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

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Red Wine Barrel Aged
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very good

74 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 74
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 10
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
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: BeerAdvocate on 03-27-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 36
Reviews by bonbini26:
More User Reviews:
Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On Tap

Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

Dark ruby red with dark orange edges and a thin, light khaki colored head that leaves dots of lacing down the glass.

The aroma is a combination of sweet, freshly baked bread, a slight hint of wood, a bit of grape, and some cardboard/oxidation, though it's not too distracting or at all off-putting.

The flavor too is sweet, moderately bitter, a bit of maple and wood character, and grape skin. Pleasant, and very little alcohol presence.

Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation, though a bit oily.

Decent, and certainly tasty, but I think the base beer is better.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at dark lord day 2010

pour was light copper with orange. nice white head that retained very well

very citrus hop oriented on the nose with light hints of sweet bread and floral hops.

lots of hops on this, they still dominated but there was a light red wine sweetness that lingered through out. light bitterness. light caramel and bread in the malts. this was good but different.

moderate carbonation, full body, but not too heavy.

this was good, but it was very different. i enjoyed this but it was not something i wanted a lot of. there just was not the balance or something.

Photo of thagr81us
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the Stone Tap Takeover in Charlotte. 2008 Vintage. Served from tap into a tumbler. Poured a hazy red-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, wine spices, and subtle hop. The flavor was of malt, subtle chocolate, and a hint of red wine spices. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was one was very nice. I actually enjoyed the '06 in Bourbon Barrels better than this one. Not sure if it was the extra age on the other or if it was the barrel-type they were aged in. However, this was quite nice and definitely worth a try for sure as the chocolate was another surprise for me that I quite enjoyed.

Photo of u2carew
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Serve on tap at Cambridge Brewing Co. collaboration night. Serve in a wine stem glass.
A) Hazy. Ruby to amber in color. Thin, sticky and creamy head / lacing.
S) Sweet fruity notes. Light caramel hangs in the mix.
T) Rich up front. Caramel. The hops are somewhat hidden and eventually break through after a few swigs.
M) Crisp. Full bodied. Slightly syrupy. Alcohol effervescence.
D) Yes. Pour me another to nurse to the last sip.

Photo of mikedashg
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Old Guardian Aged in Red Wine Barrels. Poured from a fresh 1L growler into a pint glass.

A - Golden amber yellow with a good size light light tan head

S - Red wine, orange, citrus, carmel

T - Red wine, sweet carmel and toffee, very sweet even (especially after it warms up) orange citrus, malted barley and bitter hop finish

M - Full body, modere to moderately high carbonated.

D - Pretty drinkable in my book. Very tasty. Very complex. Awesome release

Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at Dark Lord Day 2009.

Poured a beautiful ruby red with a nice head and plenty of lacing. The aroma is dominated by malt sweetness, caramel/toffee, and a bunch of red wine notes; slightly vinous. The taste is quite similar, with a lot of complex malty sweetness as well as the red wine, which really complements the barleywine style--I'd love to see more brewers going in this direction with barrel-aged beers. Overall, a very solid offering. Big props to FFF for bringing this one in.

Photo of AVDeuph
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing after the fact; this was on tap at the Uptown Grille, I was told this is the wine-aged edition.

Beer came to the table as a sparkling and rich golden goblet. Smell was not overwhelming, and a little hard to place. There was a definite hop assertiveness in the brew that I wasn't expecting.

Taste is excellent. To be honest I really don't enjoy barleywines that often and despite having some of the "best" in the style, I've been disappointed. That said, this beer by Stone was hands down the best I've tried (keep in mind that this is to my taste, which doesn't really like barleywines to begin with). A strong hop profile that is balanced well with the sweet and strongly present malt bill.

Mouthfeel is nice. Well carbonated, especially as it is coming from the tap. Not super-thick like some of this style that I've had. I think the drinkability is very good for a high ABV ale (alcohol was masked very very well by the way), but I was happy with just the one with my dessert.

Very nice beer by Stone, I'm now interested to try the standard bottled Old Guardian to see how it compares.

Photo of charlzm
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed Feb 7th, 2010 at Stone World Bistro.

2008 vintage.

Presents a cloudy orange-yellow (as most Old Guardians do, apparently). Fine off-white head provides good lacing.

Aroma is a little sweet, slightly herbal and fruity; I got more of an apricot aroma, though the wine scent is there in a supporting role.

Flavor is a different story; red wine pops right out with the first sip. Flavor is otherwise weighted towards sweet, bready and caramel malts. Some alcohol flavor towards the end. Low bitterness.

Some of the "flavor experiment" beers I have tried fail because the featured flavor overwhelms rather than complements the standard flavor profile of the beer. This one works due to its relatively subtle addition which works with rather than buries the usual flavors.

Dry, fairly clean finish marked by alcohol heat.

Interesting experiment I would gladly try again. And again.

Photo of womencantsail
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A rich copper color with about one finger of head that quickly dissipates.

S: Like you would expect from Old Guardian, very malty and sweet. The red wine barrel aging has definitely imparted some fruitier characteristics to this beer.

T: The taste is very much like "regular" Old Guardian, but a slight fruity sweetness is present here (on top of the malty sweetness). A slight bitter hoppiness is present as well.

M: Enormous body, no carbonation.

D: Not a beer you drink very quickly, but incredibly tasty.

Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1093rd Review on BA
Draft to 4oz Taster

WinterStorm 2012

App- A deep creamy orange with some intermixed yellows and bruleed sugar notes. Maybe a 1/4" of bubbles that falls to a pond layer of head.

Smell- A very tannic nose. Grape skins and a little oak. A bit malty with some more citrus from the base beer coming through.

Taste- Much more malty than the base version than I remember. A lot of citrus and tannin flavors. The oak comes through quite well and the grape notes are very forward.

Mouth- A light-medium body with a medium full carbonation level and a lot of residual tannin and citrus.

Drink- A very good beer with a lot of layers and a striking fruit presence. Very tasty and would like to have again.

Photo of MisterClean
2.2/5  rDev -44%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had on tap a the Grad. List said 11.20%...AT LEAST.

A - Dull orange color and no head. No carbonation either.

S - Very fruity, nectars, fruity, and malty. Strong smell of alcohol.

T - very acidic, lots of alcohol, some fruit, the wine barrel basically killed the beer.

M - Very astringent, moderate to full bodied, wine barrel, I mean malt dominated. High alcohol.

D - Virtually undrinkable. Alcohol and wine dominate. Wow, I had a bad beer from stone. Maybe it's freezing in hell?

Photo of mcallister
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Dark Lord Day. Poured a mahagony color with very little head showing red highlights.

Aromas of piney hops with citrusy accents, hints of wood and of red fruits. Some thick caramel and alcohol aromas with hints of dried fruit.

The barrel aging seems to have just tamed the Old Guardian adding just a hint of woodsy character. Not much coming through from the red wine. Maybe a hint of red currant and berry. Otherwise hops are tame yet showing good bitterness on the finish with a citrusy bite.

Photo of stakem
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes taken on 10/1/10 during the Stone total tap takeover event at the Alewife. This is the 2009 vintage.

Pours a hazed amber orange color with a light white cap of foam that receeds to a thin layering atop the brew. As it receeds, it leaves small patches of lacework on the glass. Swirling the glass reforms the head to almost a finger thick that again receeds fairly fast.

The aroma of this brew is grainy and herbal with some solvent alcohol. There is a vinous influence to the nose here that is enjoyable and unlike the scent contributed by other barrel versions of old guardian. Overall quite sweet smelling, which is borderline candy like.

The taste is bitter herbal hops with a bold presence of alcohol and vanilla. Plenty of caramelized malty sweetness runs all through the profile. The wine barrel influence comes through this brew more prominent than the nose led on. The vinous taste blends very well with the herbal bitterness and bold alcohol character. It is readily noticeable that at the time of this sampling, the Old guardian is less than a year old and still quite hot compared to the other vintages I got to sample both at the stone event and in recent memory. A lingering taste of herbal bitter hops along with a touch of yeast is left clinging inside the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The yeast flavor that starts to come out is a bit distracting and decreases the overall drinkability a bit but overall this brew is quite a solid offering. I would love to try this beer again with a few more years of age on it. After the brew came up to almost room temperature there was a bit of a twang about it that has me thinking it is a lactic note but not quite. Perhaps that is just the somewhat strange vinous contribution from the barrels.

Photo of m1ked
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Off work early on a Friday. At K&B during beer week. Not bad at all.

A- pours a murky rusty orange brown color. When held up to the light I can't see through it, but it looks as if there is a small fire in the center. Micro thin off white cap with clinging edges.

S- Rich sweet maltiness. Not quite caramel, a little brown sugar. Unmistakeable white grape aroma in there. A touch of sweet vanilla. Smells heavy, but good.

T- Rich malty, sugary with a sharp bitterness that softens a bit but hangs on. I am unable to grasp the wine charcter until the very end, but subtle.

M- Thick, chewy, viscous. Just how I like my b-wine.

D- delicious b-wine. I was hoping for more red wine influence, and the reality is that it may be there and I'm failing to appreciate it. Good 1 glass beer for me.

Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Stone. 2008 Old Guardian aged in red wine barrels.

A: Reddish orange with a beige head.

S: Plum, grape, grapefruit, orange, pine, and sugary caramel. The wine barrels add a nice vinous element to the beer.

T: A nice balance of hops and sugary caramel malt. Notes of grape, plum, and grapefruit are present, with accompanying orange and pine. Booze is mellow and bitterness is at a moderate level.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky.

Overall: A nice variation on Old Guardian.

Photo of cpetrone84
2.76/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Stone Total Tap Takeover in Baltimore. '09 Vintage.

A-pours a deep dark amber color with a thin white head.

S-the nose has hints of oxidation already, cardboard up front, light notes of oak with hints of the juicy red wine but faint.

T-same as the nose with a little bit of envelope glue towards the back and some light bitterness in the finish.

M-syrupy feel to it with a decently carbonated finish, juicy on the palate with a chewy malt body.

D-oxidized, not horribly like some others at the event, barrel adds some nice flavors but they are light. i do enjoy their wine barrels I just wish they held up better.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler fill from Stone Brewing Co.

2008 vintage.

Pours a dark opaque amber with a small 1/2 head that fades to nothing. Spotty lacing on the glass on the drink down. Smells of caramel malt, grape juice, dark fruits. Taste is of sweet caramel malt, dark fruit, grape juice. Low bitterness from the hops on the drink down. You can really taste the red wine essence gained from the barrel aging. Good carbonation with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Good drinkability and nice to try beer aged in wine barrels.

Photo of SolsticeDreamer
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found myself at Stone Brewing company during the weekend where they had this one tap, had one small sample and decided to get a full growler to take home. This is review is based on a pour from the growler a couple days later.

Rich copper color with a small head that quickly disappears but traces that glass as one drinks.

The aroma is a bit subdued, not the usually nose full of maltiness and hoppiness that you get from the traditional Old Guardian: This version is a bit more balanced with fruity cirtusy hop aroma and a sweet malt wine like aroma.

Huge mouth feel! Super light carbonation probably due to the growler great full bodied beer!

This is a wonderful beer to be sip and enjoyed, a great nightcap to aid in wonderful dreams.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 liter growler; Sampled August 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost four-finger thick, lightly amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves lots of lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is a nice amber hue that shows a clear, copper-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has notes of caramelized malt up front and a warm, spicy alcohol note to the finish. Fruity notes of dates and raisins are joined by light oak contributions of coconut as well as some toasted malt notes in the finish. There seems to be a fair amount of vanillin noticeable as well as a touch of buttery oak and even some spicy oak notes that combine with the alcohol to produce a sense of Bourbon character. There is quite a bit of malt character here with lots of toasted pale malt notes, biscuit like aromas, lots of crushed whole grain cracker notes, some caramelized pale malt aromatics as well as some toffee. After a bit it seems like the hot alcohol gets a bit too dominant in the, in fact I am soon questioning that I ever was able to notice the up front complexity that was first found in the aroma. After coming back to the aroma after some time I notice some nice fruitiness again as well as some herbal hop notes that get a bit grassy and green at times.

The beer tastes lightly sweet with caramel malt notes (though not overly so) and some toasted grain flavors. Bitter hop notes are joined by hot alcohol, and some spicy oak character in the finish. Bitter, green, somewhat astringent hop character in the finish can really linger on the palate. Up front there is a nice fruitiness, some of which seems to be hop contributed (citrus), but there is a bit more to it than that, but I can't quite put my finger on the other notes right now. There is a nice toasted malt character to the flavor with biscuit like notes, crushed malt notes and crystal malt flavors; this last plays a supporting role and does not too heavy as crystal malts can so often get.

Coming back to the nose makes me wonder if I imagined the oak influence; hop character and fruit notes are all I notice in the nose now. Even the flavor doesn't seem to have any real barrel character to it. The fruitiness is nice and might be from the Red Wine barrel, but I could easily be convinced that this is not the case. Overall this beer has certainly softened a bit with age as it is not as aggressive as when it is fresh. The beer does become much better as it warms up, despite starting at a 50ºF / 10ºC initial temperatures; it becomes more fruity, with more berry like notes and some notes of lightly spicy oak, a even a hint of vanillin seem to come out even.

I let this beer sit for a whole hour in the hopes of it getting more complex, finally I seem to get confirmation that this was aged in a Red Wine barrel; there is a definite red wine fruitiness (though it is soft still) and even some grape skin and tannin notes towards the finish.

Interesting, my second pour of this has me noticing more of the red-wine berry notes in the nose again. Letting this beer breath quite a bit certainly helps with the flavor as well. Still, the red wine character in this beer is easily missed, especially if you didn't know it was there. This beer really wasn't all that great during my first, full pour of this beer; despite starting out at only a cool 50ºF / 10ºC. I easily could have poured this beer out. I am glad I stuck with it though as it really starts to open up after warming up and being allowed to breath. In the end though, I waffle between enjoying a complex, interesting beer and not really finding this beer all that drinkable.

Photo of callmescraps
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008 version, not sure if there are others. Had this at the Goat opening. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance- Reddish brown hue. Uber-rich chestnut color, with a solid inch of head. Nice and deep. Good lacing.

Smell- Muted. Red wine tannins. Rich, with the alcohol coming through. Some wood? Oak possibly.

Taste- Comes through with the red wine. Fruitiness. Possibly berries. The booze is strong on this one, especially on the finish. There is also a hint of burnt caramel, and some malt.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation, not too light. It's still smooth and silky, without being flat. Very rich.

Drinkability- It's still pretty boozy. Still, it goes down smooth. Would be nice on a cold day.

Did not love this one, but didn't hate it either. I had pretty high expectations, which this failed to meet, but it is certainly interesting.

Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at RnH during Tap Takeover event. review from notes. 2008 vintage.

Pours a golden auburn with a bit more head and filmy retention then some of the other Guardians served at the event, along with some slight spotty lacing.

The nose is packed with some bitter hops, lighter wood, and a faint detection of dark fruit tart.

Plenty of bitter dry hops up front, with dark caramel malt and roastyness. The wine comes in later with some dry fruit and faint tart tendencies. The oaked flavor rounds everything out with some vanilla and wine. Finishes with some boozy warmth.

Medium to heavier body, slow drinking due to ABV, overall very unusual but super tasty.

Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey. 2005 Vintage sampled side by side with the 08 aged in wine barrels.

a - Pours a dark amber color with an inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, and sticky sweet dark fruits. Hints of oak and alcohol, but not much at all.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bready malts, and dark fruit. No oak and hints of the brandy.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent version, but I enjoyed the bourbon barrel aged version much better. I just didn't feel as though the oak or brandy really came through. Wouldn't seek out again.

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a reddish brown color. Seemed a bit more murky than the regular Old Guardian. A fairly thin off white head not too much lacing.

S- I could pick up a red wine smell clearly on this one. Quite a bit of hops coming through and some nice hops.

T- Again I'm picking up red wine traits here. Quite a bit of hops and caramel malts here. A little on the boozy side but still very solid. Being not a huge fan of wine I think it might of taken a little bit too much away from this one.

M- Smooth feel to it. Medium in body and lighter carbonation.

D- A little hot here from the alcohol. Not my favorite by any means but it was cool to try for sure. It was very different but not too bad either.

Photo of drabmuh
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the worst barleywine of the 4 I sampled at churchkey. This beer was much hazier than the others. It was red and had a weird distraught head. It had no carbonation.

Beer smells about the same as the others. Its malty, caramel, but this one had more of a sense of alcohol and perhaps a little fruits.

Beer tastes like barleywine mixed with red wine. Redbarleywine. Not pleasing, still kind of malty in the front, mild sweet, no bitterness, the midpalate was 100% wine. Not again.

Photo of Overlord
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange-ish brown with a surprisingly large off-white head.

Smells like booze, some caramel with orange-rind sugar, maybe a hint of grapes, and ... umm ... some more booze and a bit of grapefruit? Where's the red wine?

No red wine in flavor, either. Or at least, not much. Maybe a hint of grap-iness. The booze and caramel/orange sweetness take over and obliterate whatever else might have been here. Pleasant enough.

I like, but wouldn't go out of my way to seek out again.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Red Wine Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.