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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,544 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,544
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 42
Gots: 338 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: smerrell on 02-18-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,544 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chrysostom
1.75/5  rDev -56.1%

Chrysostom, May 01, 2013
Photo of WckdVbz
2/5  rDev -49.9%

WckdVbz, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of SIEVS
2/5  rDev -49.9%

SIEVS, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of tally
2/5  rDev -49.9%

tally, Sep 21, 2014
Photo of Alex5
2/5  rDev -49.9%

Alex5, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of ajs4bd
2/5  rDev -49.9%

ajs4bd, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of BrownAleMale
2.18/5  rDev -45.4%
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.

BrownAleMale, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of Givemebeer
2.25/5  rDev -43.6%

Givemebeer, Jan 27, 2014
Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -38.6%
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+

kojevergas, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of JedediahK
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

JedediahK, Mar 02, 2012
Photo of RoyFokker
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

RoyFokker, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of shade13
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

shade13, Jul 25, 2012
Photo of vbiliyar
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

vbiliyar, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of Brew33
2.61/5  rDev -34.6%
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.

Brew33, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of FlemingVSKing
2.65/5  rDev -33.6%
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.

FlemingVSKing, Jun 11, 2012
Photo of wrycon
2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
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

wrycon, Feb 28, 2012
Photo of Hearneator
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Hearneator, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of bshiban
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

bshiban, May 10, 2014
Photo of Larremor
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Larremor, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

chippo33, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of Raziel313
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Raziel313, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of thegerm87
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

thegerm87, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of kluless59
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

kluless59, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of mfnmbvp
2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

mfnmbvp, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of yankeepride
2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

yankeepride, Nov 14, 2013
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,544 ratings.