say exactly what it is, but it's just abrasive. This is a beer that is best appreciated with some age on it.

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Photo of Yesac
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Limited early 08 release"

A - Orangy rust color. Small white/orangy head that fades.

S - The smell isn't that strong. There alcohol scent is surprisingly subtle, and then I pickup some butterscotch and caramel.

T - Caramel up front, some butterscotch and a strong alcohol overtone.

M - Medium alcohol burn, sticky and a medium body.

D - Would only have one bottle due to the strong ABV, but its a great sipper. I'd rather have some other barleywines over this one though.

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange amber with a head that descends to fine, lasting swirls. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with some golden raisins and some pine/resin and citrusy orange. There's a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is of caramel/toffee - sweet - with prune and golden raisins. It's backed by some citric/floral bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but not raw. Still, it shows its hand. Malty and boozy with supporting bitterness in the finish.

It's full-bodied with a syrupy character in-line with the style.

Alcohol is not masking, but certainly enough to put a dent in the overall drinkability. A slow-sipper - not surprising for an abv of over 11%. It has that "Stone" character. A nice sipping brew.

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Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Mahaffey's last night.

The beer pours a brownish toffee flavor with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just some sweet malt with some underlying hoppy bitterness. I had a hard time with this beer on the palate, and I really think it needs more time to come together. The beer shows a huge marriage of hops and malt, with the hoppy bitterness winning the day. The beer comes across as quite dry for a barley wine, and at present I thought the abv. was entirely too noticeable. I ultimately couldn't finish my 10 ounce glass of beer, as the high abv. finally just wore me out.

This beer reminds of certain wines that are either too tannic or just closed up. That's what I thought of this beer... the flavor profile is a bit closed right now; I'm sure in a couple of years it'll turn into something sublime. For now it just isn't a very enjoyable beer to drink, though I think that will change over time. Oh well...

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Photo of RodBurg
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of PartyBear
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought from Beers of Europe (Kings Lynn, UK), and poured from a cellar temperature bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Warm amber coloured body, with a fluffy off-white head, which shows good lacing and retention. No visible carbonation whatsoever.

Aroma: There is a dry barley scent, which is strong at first with lots of oats. This makes way for a slight sweet hit before a potent alcohol aroma takes over.

Taste: The first flavours that come through are oats and wheat, with a hint of sweetness. In the middle the taste drys out and becomes very earthy and hoppy. The aftertaste is slightly perfumy, with an enduring punch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The feel is light considering the ABV, with an almost greasy texture, which projects a well rounded smoothness.

Drinkability: The alcohol is fairly heavy in the finish, which would normally destroy the drinkability, however, the flavours as a whole work past this making it incredibly moreish. This is my first Old Guardian, and I'm now pretty intrigued as to how the other years match up.

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Photo of MaduroMike
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden/ amber with a frothy off white head. Almost no retention.

S- Aroma of sweet bready malts. Hints of fruit, alcohol and yeast.

T- Sweet caramel malt, non citrus fruits, a bit of alcohol. Nice balance of bitter hops to finish.

M- Medium body, creamy with a touch of bitterness. Good amount of carbonation.

D- Sweet, tangy, and bitter. Not really my style right now. I would need to be in the mood for it.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a finger and a half of white head. Good lacing especially for a barley wine. A nice looking amber/copper color.

S: Big malt nose. A little boozy as well. Some figs and raisins in the back.

T: Nice big malt taste. The raisins and figs are right there. A little bit of hops in the back mixed in. Booze throughout.

M: Thick body. Very sticky in your mouth.

D: This is a little bit hot. With a year on it this will blend together nicely. I would say hold on to this a little while longer. Good beer though still.

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me first barleywine. Poured for lunch....

Looks like caramel. Not caramel colored. It looks like caramel in a glass. With a thin white head. Bubbles are moving oh so slow. As you would expect them to in pure caramel.

Smell is all malts to me. Caramel malts. Did I accidentally buy a bottle of caramel?

Taste is ... caramel. Maybe it's me. Actually caramel flavor isn't too strong but it's there. Very sweet up front. Nice, moderate, and welcomed bitterness at the end, then the alcohol warms you up a degree or three.

Thick, full bodied.

At 11.26% (thanks to God) this is incredibly drinkable. Alcohol is noticeable but not debilitating. Of course, I'm about to put down this whole bomber by myself so let's see.

Overall: barleywines are cool

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