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
90
outstanding

1,831 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,831
Reviews: 267
rAvg: 4
pDev: 11.5%
Wants: 64
Gots: 459 | 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: 1,831 | Reviews: 267
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 ounce snifter glass. 2012 release bottle.

Appearance:A very cloudy deep amber. Almost opaque, yes that cloudy bubbles are strong and moving all over the bottom. Head comes off orange to white just about a notch under a finger's length.

Smell: Has a light rum scent, as if this brew was barrel aged. This is great and all but definitely a lighter smell than I was expecting.

Taste: Absolutely rich, you taste the strength of this beast and absolutely no reason not to like. It is complex, robust in flavor. You feel the rum that i smelled earlier but magnified. A littler bitter almost to the point you think you are chewing tobacco but it's sweet at the same time.

Mouth: Medium, but very sticking. Crisp and toasty after taste.

Overall: I will put it this way, I am going to have it again and again. I am not saying this will be the best barleywine you have ever but it will be a memorable one (in a good way). While in season grab yourself a bottle and drink up, Salud!

Photo of DrewV
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very creamy, thick, viscous, but smooth barleywine that shows virtually zero hint of the 11% ABV. However, it is incredibly sweet and carmel-y without sufficient balance from the hops. I really like this style of barleywine, though, where it focuses more on the caramel malts and less on the fruity flavors. I would still prefer a bit more bitterness to offset the heavy malts.

Overall a very good beer, but lacks balance and is a bit muted in this style for my tastes. A better example of this style would be Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Ale. This is nice for a year-round offering, but not as exciting or price-competitive as Bigfoot, unfortunately. I'd rate this a solid B+.

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy orange amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that gradually died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and malty sweetness in the nose.
T: The taste shares some similarities with the smell but has a moderate amount of hop bitterness. As the beer warms up, hints of toffee and vanilla begin to emerge in the flavors. A bit of alcohol is also noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied, very crisp and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The aroma of this beer can fool you because you would expect it to be very malty and sweet but lots of hop bitterness seemingly comes out from nowhere in the taste and provides a nice contrast (although I wouldn't call it balanced). The beer is rather drinkable considering its strength.

Photo of gtermi
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: THe beer pours a dark redish copper body with a thin tan head that quickly fades and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

S: First thing that hits me is the strong caramel malt, almost smells like syrup with a tiny bit of alcohol thats pretty well hidden.

T: The beer isnt as sweet as I like in a barleywine.. I mean it is very sweet, but it quickly turns into a strong bitterness. I usually pretty sweet flavor all the way through. The beer actually has a little hop flavor as it lingers.

M: The beer is actually very smooth and has a nice fully body. There is also a good amount carbonation on the back of the throat as it goes down.

O: This is a pretty damn good beer from Stone.. for sure not their best, but for 7 bucks I really dig it. I am glad I got a few bottles of this.

Photo of vandemonian
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale is a tasty barleywine without much in the way of unexpected flavour.

A: Red brown colour and a good 4 mm head that lasts. 4.5

S: Malty and a little oxidised with some hop aroma still evident. 4

T: Malty with sweetness and cardboard. Some burnt brown sugar in the finish. 4

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 4

Photo of Bills453
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel tulip glass

Appearance - cloudy red-orange color. Nice off white head.

Smell - very citrusy and sweet. Bit of hops aroma.

Taste - bitter, sour. Hoppy aftertaste, bot a sweet foretaste. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel - smooth

Overall - good offering of the style, but I have had better barleywines. For ex. Bigfoot.

Photo of KajII
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky medium chestnut brown with an average (1-2 finger) light tan frothy head that reduced to a large puddle with a medium collar and had excellent streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a sweet bread malt, resin and pine hops and a doughy yeast with notes of citrus (grapefruit and orange peel), caramel, dark fruit (raisons and prunes) and a pronounced alcohol odor.

The taste was malty sweet with notes of caramel and dark fruit up front, and then became very hoppy with a good strong citrus peel presence and an intense alcohol finish. The flavor lasted quite a long while following the swallow, with a bitter-sweet citrus peel alcohol taste left behind.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and dry in texture with a carbonation that was just beyond medium.

Overall this was a very powerful tasting brew that possessed a nice hoppy sweet taste, although it was slightly overpowered by the high ABV...

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut colored body beneath the thin, light tan head which quickly dissolves to leave only traces of lacing around the glass.

Generous fruit and vinous aromas float from the glass with abundant earthy and pine hops as well as some a touchdown nuttiness.

The favor is fruity and sweet up front with hints of nuts and a generous hoppy finish tat features grass, wood, and spice notes.

Fuller in body with generous carbonation and a big biting finish.

A tasty American Barleywine with the traditional sweet fruit character of the English style, yet Packing a west coast hops punch. Well done.

Photo of harrymel
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2012

Copper with a straight etching of cream foam. Smells of hops, rich malts with some tea and caramel and some nicely woven in toffee and sweetness. Flavor is sweet with a good bitterness on the backside with some caramel and a gobs of malt syrup. I like the flavor. Medium bodied with sharp carb and a semi dry finish. I like this beer quite a lot.

Photo of MadScientist
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2010 release

A: A hazy medium copper with deep orange and red hues. The head is short, cream and a little rocky off-white; it leaves a little lacing on the glass. The hazy clears as it warms.

S: Rich moderate malt aromas of caramel and toffee with a faint citrus hops aroma. A moderate perfumey alcohol aroma. Moderate fruit esters of figs and orange.

T: A smooth, rich caramel malt flavor with a moderately-strong hops bitterness and some alcohol sweetness on the back end. Not surprising that there is little citrus hops flavor left after aging. There is some moderate dark fruit flavors. The balance is bitter and alcohol but there is a good backbone of malt sweetness as well giving an moderately dry finish.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderately-low carbonation. Lot of alcohol warmth

O: A very smooth, potent beer with a decent amount of hops bitterness.

Photo of sevenarts
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of duracell
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
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 srandycarter
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 liter of the 2012 Old Guardian bought tonight.

A - Fairly clear dark apricot, huge head, lots of lace.

S - Light malt and hops. Maybe too cold.

T - Rich malt, heavy handed hops to hold it down.

M - Very creamy, good balance, good carb.

D - An excellent beer.

Photo of stampfler07
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear dark amber with two fingers of creamy, just slightly brown head, light lacing on the glass

S- Sweet, deep malt aroma, dark fruit notes, raisin and plum

T- Slightly sweet malt to begin, deep fruit flavors come in, plum and raisin again, light bitter hoppiness balances as the alcohol warmth comes in

M- Moderate carbonation, very warm mouthfeel, moderate body

O- Finish is bitter and warm, great for a fall or winter night. Great combination of deep flavors covers for the high alcohol and makes this beer very palatable and delicious

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney.

Pours a lovely burnished copper-red colour with a fine, slightly overly frothy off-white head. Lacing is patchy, but the body is deep and heavy. It looks very clear and bright, but deep and suspicious as well. Love it.

Nose is heady and boozy, with a barley-sugar character laced with plenty of straight-up and possible straight-down hops. It gives it a slightly medicinal overtone, especially with the wafts of booze coming through. But really, it feels exceptionally sweet, with hops being the afterthought rather than part of the full process.

Taste is similar. There's a chewy, deeply sweet barley-sugar character throughout, that only really gets cut on the edges by the bright hop bitterness, and at the end, where the sharpness comes to a point. It's deeply sweet, however, yet doesn't have a lot of depth or complexity. It's a very odd mixture. I feel like this should be a heady maelstrom of intriguing flavours, when in fact it feels like a barleywine By The Numbers.

I mean, overall, it's good, right? It has to be. It's Stone, it's a barleywine, it's clearly well made and executed. I just really didn't connect with it though. It didn't have anything that got me excited or made me want another bottle right now. But it's solid and worthwhile, at least. That's about as enthusiastic as I can get.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 release poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, brown sugar, dark fruit and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus fruits. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in along with a significant alcohol sting. The malt character is hearty and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this beer seems to lose some fans with each passing year but to me it continues to be a very good high-octane beer to drink for as long as you handle it.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the most badass beers I’ve ever had was Stone’s Double Bastard: 22 ounces of 10.5%, mega-hopped brew. If this barleywine is even half the beer that was, I’ll be smiling from ear to ear by the time the bottle’s empty. Cheers!

“2012 Release” is emblazoned on the front of the painted label; according to the website, that means a release date of February 2012, or eight months before the date of this tasting.

A: Pours a hazy rust color, or whatever you’d call a dirty red. Decent head for a big beer, a creamy tan that gets as high as an inch or so before slowly fading. Stringy lacing.

S: The main thing I’m getting here is an earthy, diminished toffee tone, like a big malty IPA that’s been sitting on the shelf for too long. Whenever a beer has that aroma anywhere in the nose, it jumps out at me instantly; this barleywine has a complex character beneath it, though, and it serves well to distract. There’s a load of pungent cherry and tropical sweetness below, for instance, with a good blend of raw, grassy grain (like alfalfa), spiced rum, and wheat bread on the back end. Smells quite malty.

T: Pretty damn bready, pretty damn hoppy – that’s what I was looking for when Double Bastard came to mind. Granted, it’s not as powerful as the Bastard, but it has those oily Stone hops I know and love (in force). Starting deep and grainy with pumpernickel and near-blackened toast, it quickens to a foray of bitter, briny pine and grapefruit. I’m not surprised by the booze that’s present, too, and it definitely doesn’t go over without notice; actually, its lip-smacking syrupiness is a little much at times. Aftertaste is a little cough-syrupy from the aforementioned alcohol, but with an oily, sustained hop dryness. Overall, this is a smooth palate with a lot of nice transitions, though it’s all wrapped up in a package of medium-dark malt and syrup.

M: Syrupy – one or two bubbles pop on the tongue only once every second or so, it seems. It’s a big beer, and I guess I was prepared for that; still, the syrups are emphasized, it seems.

O: Another big, bad Stone creation. This one I didn’t like as much, but that’s only because I had the perfection that is Double Bastard in mind; still, no matter what I did, I wasn’t able to escape that old toffee character behind it all. In the end, I’ll finish the bottle, but I won’t be seeking another.

Photo of rarbring
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is clear copper amber, a warm off-white head leaving good lacing and small curtains.

Smelling hoppy, grass, nettles, pine. Then sweet dried fruits, honey, heather.

Sweet toffee, brown bread with honey, bitter oranges, dried apricots, then bitter citric peel. Slightly boozy.

Medium carbonation, small bubbles, oily and sticky, a coarse dry finish.

Once again I have consumed a barley wine far too young.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Popped a bottle that is a few years old. Wish I could remember how old, somewhere in the 2-3 year old range most likely. Pours out a deep burnt copper and light brown. Mild off white head in the .4" range. Heavy aroma of alcohol, two row and hops. Hops being last in the aroma equation, alcohol first.

Taste, gigantosaur beer, heavy sting of alcohol, full bready mush of a malt presence, massive. Hops really don't come through as much as Greg Koch insisted a few years ago at the San Diego International Beer Festival. If the bitterness and hops are going to be this high, I'd like to see less of a malt impression, more like a dipa, but then even many dipas these days are more like barleywines. This has the west coast hopping, but with like east coast hops and a heavy east coast attempt at balance with the gigantic malt bill.

I was surprised how much the hops stuck around years later in this one. Or maybe it was just the bitterness. Anyways, not really my favorite Stone beer by a mile, and as time goes on, I get less and less interested in this style of beer. Used to love it. Now, its only the old favorites and new blonde barrel aged barleywines that seem to do the trick.

Photo of IronLover
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep weathered copper orange in color with a deep haze. Poured with a short off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap that left sticky lacings on the glass. Sweet caramel malt and pungent tropical grapefruit and orange hop aromas with a hint of booze in the background. Medium bodied with a resinous feel and light, subdued carbonation. Sweet caramel malt flavors up front that are slowly washed away by tangy citrus hoppiness. Finishes with a rush of grapefruit hop flavor, followed by alcoholic heat and a sticky pine hop aftertaste.

Photo of Rutager
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle

Appearance. Pours a murky burnt orange with almost two fingers of thick orange/off-white head.

Smell. Oranges, grapefruit, booze caramel and lemon with a little lightly toasted grains.

Taste. Burnt caramel, bitter oily pine sap, orange and grapefruit rinds, booze. Lots of lingering bitterness. Fairly sweet.

Mouthfeel. Full body with medium+ carbonation.

Overall. Crazy amount of hops in this one. I'll bet that in around 5 or so more years, when the bitterness and booze mellows a bit, this would be really nice. I'll have to grab another bottle to stash away and collect some serious dust.

Photo of BrownAleMale
2.19/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bomber bottle poured in a Gulden Draak tulip glass.

Appearance- An orange yellow color with even some reddish hues in it. Hardly any head what so ever.

Smell- Floral hop and booze

Taste- Very boozy here and not in a well balanced or good way, more like a malt liquor way.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied all the way around.

Overall- The strong boozy flavor killed the beer for me. Only thing I can say is as the beer warmed the booze mellowed and some other flavors started to appear but I was already turned off by the 1st half and not able to enjoy the new flavor notes.

Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. This is a 2012.

Pours somewhat cloudy, reddish brown color, very little head. The head that is there is light beige. Smell is sweet and musty, very fruity. Lots of alcohol in the aroma.

Taste is muted, alcohol, some fruityness. Some hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick and still. Overall, it's pretty god. Not as good as I remember, but pretty good.

Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft into snifter at Yard House in San Diego, Calif., on July 28, 2012. Three fingers of head when I got it. Mahogany brown color. Thick white foam/lacing. Good retention all around (sides and top).

Smelled caramel, light chocolate, rye and nuts.

Tasted nutty, toffee, caramel. Very malty. So smooth.

Full body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long lasting smooth finish.

Absolutely loved this beer. Very malty, but it worked. So smooth and a great aftertaste.

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,831 ratings.