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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008

Educational use only; do not reuse.

259 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 259
Hads: 328
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 6
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.26% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HimerMan on 01-27-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 259 | Hads: 328
Photo of 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 matt20102
4.44/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I opened this bottle, quite unsure of what to expect, but with fairly high hopes. After all, Stone has yet to let me down when it comes to extreme styles (even when a particular variety doesn't make my 'jump at it when I see it in a bar' list, I can appreciate the quality of the brew.

This bottle was stored for about 2 years (even though it is 09/2009 and the bottle is called 'early 2008 release'; perhaps my tag was wrong?). Poured into a glass, it shows an unusually uniform color- about 15 SRM. It's surprisingly uniform in color, actually. (The beer is fairly light in color but has the light-stopping power of a stout. I've never seen anything quite like it).

The bottle opened with a pop and pours with a a thick head for such a strong beer; within a few minutes the head recedes to the edge of the glass and remains indefinitely. The first taste is of malt, pleasantly roasted or burned malt, and a generic hoppy bitterness which quickly changes to Stone's infamous grapefruity cascade hops flavor. Thia is a Stone product, alright. What's surprising is that there is no alcohol taste- at all! For a beer this strong, that's a little surprising and not at all unwelcome. The mouthfeel goes quickly from thick and malty to rather thin; the overwhelming aftertaste is of grapefruit followed by grapefruit & copper.

This beer is not for the faint of heart; about half-way through the bottle I can already feel the effects of it's 11.26% abv. Finishing this bottle off is rather like 4.5 5% beers. That being said, the beer is quite drinkable and I would happily buy another, if I could find it, or Stone's next limited edition Barleywine.

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Photo of fostwal
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is slightly cloudy and a dark amber in its appearance. The aroma is very slight with just a few hints of hops and sweet roasted malt. The taste is excellent. The hops and malts are very well balanced. Though it does have a little more bitter hops than traditional barley wines. The flavors are bold, but not overpowering and you really don't notice that this brew is 11% alcohol. The mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is low and the liquid is thick. It feels like a strong beer. The combination of all these makes this a superb beer.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Silenus89
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to my Stone pint glass. Reddish hazy copper looking appearance with an off white head with superb lacing.

Smelled lots of malts, fruits, hops and a bit sugary.

The taste is bitter but sweet that was amazing. Thick and warming with alcohol.

This was my first barley wine ive had and it left a very good impression on me. I love this beer! i need to have it again. Highly recommended

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Photo of jdaelhousen
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an orange/amber color producing little carbonation and a solid white head.

Aroma consists of a boozy, fruit aspect of cherry, apricot, rye, and wheat. There is also a distinct candy-sugar essence in the trailing nose.

Taste has a very sugary sweet flavor initially all the way into the center where a grainy rye flavor presents itself. From start to finish, this beer is noticeably boozy, and the finish produces a waft of warmth on the palate from the high ABV.

Aftertaste produces a tart bitterness to counter the sweetness, and the 2 mingle on the palate with the alcohol, for several seconds after the swallow. Smooth and surprisingly palate refreshing, this beer is a true winner.

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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 mikeale
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange body with a thin white head

S: Candy fruits, citrus faint hops

T: Sweet malty, alcohol, hops in the finish

M: Smooth creamy, balanced, warming alcohol, mmm

D: For a barley wine at 11.26% I'd say it's highly drinkable. The alcohol is not over powering, very balanced, but I've only got one left... I think this beer might go well with a cigar.

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Photo of frothyhead
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky hazy amber/brown into a snifter with a small off-white head.

Nose is malty sweetness, dark fruit and bread, some alcohol, and a good amount of hops still coming through on this year old bottle - grapefruit and a bit of pine.

Mouth is full bodied with low to medium carbonation and some silky oiliness from the hops.

Taste is a nice blast of bitter hops and grapefruit, with a solid bready malt backbone. Some subtle caramel sweetness mixing in as it warms.

Drinkability is good. There's quite a bit of bitter hoppiness here, but it's balanced somewhat nicely by the malts. Alcohol is not all that apparent, making this 11+% ABV brew a dangerous beast.

Overall this is quite a nice barleywine. I wish I had had it closer in time to the 2006 bottle I recently had so that I could compare, but from what I remember this is quite a bit more hoppy. Looking back at my review, it looks like the 2006 lost its hops in favor of alcohol, so I'd say this is a solid improvement. I've only recently truly acquired a taste for barleywines, but this Old Guardian is quite nice. Since I've now had a 1 year old bottle and a 3 year old bottle, and the fresher was better, I'd like to pick up a fresh bottle sometime soon. Another solid brew from Stone.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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 rgb2807
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful caramel, burnt orange color. A subtle, but sweet smell. You can definitely smell the alcohol but when you take a sip the alcohol is much less noticeable. I can't describe a specific taste, at first it's very sweet, but then finishes with some bitterness. The mouthfeel is very thick, almost syrupy. Drinkability is good, considering the alcohol content. I enjoy this barely wine a lot, would buy again.

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Photo of JBuff41413
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first ever Barley Wine and I didn't know what to expect.

A- Pours a hazy but deep amber color, with 1 inch of beautiful off white creamy head. Retention is decent and the lacing just clings to the glass.

S- This is an amazing smelling beer. Fresh baked bread, caramel, hoppy, warm spicy alcohol, and slight amount of citrus as the beer warms. Perfect!!

T- It does not disappoint. Sweet caramel malts up front, a little spicy and some dried fruits poke through. It finishes a little bitter and then the alcohol slowly warms your chest.

M- Full body mouthfeel, nice and creamy

D- It is a very intense beer and because of that i could probably drink 2 and that would be pushing it. It is 11.26% ABV and it hides it extremely well...so this one will sneak up on you.

This is my first ever Barley Wine and won't be my last. GREAT beer. I'm going to get a couple more drink one and age the other one for a few years.

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Photo of thejewthatbrews
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into glass.

Pours an orangy, amber-ish color with exceptional clarity. Slightly off-white head, inch high, with very sticky lacing. Five minutes after the first drink it's still here.

Malty sweet aroma, with a faint hop aroma, and a definate alcohol note.

Malt upfront when first tasted, followed by a slight hop bitterness, then alcohol, then a very slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol does not burn, but is very noticealbe. Malt character definately dominates, with a slight hint of caramel and a bit of dried plum(not sure if that's the best way to desribe it).

Drinkable, in appropriate doses. Definately sippable, even "quaffable" (stupid word), but would be best accompanied by food. Had in unison with a cheap club sandwich, and it complemented the sandwich very well.

Thick mouthfeel, almost sticky "after-feel", but not enough to make me stop.

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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 xgabe
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours thick, very viscous, very inviting. Hazy bright orange amber.

S: caramel sweetness comes through from the malt. Not too much of a presence from the hops, which being a DIPA fan, is something I'm used to expecting from most beers (especially Stone brews), but given the style, it is within the definitions. They still make their presence known, though nowhere near in the levels of Ruination.

T: Wow. First time with Old Guardian. Full repertoire of malt sweetness. It fits the description on the bottle of "tons and tons of barley". You've got to try this one yourself and muse through the intricacies.

M: Oh so gloriously full bodied.

D: Very much so. The kind of sipper I would really enjoy with a great book. Oh man... I've got to go out and age a couple of these.

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Photo of seangroves
3.02/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a 6 oz sampling glass.

Dark amber in color, very clear with very little head.

Very hoppy and fruity in smell, seems to be a good balance and the aroma is very inviting.

Taste the hops throughout very strongly, similar to that of an IPA, with little taste of fruit from the yeast nor any maltness at all, strictly hops. Quite bitter. Powerfully hoppy.

Medium to heavy bodied with a good smoothness.

I don't think I would drink another one of these due to the intensity of the hops and powering bitterness that only increases with consumption.

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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 xpoweruser
3.32/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber color. Off-white creamy head. Cloudy body with sediment.

Aroma: Complex and rich malt aroma. Caramel, toffee, dark fruit, citrus and butterscotch sweetness dominate. Floral and Piney hops are noticeable.

Taste: Complex malt character with nice caramel, toffee, dark fruit and chocolate notes. Bitter hop bite with strong pine notes, a little spice, hops have mellowed out with aging. Even though this is a very high ABV beer, the alcohol flavor is fairly mellow due to the aging but is still noticeable, warms going down, very nice.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth, full-bodied and syrupy. Light carbonation.

Drinkability: Solid Barley Wine that has mellowed out and become complex with aging, hop flavor has held up pretty well surprisingly, but still not as complex as I would like for this style.

Bottle opened on 1/3/11

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Photo of x63x77
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Beautiful red and orange tones, clean white head, spectacular lacing.

Smell: Floral, fruity, bitter. This beer has a strong hops nose that I found refreshing. Also, there is a strong alcohol sent initially, but this largely vanished as I drank.

Taste: Powerful, full flavor. Extremely beautiful and satisfying floral notes makes this beer surprisingly fresh. Strong alcohol taste comes on very smooth cleansing the palate and drying the mouth like a nice vodka. A truly unique experience.

Mouth Feel: Warm, crisp, a bit tart.

Drinkability: Quite complex, this beer requires a bit of work from the drinker, but 11.2% more than 2 pints would be too much regardless.

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Photo of hopheadsal
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This the first barley wine I have tried. Loved the color...dark caramel, with a rich look and feel to it. A ton of malt to taste, but it's not too balanced...a lot of alcohol on the finish. I guess a few years in the celler would remedy this. Would defintiley drink again!

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Photo of tilopud_rye
4.69/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this February 2013 in a nice bottle. Right as it's opened the smell pops out and fills the surrounding air. A very sweet smell- caramel and toffee backed by a hint of alcohol. Hazy copper liquid with the thinnest rim of bubbles circling and clinging to the edges of the glass. Taste is great flavor of dominant toffee with caramel backed by subdued bitter hops and warm alcohol. The hops carry that strong bitterness many stone beers but the aging of this puts that bitterness more as an undertone. The aftertaste is quite fun as the hoppy bitterness sticks to the mouth while the alchohol and sweet flavors can be felt streaming down the throat. 2nd glass from the bottle tastes more bread notes that really balances the overall delivery as initially it is very sweet. Hope to run into another aged bottle someday.

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Photo of bebopkola
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color surprisingly light in color for a barleywine. Smells of grapefruit and other citrus upfront with some sugar carmel finishing it up. Probably the hoppiest barleywine I've ever tasted which is no surprise coming from stone but it's a bit to much in my opinion. As it warms up the hops seem to mellow out and hints of spice and sugar carmel come up. Overall, not my favorite barleywine this season but definatley a good one. Taste wise it's a bit all over the map. This barleywine definatley needs some aging to mellow out and unify the brew.

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Photo of skibumdc
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a white wine style glass.
Appeared to be Amber color, although it was a dark restaurant.
Nice mouthfeel. Not too thick, not too thin
Taste of plentiful VERY toasted malts with caramel, honey, and tea flavors.
A sipping beer to start off the night.

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