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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

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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 Trueant1
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange color...like the old wit beers I get on tap. Has a 2 finger white foamy head that almost resembles pankcake batter. the head leaves rings of lacing.

The smell is faint to me. Some bready barley smell. Not much elce going on for some reason.

Taste is great. Floral rosey and tropical fruits come through the hop bitterness. WOW!
Intensley bitter but for some reason these other flavors are strong. Some medicinal residue left on the tounge. bitter and alocholic aftertaste linger and linger. ( not a bad thing).
Oily mouthfeel from excessive hopping. Bitter afterbite, and alcoholic burn.
A borderline sipper. Dipa? Lots going on with this exceptional ale. NOt for the weak!

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Photo of kurtissellen
3.79/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like the big bottle really forces you to commit. Dirty beige head with large bubbles just over a fingers length tall and lace that really clings to the glass. Looks the color of ice tea and has a kind of a bready smell to it. At first a roasted malt flavor hits you followed by the alcohol then the bitterness of the hops kicks in and leaves a lingering flavor. I could start to feel the effect of the alcohol by the time I was halfway thru my second glass. Not quite as sweet a barleywine as I would like but still very good.

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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 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 DrJay
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange with a light haze and thin cap of fine, off-white bubbles. Spotty lacing right off the pour and a few larger bubbles formed a solid collar. Great head retention. Malty aroma, lots of cereal grain and caramel, quite bready. Light fruit character and hops in the nose. Nicely balanced flavour with a solid malt backbone, caramel and grain, plus some citrusy hops that appear part way through and become a little spicy towards the end. Fruit was evident up front. Bitterness was strong without being aggressive and lingered in the finish, along with a bit of pine resin. Alcohol added to the flavour profile in the finish. Full bodied with creamy carbonation, really smooth. This stuff is dangerously drinkable. I really like this year's batch - it's really balanced for being young. I'll definitely be picking more up.

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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 MMAJYK
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden caramel brown. Opaque and head is sticky and lacy.

S- Fruity and hoppy with florals and citrus. The alcohol is not present in the nose. Very well hidden.

T- Total caramel malt with sitrus and same florals from the hops.

M- Oily and just a little bit creamy. The thickness is medium.

D- Alcohol is well hidden and just awesome drinkability for a barleywine.

Overall- I am very impressed with the drinkability of this barleywine. To me, it seems alot like a BIG DIPA. My favorite of the night and an all around great brew. Nice job, guys!

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Photo of Nutleybeer
3.03/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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Photo of oelergud
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark 1 pint 6oz glass bottle. Red and gold silk screen showing the classic Stone Gargoyle holding a mug.
Cloudy semi translucent burgandy-orange body with moderate carbonation. Creamy lemon tinted head with lots of small bubbles. The retention and clumpy lace are rather impressive.
The smell is alcohol drenched caramel set on fire. Strong, intense, mouthwatering, sweet and intensely hopped. Nice baker's spices with almonds and nuts.
Very harsh and hoppy. Wild flower honey sweetness and piney hops, intense orange oil and alcohol burn and strong caramel, very complex.
Full body and good coating, finishes very dry. Lots of residual sugars.
Highly drinkable. Some time in the cellar should make this brew even better by smoothing out the alcohol and mellow the hops. Maybe 6 months or so will make this a perfect 5.


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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak chalice with a copper bronze body simply shining when held up to the light a large cream hued head forms thick with fine bubbles and slow pouring head retention. Head retention is great with thick even chunks of lacing between sips. Aroma has huge malt ripened edges that are far removed from the early days of Stone Old Guardian this is a new take on it, not in a subdued way but just different I'm getting strong streams of sweetness including orange and other citrus peel marmalade notes really sweet and viscous at it's best with big herbal and more citrus layers of hops flooding my senses. Flavor is subdued if that makes sense much more unfiltered appearance in past years always looking mahogany brown these year it glows with clarity. At $6.99 a bottle it's amazing but I'm asking myself is the same brew I've come to expect from Stone, not at all but I like the changes it's lighter with more honey biscuit malt less straight abrasive hoppiness the kinda change I expect with growth. BTW this bottle gives a shout out to the crew in Cincinnati that gave me access to this beer thanks George and company at Cavalier thanks for yelling at Greg during GABF while he was writing this label in turn creating a relationship between your distributor and their brewery forever. Mouthfeel is full bodied syrup like in texture one fine ale that I can't give enough approval to carbonation is even with the big waves of malt and hop complexity, damn good. Drinkability is easy enough to wax off a big bottle but if your really serious come and represent with this beer at a tasting in small portions and try to wrap your mind around all of the flavor aspects another complex strong barleywine from the west coast, like we need any more of those.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Limited early 2008 release'.
22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tulip.

A glowing, faint oak in color beneath a densely creamy white head that barely budges. Thin and patchy lacing with pretty solid strength.

Sweet vanilla with notes of honey. Aged, vinous fruit: peach, pear, apple. Young rum-like alcohol aroma. A lot of ripe, intense hop oils imparting a slick citrus.

Sweet, creamy malt base with caramel and milk chocolate under a wave of vanilla; rich toffee. The alcohol presence is intense and immature, but also quite complex as it works through the sea of filmy, oily hop bite adding nice subtleties to the citrus notes. The slick bite is followed by notes of rum and vanilla.

Full bodied; slick, oily, creamy. Not quite in complete balance, but given how intense the flavor components are, the body is quite impresive.

Unique in its vanmilla-laden malt flavor for the style. Not quite ripe, but very flavorful. A yearly accomplishment from Stone.

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Photo of charlzm
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle, consumed 01/31/08. Yes, it's young, but I'll probably revisit this vintage several times over the coming years.

Coppery pour, off-white one- finger head. Aroma is grapefruit hops with tobacco notes and some kind of fruit (apricot or plum). Thick mouthfeel, almost syrupy. Mild astringency, some alcohol burn. Flavor is a massive dose of bitter hops immediately, with a bit of medicinal cherry cough drop in there, too. The bitterness subsides fairly quickly (or else my palate is just too blasted to taste the enormity of the hops for long) but lingers as the primary note in the background.

This will improve with age, to be sure.

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Photo of Lothar666
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- An aggressive pour yielded a light, translucent orange-ruby-red body with a two finger thick, creamy off white head. Small traces of sediment were barely visible, and this one was much lighter and more carbonated than I expect in a barleywine. Lacing was thick and sticky, coating the sides of my snifter.

S- Very fruity- Apples, raisins, pears, grapes, with strong alcohol and very sweet malts thrown in for good measure.

T- Flavors are extremely subtle, complex and very well blended, producing a flavor profile full of dry grapes, other fruits, sweet malts and toffee. Hops round this out to finish off with an extremely well balanced flavor profile that hides the alcohol content very well.

M- Smooth- almost too smooth to be a barleywine. Very well carbonated, dry and sticky at the same time with just enough tingle in the finish.

D- Watch out, this Old Guardian is a sneaky bastard. He disguises his alcohol content so well that you don't know what hit you until you stand up. This is an absolutely fabulous and highly drinkable beer.

Had another one of these tonight after aging it for several years. 100% worth the wait, but a very different experience. A slightly weaker head over a darker and significantly more opaque body. Dry grapes have been reduced to only a slight tartness, replaced almost entirely by the toffee and brown sugar flavor and mouthfeel complete with a delicious powdery feeling on the roof of the mouth. As smooth as this one was before it only improved with age.

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Photo of supag32
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up as a new arrival at Liquor World, Porter Square, Cambridge, MA for an astonishing low price of 5.45. Very drinkable for a beer of this strength. Tasted a bit of caramel and spice with just a little sweetness in the finish. Well balanced, strong tasty brew.

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Photo of baos
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz into bicentennial Mason jar.

A: Translucent copper color with giant 4 finger ecru head that dwindles down to about a half of finger with good lacing.

S: Orange liqueur, honey liqueur, very spicy. Dark caramel over pine nuts.

T: Piney-orangey-clover-beeswax that kicks into a rum bang that comes back to the hop bitters that finishes dry and tingly. Maybe a bit bitter could use some age of her, but still very nice.

M: Nice and full body on this girl.

D: Strong but men drink strong brew. Drink up boys it'll put hair on ye chest.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 Pint, 6 fl oz bottle copped for $6.99 from Gary's in Madison...
An aggressive pour yields a dark-brown, ruby-red, mahogany colored-hue with a moderate-sized frothy head that soon receded, leaving a copious amount of lacing...
Sweet smell, bursting with caramel, malts, honey, and candied sugars...
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with a strong suggestion of sweet, roasted malts, rich caramel, sweet sugars, yeast, vanilla, and a spicy hint of alcohol...
Very rich, thick, sweet, creamy taste bursting with flavor and style...
Extremely thick, full-flavored, big-bodied mouthfeel...
Drinkability took a hit due to the rich conglomeration of flavors and the very hefty ABV which was certainly noticeable both in the nose and mouth...
Good, aggressive stuff from Stone... Recommended...
A real sipper...

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Photo of bosco7
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper color with a decent head. A little haze.

Peach, caramel, toffee, mint, soil, orange, cedar and some dates in the nose. Very pleasant. Oh and some booze.

Starts sugary with biscuit, caramel, toffee, and dried fruit flavors. Hops are really minty/floral with a tad bit of resinous character, very restrained for a Stone beer. Some candy orange and peach flavors in the middle. The finish is a bit rough and full of alcohol, but it's what I expect from a big barleywine.

Full body with perfect amount of carbonation to cleanse the palate for another sip.

The alcohol is a bit high, but I am freezing here in Philly, so the warming quality is welcomed. Maybe if I were back in California I would have a different attitude. One of my favorite Barleywines every year. Highly recommended.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky orange with a small white head. Smells of malt and pine. Nice combination.
Taste is unusually grapefruity and pine-y for a Barleywine. Lots of hops, malt and very young. A year or twon this and it would be a beast!! What a good barleywine but it needs some more maturity before I call it Great.

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

Appearance - Deep but clear amber. The head is solid and fairly long-lasting for a beer of this gravity.

Smell - Earthy hops and sweet caramel malts. The hop presence is pretty bold, disguising the high ABV.

Taste/mouthfeel - Very rich. Caramel malts are nicely balanced by a strong hoppy bitterness. Estery notes hide in the background, bringing to mind pineapple and mango. Sweet but not cloying; the finish has a slight drying quality that keeps you coming back for more. Full-bodied with a semi-crisp carbonation.

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Photo of calebmills
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first barley wine type of ale and i was very impressed with the strength if nothing else about this beer. It poured a nice orange color and smelled of great barley and malts go figure.. It also had a faint citrus taste to it. The main thing that jumped out at me was the warming of the alcohol. I couldnt drink this beer often but its definately a must try if you havent already. If you have had barley wine before im sure this is one of the best so i still recommend it highly for this style even if you have disliked others. Once again my props to the people at Stone.

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Photo of Flyer
2.87/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

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Photo of unclederby
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had my first 2008 last night, poured into a Piraat tulip.

This was a beauty of a beer in the looks department: deep orange in color and with a healthy two finger head that wouldn't quit. Lots of sticky lacing. Incredible really given such a high gravity beer.

Save for a bit of crystal malt, I got absolutely nothing on the nose. I swirled vigorously; still, nothing. What's up with that?

It tasted great however, much like a 2IPA only mildly hoppy by Stone's standards. Well balanced and exceptionally drinkable: where's the alcohol?

Mouthfeel was near perfection to my tastes: oily, somewhat viscous, and with vivacious carbonation.

I still can't believe this beer is over 11%, as it went down so easy... nice and smooth. The high ABV precludes me from giving it a 4.5 in drinkability.

Well, i am a little hungover today, but the Stone wasn't my only beverage of choice last night.

I'll be drinkin' me a bunch more of these, and

edit: i had another of these tonight (03/01/08) and have to say my palate is picking up much more on the citrusy hoppiness of the beer.

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Photo of jcivetz
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a very good beer that pours a nice frothy head in a chalice. the smell is awesome and what is to be expected of a barley wine. The taste is very good with a good kick when swallowing but not too hoppy and bitter. A definite kick ass beer to a conclusion of a long day or any day....gets you feeling buzzed after a glass!

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Photo of JackWeizen
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a six dollar deuce deuce of this stuff seems like a bargain. Some reading material on the side will occupy my time after the review. It pours a brilliant cherry red with a smooth white head about half an inch thick. Its Laces so thickly that I don't even see "sip lines" at first.

The smell and taste are fantastic. Dry hop aromas come though like walking through a blooming citrus grove. Sweet juice box aromas highlight the malt. I taste sugary cherry malt first, with a citrus and floral hop flavor, and then pleasant bitterness. This is like a cross between what I have tasted of English and American Barley wines. Its hoppy, but the malt character is still very defining.

The mouthfeel is superb. A medium body for the style, it goes down smooth, but you never forget you are drinking a barley wine. The alcohol is very sneaky in this drink. A great example of a style I am really starting to love.

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Photo of Terp96
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 edition poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint tumbler. Hazy amber color with small head that dissapates rather quickly.

Aroma is fruity and hoppy but not overpowering. Very subtle hints of dark fruit.

Tastes great. Malty sweetness up front and througout. Nice hoppy presence in the end. There is a hoppy bite that gets stronger as you progress and the beer warms a bit. Second half of the bomber gets even better.

Mouthfeel is exceptional. Very smooth and balanced. No alcohol burn and not too sweet.

Drinkability is limited by the alcohol content but this is by far my favorite barleywine and an excellent interpretation of 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.