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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

250 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 250
Hads: 1,851
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 63
Gots: 475 | 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: 250 | Hads: 1,851
Photo of Craigory
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 release, poured from a 22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a slightly murky, auburn colour, with tons of off-white head. The head sticks around for a decent amount of time, eventually settling to a light ring on top of the beer.

S: Tons of caramel and burnt sugar, a fair amount of alcohol, and just a bit of citrus-y hops. Smells sweet, sweet, and sweeter.

T: Follows the nose exactly. This is a lot of burnt sugar and toffee, a bit of caramel, a bit of citrus hops, and just enough alcohol to keep me from drinking too fast. There is a little bitterness on the back end, but this is a nice, sweet barley wine.

M: Medium-bodied, just a bit of carbonation. A nod toward syrupy, but not so much as to totally coat the mouth.

O: I like this as an American Barley Wine. Big sweetness, big alcohol, and fairly hop-forward, in keeping with Stone's values. Drinkable in the sense that it tastes great, but take the 11% seriously; this is a night of drinking unto itself. (985 characters)

Photo of jimmah120
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 2012 release

cherry amber look with a small ring of foam. smell is melon juice, rubbing alcohol, grassy hops. big and chewy body, some alcohol burn. medicinal hop finish with sweet wine-y (wine-ish?) malt.

very chewy and bitter. I'm likin' it. (259 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 KFBR392
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage

Appearance : a beautiful dark amber color. The head formed up to about two and a half fingers worth. The head slowly subsided but was present throughout.

Smell: the barley is present here which mixed nicely with the boozy aroma. The aroma was more subtle with the aging which made it very pleasant.

Taste: it is perfect here. Strong caramel sweetness really dominates this brew. The aging of this bottle allowed the boozy flavor to be nicely hidden. 11% abv is noticeable but does not interfere. Alcohol provides a warmth instead of an offensive bite which makes this an elite barley wine.

Mouthfeel: sweet. Smooth. There is a creamy texture to this but a slight sting keeps you on your toes.

Overall: probably my favorite barley wine. Simply awesome, no doubt another amazing product from stone. The sweetness mixed with the alcohol sting sets this one aside for me. I anxiously await the 2013 release (923 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a slightly dense reddish-copper body with a sticky beige film supported by a slow carbonation.

S- The green hops has some fruity notes to it during the pour and a creamy rich dry caramel aroma with hints of lighter toasted malt.

T- The woody green bitter hops has some green licorice flavors to it with some hop lifesaver qualities. The big bitter hop bite in the finish turns pungent in the aftertaste and lingers quite a bit. The dry caramel malt flavors come through but it is never strong enough to offset the bitterness of the hops.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and a soft alcohol warmth.

O- It seems like there is a nice barleywine in this bottle but it is buried under a bitterness. The malt comes out much more in the aroma but it doesn’t have the richness in the flavor. The big hop bite in the finish just to much. (898 characters)

Photo of Nugganooch
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OG 2012 – 22oz bomber to snifter
*Notes from 12/27/12

A: Pours a deep caramel amber color with nice clarity at first and a bit of particle haze towards the second glass. Thick khaki cream pillow on top with superior stay power. Cascading sheets of stick upon the glass. Visually pleasing as it glows in the snifter.

S: Smells of big plummy esters with some raisin and spiced bread. Lots of stone fruit aromas and pine with an ever present gooey caramel maltiness. Some light alcohol spice noted. Smells very appropriate and still fairly hoppy at this point.

T: Taste brings on English toffee and more of those plum-like fruity esters detected in the nose. On the sweeter side with a tart orchard fruit bite. Bready biscuit likeness with a real nice deep caramelization to it. There is a moderate level of hop bitterness that comes with flavors of dried herbs, pine, and a dash of citrus peel. Alcohol asserts itself in the finish and as the beer warms. Spicy and stinging at times but not overly so. Real nice flavors you can sink into and very appropriate to the style.

M: Smooth and creamy texture with a bit of hefty chew on it and a nice dry crisp through the finish. Some warming alcohol with a touch of lingering pucker from the bitterness. Sticky after feel.

D: Exemplary to the American style and a very nice adaptation to the English standard Barley Wine. Rich with a dark toffee sweetness and loads of fruity esters with ample American hop additions. Well constructed brew overall as Stone can deliver. Very little that I can fault. Makes snifters happy.

I think I might prefer this one fresher but have never done a vertical so hard to say. The hops have faded a touch while the alcohol remains firm. (1,721 characters)

Photo of DRyan
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Ranger Creek Tulip glass

A: Pours a deep ruby with a heavy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly but leaves serious lacing
S: Sweet malt and toffee, some hop bitterness, hint of vanilla
T: Malty and sweet, but pretty well balanced. Could be a bit more hop-forward, but overall it is sweet but not too sweet, somewhat hoppy but not overly at all. The toffee from the nose carries through, along with a little alcohol bite on the aftertaste.
M: Smooth and silky, with very light carbonation
D: Easily drinakable for 11% abv (540 characters)

Photo of stangski83
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely amazing; the local bottle shop was clearancing this for 4.99/bomber (2012 release). I can't believe how smooth this 11%'er went down and am damn proud that I was able to snatch a bottle for slow and appreciative consumption. Stone should be proud. Sad that distribution out east sometimes turns into a waiting game and retailers that are unsure of aging and amazing beer in their shops. Sad, sad, sad! (412 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 DrewV
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very creamy, thick, viscous, but smooth barleywine that shows virtually zero hint of the 11% ABV. However, it is incredibly sweet and carmel-y without sufficient balance from the hops. I really like this style of barleywine, though, where it focuses more on the caramel malts and less on the fruity flavors. I would still prefer a bit more bitterness to offset the heavy malts.

Overall a very good beer, but lacks balance and is a bit muted in this style for my tastes. A better example of this style would be Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Ale. This is nice for a year-round offering, but not as exciting or price-competitive as Bigfoot, unfortunately. I'd rate this a solid B+. (683 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy orange amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that gradually died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and malty sweetness in the nose.
T: The taste shares some similarities with the smell but has a moderate amount of hop bitterness. As the beer warms up, hints of toffee and vanilla begin to emerge in the flavors. A bit of alcohol is also noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied, very crisp and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The aroma of this beer can fool you because you would expect it to be very malty and sweet but lots of hop bitterness seemingly comes out from nowhere in the taste and provides a nice contrast (although I wouldn't call it balanced). The beer is rather drinkable considering its strength. (1,002 characters)

Photo of gtermi
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: THe beer pours a dark redish copper body with a thin tan head that quickly fades and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

S: First thing that hits me is the strong caramel malt, almost smells like syrup with a tiny bit of alcohol thats pretty well hidden.

T: The beer isnt as sweet as I like in a barleywine.. I mean it is very sweet, but it quickly turns into a strong bitterness. I usually pretty sweet flavor all the way through. The beer actually has a little hop flavor as it lingers.

M: The beer is actually very smooth and has a nice fully body. There is also a good amount carbonation on the back of the throat as it goes down.

O: This is a pretty damn good beer from Stone.. for sure not their best, but for 7 bucks I really dig it. I am glad I got a few bottles of this. (792 characters)

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

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale is a tasty barleywine without much in the way of unexpected flavour.

A: Red brown colour and a good 4 mm head that lasts. 4.5

S: Malty and a little oxidised with some hop aroma still evident. 4

T: Malty with sweetness and cardboard. Some burnt brown sugar in the finish. 4

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 4 (346 characters)

Photo of Bills453
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel tulip glass

Appearance - cloudy red-orange color. Nice off white head.

Smell - very citrusy and sweet. Bit of hops aroma.

Taste - bitter, sour. Hoppy aftertaste, bot a sweet foretaste. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel - smooth

Overall - good offering of the style, but I have had better barleywines. For ex. Bigfoot. (351 characters)

Photo of KajII
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky medium chestnut brown with an average (1-2 finger) light tan frothy head that reduced to a large puddle with a medium collar and had excellent streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a sweet bread malt, resin and pine hops and a doughy yeast with notes of citrus (grapefruit and orange peel), caramel, dark fruit (raisons and prunes) and a pronounced alcohol odor.

The taste was malty sweet with notes of caramel and dark fruit up front, and then became very hoppy with a good strong citrus peel presence and an intense alcohol finish. The flavor lasted quite a long while following the swallow, with a bitter-sweet citrus peel alcohol taste left behind.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and dry in texture with a carbonation that was just beyond medium.

Overall this was a very powerful tasting brew that possessed a nice hoppy sweet taste, although it was slightly overpowered by the high ABV...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews (986 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut colored body beneath the thin, light tan head which quickly dissolves to leave only traces of lacing around the glass.

Generous fruit and vinous aromas float from the glass with abundant earthy and pine hops as well as some a touchdown nuttiness.

The favor is fruity and sweet up front with hints of nuts and a generous hoppy finish tat features grass, wood, and spice notes.

Fuller in body with generous carbonation and a big biting finish.

A tasty American Barleywine with the traditional sweet fruit character of the English style, yet Packing a west coast hops punch. Well done. (601 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2012

Copper with a straight etching of cream foam. Smells of hops, rich malts with some tea and caramel and some nicely woven in toffee and sweetness. Flavor is sweet with a good bitterness on the backside with some caramel and a gobs of malt syrup. I like the flavor. Medium bodied with sharp carb and a semi dry finish. I like this beer quite a lot. (360 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 sevenarts
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruddy reddish-orange, somewhat cloudy and opaque, with a modest off-white head and no lacing. Very cidery-looking.

S: Lots of layered malt tones: caramel, bread, toffee. The malty sweetness is mixed with an equally strong hoppy presence of pine and grapefruit.

T/M: Delicious! Caramel malty goodness up front, quickly giving way to the bitter sting of the hops, with lots of grapefruit and pine notes as in the aroma. Very dry, throat-coating thickness on the back end, with a lingering grassy, piney hop aftertaste. The high ABV is very well-hidden.

O: A real tasty, powerful barleywine with loads of flavor. Well balanced and does a very good job of hiding its alcohol so it's not nearly as hot as one would expect. Dangerously drinkable. (746 characters)

Photo of duracell
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter. 2012 release.

A - Pours an amber/reddish color with an off-white, rocky head which has a very good retention considering the ABV. Moderate lacing left on the glass. 4.5/5

S - Tons of malt as expected. I pick out caramel, apricots, honey, raisins and plums. Floral notes from the hop, slightly piney. 4/5

T - Malt as in the nose in addition to a good hoppy character (relatively grassy). The blend reminds me of some orange peels. Very little residual sugar. 4/5

M - Full body. Very smooth, quite chewy up front. Bitterness on the high side at the end. Moderate alcohol. 5/5

O - Definitely a classic Barleywine with a strong American influence. Drinkability is very good and the beer is well balance. Overall, very enjoyable and highly recommended! 4.5/5 (786 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 liter of the 2012 Old Guardian bought tonight.

A - Fairly clear dark apricot, huge head, lots of lace.

S - Light malt and hops. Maybe too cold.

T - Rich malt, heavy handed hops to hold it down.

M - Very creamy, good balance, good carb.

D - An excellent beer. (266 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 lacqueredmouse
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney.

Pours a lovely burnished copper-red colour with a fine, slightly overly frothy off-white head. Lacing is patchy, but the body is deep and heavy. It looks very clear and bright, but deep and suspicious as well. Love it.

Nose is heady and boozy, with a barley-sugar character laced with plenty of straight-up and possible straight-down hops. It gives it a slightly medicinal overtone, especially with the wafts of booze coming through. But really, it feels exceptionally sweet, with hops being the afterthought rather than part of the full process.

Taste is similar. There's a chewy, deeply sweet barley-sugar character throughout, that only really gets cut on the edges by the bright hop bitterness, and at the end, where the sharpness comes to a point. It's deeply sweet, however, yet doesn't have a lot of depth or complexity. It's a very odd mixture. I feel like this should be a heady maelstrom of intriguing flavours, when in fact it feels like a barleywine By The Numbers.

I mean, overall, it's good, right? It has to be. It's Stone, it's a barleywine, it's clearly well made and executed. I just really didn't connect with it though. It didn't have anything that got me excited or made me want another bottle right now. But it's solid and worthwhile, at least. That's about as enthusiastic as I can get. (1,420 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 release poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, brown sugar, dark fruit and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus fruits. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in along with a significant alcohol sting. The malt character is hearty and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this beer seems to lose some fans with each passing year but to me it continues to be a very good high-octane beer to drink for as long as you handle it. (925 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the most badass beers I’ve ever had was Stone’s Double Bastard: 22 ounces of 10.5%, mega-hopped brew. If this barleywine is even half the beer that was, I’ll be smiling from ear to ear by the time the bottle’s empty. Cheers!

“2012 Release” is emblazoned on the front of the painted label; according to the website, that means a release date of February 2012, or eight months before the date of this tasting.

A: Pours a hazy rust color, or whatever you’d call a dirty red. Decent head for a big beer, a creamy tan that gets as high as an inch or so before slowly fading. Stringy lacing.

S: The main thing I’m getting here is an earthy, diminished toffee tone, like a big malty IPA that’s been sitting on the shelf for too long. Whenever a beer has that aroma anywhere in the nose, it jumps out at me instantly; this barleywine has a complex character beneath it, though, and it serves well to distract. There’s a load of pungent cherry and tropical sweetness below, for instance, with a good blend of raw, grassy grain (like alfalfa), spiced rum, and wheat bread on the back end. Smells quite malty.

T: Pretty damn bready, pretty damn hoppy – that’s what I was looking for when Double Bastard came to mind. Granted, it’s not as powerful as the Bastard, but it has those oily Stone hops I know and love (in force). Starting deep and grainy with pumpernickel and near-blackened toast, it quickens to a foray of bitter, briny pine and grapefruit. I’m not surprised by the booze that’s present, too, and it definitely doesn’t go over without notice; actually, its lip-smacking syrupiness is a little much at times. Aftertaste is a little cough-syrupy from the aforementioned alcohol, but with an oily, sustained hop dryness. Overall, this is a smooth palate with a lot of nice transitions, though it’s all wrapped up in a package of medium-dark malt and syrup.

M: Syrupy – one or two bubbles pop on the tongue only once every second or so, it seems. It’s a big beer, and I guess I was prepared for that; still, the syrups are emphasized, it seems.

O: Another big, bad Stone creation. This one I didn’t like as much, but that’s only because I had the perfection that is Double Bastard in mind; still, no matter what I did, I wasn’t able to escape that old toffee character behind it all. In the end, I’ll finish the bottle, but I won’t be seeking another. (2,410 characters)

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.