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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

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 259
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: 326 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The odyessy continues. Not too quickly though, I'm too old for this stuff…

A: The barleywine is a golden orange, brighter at the base with a bit of a glow. Still transparent. The ale sports a thick head, over two fingers with plenty of lace.

S: Mellow. Still hoppy but the the aroma isn't a blast of malts and hops. Pepper and citrus are present but it seems like I have to search for them.

T: Plenty of caramel in the first sip, possibly even some smoky rye flavors. The grains are lightly toasted but quite strong. Even the hops, restrained in the nose, stand out with a little more power. They are citrusy, pepper in tow, and still reasonably fresh. A nice wall of malt pops up near the finish but the ale still comes across as young. A lively citrus presence, hops definitely but quite sugary, sees the ale away. I like that the maltiness isn't as intense as the '07 and '06 versions.

M: The hoppiest of the three. Not surprising as it is the youngest. Also the nicest finish, not nearly as intense either.

akorsak, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy, burnt orange color with a off-white head that thinned to leave a ring of sticky lacing.

Aromas are mainly sweet malts comprised of rich caramels and toffee. As you revisit you get some extremely light indiscernible earthy hops.

The tastes begin with the malty sweetness, caramels and burnt brown sugar, a little toffee. As you further consume and enjoy you are assaulted with the aggressive bitterness and light taste of alcohol which both continue to emerge and overwhelm your palate as your consume. The bitterness seems to almost become greater with each sip.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth, yet extremely dry yet full finish with a pleasant gentle warming.

Overall this beer has aged to perfection and can definitely still go a few more if necessary. The ample hopping has allowed this to age and have the potential to age for as long as the consumer can stand/wait. While not my favorite style (I prefer Eng Barleywines for their balance), I really enjoy how the age has met this beer with compromise and grace. Look forward to sampling older vintages as the years allow.

claspada, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of peensteen
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Volo

Pours a hazy deep copper, decent white head, nice light lacing. Smell is of caramel, big malt, biscuit, quite hoppy considering the age, faint citrus and alc. notes. Taste is rich with caramel, good malt, sweet but not cloying and actually quite nice, dark sugar, no alcohol to be found. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel, thick, full body, very light carbonation. Awesome stuff overall, ABV almost undetectable, really good stuff.

peensteen, May 19, 2011
Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Early 2008 release.

Pours a healthy amber chestnut wood color. Thinner head... Aroma is sweet and pleasant, not a tinge of alcohol. Taste is very smooth... hops were used gently. This beer is full of flavor and it a balanced example of a barleywine. Decent clarity. Low to moderate carb.

Nearly a perfect BJCP style match!

TheSupremeAJ, May 02, 2011
Photo of liamt07
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

liamt07, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of UnknownKoger
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

UnknownKoger, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of DovaliHops
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

DovaliHops, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of rootbeerman
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

rootbeerman, Jan 14, 2011
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 Kitt
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Kitt, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of Brent
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Brent, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of FosterJM
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

FosterJM, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of Mancer
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage

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.

Mancer, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of atsprings
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

atsprings, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of Manoftyr
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Manoftyr, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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).

FreshHawk, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of dwilson01
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

dwilson01, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

KickInTheChalice, Apr 04, 2010
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 JoeyBeerBelly
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

JoeyBeerBelly, Feb 21, 2010
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 mdwalsh
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

mdwalsh, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of hosehead83
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

hosehead83, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of jzeilinger
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

jzeilinger, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of kingcrowing
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

kingcrowing, Dec 13, 2009
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.