Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Stone Brewing Co.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel AgedOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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137 Ratings
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Ratings: 137
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 34
Gots: 36 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 08-05-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 137 | Reviews: 40
Reviews by KickInTheChalice:
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From notes. From notes. Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a snifter.

My pour has a caramel amber color in the center, with a dark golden color at the edges. A small, tightly wound off-white cap gently forms around the edge of the glass.

A burst of bourbon is the first aroma to come across my nose. Wafting across after that are notes of caramel malt, apricot citrus, vanilla, and oak.

The bourbon comes across strong in the flavor as well, but it seems to me that the bottle has had enough time for the bourbon to blend into the base beer nicely. Good amounts of toffee, caramel, and vanilla all swirl around with the bourbon flavor, instantly showing off the beer’s fun complexity and aged smoothness. Some light notes of apricot citrus, figs, dates, oak, and spice add even further depth. The finish has a nice little bourbon kick.

Stone manages the mouthfeel of the bourbon barrel old guardian nicely. The body is cut just a little bit with the bourbon aging process, and the carbonation is still creamy and robust. A light stickiness is still present from the base beer, and there is a bit of alcohol burn at the back end of the sip. This is pleasantly smooth right now and will become more so over the next few years.

Being able to try this beer was definitely a treat, and I hope they will release it again in the future.

More User Reviews:
Photo of warnerry
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dfillius for sharing.

A - Nice pop when the cork comes out. Pours hazy reddish brown with half a finger of tan head. Head maintains a cap throughout. Only small spots of lacing.

S - Nice caramel nose with some citrus, vanilla, oak and faint alcohol. Bourbon character is nice, not over the top.

T - Citrus is more pronounced in the taste than the aroma, as is the bourbon components. There is a particularly strong tannin presence in the finish that lingers for awhile. The caramel and vanilla provide a nice counter to the dry bitterness from the other flavor components, though the bitterness definitely wins out.

M - Medium mouthfell with significant dry bitterness throughout.

O - Pretty tasty, and more enjoyable than the regular Old Guardian for me. The bourbon flavors are quite nice. Each aip seems to alternate between lightly sweet and intensely bitter.

Photo of ehammond1
3.07/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (2010)

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 1+ years)

Blind Tasting and Review

Clear dark orange and light brown with little visible carbonation that leaves the glass oily with residue. Compared to the other barrel-aged barleywines, this one is much lighter in color.

A mild aroma, especially compared to the others in the tasting, that includes mild caramel, toffee, and alcohol. There is very little bourbon or barrel evident in the aroma.

The flavor is mild, with very little barrel character. There's some caramel, toffee, a bit of bread, and a moderate level of bitterness. There's also some distinct oxidation present.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This was no better than average, and one of the most disappointing in the blind barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

Photo of For_those_near_death
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2014 Release

A - mysteriously uniform, baltic amber

S - didn't notice it

T - warm, colorful, splendid

M - right there at that Kentucky border, not Indiana, not Ohio, just over the river and into the land of oak barrels...too many empty...and now filled with beer.

O - ready to buy more....a USA friend tells me that its now at costco...and a great deal too....I would jump on a non-stop from Zurich to California, get off the plane, and buy a case at costco... und dann, bis später!

Photo of thagr81us
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at the Stone Tap Takeover in Charlotte. 2006 Vintage. Served from tap into a tumbler. Poured hazy red-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of big malt, subtle hop, and just a small hint of bourbon. The flavor was of massive malt, nice chocolate, hops, and a hint of bourbon. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. I really enjoyed the surprise of chocolate in the flavor which made it that much more enjoyable. One thing about the massive malt was that it was not overwhelming but it was definitely the dominant characteristic to this brew. Glad that I got the opportunity to try this one.

Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the churchkey last night. Pours a nice clear reddish brown with a big, fluffy light tan head that has great retention and leaves ok lacing down the glass. Aroma is fairly bourbony, with some alcohol. Vanilla, caramel, bourbon all blend together nicely.

This is very malt dominated, as I'm sure the aging diminshed the hop profile. The flavor is very much influenced by the barrel aging, picking up heavy notes of vanilla and caramel and just bourbon in general. Tasty, but I wouldn't want to do more than one glass of it.

Photo of Bung
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap takeover at Duckworths. From notes.
Slightly foggy orange pour, no head to speak of really.

Malty, caramelly vanilla and tannic oak.

Taste is sweet as one nose would have you guess. Matches the nose with some candied sugar as well. The oakiness cuts the sweetness just a bit.

Full bodied, sticky but there is much more carbonation than the appearance revealed. A warming sipper.

Photo of madpentzer
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a sample of this at the "The Craft of Stone Brewing Co: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance" book signing event at Stone World Bistro.

A-Golden-amber with a small, white head.

S-Very sweet. Some vanilla with oak and toffee intermingled.

T-A wonderful blend of sweet malted barely, with vanilla, oak, and a slight hint of bourbon.

M-Great carbonation with a medium body.

O-Overall a great beer with great balance. Better than the fresh example of this beer and I'm excited to see what some age does to this beer.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was IMO probably the best beer of the Boise Stone Tap Takeover.. '06 Bourbon Barrel aged Old Guardian...

The nose is thick and unmistakable .. vanilla, bourbon, bready malts and some definite caramel.. everything is very well integrated in the aroma.

Flavor is perfectly meshed.. thick vanilla caramel.. woody bourbon... toasty maltiness helps dry things out... more oak on the finish.. still a bit boozy for sure, but I appreciate the direction it is shooting from.. The "good" beer and the "good" whiskey combined with years in the same barrel make this a pretty epic brew. Maybe a touch sweet, but that is questionable for anybody's palate.

I had my fair share of this keg.. There was no doubt this brew was special.

Much appreciation to Erin, Dave, Matt, and Chris for making the Stone event come together. Very cool.


Photo of Gregaroo
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice and smooth with subtle bourbon aroma. 2014 vintage, so I wonder how this will be in a few years...

Photo of david18
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the better barleywines this probably isnt' the best season to review this beer. great syrupyness while still being drinkable, this barlywine is a great value for the money and is the one to get if the best two or three aren't available. Would recommend.

Photo of kylegillick
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark amber with decent clarity, small head with great lacing

S: Like Old Guardian, but with bourbon...Ok lots of bourbon with some spice, hops and hints of caramel. a very sweet smell to it.

T: Toffee caramel, solid bitterness, lots of bourbon and a nice sweet finish

M: Medium carbonation and mouthfeel. solid consistency

O: Great beer, to be enjoyed for a good occasion. If you like old guardian and bourbon then you will love this.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of lightindarkness
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL caged corked 2010 bottle

Appears rich copper in color, slightly hazy with a nice dense khaki head with some sudsy bubbles patched around. Little lacing, head thinning quickly.

Nose is somewhat mild, some caramelly grain aroma and some warmth. Faint bourbon notes, but underneath, not prominent.

Taste is certainly stronger and more favorable than the smell. Soft and round with some lingering caramel and sharp bitterness of the barley wine. Not too rich, nor sharp or boozy, but rather warm and mild, with soft bourbon notes filling in the edges with some vanilla, wood, and, well... bourbon. My initial thoughts were that this wasn't as impressive as I might have expected. A muted barley wine with only somewhat faint bourbon barrel influence. However, as it sat open over the course of the afternoon, much more sophistication seems to come forward. All the flavors blend with great balance, a nice hint of sweetness, momentary piercing of hops, and some subtle smooth bourbon finish.

Feel is medium full, a little thinner than expected, with some mild carbonation.

I would not have initially thought so highly of this beer, seeming somewhat underwhelming. With some oxidation and breathing, however, it seemed to fill out. I suppose my expectations changed somewhat too. It's not a heavily bourboned, huge barley wine (even though that's what might have been expected), but a nuanced and interesting subtly rich beer.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey.

Pours a nice copper color with a bit of a mahogany hue. Off white head that leaves a few traces of lacing on the way down. Nose brings a strong bourbon character along with some nice wood and vanilla notes. A bit boozy, but not distractingly so. Taste brings the bourbon forward atop caramel, vanilla, oak, some sugar, and a bit of alcohol. Feel is quite nice and lively with a touch of creaminess. Drinks quite well and is a good example of one of my more preferred styles.

Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Huge thanks to chris for sharing this Quingenti Millilitre series bottle! 2010 Vintage.

(A)- Pours a deep reddish mahogany color. Produced a solid cap of tan froth. Lacing too despite its 10.7% ABV.

(S)- A nice, almost fruity fig and caramel/toffee character with bits of resin-like citrus. Very very subtle, almost piney wood finish.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. The resin-like hops definitely knocks at your door up front. Middle comes the nice malty caramel and fig. And again, finishes quite dry with some wood characters.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Heavy on the hops and malt which seems to be overpowering the barrel characters which happen to be quite subtle, if at all present. ABV is well hidden.

(D)- A barleywine classic, but barrel aged; it is extremely subtle, but it is there. Just as good as its non-barrel-aged counterpart.

Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber in color with a white head. Smells much hoppier than I expected. Not a ton of barrel/bourbon character. Some vanilla and a bit of booze, but mostly pine and citrus with caramel malt. The flavor is more of the same. Probably the most bitter barrel aged barleywine I’ve ever had. Pine and citrus with caramel, a hint of vanilla, some oak, and maybe just a touch of bourbon. The beer is good, but it's not a ton different from regular Old Guardian.

Photo of FosterJM
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1268th Review on BA
Bottle to 4oz snifter
500ml C/C

Shared with Jazzpatel, GuruDel & Mrhirschybar

App- A very golden looking orange with ambers running throughout. Had a nice one finger head with scattered cling.

Smell- It was a bit stinging and still too fresh. This one needs a bit more time to envelop flavors and mesh well. Had some light vanilla with a bit of orange juice as well.

Taste- Way too fresh. Had a huge sting behind it with a bunch of bourbon notes. The vanilla was not layered well with the other flavors and each sip was unique and not layered. Orange juice and spice make this one up.

Mouth- A slightly more medium dense body with a creamy dense carbonation. Way too much behind the bubbles on this one.

Drink- For their base beer its one of the best. This hasnt come into its element yet, but has a ton of potential.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Church Key today

Brilliant brandy color with a dense off-white head that recedes to a ring. Solid. The nose is rich and fruity with plenty of caramel, bourbon and more fruit. Brandy-like in some ways, the vanilla heat is quite noticeable and adds to the beer. Solid stuff, this is a top-notch BBBW.
The palate opens with a rather big barrel character with vanilla, tannins, oak and caramel. I wonder if my palate is off tonight, 'cos I seem to be really sensitive to the oak character tonight. While sweet, this is quite astringent and oaky on the finish, Moderate caramel sweetness and fruitiness are present mid-palate, this full-bodied beer has moderate carbonation and a finish that's tannic and sweet. Solid stuff.

Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half liter bottle poured into Double Bastard glass. 2010 OG aged in bourbon barrels.

A: Pours a clear, dark whisky amber with a finger of greasy and soft looking light tan head. The head quickly faded into a soft bubbly film and lasting collar.
S: Rich and sticky smelling scents of caramel, bourbon, coco, hop resin, and candied dark fruits. Smells like an aged bottle of old guardian with its smooth, mellow and well integrated barleywine flavors with the added kick of some very mellow and lightly spicy bourbon barrel.
T: Follows the nose albeit a tad sweeter. Rich flavors of hop oil and tree sap, leather, caramel, candied dates, toast, chocolate syrup and toffee. The finish is full of sweet bourbon and candied/dried fruits, and the aftertaste is lightly spicy and full of tobacco and bitter pine hops and anise.
M: Full body, slick, smooth and sticky mouthfeel, low, soft and tingly carbonation. Very slight and welcomed booziness.
O: A rich a mellow sipper. The bourbon adds a nice dimension to a beer that already ages very well. Not the greatest I’ve had, but rich and decadent nonetheless.

Photo of stakem
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken on 10/1/10 during the stone total tap takeover at the Alewife. This is the 2006 vintage.

Pours a hazed amber orange color with a thin lacing of white film across the top. Leggings of lace cling all around the glass with swirls and sips.

The aroma of this brew is caramelized sugary sweetness smelling a bit like toffee and vanilla. A bounty of alcohol is present in the nose along with some herbal and citrus hops. The total summation of the nose of this brew is very candy like.

The taste of this brew is fusel with alcohol, almost solvent and very whiskey influenced upfront. Bitter herbal hops cling in the mouth but change to a lightly sweet, toasty grain flavor. There is plenty of vanilla sweetness, light citrus rind and an oaky aftertaste. The alcohol is borderline numbing to the tongue and warms all the way down the throat.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. A sipper that has a ton of alcohol character running all through it that is slightly distracting to the other flavors that are offered throughout this experience. For 4 years old, this brew will have no problems holding out for several more.

Photo of HopHead84
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone on Sunday, August 3, 2008. This is the 2006 vintage. The color looks a little darker than regular Old Guardian. The supple beige head is frothy and bubbly with a small amount of lacing. The aroma is banana nut bread, dead on! The bourbon is really strong and the faint smell of hops comes through. The taste is very sweet with a small amount of bitterness. The bourbon is really good in Old Guardian and the alcohol is very noticeable. I get some caramel flavor and it's delicious. The beer coats my mouth and has a low-medium amount of carbonation. There is substantial alcohol warming as it travels from my mouth and down the back of my throat. The alcohol is really strong but the drinkability is still good on this one. This beer blew me away.

Photo of cpetrone84
1.95/5  rDev -52%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had on tap at the Stone Total Tap Takeover in Baltimore (06 Vintage)

A-pours a lightly hazed brownish copper with an extremely thin and barely around tan head.

S-notes of oak and vanilla are very faint as there is a touch of caramel as cardboard and oxidation takes over with a faint burn of alcohol in the back.

T-follows the nose, extremely oxidized with tons of cardboard flavors and just a hint of caramel and vanilla as the only thing really around other than oxidation is heat in the finish.

M-syrupy and rough on the palate with a messy finish and a burning carbonation.

D-extremely oxidized offering little in the place of a base beer and the barrel aging adds minimal wood and vanilla.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour provided by ehammond1 at the blind barrel aged barleywine tasting hosted by DarthKostrizer.

2010 vintage.

Pours a clear dark orange with a beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is solely of malt and alcohol aromas. Taste is the same along with a slight brown sugar flavor that comes out more as the beer warms. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine when it warms up but it’s quite boozy in my opinion.

Photo of BrotherDylan
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml, 2010 Vintage, cork and cage bottle

After 4 years, this beer is beautiful. It has become more wine than beer, but in a great way. Its very sweet and fruity balanced out with some bourbon and barrel character.

At 4 years the beer is a bit past its prime and starting to turn, buts its dam good as it is right now. Its mellow, its sweet, and its got just the right touch of bourbon.

Photo of rudzud
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage.

A - Poured into a tulip a nice honey amber hue with next to no head our lacing.

S - Aromas of cardboard, light bourbon. Doesn't make me want to drink it.

T - Taste is, well, just like regular old guardian. Loads of caramel malts, lots of light bourbon. Nice light toffee, faint cardboard. Not exactly great but not the worst one.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit thin, lightly carbonated. Boozy, eh.

O - Overall this beer was yet another let down from stone with the 500 ml series. Thankfully I have no more.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 137 ratings.