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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

255 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 255
Hads: 1,884
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 31.17%
Wants: 70
Gots: 488 | FT: 33
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: smerrell on 02-18-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 255 | Hads: 1,884
Photo of DeanWormer
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ignore the BA Score on this one. There are raters on here who do not know / understand / love barleywines. This is barleywine perfection. Hops and malts, bitterness and sweetness in perfect balance. This is awesome - what could be better? Well, the price, perhaps. But this is worth the price. Beware the 11% ABV - in the midst of all this deliciousness, it can sneak up on you.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.92/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass. A strong copper look with little head. Smells of barley of course and taste of strong barley and hops. Goes down fairly easy. Overall a great beer and btw I had the 2014 realease of this beer. so enjoy this delicous treat

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Photo of AndreRus
4.91/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 release. Probably sweeter than i normally would drink. At the same time it is normal amount of sweetness for barleywine. Well balanced by its hoppiness. Definitely a great beer!

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Photo of Antg8989
4.89/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thought it was absolutely amazing. Smells sweet and hoppy. A barleywine/hop lover's dream. Rich amber color with an inch thick copper head. No lacing. It tasted sweet and creamy and finishes with just the littlest hop bite. Smooth, yummy. That's all I can say.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage

Appearance : a beautiful dark amber color. The head formed up to about two and a half fingers worth. The head slowly subsided but was present throughout.

Smell: the barley is present here which mixed nicely with the boozy aroma. The aroma was more subtle with the aging which made it very pleasant.

Taste: it is perfect here. Strong caramel sweetness really dominates this brew. The aging of this bottle allowed the boozy flavor to be nicely hidden. 11% abv is noticeable but does not interfere. Alcohol provides a warmth instead of an offensive bite which makes this an elite barley wine.

Mouthfeel: sweet. Smooth. There is a creamy texture to this but a slight sting keeps you on your toes.

Overall: probably my favorite barley wine. Simply awesome, no doubt another amazing product from stone. The sweetness mixed with the alcohol sting sets this one aside for me. I anxiously await the 2013 release

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.84/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into an Old Guardian glass.
11.6% ABV, 2014 release, bottled 01/24/14, best cellared at or below 55°F

A - Light easily shines through this crystal clear, bright amber brew giving it one hell of an appeal. If that weren't enough, the ivory cap of foam that rests on the beer lingers for quite some time, leaving lacing on the glass for good measure.

S - Melted caramel sweetness coats heaps of cut-off bread crusts and toast with peanut brittle cooling in the background but this barleywine isn't without it's fair share of hops. The green cones impart a balancing piny bitterness that recalls tree sap as well as sharp grapefruit rind before warming alcohol gently tickles the nostrils as it passes through.

T - Like the aroma foreshadows, Old Guardian is hoppy but malt-forward, laying down a nice level of malty sweetness on the tongue. The rich bready characteristics offer toast and bread crust flavors that absorb and retain the hop-driven earthy pine sap notes like being dunked in hop tea.

M - The first few sips of Old Guardian coat the tongue in sweet malt and breadiness but it's not long before the hops catch up and sharpy attack the tongue with bitterness. This balance is key should Old Guardian remain drinkable beyond a few sips, which it sure does. Even fresh, the higher level of alcohol never becomes cloying or boozy but instead warms the throat and stomach upon the swallow - putting the perfect kibash on the brew.

O - Behind Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, Stone's Old Guardian is one of the most iconic barleywines the States has to offer. Like most of Stone's brews, this beast is big and bold while offering deep malt and hop complexities that mingle wonderfully for a balanced and drinkable brew fresh but one that easily ages with the best of 'em which I've put to the test time and again.

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Photo of acevenom
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 Release.

Poured into a large brandy snifter. Pours dark caramel brown with a tall, biege head that dissipates very slowly. A moderate quantity of tiny bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. Some lacing is left on the side of the glass as the head dissipates. Plenty of lacing is left on the side of the glass during consumption.

The aroma is sweet and malty with some citrus hop aromas. There is a dark fruit smell as well. There smell is mostly sweet and bready. The big, sweet malts are very forward in this beer. The sweetness is akin to caramel. The hops provide a nice balancing bitterness for this malt bomb, also adding to the bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is also detectable in the taste.

The body is medium with adequate carbonation. The beer is smooth with excellent drinkability for a sipper. You definitely want to sip this beer and savor it. This is an excellent barleywine and a fine example of the American take on this style.

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Photo of Algebrew
4.73/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured a rich, dark caramel color (hazy) and gathered a foamy light tan head about two fingers thick. The head was very long lasting and left a sticky, crawling lace.

Smell: There is a strong, sweet malty presence accompanied be some toffee and a touch of that hop-scent.

Taste: The beginning hits with an empowering sweetness, very malty/fruity; the middle ties down the malts and the sweetness with a more subtle kick of hops (very Stone-like); the end leaves with a nice mix of the sweet beginning and the bitter overtaking, overall finishing off pleasantly bitter.

Mouthfeel: This brew was surprisingly thick (more accurately semi-thick.) The amount of carbonation helped its smoothness greatly. It finishes nice and dry.

Overall: The best Stone brew I've yet to try. It was subtly complex, but maintained a superior richness and quality to what it was try to perfect. An excellent brew by far.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.73/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A 2012 bottle of Old Guardian, served to myself at cellar temperature in a snifter.

A pour of this stuff creates a beautiful, beige, two-finger frothy head that sticks around stubbornly. Also beautiful is the clarity and color of the deep-ruby, sort of mahogany body. Good lacing, too. An astounding appearance.

It smells sublime. It's an aroma of caramel, spicy hops, leather, ripe red apples, grape juice, and dark fruits. POWERFUL dark fruits. Prunes and raisins are pretty apparent. Maybe a hint of vanilla or bourbon, but not in a boozy way.

The taste is... phenominal. It's like potent hops soaked in caramel and dark fruit extracts. As it should be with a Stone beer, this has astringent, bitter and piny hoppiness, but not immediately. At the beginning of a sip, a sweet, luscious brandy character mixes with those awesome dark fruits. This sweetness then fades fantastically into a finish full of the deliciously dry, bitter hops. No alcohol in the taste. This barleywine is mellow and smooth.

Great feel. Somewhat thick with mild carbonation. It lets all the flavor complexities come through wonderfully.

This barleywine rules, dudes.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.66/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful pour, a deep amber with beige foam. Nose is strong the second you pour it. Bready, malty, with hints of dark fruits. Complex flavors - get a lot of caramel and again, some dark fruit. Silky and smooth. This definitely exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy, copper beer with a biege-yellow big head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Nose: Caramel, cream, milk, orange, butter, banana, syrup, hops, malt and grass.
Taste: Burned malt, coffee, burned christmas candy, dark syrup, grapefruitcest and orange.
Body: Medium to full body. Oily. Little carbonation.

WTF! This is sooo good! I just love Stone! How the h*** do they always deliver?

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Photo of QuantumPint
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Release from a bomber. Poured into CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, deep amber. Thin head which dissipates quickly.

S: Smells like bread pudding. Raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg reign.

T: Again bread pudding and the aforementioned ingredients. Boozy late and on the finish.

M: Still comfortably crisp, with enough carbonation to give it a pleasant feel. Finish is surprisingly dry.

O: Solid brew. I would definitely drink this again. I'd love to try it with a bit less than 4 years on it.

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Photo of MrJolly
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Color is slightly hazy copper-gold. The little carbonation in the pour dissipates after a couple minutes. The slightly bronzed head, which is thin and full of small bubbles, pours to two fingers but settles to less than a half.

Smell: It is a sweet and rich smell with definite alcohol in the nose.

Taste: This one starts out a bit tame, actually, with a very sweet kiss at the tip of the tongue and a warming in the middle. At the end, though, you might be swerving homeward with the lingering sensation of citric bitter. It's a good taste, but leaves you a little forlorn. What a lot of emotion in this outwardly-sweet looking beer.

Mouthfeel: It is a thick beer, not super slippery. It is almost edible. You could take a bite, maybe.

Overall: Wowzers. The barley wine-"style" means maybe a lot more hops than a barleywine. It is a good thing Stone Brewery exists in the world.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark red with creamy head about a finger thick. Smells of tropical fruits, caramel and some barley. Really inviting. Tastes of mango, bananas barley and some hops come in the background to finish things off. Alcohol is noticeable a bit, but not overpowering. A fantastic barleywine. Hope to score some more in the future.

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Photo of Ellis1701
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually hate barley wines...but this one is really excellent. I think what makes it so tasty is that Stone tends to heavily hop their beers, and the hop bite in Old Guardian that offsets the sweetness that usually makes barley wine style beers among my least favorites. I go back to this one again and again...something I've not done with ANY other barley wine.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.54/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. 2012 release.

A - Pours a hazy ruby gold color with a wispy one-finger off-white head. Nice lacing of tiny bubbles all around the glass.

S - Big heady aroma of toffee, butterscotch, caramelized cotton candy, and pine.

T - Matches the smell almost exactly with big toffee/butterscotch sweetness upfront. In the mid-palate the taste take a 180 degree turn with a huge blast of piney/sprucy hops and hop alpha acids. Extremely rich flavors. The mid-point in the transistion between the intensly sweet and intensely bitter is divine. Alcohol very well hidden.

M - Full bodied. Low carbonation. Together this makes for good drinkability for small sips. Just a little oily.

O - A great American barleywine. Love the hop profile in this one, which blends perfectly with the extreme maltiness. Just excellent all around. Why aren't I drinking this more often?? I can remember drinking a "current" version of this one around 2011, and it wasnt nearly as sweet; I think the 9-11 months of aging really did this one some good!

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Photo of goochpunch
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Version.

Pours out a rusty, orangey red with a thin, almost not there head. Smells of caramel, dates, toasty malts, and citrus/pine sap from the hops. I pick up some booze as well. Taste is maltier than some versions from other years. Sticky dates and golden raisins. Citrus and earthy hops towards the finish. Aftertaste is like citrus peel candy. Not too much bitterness or alcohol burn compared to last year's. Mouthfeel is sticky, mouth-coating, and has low carbonation. They did a great job with Old Guardian this year, which has always been a hit-or-miss barleywine, depending on the year. I might have to get a few more bottles than I'd planned to drink more of it fresh, instead of putting it away to age.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes: Aroma – rich intense malt, faint hops, fruit. Appearance: Rich amber, 2”off-white head, quickly dissipates. Palate: big malt, malty, caramelly, sweet, and then the hops come on, the hops are assertive but not harsh. Mouthfeel: Very creamy rich, malt, alcoholic, malty. Above average carbonation, chewy body. Overall: A big bitter, malty beer.

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Photo of Flashy
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Purchased in Vermont, $8 for a bomber. One of the finest, and most readily available American Barley Wines out there. Like with most Stone products- the price and quality are right.

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Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, poured into a 12 ounce snifter. Pours a dark orange, slight oxidation, tons of apricot and peach on the nose. Taste is amazing rich and full, tons of mid-range color fruit, thick mouth-feel, wish I had more than one bottle...

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Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release, poured into a 25oz snifter. Pours a deep brown color with reddish hues when held to the light. Creamy beige head holds good retention and leaves some chunky lacing on the glass. Huge, rich caramel nose, with toast, grain, bread crust, piny hop, brown sugar as well. Tastes are complex and bold with rich and sweet caramel up-front, followed by an assault of the palate with pine resin. Bready, toasted grain, dark brown sugar in the middle. Full of flavor, well balanced, boozy on the finish with burnt caramel and pine lingering. Body is full, creamy but resiny, with ample carbonation. Overall, once again awesome Stone quality!

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.49/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-a hazy brown color with a large tan head that lingers and leaves a heavy lace
S-heavy hop aroma and a malt mixture
T-heavy wine taste with a heavy hop aftertaste that then goes to a heavy alcohol taste that does not go away
M-medium body and high carbonation
O-The warmer it gets or the more I drink the better this one gets. Never been much of a barley wine person but this one hits the mark

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Photo of 29mikoyan
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

One of my most favorite barley wines! What I like about it is that the citrus hint is not overly strong. It does have that piney hoppy flavor, but at the same time it has that nice maduro tobacco and cedary hint.

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Photo of sevenarts
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruddy reddish-orange, somewhat cloudy and opaque, with a modest off-white head and no lacing. Very cidery-looking.

S: Lots of layered malt tones: caramel, bread, toffee. The malty sweetness is mixed with an equally strong hoppy presence of pine and grapefruit.

T/M: Delicious! Caramel malty goodness up front, quickly giving way to the bitter sting of the hops, with lots of grapefruit and pine notes as in the aroma. Very dry, throat-coating thickness on the back end, with a lingering grassy, piney hop aftertaste. The high ABV is very well-hidden.

O: A real tasty, powerful barleywine with loads of flavor. Well balanced and does a very good job of hiding its alcohol so it's not nearly as hot as one would expect. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Bobheed
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: light caramel color with a pasty off-white head, about 1 finger. Pretty fair amount of alcohol lacing

S: Hops right up front, huge rotten grapefruit kind of hops. I get lots and lots of sweetness to it, almost like a caramel sugary sweetness.

T: Get lots of caramel malts and fruitiness. The flavor has shifted from a citrusy kind of fruitiness though, to a more dark fruit taste, like raisins and dates. Hops really hit you at the end and stick with you for quite a bit

M: Nice and creamy with medium carbonation. Leaves the mouth tingling and wanting more.

Overall I thought this was very good. This is, by all accounts, what an American style barleywine should taste like

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.