Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,471 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
1.5/5 rDev -62.4%
Big disappointment from Stone. I eagerly awaited this since it was new to the Twin Cities market. It looks fine, but the smell is just fumey with booze and a few hops thrown in. I even get a weird rubber smell in there. The taste is harsh and bitter with an alcohol burn. The mouthfeel is fine, but that's not enough to save this brew. I know Stone likes their hops but this is too much. Maybe some age could save this. This is like the Thunderbird of barleywine.
02-28-2012 07:18:20 | More by sacrelicio
2.18/5 rDev -45.4%
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.
09-14-2012 18:33:46 | More by BrownAleMale
2.45/5 rDev -38.6%
1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle (2012 release) with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I remember enjoying the 2011 release.
Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: Pours a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and average (~one minute) retention for the style. Colour is a clear dark copper-gold. No floating yeast particles are visible.
Sm: Hops - both floral and bittering, but more towards the bittering end. Malts. Barley. Cream. Not a particularly appealing aroma. There's nothing unique or special about it, and it doesn't get me excited to taste it. Moderate in strength. I'm hoping it's not as hoppy as it tastes.
T: It is. Entirely too hoppy for the style, ruining the balance with wretched bitterness that doesn't at all belong. Clean malts are there alongside simple barley, but no yeast comes through. Some alcohol does. Horribly balanced. Poorly built for a barleywine. I'd vastly prefer complex malt layering with some subtle hop notes and maybe biscuity yeast, but none of that is here. The finish is okay, with some vague fruit hints coming through - but the hops still overwhelm everything.
Mf: Too thick. Wet and smooth, with some coarseness from the hops, lending it an awkward texture that feels somehow hazy. Doesn't complement the flavours well. Adequately carbonated. Weak. A touch watery on the finish.
Dr: A barleywine that demands aging to mellow out its harsh hop notes. I wouldn't have this again unless it was free and had a few years on it. I don't understand hoppy barleywines and I don't know that I ever will. A major disappointment from Stone. Age your bottles if you buy this. Hides its ABV decently. Difficult to drink on account of its severely limited quality.
Wouldn't pair well with food. Doesn't even do well on its own.
I don't know how it would age, but it can only get better. Pray for early hop death.
03-28-2012 00:30:24 | More by kojevergas
2.61/5 rDev -34.6%
Sometimes I like to revisit a beer I didn't love the first time just to see if I may have had a bad experience, hence me revisiting Stone's Old Guardian. 2013 Vintage
It pours a really nice, deep, garnet with a small, light tan head. Looks nice in the glass, perfectly clear. The aroma is subtle. Caramel malts, slight cardboard, alcohol, no hops to speak of. Not very good frankly.
The flavor is the real disappointment here. One dimensional malt profile. Slight hop bitterness but no real hop flavor. A Stone beer that is underhopped for the style? Huh? Really lacking complexity. The alcohol is prominent but the malt flavors are downright bland and the beer seems a little over attenuated for the style. No real sweetness or pronounced flavors at all. Hop flavor is nonexistent and the bitterness is restrained.
The beer leaves a sticky residue on the lips which is perfect for the style IMO but it's a touch overcarbonated and a little thin for my liking.
Overall, it's pretty much what I remember and that is a below average American Barleywine. Stone has really hit a few homeruns lately especially with the Enjoy By series but this is just not a good American Barleywine.
06-26-2013 13:00:17 | More by Brew33
2.65/5 rDev -33.6%
I had a lot of expectations. I love Stone. And I'd loved my only other Barley Wine experience with Sam Adam's Griffin's Bow.
Old Guardian is probably made well, but it tastes like pure alcohol. I could seriously describe it as tasting like a rather subpar jello shot.
Now at 11% it is one of the very strongest beers I've had, and that's part of the taste, but I just don't pick up anything else of value in the flavor profile. The alcohol taste just sits right on top of what comes off of an amber ale background. Not fruit tones, no hop or spice notes.
Generally I'm not terribly concerned with the pour, but it is worth noting that after dumping this one straight down a pint mug like a Pepsi, it formed no head. A slight head emerged only after sitting for a few moments, and it was about 1/4 inch, fairly thin, and dissipated soon after.
I just don't see anything really special going on here.
Frankly I'd rather have some stock beer than this.
06-11-2012 12:27:08 | More by FlemingVSKing
2.68/5 rDev -32.8%
Ruby-copper in appearance. Pretty transparent. About a finger and a half of off-white head. Lacing is semi-tight with minimal retention. Not the strongest nose. A bit of smoke, some dark fruit. Smelling a sort of candied fruit, not quite caramel. Not much there. Thick apricoty-toffee in front, not overly strong. That shifts to again a smokey sort of bitterness, which is not the best. Tastes like more of a DIPA than a barleywine. I'm getting a lot of pine in the back end and a lot of bitter. That's fine, I guess, but it's not what I want from a barley wine. Probably much better with a few years under its belt.
Like It? Not Really
02-28-2012 01:45:48 | More by wrycon
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,471 ratings.