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

245 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 245
Hads: 1,839
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 65
Gots: 465 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 245 | Hads: 1,839
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is pretty much everything i like in a barleywine. pours clear dark red with a tall off white head that hangs around a bit before fading out. smells like caramel, sweet desserty malts, and an uncommonly hoppy character. flavor is huge, sweet up front like molasses and brown sugar, hoppy like a big ipa on the back end, bitter and resinous. flavors of vanilla, candied orange peel, and alcohol dance in between. feel is great, full bodied and very strong, especially when it warms up. mild carbonation, but not too little. this is a great evening sipper. overall an excellent barleywine, complicated but approachable. i would highly recommend this to any lover of strong ales. (680 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The 2012 edition. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Dark amber with a tan half-finger head that leaves bubbles in its wake. Significant lacing.

S: Bourbon, leather, licorice, brown sugar.

T: Excellent. Smooth; robust hops dominate. Barley malt heavy. Sweet, bourbon-y. A lightly bitter finish that settles well.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Creamy.

O: Outstanding. Alcohol slides in for a fine buzz. Will buy again. One of the better barleywines available. Go, Stone! (475 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt 9 fl oz bottled 1/11/13. Yeah, I know, you are supposed to wait. I can't. I made an effort. I'll pick up another and hide it better next time.

A - ruby red pour with cloudy brown interwoven. One finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - brown sugar, grapefruit, berries.

T - grapefruit and hop forward. Some back end malt sweetness dark fruit style and a slight tinge of alcohol. Tart finish. Picking up some raisin and a hint of toffee.

M - moderate to low carbonation. Decent amount of heft but not thick or sticky. I take that back. Things get sticky.

O - Solid offering, this one will warm you up and hit you. A good beer to share with a friend and a discussion. Would like to try one that is properly cellared. Based on my willpower, it may need to be off site. (777 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle

A: Pours a light brownish/amber color with about a half inch of head

S: Lots of malts and hops, some alcohol. Pretty standard fare for the American barleywine, aside from the big dose of hops that Stone is known for

T: Follows the nose with a big dose of hops at first and then a transition to the malts and alcohol. The alcohol isn't too hot and leaves some nice peppery and fruity notes on the tongue that work well with the bitterness of the hops that return for the finish

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Slick from the hops

O: Still one of my top 5 American barleywines, although I still feel this is best with at least a year on it. Even though this isn't too hot or overbearing right now, the smoothness and complexity take a turn for the better after aging. Get a few bottles, drink one now and lay the others down. You'll be glad you did (884 characters)

Photo of midnitesun11
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours an amber reddish color with sporadic carbonation bubbles floating up from the bottom. Head is a nice cream color but lacking in volume.

Smells like a fruity citrusy wine. Hoppy, vinegary, kind of a bitter grape type smell.

Tastes of smokey, spicey hops and a bit of alcohol. Has a rich carmel flavor to it as well!

Ends with a slight bitterness that lingers around for a bit. Very thick almost heavy mouthfeel, goes down smooth and pleasant though!

It's a very good beer. I haven't drank too many barley wines but I'm going to start trying more now! Very drinkable and high in alcohol, so drinker beware! Sneaks up on ya if you drink it too fast! (659 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – Pours a deep reddish-amber color with a one finger yellow tinted off white head. The head has great retention and fades slowly over time to give decent lacing.

Smell – The aroma is of a big bready biscuit smell. Mixed with this aroma there is an alcohol smell and with some fruit aromas of citrus and banana. There is a very light pine aroma that mixes with the others overall creating a nice complex aroma.

Taste – A big bready and slightly hoppy flavor greet the tongue. The breadiness is initially mixed with a sweeter orange citrus and the banana that was in the nose. The orange taste also is present initially as a light hop like flavor. As the taste advances on, some nice pine hoppiness begins to develop with the sweeter citrus lightening. While the sweeter fruit flavors diminish in the middle of the taste, some caramel sweetness takes its place. The pine hop gets more intense as the taste advances until just before the end, where it levels out. While the hop flavors level out at the end, an alcohol taste comes into the flavor, leaving a nice warming aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of this brew is on the creamier side with a lower level of carbonation. While creamy, it is not as thick as would have been expected from its abv. and bready taste and smell. The lower carbonation suits the beer well although the body would be better a little chewier.

Overall – This is a barleywine with a nice taste and great smell. Its mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but overall it is a good brew to sit back and enjoy. (1,604 characters)

Photo of MadScientist
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (870 characters)

Photo of smerrell
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at 50 degrees
The 2012 Stone Old Guardian pouts a clear, dark amber, not unlike iced tea. The head doesn't stick around for long, and lacing is slight.

S: This one smells slightly sweet and citrus-like. I was surprised at how faint the aroma is, and expect it to become more pronounced as it warms.

T: There is a nice caramel flavor, soon overwritten by bitter grapefruit-like hops that dissipate quickly. The finish is dry, and lingers for a while with an aftertaste of apple.
and there is surprisingly no heat from the high alcohol

M: Pleasant, as it feels like it bursts in your mouth, . A quick attack, and a rapid dissipation

O: This is a good example of an American barleywine, although I expected it to have more pronounced sweetness and roasted malt flavors. Given that I find it a little light in that department, I'm curious about how it will age. (894 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So the bar im at has a tap labelled as the verticle epic 11.11.11, but in reality it was old guardian. Initially i was disappointed by this fact. Then i had a pint.

Pours a beautiful deep amber. Nice off white head leaving plenty of lacing down the glass.

The nose shows off a rich sweetness, almost a deep apiaryfresh- honey backbone with a hint of citrusy hops somewhere in the body.

The taste follows the blueprint laid ojt by the nose fairly closely, presenting a honey sweetness up front balanced with citrus and finish featuring some hop bitterness and the warming presence of the eleven percent.

Quite drinkable for the glass-of-wine level alcohol. Appropriately carbonated and smoothe and arming otherwise. If i had to use a childhood book to describe my beers, this one would be, 'the velveteen rabbit' (man i love that book). Definitely worth trying if you are lucky enough to find it in your town. (912 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-03-08 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge

A - Pretty clear mahogany with 1/4-finger off-white head and light lacing.

S - Mild dark fruit, brown bread and hop floral. Not very strong.

T - Rich malt body with some caramel, raisin, earthy spice, touch of pepper, pine, grapefruit juice and rind. Fairly sweet but the alcohol helps to balance this. Aftertaste remains sweet, peppery, very spicy with lots of rind bitterness. I like the flavor.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Prickly and lightly oily.

O - Very good. Plenty of interesting flavors. Reminds me of a triple IPA. (608 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz brown bomber with a vintage date.

Deep reddish amber, epic lacing. Minty spicy hops, ripe melon, caramel, broth and esters permeate the nose. Creamy, smooth, boozy and full bodied. Intense, bitter, bready, toasted grain, caramel, ripe fruit, hay and tangerines on the tongue. Finishes bitter and semi-dry.

Powerful and bold and very enjoyable to sip. (359 characters)

Photo of Rope
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Last one I had was a 2009 or 10, so I am interested to see if there is variance.

Appearance-
A dark brown with a hint of red. I find the best beers have a bit of red to them.

Smell-
Surprisingly weak smell, it has an orange hop smell to it. Can't detect malt or alcohol. Not bad just demure.

Taste-
Orange, orange, orange, then it rots into a bitter taste that Stone loves to deliver.

Mouthfeel-
Carbonation encased in small bubbles, not a lot of movement from them.

Overall-
Very good, the taste is the best part. No alcohol present until you let your breath sit for a second. I don't have barley wines too often, but between this and Three Floyds Behemoth this wins in taste and appearance. (697 characters)

Photo of Beric
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served: 12 March 2015

Appearance: Pours a dank yellow/brown color with a very minimal head that quickly dissipates under the effect from the high ABV.

Smell: Bright and sweet from the heavy malts, but with a distinct fresh hoppiness.

Taste: Really pleased with this one- it's nice and sweet on the palate, but not cloying. Assertive herbal hoppiness keeps the sweetness in check. Very refreshing for a Barleywine. ABV masked well.

Mouthfeel: Big body with low carbonation. Feels full on the palate.

Overall: One of the best barleywines I've had- the alcohol is masked nicely behind the herbal hoppiness and the beer isn't a sugar bomb. A nice sipper for sure. (664 characters)

Photo of RickS95
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release

It's got that classic Barley wine murky look to it. Pours a dark amber with an almost milky quality to it. The head is thinnish and doesn't have much retention, but provides nice lacing.

No mistaking the smell as a Barley wine. It's all malted barley with a backdrop of citrus fruits. As it warms, there's a nice banana breadiness that comes wafting from the glass. If you stick your nose deep into the snifter, the alcohol will burn your nose.

If it's too cold, it's not a good taste, but as it warms, everything your nose picks up will find its way to the tongue. Mostly malt and resinous pine, with the citrus notes.

Pretty tame early on, but then everything hits you...the alcohol and the bittering hops. It's an aggressive beer and definitely a barleywine, but it goes relatively easy on the palate.

The first time I had this, I didn't care for it. But after a second bottle, it's very drinkable for the style. (934 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this one yet, I guess tonight we set that straight.
2009 Vintage.
Pours a slightly hazy orange amber color with a decent sized beige head that settles in quite nicely. Smells of caramel and brown sugar with a bit of dark dried orange, tangerine and plum with a hint of earthy hop and ethanol. The flavor is lots of fruity sugar with a hit of ethanol. Orange and dark fruits covered in a syrupy glaze with a solid hit of alcohol. Medium body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet resinous mouthfeel. Nice barleywine that I enjoy every year. At 3 years old this one is just starting to develop a sherry like note. (660 characters)

Photo of KingPuuChuu
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal red from the bottle. A large head dies down, and leaves elegant lacing on the glass.

The aroma is huge. Roasted, sweet malt, and a strong hop scent are the biggest parts of this beer. The flavor is at first surprising for the amount of hops and 11% alcohol. Heavy roasted raisin and carmel. But, as the beer warms, a warmer smoothness comes through, and tones down the extreme flavors.

Mouthfeel is good. While it's bubbly, I wish it wasn't so. That being said, it prevents you from drinking the bottle too fast.

A word of caution though: Drink this beer over time, as it will hit you.

Overall, it's a great beer. (634 characters)

Photo of Listers
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. 1/2 inch off-white head. Smells of sweet toffee and caramel. Medium bitterness in the taste. Taste of boozy/fruity English malts. Taste fresh and hoppy while having a heavy/fully feel. Solid beer; never had any from this series before from Stone. (285 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

2012 version.

Pours a gorgeous dark copper light amber color with some awesome ruby hints and hues. The head is nice and at about 0.5 inch recedes at a moderate pace to a nice thing film and then to a nice sticky ring.

Sweet malty notes to start off with some intense molasses, nice caramel notes. Some slight brown sugary notes are present as well. There is also some nice resiny hop notes with some pine and slight sweetness in there as well. The nose is definitely more in the malt and caramel realm. Nice boozyness is also perceived.

Now the hops definitely speak up in the taste. Starts off with some intense citrus notes and some real piney notes as well. There is definitely a big booze note to the beer and some heat. However the hops help to offset this a bit. There is also tons of caramel and sweet malt notes in the flavor as the nose indicates. Pretty intense flavors overall but well done. The mouthfeel is silk and oily with some lower carbonation that helps to accentuate some of the intense malt and hop notes.

Good brew by Stone. I think the hop heavy recipe is a step in the right direction for this years release. (1,184 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
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! (996 characters)

Photo of jsausley
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a stout glass.

A: Dark and thick like a black coffee. Little bit of carbonation bubbles on the outside edge of the glass.

S: Rich and malty with a toffee and vanilla nose.

T: Very boozy, but not overpowering. Big chocolate and vanilla flavors. Malt body, no bitterness or hops apparent. Coffee, toffee and caramel in the middle and on the finish.

M: Smooth, rich and creamy. Very fun to drink. Silky.

O: A very cool, rich and heavy beer. Not something to drink lightly (no pun intended), but very, very good. (539 characters)

Photo of stampfler07
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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 (554 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep copper with a billowing, frothy dark cream head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of thick lacing.

Sweet, brown sugary caramel malt, toffee, muted grapefruit, resin, and caramel form the initial aroma. Raisins, dates, and prunes add complexity.

Flavor reveals underpinnings of grapefruit pith, tart tangerine, and lime, with a fairly sweet, toffee malt backbone, finishing resiny and fairly bitter. Rum-soaked dates, raisins, and figs add complexity.

Body is full, smooth, and luscious, with modest carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Great contrast of sweet malt and bitter hops, with tart, fruity hop notes countering dark fruit nicely. It's a little hot and a bit bitter for my liking, but the other notes redeem it very well. (758 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Twenty-two ounce bottle shared by Andrew. 2006 Vintage.

A: Pours a semi-clear amber with a very thin (1/16-inch) white head with essentially dissapears and leaves a couple of spots of lace.

N: Loads of caramel and vanilla, sweet malts, slightly oxidized notes.

T: Sweet caramel and toffee, slight stale bread.

M: Semi-full body and light carbonation. Finishes with a lingering sweet caramel.

O: The age on this makes it extra special. A treat. (469 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Dirty brown body with a surprisingly foamy tan head. Aroma is of sweet malt, green raisins and a bit of caramel. Flavor is on par for the style, sweet caramel, toasted malts, a dash of dried fruit. Full bodied with medium carbonation. This one is a good example of the style and has held up very nicely after a few years. (335 characters)

Photo of rmargeson
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The smell Is getting to be a problem now that I am getting older. Served in a red wine glass to get more aroma and breathing - and this turned into a good sipping beer! (169 characters)

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.