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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

324 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 324
Reviews: 260
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: 324 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BretSikkink
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Thought I better try it out of the bottle too...

Dark orange color, great highlighting. Off-White head looks very nice, jumps up several inches, great stick and lacing. Tight cap.

Malty caramel sweetness backed by citric hopping in the nose. I thought it was a tad weak, as in overall power, but the notes were well struck.

Flavor brings more of the same; the hops are multi faceted with herbs, pine, and citric fruit making an appearance, while the malt brings the caramel backing. Very solid and chewy ale, dry finish.

Carbonation is low, alcohol high, let this one warm up and start hitting on all 8 cylinders..or should I say all 11.26. Recommended.

BretSikkink, Apr 01, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

This barleywine style ale was released in 2008 and I had the joy of sampling it on-tap at the American Flatbread Stone event. My goblet was delivered to me a deep amber/garnet color with a short lived head. The retention of the collar was good however and the lacing scattered. The aroma was surprisingly light, alcohol esters and heat with a general sweetness of floral hops and ripened fruit. The flavors blew me away. Vanilla, caramel malt, floral and citrus hops, oak, nuts, especially hazelnuts, pears, apples along with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar. As it warmed up the alcohol appeared more prominently but at 11.26% it was astoundingly well-hidden. Dangerous! The mouthfeel was very smooth, the carbonation delicate and the body medium/full. As complex as an aged cognac yet highly drinkable. Wow.

thekevlarkid, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

A healthy amber color with a tan head that settles to a thin cover. The nose was of quiet bready malts, ripe fruits and some floral hops. Taste also has a nice hop presence that is well balanced by sweet malts. Well carbonated silky body is full on the palate. A good brew, but there are much better.

rye726, May 14, 2008
Photo of mdagnew
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

650ml bottle bought online from BeerofEurope.co.uk...

Poured a deep coppery russet colour. Creamy head with some coppery tinges poured quite thick and rocky then faded to nice light ring around the edge of the glass. Barely any carbonation... some light frothy lacing...

Aroma - Lots of spicy piney hops, peppery, herbal notes, caramel / toffee sweetness, some burnt sugar notes, spicy fruits (raisins, oranges, some light figs, grapefruit), strong resinous notes, some saltiness, toasted bread, biscuity malts, woody, some faint leathery traces, grassy, quite a lot of alcoholic esters when the glass is given a light swirl...

Taste - Very strong peppery / spicy / piney hops to the fore followed by lots of toffee and caramel malt sweetness, earthy notes, spicy fruits (bitter oranges (strong marmalade hints), tart apples, some figs, raisins), dark muscovado sugar traces, burnt sugar, yeasty traces, herbal, some anise, toasted bread, alcohol is noticeable..

M&D - Quite sharp initially then mellows to quite a syrupy smoothness. Medium bodied... At 11% certainly not the most drinkable beer and one bomber is more than enough...

Overall - An excellent and very American barleywine and another top notch brew from Stone... recommended...

mdagnew, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of JohneHoodlum
5/5  rDev +22.5%

JohneHoodlum, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of jzeilinger
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

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 JamesS
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

Pours a light copper color (lighter than most barley wines I've had), with some very nice head and (rapidly diminishing) lacing. It has a very nice malty aroma, hints of caramel, but not really strong at all for the style. A very well done, deep, earthy taste, huge malt flavors. It goes down fairly well for a high abv brew. A very nice beer!

JamesS, Aug 28, 2008
Photo of peensteen
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%

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 JDV
2.3/5  rDev -43.6%

Bottle generously shared by MiguelMandingo. Thanks!

Pours dark amber to copper with a fair amount of transluscency. Smell is very mildly malty with a hint of alcohol and almost what I would expect an oxidized beer to be like. Taste is equally mild flavorwise with a hint of maltiness, balancing hops, but a subdued flavor overall with good bitterness on the finish and a noticeable alcohol presence. I found this to be very lackluster, and bland on the whole, unfortunately.

JDV, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of 2beerdogs
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

2beerdogs, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of aerozeppl
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

A: Poured with a finger and a half of white head. Good lacing especially for a barley wine. A nice looking amber/copper color.

S: Big malt nose. A little boozy as well. Some figs and raisins in the back.

T: Nice big malt taste. The raisins and figs are right there. A little bit of hops in the back mixed in. Booze throughout.

M: Thick body. Very sticky in your mouth.

D: This is a little bit hot. With a year on it this will blend together nicely. I would say hold on to this a little while longer. Good beer though still.

aerozeppl, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +22.5%

GrindFatherBob, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of CrellMoset
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

Bottle from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a 22 oz. Terrapin snifter.

Appearance: A hazy and dull looking reddish-brown beer with a foamy, tan, creamy one-finger head with average retention and some nice sheets of lacing, if a little runny. Gets definite points for head, but loses a little in the color department.

Aroma: Surprisingly mild (despite many reviews to the contrary - perhaps it's my glass, or an old bottle), but pleasant. Spicy, leafy, herbal, earthy hop notes and caramel malts. Hop notes come out a little more as it warms, with grapefruit slowly emerging.

Taste: Not nearly as hoppy as I was expecting, actually - at least, not for a Stone brew! But maybe that's the age of the bottle. A pretty sweet roasted malt backbone - lots of caramel, sweet pale bready notes - and some solid but not overly hoppy or bitter notes participate in a great balancing act here. The bitterness is mild but persistent, and the hop notes - mainly herbal and earthy notes, though there are some light citrus overtones - are pleasant. A surprisingly well-hidden alcohol presence (11.26% - both high and calculated to a surprisingly precise number of decimal places). Improves drastically as it warms, though I'm beginning to wonder how much of the "warmth" improvement of a beer is really improvement and really "I've consumed more of this beer by the time it's warmed and am slightly more intoxicated by this point." Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Fine-bubbled, creamy, milky, a little oily from the hops, full-bodied, and fairly thick and syrupy but not as thick as it could be given its malt content.

Drinkability: A good barleywine, though not my absolute favorite. I've heard this one was better in years past, but since they do change the recipe every year, who knows what's in store in the future. Alcohol's definitely up there, but largely well hidden - aging this one for a year might mellow out the alcohol a little, but given it's not as highly-hopped as many American barleywines, it might mellow out a little too much. Who knows. I'll buy one and give it a shot. Recommended, though - definitely not bad.

CrellMoset, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of Amalak
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Amalak, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from a bottle a clear orange amber with one finger of creamy beige head.

Aroma of sweet malt, grapefruit, orange and a touch of booze.

Taste is a sharp punch of grapefruit, orange, and malt. Bitterness increases at the finish. The alcohol is big and hot.

Medium mouthfeel, dry, palate warming, and sharply carbonated.

A big beer to say the least. But well balanced and enjoyable.

Monkeyknife, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of SpdKilz
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%

Appearance - Pours an intense, cloudy, and quite hazy golden color. At least two fingers of head when I pour hard and a great amount of lacing. I honestly was afraid to drink this at first because it was so incredibly hazy in the glass after pouring it.

Smell - Pine, just a touch of alcohol, and a very pleasant sweetness. It is by no means "sweet" smelling as in sickly like cough syrup but a great balance of hoppiness and sweetness. Honestly, I can smell a bit of honey in this and the aroma is just delightful.

Taste - The taste is just delightful. I bought this at a local place that had the 09 and 08 versions and they recommended I get the 08. How right they were. The hops are present but have toned down quite a bit (from what I can tell) and there is a faint tinge of alcohol but honestly, for being over 11% abv I do not taste it much. The warmer it becomes the more complex the taste becomes.

Mouthfeel - One word - creamy. Quite thick, carbonated, and overall just extremely enjoyable.

Drinkability - More so than I wish it to be. For being such a high abv, the drinkability of this is unbelievable. I am most pleasantly surprised by this brew - it is impressing me more than I can express. All I know is that I need to go and pick up the remaining 08's that my local shop has because this is quickly becoming one of my favorite offerings by Stone. Amazing job on this year. I need to buy a 09 now to see how they compare.

SpdKilz, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of charlzm
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

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.

charlzm, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of HalfFull
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

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.

HalfFull, Jul 28, 2008
Photo of FreshHawk
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

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 mikeincharleston
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

mikeincharleston, May 13, 2013
Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev -2%

djaeon, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of bum732
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Pours a cloudy orange amber, decent head that dissipates quickly leaving nice lacing. Smells predominately of caramal and toffee, some brown sugar, anise, very faint hops, Tastes of rich toffee malt followed by a very pronounced bitterness. Lots of layers going on, some dried fruits, earthy hops, notable alcohol. Finishes quite sweet leaving a pronounced hop bitterness.

A very good barleywine. The hops weren't really present in the aroma, but came through in the taste. A nice bitterness cuts through the rich toffee malt. Still, this is a huge beer and the toffee flavor is a bit much.

bum732, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%

Tap @ Stone Beer Gardens. Clear amber pour with a squatty tan head. Floral aroma with pine resin and malt. Subtle malt and resin hop blend throughout. More grapefruit and pineapple flavors as the earthy malt appears. Kind of a peat character. Chewy, woodys, without being syrupy. A nice brew from Stone.

magictrokini, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of NEhophead
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

'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.

NEhophead, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%

Poured a ruddy brown with a nice creamy head. Decent retention. Okay lacing. Smells of doughy malts, grassy hops, slight alcohol fumes. Taste is of a huge doughy malt backbone, sweet, balanced out with a nice hop bitterness. Dark fruits, figs, definite alcohol bite to it. Mouthfeel is heavy but not too syrupy. Decent carbonation. Fairly drinkable.

Doomcifer, Sep 26, 2008
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.