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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 aquaderek
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured this beast of a beer into my beer snifter. A very nice looking beer a very vivid orange color and a head that clings to the side of the glass but dissipates quickly, but when agitated reappears. The nose is robust, sweet, caramel, ripe fruit (dates and pears), spiciness (nutmeg), very complex. The taste is bold sweet hot with alcohol, a bitter hop finish. There is a slippery hop finish with the bite of alcohol. As far as drinkability if you have more than one, better hope there is no work tomorrow because you are gonna feel it.

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Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice to finally see this arrive in the Buffalo area before I get outta town in a few weeks I always look forward to this annual brew.Poured into a 22 oz nonic a clear burnt orange color with a very well definedone finger white head that formed a ring at the top of the glass and settled slowly leaving broken lace behind.Big fruity esters in the nose with some jet fuel alcohol,citric hop lingers but is not a huge force in the nose,there is a big malt bill to this beer no doubt caramelly and doughy upfront with some juicy fruit hops give a good punch in the resiny finish along with a s bit of an alcohol sting.As I drink more a citric hop profile shows thru more but its not bitter more fruity with a tinge rind but it is nice,this could be put down to mellow but is a fine beer now I will grab a few and hold them to see how they are a few months from now.

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Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a hazed copper orange body with a small, but lasting, ecru head. Generous lacing adorns the glass. Aroma is surprisingly restrained from what I recall from the earlier vintages. Bready caramel malts and citrusy and spicy hops seem weak by comparison. Mouthfeel is creamy, with a solid medium body and subdued carbonation. Taste is well balanced between the huge bready maltiness and solid bitter hopping. Caramel and citrusy apricot add a pleasant sweetness to offset the bitter grapefruit rind and spicy hops. Alcohol is well hidden. A solid American barleywine, reliable as always.

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Photo of lightindarkness
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap, served in a tulip. Arrived on the bar a deep coppery orange color with a creamy head and nice full lace. The bartender topped it off once I'd sipped it a bit.

Nose is quite caramely, with a bit of a spicy note. The middle becomes notably grainy, malty with course grainy bread. Some good hoppy brighter scents serve to liven up the overall aroma.

Taste is of rich caramely malt with a lot of sweetness that runs into bitter hops toward the finish. The hops keep the taste higher and sharper on the palate, with very little low end depth, being rather strong and bright. The final bitterness sits very highly on the palate with some heat in the back.

Medium body, puckery and dry. A little sticky at times, but really dries out at the finish. Overall it's okay. Pretty strong and big on the top end for me, without anything really well grounded. Caramel comes across sweet, and without depth or balance. Hops create a sharpness and intensify the grainy character. Maybe it could use some time to mellow, I don't know.

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Photo of jordoo
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a rocky head that leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Although the caramel backbone tries to poke its way through, the piney bitterness has won the battle (but not the war, as in a few years, the caramel will dominate)

Taste: Both the piney bitter flavors and the underlying caramel and fig battle it out and reach a draw by mid-palate; after the swallow, the battle continues and I would have to call it a draw again, but there is quite a bit of hops for the malts to overcome

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation and plenty of warmth

Drinkability: In time, things will settle down, but right now, this beer battles it out over the tastebuds

Thanks, DRINKNDRIVE, for the opportunity

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle - Pours a bright orange/red that is rather cloudy. Smells of fruits, malts and hops. First sip is surprisingly light, creamy, and fruity. The hops are huge, even borderline sticky but not biting or overpowering. Finishes with a strong alcohol presence and a sharp bitterness. Great mouthfeel and a great Barley Wine.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
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.


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


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Photo of HalfFull
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of joezak5
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; clear and clean orangey copper with the most delicate tiny bubbles in the center. Little retention, good lacing.

Smell: Peppery and spicy sugary sweet malt. Deep syrupy with strong alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Hugely syrupy and sweet, muted carbonation, warmly alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, alcoholic, peppery spicy a little citrusy malt. The alcohol is a bit much, Peppery and cidery malt explosion. Womp you over the head warmth from the alcohol on the finish.

Drinkability: I bought six bottles based on the quality of the RIS, really think this will age nicely. It could use a little mellowing and blending. I think this is a great dessert beer...I just made my kid a molten fudge cake and it goes beautifully with it.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. No bottled date, except for mentioning it to be an early 2008 release. . .

(A)- Pours a murky reddish amber color with a decent off-white to light orange head formation with some good lacing. This beer actually cascaded for a good ten seconds after initial pour!

(S)- Caramelized brown sugar with woody pine. Assorted flowery apples as well.

(T)- Piney hop bite that is really really dry, in fact, its massive! Light citrus of grapefruit but otherwise has just massive hop flavors with the beginnings of the malt poking through. Some interesting cider components within the malt character.

(M)- Seriously dry and hoppy. Rather thick in its texture. Good carbonation level. Mouthcoating hops. A tad hot and boozy on the finish. Pretty sweet as well.

(D)- Perhaps one of the hoppiest beers I have had to date, which is saying something since this is about 18 months old! This could age for years and years considering how strong it still is. I would probably give it another couple to sit before I would revisit it again. Definitely a great barleywine, but it really hit me hard in the alcohol level; share with a friend!

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Photo of
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle

Poured a hazy, orange/brown. Formed a modest, sand colored head. Lots of tiny bubbles which faded fast. Legs, and surprisingly nice lacing.

Scent was caramel and toffee. Citrus (oranges) and herbal notes. Hint of roastiness. Aroma seemed very mild for what this beer is.

Taste was more bitter than sweet initially, grassy and herbal. It gets sweeter with some time, oranges, sugared citrus, caramel/toffee come out more. Alcohol. Finish is quite bitter, back to grassy and herbal.

Medium body, thinner than I expected. Low carbonation. Very dry.

A barleywine that is almost a DIPA. I would say this is very good for hop lovers (I really enjoyed it), but might be tilted too far in that direction for people looking for more of the traditional barleywine experience.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of choyhosoi
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A-Pours a copper color with a nice white/brown head.

S-First thing that hits you is the hopps. After awhile you can get caramel and other sugary scents.

T-This a nice taste with a bite of alcohol at the end. Its a nice balance just not a ale you can taste with a sip.

M/D-Overall I think this is great ale. I really liked the taste but the mouthfeel had a little too much of a bite for my taste.

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Photo of Manoftyr
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of atsprings
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of drseamus
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber body with a touch of white head.

S: Strong malt aroma. I don't get much on the hop aroma.

T: Nice one-two punch of malt sweetness followed by hop bitterness. Good powerful flavor. I almost don't want to let this one age.

M: Not too thick at all, nice and medium bodied. Admittally, it's on the thicker end of medium, but still not too heavy.

D: Not bad at all. Very nice fresh.

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Photo of mfkr
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle in a tulip glass.

A - Hazy amber colored with a thin head that quickly dissapears and leaves a good lacing.

S - A very faint smell of caramel, alcohol and spices.

T - Lots of hop flavor, alcohol and caramel.

M - Medium body with gentle carbonation.

D - A really nice experience.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from my cellar at a temp of 65 degrees due to the heat in PA. Thin head. Light amber in color. Smells sweet and fruity. Taste is sweet also with a bit of the etoh which should settle in time. Not much hops in taste which is funny since it comes from Stone. Mouthfeel & drinkability are affected by the booze. A nice barleywine which gets better with age IMO.


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Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel with 3 fingers of fluffed up sand colored head. Good lacing & very good head retention

S: Slight breadyness & that's it

T: A bit of caramel, some fruityness & herbal, leafy & piney hops up front. Boozey warmth, plus grapefruitty hops come through as this warms. Finishes dry, with grapefruitty & leafy hops & a bit of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, breadyness, plus a bit of apricots, figs, & apples

MF: Very chewy with low carbonation & good balance, with a nice warming sensation

Drinks very easy for the abv, a pretty good Barley Wine, especially for the money, let this one warm way up

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale Stem Glass. Thanks go out to Sweemzander for this aged beer! Cheers to my #400! 11.26% ABV. "Limited Early 2008 Release."

A - Hazy and dirty orange-ish amber, it's not much to look at. The thin head is a light cream color that pops up right away and sinks to a thin layer and ring. No lacing left on the glass.

S - This barley wine has a funky old basement nose to it on the first sniff that's oddly inviting and nostalgic. The intensely complex aroma has a boozy nose that's heavy with toasted malts. Fruity esters as well that hint at sweet melon but lean more towards plump raisins. Rich and foreboding aroma.

T - The noticeable boozy nose is immediately absent from the flavor which a) worries me and b) is probably due to it's age. The fruity esters mirror the nose are pair well with the abounding malts which have a lot of breadiness to them with a touch of yeast flavor. Deep flavor but maybe just a touch too mellow? Further on in the bottle the alcohol became more evident (just slightly) as a solvent-like smell came out. I also noticed a bit later on that there is a pungent floral hop aroma and flavor that was initially masked by the other things I was picking up. Well balanced for certain.

M - Smooth and rich but not syrup-like. It's well carbonated but doesn't give a feeling of carbonation. Sweet all the way through with a light alcohol warming finish.

D - With the first sip i was incredibly worried there was a lack of booziness in the flavor but it started coming out later on. That could lead to a serious "problem". It's one hell of a drinkable barley wine but that could be attributed to age. Either way it's still very good. A precursor to the many winter warmers to come! :D

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Photo of Kallessin
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy orange/apricot color. It almost has a cider appearance. Has a tan head with a slight orange tinge to it, but it goes away very quickly.

Has a very fruity/spicy yeast aroma. The booze is obvious but not overpowering. There's some sweet cotton candy, vanilla and almonds?? in there as well.

A lot of sweetness with fruity esters and spiciness up front. Then plenty of malitness that goes to a moderate amount of hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is very toned down, which was a little surprising from the aroma. Not a very complex tasting beer but very enjoyable.

It's very smooth and full bodied. There's a little carbonation bite with a warming sensation and only a very slight burn on swallow. There's a little lingering dryness.

This beer is dangerously easy to drink. It should be a sipper but it's easy to forget the alcohol content. It's fairly well balanced between the fruity spice, sweetness and bitterness. A nice beer.

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Photo of pershan
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a cloudy, medium amber into a 12-oz pilsner glass. The smell was of fruity malt, with just a whiff of yeast. The beer had a huge alcoholic component (no attempt to mask the 11.26% ABV), which, by the way, seems incredibly accurate for an ABV label on a bottle - I don't think I've ever seen it taken out to 2 decimal places, but I digress. There IS a lot of hop bitterness in the finish, but this beer still seems pretty raw. A few years in the cellar, and the alcohol and hops will have time to blend and mellow and then this ale will be truly awesome.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of supercolter
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally, finally, finally got to try one of these. Appearance is really good with a nice colr and large head. Also some nice spiderweb lacing to accompany it. Smell and taste are very similar. A nice soothing fruity taste and then a blast of alcoholly hops. Mouthfeel is quite good as well. Nice and heavy and still some carbonation. Drinkability is a bit lower as expected given the style.

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