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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,733 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,733
Reviews: 248
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 52
Gots: 418 | FT: 34
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,733 | Reviews: 248
Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz.

Pours a hazy amber, inch of yellowish white head is pillowy and retains well. Eventually dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of buttered bread, apples, fresh piney hops, and maple.

Flavor is of maple and honey malts, buttered toast, apple, and a piney floral hop finish. Some woody and nutty undertones.

Body is medium to full, viscous, with a stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Very good Barleywine, not as hoppy as a lot of American styles, but hoppy enough to balance out the heavy malt. Overall very balanced, very good flavor and aroma. Worth seeking out.

Photo of brewski09
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Release aged in a combination of a cool dark closet and a beer fridge. Poured into a red wine glass (a nice serving substitute for a goblet or tulip style glass).

A - Pours a ruddy brownish red with a small head that doesn't stick around too long. The beer is nice and clear.

S - The smell is now dominated by a big sherry note as expected by the original booze note when this was fresh. I feel like there is a non-distinct hop aroma in the background here too. Overall, a really nice progression of the malt profile and alcohol, but still balanced enough by the other beer characteristics.

T - The beer still has a mild hop bite to it up front that hangs around the taste profile. The sherry hits you up front as well, but then fades into the background and allows the booze to mellow and then allows the malts and hops to return.

M - The mouth feel is thinner than expected, somehow less viscous than the fresh beer was. The carbonation seems a little finer as well. The mouth feel falls just a little short for me.

O - A really nice progression of a high quality barleywine. Happy I hid this one instead of just drinking it right away.

If you have one of these from 2011 still, I would probably drink it now.

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 22 oz bomber 2012 release

A - A cloudy amber red, with 1 finger of head and sticky lace left all over the glass. Zero clarity and particle floating throughout. Unfiltered. Beautiful

S - Brown sugar, piny, and caramel. Lots of brown sugar. Not as quite as strong in the nose as some other Barleywines

T - Oh my. Brown sugar, sweet, malty, boozy. Delicious!

M - Full bodied and well carbonated. This one is a sipper

O - Another amazing offering from Stone. All hopped out and full of flavor. Would not expect any less from Stone. Well done, and I will be purchasing this one again...and soon!

Photo of facundoCNB
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A copper%2Famber pour with a finger of white head%2C great retention. Smells fantastic - tons of caramel%2C honey%2C brown sugar%2C barley%2C and a touch of grassy hops.%0AThe flavor is a sweet barley %22juice%22 with brown sugar%2C roasted notes%2C burnt caramel. Just delicious.%0A%0AFull body with modest carbonation. Thick and creamy on the lips.%0A%0AThis is a fantastic beer at a ridiculously low price. Don't pass on it.

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer Review # 100! Old Guardian 2012 release

Appearance - Pours a deep, semi-clear reddish copper with a thick, creamy light tan 3-finger head. Excellent retention. Leaves behind a thick, sticky lace.

Smell - Dark fruity ester, citrus hop, brown sugar and a bit of alcohol to boot.

Taste - A complex array of flavors... it's gonna take a bit of time to break it all down. Starts off with a bit of citrus hop, then fades into a caramel malt which then turns dark quickly for a coffee / mocha finish, with a lingering bitterness behind this. Heat is subtle throughout. At 11%, that's not so bad.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied. Somewhat syrupy. As a barleywine, it comes with the territory.

Overall - An excellent barleywine. Not my favorite, but certainly up there. A fine choice for beer review # 100!

Photo of GilGarp
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a pint glass.

Redish amber color with great clarity. The head is thick and slow to settle. Great lacing left behind.

Aroma is malty sweet and slightly boozy. Mild fruity quality with cherry and apple.

Flavor is intense with huge hop bitterness. The malts are big enough to support the hops but just barely. This is one giant barleywine.

Mouthfeel is medium plus bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall a really great version of the style and about as big as they get.

Photo of duracell
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter. 2012 release.

A - Pours an amber/reddish color with an off-white, rocky head which has a very good retention considering the ABV. Moderate lacing left on the glass. 4.5/5

S - Tons of malt as expected. I pick out caramel, apricots, honey, raisins and plums. Floral notes from the hop, slightly piney. 4/5

T - Malt as in the nose in addition to a good hoppy character (relatively grassy). The blend reminds me of some orange peels. Very little residual sugar. 4/5

M - Full body. Very smooth, quite chewy up front. Bitterness on the high side at the end. Moderate alcohol. 5/5

O - Definitely a classic Barleywine with a strong American influence. Drinkability is very good and the beer is well balance. Overall, very enjoyable and highly recommended! 4.5/5

Photo of herman77
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark clear amber/dark copper with a fairly large off white head that dies down after a bit. Awesome lacing.

S: Lots of bready malt. Toffee and a bit of carmel malt too. Pine hops and a bit of grapefruit in the mix as well.

T: Tons and tons of deep carmel malt and toffee. Caramelized sugar. There is a good dose of pine hops. It's got that classic stone hop profile taste that's intense and in your face, but the malt is stronger than the hops in this one. Some lingering hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium body. Smooth and moderate carbonation.

O: Nice. I thought it would be a lot hoppier having had a decent amount of Stone's stuff, but the malt is center stage here. I like it, but if remember, it seems a lot like Double Bastard.

Photo of biegaman
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite a papaya-like colour, Old Guardian looks as rigid as the marble gargoyle on its label. My LED desk lamp may light up the beer but there's no way it's getting through it; turns out even pale amber beers can be opaque. There's not much head but I suppose that's to be expected.

This 2008 vintage smells every bit as sweet (figuratively, though also a little bit literally) than ever. Nearly 7 years in the cellar has only turned this into more of a honey pot of rich, nutty, buttery fruit. Loads of fresh mango, dried apricot, as well as pine resins abound.

Barleywines are something of an anomaly insofar as they can be ultra-malty and simultaneously rich and resiny with hops. This is full of both sticky and tropical flavours; it tastes like caramel coated pineapple or toffee-laced grapefruit. Neither sweepingly bitter nor sweet, this blends the two in a perfect marriage with an abundance of delicious nuances and just a pinch of spice.

Most seductive as always is the texture of Old Guardian. Dried and honeyed orchard fruits promptly excuse themselves on the finish, parting way for leafy-bitter, herbal notes of pine, spruce, and strongly-steeped chamomile that mingle with lasting impressions of toffee, marmalade, and wildflower honey. It has the components to be a powerhouse but is not.

Old Guardian is seemingly immortal - if not the beer itself then certainly my enjoyment of it (not to mention the fond nostalgia of vintages past). If my cellar consisted of just one brand it'd probably be this one. To my knowledge there is no liquid better suited to moments of quiet reflection. This was an early favourite of mine and one that I continue to return to year after year.

Photo of 4thmedbn
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 out of an Old Guardian specialty glass. Picked up at Tully's Beer and Wine in Wells, ME

A - Beautiful deep red amber color with a hint of an almost strawberry blush. Really gorgeous stuff in the glass, head dissipates fairly quickly, little retention and no lacing.

S - Despite the high hopping of this beer, mostly the nose says malt. Nice chocolate, some dark fruit, leading into some nice fruity hop aroma. Not as huge of a nose as you might expect with this beer, but what is there is all good.

T - Huge malt character up front. Lots of nutty and mild chocolate notes. By mild chocolate I just mean not an overly sweet chocolate character, but also not wicked dark and bitter. Just like a toasty, nutty chocolate. Finishes with a pretty solid bitterness. Mostly piney and resiny hop character. I don't get a huge amount of citrus, but that may be due to the fact that it's sitting next to such a strong malt body. A long, lingering hop finish.

M - Full bodied, no way around it. Carbonation is fairly smooth, but definitely present. Doesn't seem to be as much residual sugar as you would find with some of the Barley Wine out there. That contributes to how dry this beer is, but also it's not wicked thick or syrupy, and that works to accentuate the hop character.

O - A great beer. Definitely going to be laying some of this down. A nice dry, well attenuated example of the style. As much as I love big boozey and sweet barley wine, this makes me excited that there is so much diversity within the style. Another absolutely fantastic beer from Stone.

Photo of Dani_Deathbat
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lochef81
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Albertoamora
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of booga73
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of 9InchNails
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper body color with a lot of noticeable carbonation. Off white head that leaves some lacing on the snifter glass.

Dark fruits, smells very sweet, candy sugar, caramel and some hints of alcohol.

The taste is where its at! Dark fruits, toasted bread, caramel, some bitterness and alcohol at the very end.

Medium body, smooth, light but slightly noticeable carbonation, dry, it doesn't leave the lips feeling sticky surprisingly. Some alcohol warmth going down.

Not quite pungent as the aroma but very smooth and to the point with the taste - the balance of flavors are near perfection.

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always had a special place in my heart for this beer. It was my first barleywine and my first aged brew at that. 

A- pours a seductive ruby garnet hue with a finger and a half of off white head. Solid retention with some lacing as well.

S- big caramel and toffee characteristics with a liquor like note hits the nose with delight. Bountiful sticky pine and candy coated citrus from the hops blend in making this brew distinctly American and Stone like. Finishes with candied notes and just a little to much heat from the alcohol. The nose begs one to lay this down in the cellar.

T- sticky sugary malts explode on the palate with notes of caramel and toffee. Palate annihilating hops soon usher in some balance and a candied citrus and pine flavor. Liquor like characteristics hit the palate on the finish with a warming alcohol that again wants a year or two tucked away. Still rather tasty and more than drinkable however.

MF- sticky syrupy mouthfeel with a subtle creaminess. Heavy body and good soft small bubbled carbonation.

D- for a barleywine this has very good drinkability. However fresh this brew is monster and will take you some time to conquer. Age will only do wonders.

Overall a great example of the American barleywine style. Tons of malt, buckets of hops and high ABV!

Photo of msondel
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A: Burgundy red and brown with a slight tan-reddish head. A bit foggy.

S: Hops definitely, barley, sweetness, and malt.

T: Hops, brown sugar and cherry oak. Burnt molasses, some nuts, orange peel, old dates/raisins, caramel, syrup, sour dough, and a big malt bill. Very very nice.

M: So perfect. Thick and creamy. Some of that rough velvet feel.

O: An excellent brew. Next up is the oaked version! The complexity of this beer astounds me. The flavor takes you on an adventure from bitter hoppiness to sweet candy to thick malt. It's an awesome barley wine.

Photo of Dope
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 release. 11.6% ABV. Quite fresh.

A: Pours a clear dark red/amber. Big, fluffy tan head. Head fades away quite slowly, leaving thick fluffy splotches of lacing behind. Top notch head retention.

S: Lots of bread and caramel but a surprising amount of hops too. Resinous, piney hops mainly.

T: Even hoppier than the aroma gives away. Tons of pine and resin up front with a surprising amount of bitterness. Dark breads and caramel in the middle. Sticky malt and oily hops with more bitterness in the aftertaste. Long lingering bitter, drying resinous aftertaste. Hoppy all the way through, really surprising.

M: Fairly heavy, very sticky and very oily.

O: Wow, I was really surprised by this one. Yes, it's Stone, but I wasn't expecting it to be THIS hoppy. Honestly it's hoppier than fresh bigfoot. It's borderline big DIPA-ish, like a double crooked tree or a 120min. Very sticky mouthfeel one of the strongest I've had in that sense. The beer literally stick to your mouth and the flavors stays around forever as a result. Oily from all the hops. Very intriguing. I really enjoyed this one, one of the better american barleywines I've ever tasted. I bet some barrel aging would make this sublime.

Photo of Lynn
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mavigo
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got this off tap at crunchys in east lansing. served in a snifter.

A: pours a fine clear ruby orange color with a short beige head that dissipates fast leaving a thin remanant that lasts the whole way. medium amounts of lacing too.

S: thick, wafty aroma. barley, yeast, malts, bourbon, caramel, brown sugars, hops, booze

T: woooo. strong flavor. wheat, barley, bourbon, yeast, caramel, woody, very bitter, hoppy, strong kick of booze.

M: rich full body with lower amounts of carbonation, a slow sipper fore sure. bitter, hoppy, booze after taste.

O: sheet. crazy strong. Crazy good.pricey but id recommend it.

Photo of aoampm
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MattyG85
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and slightly hazy brownish ruby red with a moderate amount of bubbles. Decent one finger of off white head that dissipates into a small patch. Moderate amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts with a good hint of toffee. Hints of bananas and some citrus fruits. Light presence of earthy hops and some sugar. The sweet malts and caramel stand out the most here with the hops being fairly subtle. Alcohol is pretty faint.

Taste: The hops come out a lot more in the taste. Sweet malts with plenty of caramel and toffee. Hints of banana and a little sugar. A good amount of citrus hops with notes of grapefruit and orange. Also a hint of apple. Pretty juicy with a nice kick of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Chewy and moderately sticky. Alcohol heat is pretty moderate.

Overall: A very good American Barleywine. Full juicy flavor and pretty smooth for the ABV.

Photo of Jree261
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a red amber color out of the bottle with a thin layer of foam.

Smell: Lots of cedar and char going on. Also an underlayer of pork and bbq.

Taste: All of the flavors that remind me of a backyard bbq, pork, gamy, some dairy flavors as well. Smoke, tobacco, and earth are big time.

Mouthfeel: Big hefty beer with a finish that goes on for almost a full minute.

Overall: Good beer, the finish definitely stands out as the best part for me. It makes me want a cheeseburger, a hot dog, and a sunny day.

Photo of Fubar1453
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful deep red with a thick foamy white head.

S: Lots of fruit and sweetness.

T: Does not match the sweetness of the nose, of of the most bitter beers I've ever had. It tastes like Arrogant Bastard mixed with a large amount of dark fruits.

M: Very slick and creamy, mixed with the bitterness, its a sipper.

O: Great beer, my first barleywine and I absolutely loved it. I want to have this with a thick cut sirloin every night of the week.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,733 ratings.