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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

255 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 255
Hads: 1,884
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 31.17%
Wants: 69
Gots: 487 | 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: 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
Reviews: 255 | Hads: 1,884
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!

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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!

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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.

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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....

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Look: Nice clear ambery brown color

Smell: Nice malts, caramel, fruit, toffee

Taste: Nice balance between bitterness and maltiness, spicy hops with hints of resin. Fruit, caramel, toffee

Feel: Full body, good carbonation

Overall: A pretty good barleywine, this is a fairly fresh 2015 bottle. The character is fairly well balanced for being so fresh, which isn't always typical of barleywines.

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1pt 6fl oz brown bottle - Bottled on 1/25/13 printed on shoulder/neck 11.6% abv

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2013 Classic Release has a dark amber body and atop sits a 1/2-finger khaki colored head. The head dissipated very quickly to form a collar of bubbly foam in the walls of my snifter. The smell is dominated by toffee malts, yeast and hop character also is noted. The flavor first noticed is of rich malt ,i.e., caramel and toffee followed by a yeast presence. The ale finishes with a strong grapefruit citrus hop bitterness. The mouth feel is full, rich with a lingering hop bitterness and alcohol warming at the back of the palate.

Even after aging a little over 2-years this still is a "monster" of an ale. Drinkability is only limited by its abv. A sipper for sure.

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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.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz.

Pours a hazy amber, inch of yellowish white head is pillowy and retains well. Eventually dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of buttered bread, apples, fresh piney hops, and maple.

Flavor is of maple and honey malts, buttered toast, apple, and a piney floral hop finish. Some woody and nutty undertones.

Body is medium to full, viscous, with a stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Very good Barleywine, not as hoppy as a lot of American styles, but hoppy enough to balance out the heavy malt. Overall very balanced, very good flavor and aroma. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of JTbrue
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'14 vintage on tap at the Bier Stein, Eugene, OR. L: Great color, a little hazy but the orange-dark red-brownish color with an off-white head is really doing it for me. S: more booze than I expected considering there's not too much in the taste for an 11%, big hops, big caramel-candi-dark fruit smell. T: Well it's a Stone beer... Perfect hop balance and flavor from beginning to end. The malt flavors are there too, along with dark fruits and a little caramel. Very little alcohol- big plus for me with a barleywines. F: heavy bodied, not too much carbonation which I like with my barleywines. Incredibly smooth and dangerously drinkable. O: living in Southern California, I am always hesitant to say that I love Stone beers considering how huge they are nationwide, but they continue to come out with beers that are just fantastically well made. This is one of them, especially after a year when you get that hop flavor and the bitterness has died down a bit. Really tasty, very drinkable, overall a really good beer.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 5 - Wow, this beer pours beautifully. Poured a deep ruby color. Great head potential, especially considering the ABV. Forms a finger and a half of dense, slightly off white colored head. Decent head retention. Spotty lacing.
S - 2.75 - Not sure what up with mine, had the peach, toffee and caramel smells I expected, but there was a distinct and strong metallic aroma.
T - 3.75 - Good, not great. Slightly sweet peach upfront, followed by a malty bitterness. Lots of boozy alcohol. You could do better with a Barleywine, but also a lot worse.
F - 3.50 - Medium bodied mouthfeel, expected something a bit more creamy and slick.
O - 3.75 - As I said before, it's a good barely wine, but you could do better in my opinion. Didn't live up to what I expected, but was good nonetheless.

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Photo of biegaman
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite a papaya-like colour, Old Guardian looks as rigid as the marble gargoyle on its label. My LED desk lamp may light up the beer but there's no way it's getting through it; turns out even pale amber beers can be opaque. There's not much head but I suppose that's to be expected.

This 2008 vintage smells every bit as sweet (figuratively, though also a little bit literally) than ever. Nearly 7 years in the cellar has only turned this into more of a honey pot of rich, nutty, buttery fruit. Loads of fresh mango, dried apricot, as well as pine resins abound.

Barleywines are something of an anomaly insofar as they can be ultra-malty and simultaneously rich and resiny with hops. This is full of both sticky and tropical flavours; it tastes like caramel coated pineapple or toffee-laced grapefruit. Neither sweepingly bitter nor sweet, this blends the two in a perfect marriage with an abundance of delicious nuances and just a pinch of spice.

Most seductive as always is the texture of Old Guardian. Dried and honeyed orchard fruits promptly excuse themselves on the finish, parting way for leafy-bitter, herbal notes of pine, spruce, and strongly-steeped chamomile that mingle with lasting impressions of toffee, marmalade, and wildflower honey. It has the components to be a powerhouse but is not.

Old Guardian is seemingly immortal - if not the beer itself then certainly my enjoyment of it (not to mention the fond nostalgia of vintages past). If my cellar consisted of just one brand it'd probably be this one. To my knowledge there is no liquid better suited to moments of quiet reflection. This was an early favourite of mine and one that I continue to return to year after year.

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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.

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Photo of Flashy
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Purchased in Vermont, $8 for a bomber. One of the finest, and most readily available American Barley Wines out there. Like with most Stone products- the price and quality are right.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.