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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

328 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 328
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.05%
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 328 | Reviews: 259
Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of DrJay
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of cjgator3
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on Friday night. First time I've seen this in VT.

Color: Reddish-amber color with a one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and malty. Seems lighter than most barleywines as in the alcohol seems hidden.

Taste: Malty and bready with a light alcohol kick to it. Not too much warmth. Nice and hoppy but not in a way that overwhelms. Caramel and toffee show through in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Hops and alcohol warmth. Fairly thin and simple.

Drinkability: Definitely going to pick up a second bottle to age. I like it right now and I believe I'd like it even more after aging a bottle for a few months, etc. It seems nice and drinkable even at this stage. When compared to Vermonster (a local barleywine of the same style), this seems better rounded and if it improves with age, then it's a worthy investment of time and money. I like it.

Then again, Stone has never disappointed me.

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.

Photo of ccrida
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into my Midnight Sun cervoise, the '08 OG is a clear copper with an olive tinged off white head that settles to a thick skim, leaving scattered sheets of foam. Served at cellar temp.

Smell is fruity apricot ale esters, citrus hops and alcohol.

Taste is not as rich as I remembered from last years, semi-sweet malt with a strong, tart citrus hop flavor and lingering bitter finish. Still very smooth and balanced for the size and younger age.

Mouthfeel is sticky, with a lighter body for a big BW.

Drinkability is good, though not the mind blower I recall from last year...perhaps my palate has matured, or maybe it's just a lesser execution.

Photo of DefenCorps
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from the cellar. 2008 vintage, purchased at the Village Pump the first year Stone made it to MD.

A mildly hazy ruby red with a dense, beige head that falls off to a ring leaving little lacing, this looks decent. The nose is still Hoppy with plenty of bitterness and some stale grapefruit juice. A moderate crystal malt character is present with toffee and caramel. Some honey and cotton candy are present. That almond like nuttiness that the better barleywines have is missing here.

The palate opens with a blend of mild bitterness and moderate sweetness. Toffee, oxidized honey, a little paper, and a little bit of sherry are present. Caramel, brown sugar with a touch of stale crystal malt is also present. Sticky sweet and full in body, this beer is mildly carbonated. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, though it does have a pleasing warmth. Carbonation is moderate. The bitterness and sweetness do clash, especially on fresh pours. As it breathes, the bitterness does fade, bringing out the honey, toffee and mildly nougat flavors out front. Decent.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
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

Photo of Durge
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beauty pours a clear copper color with a whispy white cover and solid lacing. The aroma is nutty malt, thick and luscious. It offers one delicious tease with this edible smelling introduction. The taste is at first a powerful alcohol and malt with a peppery highlight. I'm not sure what more to say on the flavor. It mellows beautifully as it warms, a professional quality brew, not to miss. Drinkability is midland due to the heavy alcohol, but it's good enough to give some flow. A midland feel, substantial, a bit "oily". Impressive, a keeper.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a nonic

Pours a beautiful slightly cloudy amber with a thick two finger head that stuck around for a long time. Skinny rings of lace were left behind near the top, but nothing from the middle-down.

Smell is of dark fruit, caramel, sweet toasted malt, candied grapefruit and booze. Pretty much right where you want it to be. Balanced and enjoyable.

This is a slick, well-balanced barleywine. A near perfect balance of sweet malt and a bitter grapefruit hop bite. A good layer of dark, ripe fruit and raisins. But lacks that big punch I want from my elite barleywines.

Slick and uber smoothe. Medium bodied with a bitter hop/boozey aftertaste that lingers and lingers.

This is a sipper at 11+%, but getting through this 22 was a breeze.

One of Stone's finest.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber/ copper color with a small white head. In the aroma, small fruitiness, plumbishand kind of sugary. In the taste, plumbish and a bigger than expected hop presence. A smooth and big bodied mouthfeel, and a semi-dry plum and alcohol aftertaste. Big plum flavor, big hops, smooth and hides alcohol quite well.

Photo of sweemzander
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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!

Photo of ArrogantB
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle. I preferred this beer with six months on it last year so I waited until now to drink my first 2008. Thick orange color and smells like the best hoppy rubbing alcohol ever. It is a bitter barleywine and it is good. If you like barleywines this is a good west coast example.

Photo of maximum12
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Photo of illidurit
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage. Bronze-amber color with a light beige head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is very strong and hoppy, with a backbone of toffee. Flavor is caramel and toffee maltiness with a dose of C hops and a rather over-the-top alcohol note. Definitely needs some age, but not too much lest the hops crap out. Body is a shade under thick, carbonation is perfect. Solid beer.

Photo of Pencible
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a hazy bright copper color with fluffy tan head. It smelled like freshly harvested wheat and refined sugar, with some citrus hops. It tasted mostly like orange hops, but also had some floral hops, light caramel malt, wheat, and some waxy flavor. It was watery with almost no carbonation and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a complex sipping beer, but wasn't as bold or delicious as I was hoping. A very good brew, but could have been better.

Photo of Bung
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Thick, near opaque orange pour. Some cream colored bubbles at first, then pretty much nothing. Malt, caramel covered apple and citrus aroma. Some booze and light pine. The taste has a lot going on. Caramel/toffee and malt bases. Some red fruits, yellow raisin, citrus and tea/tobacco. Mouthfeel is solid, but carbonated enough to keep it from being syrupy. A little piney hops middle through the finish give this a nice bitter clean finish. More than this would be too much for me, I think the age did good here by me. Drinkable enough for a large warming beer. Still refreshing enough to drink on a summer night.
I don't know if there is a better way of describing this than saying it's a perfect mix between and English and American(west coast) barleywine. I was really expecting a hop bomb barleywine, boy was I pleased to find different. The year and half probably also helped, but I'm guessing this one was pretty balanced from the beginning.

Photo of FosterJM
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 12/20/08. Bottle, ~Jan 2008. Pours a murky brown with a very small white head. Aroma of raisins, lots of raisins, and sweet caramel malt. Flavor is also quite malty with some brown sugar and iced tea. Tastes pretty much as I would expect from an aged barleywine. A decent beer, although to be honest this is not my favorite style of beer. Interesting though.
6/4/7/4/14 (3.5/5)

Photo of Bierman9
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Prosit!!

3.95
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4

1077

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of prototypic
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a cloudy golden brown color (slightly orange tint to it) with a thick two finger, off-white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell: Initially, dark fruit and citrus aromas provide a very sweet smell. Hops are certainly piney and very notable. Caramel and toffee malts creep in and permeate the nose from there on out.

Taste: Caramel malt flavors arrive first and provide a sweet, malty flavor. Citrus and dark fruit flavors blend well and add more sweetness. Hops kick in a bitter factor and balance it out pretty well. Slight yeasty taste on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium to thick. Definitely a sipping beer. Very well carbonated. It's strong, but relatively drinkable for a beer of its stature. Definitely wouldn't drink more than one bomber in a sitting though. Overall, it's very, very good. It actually does seem a little better than least year's release, if memory serves correct.

Photo of argock
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz brown bottle into an oversized wine glass. No freshness date but etched front label reads "Limited Early Sping 2008 Release." Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.

A: Pink grapfruit hue with 1/2 finger off white head with avergae retention for style and no lacing.

S: A multitude of caramel and pale malt are coupled with floral, spicy, and spicy hops. Alcohol is perceptible but not strongly present.

T: A delicious hoppy American barleywine with superb citrus and spicy, earthy hops flavor matched with big time maltload. Not really remarkable but enjoyable all the same. The alcohol is there but pretty well hidden for < 11% ABV.

M: Smooth, low carbonation barleywine which is easy to drink.

D: A very nice but not a standout barleywine. If you are a hoppy barleywine lover, then this is a good pick for you, but probably a year too late at this point.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 328 ratings.