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: 62
Gots: 457 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,831 | Reviews: 267
Photo of sacrelicio
1.56/5  rDev -61%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

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.

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 justjonas
2.42/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Def not a fan. Tasted like old malt bomb of an imperial ipa way past its prime. Smelled much better than it tasted.

Photo of kojevergas
2.47/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

High D+

Photo of merock1402
2.57/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

I am just not a fan of Barleywine. Sorry

Photo of Brew33
2.64/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of FlemingVSKing
2.68/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of wrycon
2.71/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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

Photo of IAmLegend1623
2.81/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer doesn't kid around. As always, there's an intense flavor and great body.

Photo of BeerEsquire
2.83/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

No intensity or strength in character, does not drink like a barley wine. Lack of hop distinction and strong alcohol palate typical of the brew - average brew.

Photo of mfnmbvp
2.91/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle (1 pint 6 fl oz), the 2013 release of this beer. A beer from Stone that I haven't had before, so I'm going in as unbiased as possible. Bottle claims an 11.60% abv, rather than just 11% as BeerAdvocate says.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - First pour yields about a finger of doughy off-white / khaki colored head. Beautiful clear, light ruby red colored body. My final pour, a good hour and a half later, yields some pretty nice sheets of lacing coming down the sides of the glass.

S - Smell is strongly of malted barley, and some fermented dark fruits like plum or cranberry. Faint citrus hops creeping out in the background.

T - Bleh. Not my preferred barleywine, that's for sure. Some hop bitterness is present, but this beer is overwhelmed by a sickening medicinal cherry cough syrup flavor. Thick and heavy. Bit of alcohol warmth. As hard as I'm trying, I am not digging this one at all. Admittedly, as the beer warms to room temperature, the artificial cherry medicine seems to disappear and opens up to more dry bitter spicy hop presence. Body has a sleek creamy feel to it. This is a beer you definitely want to let warm up before consuming it.

M - Feel is dry and chalky. Bitter hop aftertaste.

Overall, I enjoyed the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, and was expecting similar results here, but it took me a long time to warm up to this beer. When cold, it is on par with drinking a 22 oz. bottle of Robitussin. Following a warming period, the beer opens up and becomes more lively, with a more pronounced hop presence, and the sickly medicinal flavors disappear.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale ---3/5.

Photo of yankeepride
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured a beautiful copper color into a snifter, with a quickly-dissolving head. Didn't have a really potent nose like I was expecting, but what I could pick out had some caramel elements. As for the taste, there was such a big hop presence that I couldn't get much from the grain profile. The hops felt like they were getting in the way, and what I could taste seemed ... stale. It was easy-to-drink, especially in terms of being high ABV, but only because it was thin and watery. While I recognize that American BW's are hoppier than their English counterparts, I didn't feel that the hops and grains played well together in this one.

Photo of Bottlebomber
2.98/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bomber of this from the liquor store, poured into a wine glass.

A: A dark burnished copper. Pours a nice head, then BAM! Gone. Left spotty lacing. Unfortunately this is probably the highlight of this beer.

S: Bread, buttered biscuits, caramel, and some citrusy hops. With the amount of malt and hops that can potentially go into this style, I was underwhelmed.

T: Tasted quite like the smell - biscuity malt, some caramel, some citrusy hops. One thing I will have to give it was the bitterness was just right. Some people go really nuts bittering these ABW's, and I think a Barleywine should be more about the malt. Still, not enough going on to impress.

M: Semi-full. Really not as voluptuous as a Barleywine should be. This is supposed to be a sipper, I wasn't planning on finishing the bomber but it is drinking like an IIPA.

O: Meh!! An unexpected meh! I am really surprised that with all of Stone's over the top offering that they put so little into this beer. I should have listened to the other reviews :(

Photo of terence
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An okay American Barleywine. Not as good as SN Bigfoot or Anchor's Old Foghorn. Very sweet with a strong boozey finish.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Hazy reddish amber. Off white head. Sticky lacing. Some chunks of sediment.

Smell - Hoppy. Lots of barleywine malt aromas. Caramel. Very monotonic.

Taste - Hops and caramel. Well balanced, but it's just hops and caramel. Nothing wrong with it, as long as you're into hops and caramel. Bitter in the back.

Mouthfeel - Not boozy and not really heavy. Easy drinking and clean, but dull.

Overall - Unexciting. I wrote in my notes that it "hits hard." Take from that what you will.

Photo of Jeffreychason
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

Almost a gritty quality to it, this is a 2012 bottle. Very sweet, almost caramel flavor. Leaves a very heavy alcohol, bitter flavor. Would exactly call this highly drinkable, but not a bad beer. Would be interested to see what a couple more years would do, maybe help mellow it out a little

Photo of gr0g
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Notes taken on 3/6/2012. 22oz bottle, 2012 vintage (unaged bottle).

Beautiful clear copper in color, about one pinky finger of head when poured in my 9oz Double Bastard glass. Aroma is sadly very muted, with some malty sweetness and all too much ethanol coming through if you sniff hard enough.

On the palate, huge malt flavor is quickly met by huge hoppiness. Flavor profile is quite different from DB, although not as enjoyable IMHO. Malt character is intense toffee and is overtaken by a huge floral hop note and equally huge bitterness that lasts well past the finish. Alcohol heat is prevalent.

This is definitely a sipping brew, as I'm having trouble polishing off the 9 or so ounces at hand. An intensely flavorful ale, but I'll take a Double Bastard any day.

Photo of cultclassic89
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm just really not a fan of this beer.

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from the bottle into a tulip glass

A- Poured a very clear and dark ruby/mahogany color with a three finger soapy head that left some minimal lace

S- Big sweet sweet caramel, grapefruit, big breadiness, pungent aroma, molasses, and some hay funk

T- Big sweet breadiness, caramel, molasses, and raisin notes. Grapefruit, hay funk, and lots of alcohol

M- Quite sticky, syrupy, low carbonation, big alcohol warming

O- This is a super sweet beer, a little over the top for me. I think 10 oz. of this beer would have been fine, but a bomber of this was too much for me. I don't have a ton of experience with barleywines and it is not a favorite style of mine, I did like this beer more at first but after a while it became cloying sweet.

Photo of Philousa
3.36/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly bright, clear copper color with a couple fingers head that dissipates quickly to leave splotches of bubbles on the surface. Aroma is sweetly caramel with a slight cinnamon accent. Hops are definitely prevalent - mainly grassy and musty, not too abrasive. Caramel and woodsy flavors dominate. A little barky, rough in flavor. Syrupy sweet, but balanced in feel. The aftertaste lingers in the back of your throat like it owns the place, all musty and bitter-like. It's very Stone-ish. The alcohol is there, but deceptive. I never would have pegged this at 11%. Feel is slightly thick, finish is dry.

I'm ambivalent about this beer. It's super sweet for a Barleywine, but the bitterness milds it out a bit. I've had the 2009 version this winter and I can say for a fact that it does mellow well with time. Should have layed this down for a couple years...

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 TastyAdventure
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on tap. (sure glad i didn't buy a bomber just to try it out!

A - nice shining caramel color. nice head.

S - Hops.

T - too much hops for a barleywine in my opinion. But maybe it's not the amount of hops so much as the lack of malty sweetness rich flavor to balance. While I'm sure there are plenty of malts, as the gravity is so high, maybe they should have included more malts that would have contributed more Flavor to balance, keeping in mind they would add a elephant load of hops, as can be expected from Stone. This is just my opinion, as I'm not a hop-head.

I did enjoy Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, and they are notorious/famous for overusing hops, but I think they had a better handle on how to construct a Barleywine.

Photo of cjgiant
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Had to go a little strange on the rating in this case due to the fact I agree with the odd review here that this is not a barleywine style of beer. Given the ABV, it's and Imperial IPA.

Given that, I enjoyed the beer a lot, it had classic Stone high-hop dryness in the mouthfeel with a touch of maltiness. However, I don't think it fits the style, as the hops overwhelms the flavor, and I don't believe that should be.

A: cloudy red with nothing special in head or lacing (normal)
S: earthy with some plum notes
T/M: caramel or butterscotch on the malts, helped by the hops and carbonation, the hops draw present throughout, and as the beer warms a little, the malt seems to hang around a little longer
O: as stated above, am not sure it fits the style (and rated down due to that), but if you enjoy Stone beers, don't skip thjs one and ignore the overall score.

Photo of JustinQ
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from 22 oz bottle into Snifter Glass

Appearence: Clear, Burgundy color, Nice head, Beautiful Beer

Aroma: Grapefruit, Some citrus, Hops, Good yeast character

Taste: Hops, Good bitterness, Bitter grapefruit, long hop dryness, No alcohol. Residual Sweetness +1

Mouthfeel: Good co2, Dry, Crisp, Warming

Overall: Great Beer, Should grab another one for the cellar.

Photo of ADZA
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2012 edtion and thanks to my favourite bottleshop for this and it pours a hazy light amber hue which leaves a two finger creamy head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very barley and malt orientated with aromas of obviously barley,caramel fudge,toffee treacle,butterscotch and also Xmas cake,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and could be thicker for my liking of the style and the taste is nice but doesnt leave you gobsmacked like other big American Barleywines and the taste is very sweet with hints of marzipan,toffee treacle,butterscotch candy,raisins soaked in brandy,fruit cake and finished with a touch of bitter herbal hops to take a little edge off the sweetness first encountered and overall its not bad and could age a little bit but not too long as the malt profile is dominant and if left for a while could be even more sweeter and theres definately better Barleywines out there cheers.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,831 ratings.