Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

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.

253 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 253
Hads: 1,868
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 30.92%
Wants: 68
Gots: 484 | 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
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  | nextlast
Reviews: 253 | Hads: 1,868
Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, poured into a 12 ounce snifter. Pours a dark orange, slight oxidation, tons of apricot and peach on the nose. Taste is amazing rich and full, tons of mid-range color fruit, thick mouth-feel, wish I had more than one bottle...

 239 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours copper with a large head.
Nose shows golden syrup, spicy and resinous hops, honey and caramel.
Similar flavours: honey, resinous and spicy hops and a massive aggressive bitterness.

 186 characters

Photo of Ellis1701
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually hate barley wines...but this one is really excellent. I think what makes it so tasty is that Stone tends to heavily hop their beers, and the hop bite in Old Guardian that offsets the sweetness that usually makes barley wine style beers among my least favorites. I go back to this one again and again...something I've not done with ANY other barley wine.

 363 characters

Photo of entenduintransit
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 classic release. 11.2% ABV. Really tasty stuff. Hoppy and easy drinking for a barleywine. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a good sipping beer.

 156 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Growler into pint glass. 2013 release (and yes, I trust State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD in this regard). Clear, dark amber with a thin, off-white head that dissipates rapidly....
But enough of this visual crap. You want to know what it tastes like, right? OMFG. This is exceptionally good! Maltiness vs hops (a draw); sweetness vs bitterness (another draw); big, thick, chewy mouthfeel that isn't syrupy but is reeeeeeally smooth. ABV is (too?) well hidden - it drinks like an 8 percenter, but it definitely packs a punch.
This is good stuff. Get you some.

 569 characters

Photo of WesMantooth
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle

Bright ruby orange with a tan head.

Smells sort of musty and hoppy with sweet caramel/toffeeand rock candy sugars.

Still considerably hoppy. Pretty herbal/green and sharp. Balanced pretty well by the sweet malt base that has quite a bit of carmalized sugars. Tastes like a fig newton and the toffee flavors are so strong that it comes across like chocolate a little bit.

A tad astringent, but a very nice American Barleywine overall. I think that I like this one more than a 2 year old Bigfoot.

 514 characters

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes: Aroma – rich intense malt, faint hops, fruit. Appearance: Rich amber, 2”off-white head, quickly dissipates. Palate: big malt, malty, caramelly, sweet, and then the hops come on, the hops are assertive but not harsh. Mouthfeel: Very creamy rich, malt, alcoholic, malty. Above average carbonation, chewy body. Overall: A big bitter, malty beer.

 358 characters

Photo of BSiegs
4.66/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful pour, a deep amber with beige foam. Nose is strong the second you pour it. Bready, malty, with hints of dark fruits. Complex flavors - get a lot of caramel and again, some dark fruit. Silky and smooth. This definitely exceeded my expectations.

 253 characters

Photo of AndreRus
4.91/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 release. Probably sweeter than i normally would drink. At the same time it is normal amount of sweetness for barleywine. Well balanced by its hoppiness. Definitely a great beer!

 182 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

Photo of Gregaroo
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 on tap at Hay Merchant in Houston on the night the Rockets were eliminated. So I went to the 2013 (see below) Surprisingly the Rockets still lost. If you have any free time, get to the Hay Merchant. Don't know what you want? They're so good that'll help you out and tell you !!!
5-27-15 - same nght. Rockets lost (again?). Nope same nght. 2013 vintage also on tap. First guy didn't get it ('12 v '13). 12 is smooth. 13 feels brisk. Get the '13. Next he had me try a cask Brazos Valley Roots Radical. Oh so good. In front of the Stone. What? Yes. Be right back....

 572 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of toasty, roasty malt, biscuit, toasted bread and barley. Caramel malt is evident but not sweet. Some tea leaf, roasted nut, pecan and grains. I let this sit a while to cut down the hoppiness and I'm glad I did.

 217 characters

Photo of dacrza1
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: May 20, 2015... GLASSWARE: Duvel snifter... OCCASION: Cavs begin the Eastern Conference Finals in Atlanta--as good a time as any for the Old Guardian! APPEARANCE: Dark ruby body that is almost opaque; sports a fortified, thick, creamy off-white head that laces in equally thick webbing... AROMA: a blast of hops--Cascade, centennial, and Amarillo, by estimate--elicits a welcome interest; some earthy, damp tree-like tones; malts are dark and intense... PALATE: gloriously and uncompromisingly full-bodied; thick and creamy, with a long-lasting finish that warms the throat--a pleasantly irrepressible presence...TASTE: A potpourri of hops crunch in the teeth--citrus, mango, apple, berry, licorice, liquor, and cinnamon; the malts are the size of a horse blanket and approximate the taste--a raw, full tete-a-tete between hop and malt; slight medicinal undertones... OVERALL: as I remember it--a force of nature, repressed alcohol nonetheless driving a bold, balanced barley wine that smashes the senses--am I speaking in too much hyperbole?--and strikes a vinous similarity with a lighter red; a champion of the genre...supersedes the Bigfoot....

 1,161 characters

Photo of 29mikoyan
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

One of my most favorite barley wines! What I like about it is that the citrus hint is not overly strong. It does have that piney hoppy flavor, but at the same time it has that nice maduro tobacco and cedary hint.

 212 characters

Photo of DeanWormer
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ignore the BA Score on this one. There are raters on here who do not know / understand / love barleywines. This is barleywine perfection. Hops and malts, bitterness and sweetness in perfect balance. This is awesome - what could be better? Well, the price, perhaps. But this is worth the price. Beware the 11% ABV - in the midst of all this deliciousness, it can sneak up on you.

 385 characters

Photo of Antg8989
4.89/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thought it was absolutely amazing. Smells sweet and hoppy. A barleywine/hop lover's dream. Rich amber color with an inch thick copper head. No lacing. It tasted sweet and creamy and finishes with just the littlest hop bite. Smooth, yummy. That's all I can say.

 260 characters

Photo of Radome
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from a 22 oz bomber bottle labeled "2015 Classic Release."

L - A beautiful beer. Dark amber color with some red; absolutely crystal clear. Head is light tan, huge and fluffy and long lasting. Gobs of lacing.

S - Great blend of strong bready malt, raisins and stone fruit, and American hops. Some low yeast fruitiness.

T - Like the aroma, the flavors are a blend of malt (warm bread, light plums and raisins, hint of soy sauce) and US hops (pineapple and earthiness). Some rummy alcohol flavors mix with the malt.

F - Medium to full body. High, creamy carbonation. Strong alcohol presence. There is a huge hit of hops bitterness, letting you know this is definitely an American barley wine.

O - A good barley wine, but not excellent for me. This is a huge beer in terms of hops bitterness and alcohol, but I don't think the flavors are as interesting as the other assertive qualities would lead you to want.

 931 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 1/28/15 so it's already 4 months old.

Appearance: copper red with a thick and billowy off white head. Very clear.

Nose: English malt backbone, raisins, fig, light hops aroma

Taste: slightly boozy, not hot alcohol but warming, sweetness from the heavy malt profile, spicy hops, very coating mouthfeel.

Overall: this is a great American barleywine. 2 more bombers of the 2015 left. I'll grab more.

 415 characters

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Killer Barley Wine. It pours extremely well into the glass, a coppery amber with a moderate head. Goes down entirely too easily! ...the next day, you pay!

 158 characters

Photo of BeerEsquire
2.83/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

 160 characters

Photo of Oldejoe
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look. Very nice golden red Amber, with light tan medium head.
Smell. Pretty robust hops and barley. Not too yeasty or beery.
Taste. Soft, slightly sweet, malty start, followed quickly by medium hoppy bitters, ends with dry mild hops.
Mouth feel. Medium heavy body, oily, chewy, palette smacking, with medium effervescence.
Overall. Probably my favorite barley wine. Very nice look, pleasant distinctive aromas, robust mouthfeel, and a good run of tastes from from front to back.

 482 characters

Photo of 57md
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper in color. The nose smells like stale hops - odd since this was just shy of two months old when I cracked it open. This offering is malt forward with just the right amount of hop bitterness. The malty sweetness really comes forward as this beer warms. The finish is dry with just a trace of alcohol.

 309 characters

Photo of mchegash
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.5/5
Deep orange-red. Lots of little carbonation bubbles. A finger and a half of light tan head. Moderately clear.

Smell - 3.75/5
Hops and citrus. Lightly sweet.

Taste - 3.75/5
Tastes like the smell, slightly sweet hoppy citrus flavors. Mellow rather than sharp.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium full, smooth, slight carbonation.

Overall - 4/5
This is way hoppier than I like my barleywines. Still it was a great beer.

 427 characters

Photo of Prospero
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle - 2012 (this is one of those beers that gets better with age)

A- sweet caramel nose
L- slight haze, reddish-brown, medium tan head, dissipates quickly
T- sweet caramel and toffee flavor with slight bitterness from the hops that creates an incredible balance, hops much less prominent than fresh
F- rich, coats the palette and lingers nicely
O- I've decided 3-years is perfect age for this that let's the sweet malty backbone shine, hides the alcohol and not much presence of oxidation yet when properly cellared.

 520 characters

Photo of badgustav
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - sweet, figgy, with malty notes. Appetizing from the get go.

Look - a clear, ruby brown. The head is thick and rocky, with a reddish beige color.

Taste - a light hopiness undercuts the sweet malt, but proves to be bitter in the aftertaste. The malty sweetness, with fig and fruit notes. A slight paperness is also present, which is unpleasant. Sadly, the taste doesn't live up to the aroma.

Feel - rich, but undercut by the bitterness.

Overall - this Barleywine doesn't live up to the promise of the aroma. I'm hoping aging improves this beer and the sweetness covers the paper notes from stale hops

 611 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 253 ratings.