1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale

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

1,232 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1232
Reviews: 199
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.78%


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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,232 | Reviews: 199 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ckollias
ckollias

Maryland

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer out of a growler in a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a light copper hue with a thin white head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet malty aroma with a decent hop background..

T: Malty barley wine flavor with a caramel and hop background.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Solid barley wine – good flavors and aroma.

Serving type: growler

11-17-2013 21:13:31 | More by ckollias
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Serving type: growler

10-18-2012 04:24:09 | More by srandycarter
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into an Old Guardian glass.
11.6% ABV, 2014 release, bottled 01/24/14, best cellared at or below 55°F

A - Light easily shines through this crystal clear, bright amber brew giving it one hell of an appeal. If that weren't enough, the ivory cap of foam that rests on the beer lingers for quite some time, leaving lacing on the glass for good measure.

S - Melted caramel sweetness coats heaps of cut-off bread crusts and toast with peanut brittle cooling in the background but this barleywine isn't without it's fair share of hops. The green cones impart a balancing piny bitterness that recalls tree sap as well as sharp grapefruit rind before warming alcohol gently tickles the nostrils as it passes through.

T - Like the aroma foreshadows, Old Guardian is hoppy but malt-forward, laying down a nice level of malty sweetness on the tongue. The rich bready characteristics offer toast and bread crust flavors that absorb and retain the hop-driven earthy pine sap notes like being dunked in hop tea.

M - The first few sips of Old Guardian coat the tongue in sweet malt and breadiness but it's not long before the hops catch up and sharpy attack the tongue with bitterness. This balance is key should Old Guardian remain drinkable beyond a few sips, which it sure does. Even fresh, the higher level of alcohol never becomes cloying or boozy but instead warms the throat and stomach upon the swallow - putting the perfect kibash on the brew.

O - Behind Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, Stone's Old Guardian is one of the most iconic barleywines the States has to offer. Like most of Stone's brews, this beast is big and bold while offering deep malt and hop complexities that mingle wonderfully for a balanced and drinkable brew fresh but one that easily ages with the best of 'em which I've put to the test time and again.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 23:36:41 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Dave1999
Dave1999

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle.

The appearance is a dark amber with a nice white head.

The smell is sweet, caramel, toffee and peppery spices. There's a little bit of alcohol as well.

The taste is sweet up, caramel and toffee like the smell, it finishes very bitter, with some pine and some citrus.

The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with medium carbonation.

A very nice barley wine, very bitter for the style but still delicious as expected from stone.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 00:54:10 | More by Dave1999
Photo of Bosoxfan20
Bosoxfan20

Missouri

3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Clean ruby with red and brown accents. An off-white head that seems to never go away. Great staying power at this abv. Impressive looking

S- Not nearly as hoppy as expected. Expected Stone to get after it in that department. Earthy, chocolaty, and malty. Some toffee and caramel.

T- Hops rear their head here. Some fruity esters also blend with the rich malty profile in the nose. Toasted bread. Harsh, bitter finish. Runs a little hot as you can tell its pretty green. Somewhat medicinal. Could be a touch of mint I'm getting too.

F- Rich, lighter side of full body, creamy, low carbonation. Alcohol quite present.

O- Certainly one to set in the back of the cellar for a while. Difficult to rate at this point, but I will give it another go in a year or so. It has a chance to be special, but bold flavors just haven't come together quite yet.

$6 for a 22oz bottle.
Bottled 1/21/14

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 03:51:58 | More by Bosoxfan20
Photo of ONovoMexicano
ONovoMexicano

New Mexico

4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 version poured from the bomber into a snifter.

I like the healthy glug-glug sound as this pours into the snifter. I'm impressed by the heavy carbonation this beer shows and the finger-thick, fluffy white head that forms. The beer's got a light amber color and some transparency to it. As I take the time to write some notes, the head shows some excellent persistence.

Taking a whiff, I was expecting a blast of hop, being that it's Stone, but I instead got a pungent sweetness. Caramel and toffee notes are very pronounced. There is a hint of some piney hops, but they're playing second fiddle here.

Sweetness continues on the tongue. I get a lot of caramel up front, followed by a piney hop finish. There's a good malt presence and it gives the beer a creamy quality that helps dumb down the mild heat of the booze. At the finish, the beer is remarkably bitter and dry.

I'm pretty impressed by how this is drinking fresh. Most folks cite Bigfoot as a drink fresh barleywine and I agree, but this one deserves more mention. I'll have to buy another to age and see how it changes from this review. Looking forward to it.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 03:49:04 | More by ONovoMexicano
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up an okay amount of head which has decent retention. The head is a very light tan or khaki while the body is a very dark amber that has slight hints of maroon which don't appear in the light. Considerable lacing is left behind.

Nose- Very hop forward with a thick, malty base. Big notes of orange, lemon, and grapefruit. Caramel to burnt caramel and brown bread. Matchstick, some tropical fruits. Light notes of honey and raisins. Some cherries. Swirling rounds out the bitterness of the hop notes a little bit.

Taste- Very reflective of the nose and every bit as hoppy as the aroma indicated. Lots of citrus that ranges from orange to grapefruit with some tropical fruits thrown in. Big middle of caramel with some toffee that mixes with the pine, resin, and matchstick of the hops to give off a burnt caramel note. The hops are definitely very fresh and even tend toward earwax on the finish. A slight indication of heat on the finish but the strong pine of the finish pretty much trounces it. Hints of spice- some pepper, perhaps a little coriander. Some cherry and other stone fruits around the edges. Hop lovers should really appreciate this one but it's a little much for me. This beer is quite representative of why I tend to avoid American barleywines. Some molasses, brown sugar, and brown bread to the malt bill. A good, solid beer that flirts with being really good. And I would consider it to be really good if I appreciated the hop profile as much as I would have in the past. Not as messy as a lot of the American barleywines that I encounter, such that the word almost doesn't apply.

Mouthfeel- A little more than medium bodied with a good amount of syrup to the texture. Appropriate carbonation that has a little bit of a sting which works well with the spice and hop bitterness of the finish.

Drinkability- Fairly accessible for a young American barleywine. A little over the top for me but the alcohol is almost invisible. Another Stone bargain at 7 bucks a bomber but the only reason I would buy this again would be to age it.

Overall- A solid, good beer that has inclinations toward being really good. It is a very good representation of the style and a must try for fans of American barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 00:45:31 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of goochpunch
goochpunch

Texas

4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Version.

Pours out a rusty, orangey red with a thin, almost not there head. Smells of caramel, dates, toasty malts, and citrus/pine sap from the hops. I pick up some booze as well. Taste is maltier than some versions from other years. Sticky dates and golden raisins. Citrus and earthy hops towards the finish. Aftertaste is like citrus peel candy. Not too much bitterness or alcohol burn compared to last year's. Mouthfeel is sticky, mouth-coating, and has low carbonation. They did a great job with Old Guardian this year, which has always been a hit-or-miss barleywine, depending on the year. I might have to get a few more bottles than I'd planned to drink more of it fresh, instead of putting it away to age.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 01:30:00 | More by goochpunch
Photo of titty_mcbitty
titty_mcbitty

Texas

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A: Burgundy red and brown with a slight tan-reddish head. A bit foggy.

S: Hops definitely, barley, sweetness, and malt.

T: Hops, brown sugar and cherry oak. Burnt molasses, some nuts, orange peel, old dates/raisins, caramel, syrup, sour dough, and a big malt bill. Very very nice.

M: So perfect. Thick and creamy. Some of that rough velvet feel.

O: An excellent brew. Next up is the oaked version! The complexity of this beer astounds me. The flavor takes you on an adventure from bitter hoppiness to sweet candy to thick malt. It's an awesome barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 01:52:11 | More by titty_mcbitty
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Size able head. Leaves ample blanketing lace. Cloudy amber to brown color where light passes in a murky way.

Sweet malt sugar nose. It smells like pre-hopped, pre-fermented batch of home brew. Some alcohol in the background.

Rich, thick and full of caramel. This could probably go well on top of vanilla ice cream. There's enough hop to prevent this from becoming cloyingly sweet. It's surprisingly easy to drink despite the 11% abv. The mouthfeel is chewy.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2014 20:13:16 | More by smcolw
Photo of yuenglingfan101
yuenglingfan101

Indiana

4.93/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass. A strong copper look with little head. Smells of barley of course and taste of strong barley and hops. Goes down fairly easy. Overall a great beer and btw I had the 2014 realease of this beer. so enjoy this delicous treat

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 20:37:04 | More by yuenglingfan101
Photo of Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep, mostly clear beer, this Barleywine flares out from the middle, flaming orange-red in the middle with molten copper-gold further out from the center. It has a tan-grey head, pretty dense, that reaches one finger. Retention is good, and lacing is patchy while being deposited plentifully on the glass.
Being a Barleywine, if it's well done it's bound to have depth and a complexity of smells and flavors, not to mention strength. It does have all those things. It's a mix of sweet, boozy, malty and hoppy. Brown sugar and notes of something like molasses combine with a bit more sweetness from caramel malts and bread. There's some citrus likely attributable to the hops, which mostly add a floral note at the back of the tongue. There's a bit of spiciness all the way through, and an unusual element added by something not quite briny. Esters and yeast, contributing some hay-like earth and lots of dark fruits, ride it out from front to back.
The body is medium-full with a certain richness to it, crispness up front continuing into a nippy sort of smoothness as the beer takes enough dryness for a semi-dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 19:27:17 | More by Brenden
Photo of santomark
santomark

California

4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured this caramel, orange, redish, colored body. Less than 1" finger head. Nice lacing though.

S - Upfront there's this smell of molasses, caramel sugar sweetness, malty, big malt presence, bready, little to no hops, a bit of a pine.

T - A bit of bit from the abv which is the malt, there's no hiding this. Followed with this sweet spiciness. It is very unique, can't really describe.

M - Very heavy body, I stay away from using syrupy or thick, this is just a heavy body. Carbonation is up there, to the point of spiciness.

O - I like this, but I prefer the Oaked Smoked version of this. The oak mellows it out, this is it's out of control sister. It's still a great beer, and I will have it again. This beer is Beer Gone Wild.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 10:06:22 | More by santomark
Photo of facundoCNB
facundoCNB

New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A copper%2Famber pour with a finger of white head%2C great retention. Smells fantastic - tons of caramel%2C honey%2C brown sugar%2C barley%2C and a touch of grassy hops.%0AThe flavor is a sweet barley %22juice%22 with brown sugar%2C roasted notes%2C burnt caramel. Just delicious.%0A%0AFull body with modest carbonation. Thick and creamy on the lips.%0A%0AThis is a fantastic beer at a ridiculously low price. Don't pass on it.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 04:35:49 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of RyanCave
RyanCave

Oregon

3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Red with a carmel haze..

N: Sounds weird but I get tomato on the nose. It's like smelling a V8 juice..no shit

T: Very bitter, a bit overpowering..I like a good amount of bitterness in my BW's (Old Ruffian is one of my favorites) but this is a bit too much. Just a bit of malt sweetness, a little vegetable too, a lot of earthy notes

M: what you'd expect from a BW

O: I wouldn't say this is my favorite BW, but its pretty good. It's definitely a stone brew for sure with all the bitterness and bold flavors..I'd drink this again for sure but wouldn't seek it out

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2014 00:39:38 | More by RyanCave
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2013. Clear red with a thin, sticky beige cap. Very good head retention. Aromas of hops and booze, sugar, citrus and pine, a bit fruity. Sharp bitterness, earthy, sweet and boozy, sugar and malted barley husk, slight burnt/roast character, citrus in the finish. Pronounced alcohol heat, a bit rough on the palate with mild astringency. Fully bodied, low carbonation with a bit of creaminess to the texture. This has potential but still needs some aging to smooth out the rough edges.

2012. Clear reddish copper with a thin, yellowish cap. Fine bubbles, good head retention, sticky lace. Booze and caramel aromas, citrus, bready with a bit of candy sweetness, hint of rose petals. Strong bitterness with candy/caramel sweetness for balance, earthy, citrus pith, alcohol. Lingering bitterness and booze. Full bodied with low carbonation, a bit creamy with lots of warmth, nice texture. A palate wrecker that needs some aging.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 13:12:45 | More by DrJay
Photo of richj1970
richj1970

Alabama

4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Today I was able to compare a 2012 release bottle. No date, but by definition should be at least one year older than my previous review. The main difference in this bottle is that the alcohol heat has dissipated quite nicely, and perhaps the sweetness is a bit more prominent. Both bottles are amount my favorite barley wines.

Original review:

Poured from 22 oz bottle into tulip glass. 2013 classic release bottled on 1/16/2013.

A: Pours a golden orange almost brown color with nice 2 finger off white head with nice lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and malts mixed with some citrus and dark fruits.

T: Big on malts and caramels. Nice sweetness mixed with some spiciness. Nice roasty flavors. Oak and other earthy tones present. A little bit boozy, but I suspect this will tame some with time.

M: Nicely carbonated for an 11% brew. Nice body. Not overly thick.

O: A very nice barley wine. Surprisingly easy to drink and the alcohol sneaks up on you. I need to pick up another bottle and let it age some...

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 00:46:02 | More by richj1970
Photo of BastardKing24
BastardKing24

Oregon

4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My 50th review, and on Christmas! woot! one of my all time joys of a beer, very first barleywine I ever had. This beer was my gatewqay to stronger beers. I can still remember the day I had it, drinking it out of the bottle (many years ago I did this) and thinking how bitter it was and how complex I thought it tasted.

A - a lovely deep red color with a small head that falls to a ring and lacing. Sticks around for a bit. Looks rather sticky. Bubbles are present ascending in the body.

S - I get big caramel malt smells and hops. Citrus, leather, biscuit, pine, although not as big a nose as some other barleywines I've had.

T - Big sweetness hits you in the face, then an assault of bitter hops glides through the profile and ends with a slightly sweet yet bitter aftertaste. Orange zest, ripe fruits, candied mango, dates, and brown sugar. The flavor changes through the taste, and is a little in your face, this being 2013 and 6 months old. Its balanced yet has sufficient polarized flavors to keep you interested at this age of the beer. I have had this aged for 2 years and its much more mellow and rounded out in terms of the sweetness and bitterness.

M - Great feel to this one, its medium carbonation keeps your taste buds tickling, and leaves a long finish of hops and malt.

O - I like this beer alot for the price and wish I could find it more often here in Oregon. It's around but have to seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 00:39:45 | More by BastardKing24
Photo of Weimaraner
Weimaraner

Tennessee

3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Stone Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale, 2013 classic release.

Glass: 18 oz working man's glass. Works well with porters, stouts, and when goblets or steins are needed and missing.

Appearance: Dark Amber with a small 1/4 inch head reflecting a slightly lighter color. Nice lacing evident and sticking to the glass 30 minutes after. I appreciate that. Low carbonation.

Smell: Maltiness and hops to the front. Some toffee and a little citrus. Subdued alcohol. Complex nose to sort through after the malt and hops. Pleasant overall making you curious enough that you want to repeat the process.

Taste: A grand malt entrance that is escorted by a strong hoppiness. Hops are nearly over the top at this age. Mind you, the hops are NOT over the top, but close. Some bitterness though not unpleasant. The alcohol is not omnipresent. Overall taste is very good.

Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth, slightly dry but not astringent in the least. Fills and coats but doesn't linger. Swish again, same result with some lip smacking. Why the lip smacking? Because I like to do so on the second taste.

Overall Opinion: Barley wines are one of my favored styles. This one is a young barley wine ale. Impetuous due to youth and an abundance of hops. Lacks the smooth grace and characteristics that come with age. I would hope for the hops to diminish somewhat being tamed in company of the malts and rendered obedient over a time. Maybe it does happen that way...maybe it doesn't. The alcohol reminds you that it is present for duty during the course of sipping. No need to yell, "WHOA!" as it is just warms the cheeks after a while. This is not an unpleasant ale at this time. However, I don't believe that is will reach its prime for a while. Must your pair it with a meal or appetizer for it to be a suitable quaff? No. It is good enough by itself, right now. Most importantly, is this an ale that I would do again....Yes.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 02:19:11 | More by Weimaraner
Photo of Beerswag
Beerswag

California

4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz 2013 bottle aged 6 months. Pored a brandy color with yellow undertones.. off white- tannish head pours a 1/4" head that stays around for a few.not too much stickiness, lacing on the glass. Lots of malt and yeast on the nose.. Smell is malt heavy followed by candied "stone-fruit", peach and plum on the nose, caramel, toffee, and a little orange zest. Taste is mellow and balanced: white grape, plum, pear, yeasty hop profile in the finish. Carbonation is slightly crisp which is mildly dry and approachable. Mouthfeel is medium body with the ever slightest bight from the hops. Mildly acidic for the style, but that is to my liking. Overall a memorable beer from a respected brewery..would order on tap to compare.. Age has proved well on this 1. Would like to see this one aged for 2 years and the paired with goat cheese, cinammon and spiced desserts, or any fowl.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2013 05:09:07 | More by Beerswag
Photo of brureview
brureview

Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Stone Old Guardian glass. This beer is best served at 55F to bring the hops, toffee, and alcohol finish.

The beer poured a tea color with a 1F head. The aroma was evident without holding the glass close: toffee and some alcohol.

The mouth feel, as expected, was very carbonated- the higher serving temp brings out the hoppiness and alcohol.

The taste is similar to other American Barleywines: toffee, big hops, and a strong alcoholic finish.
Comparing this beer to a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot- while similar to the Bigfoot in hops, toffee, and alcoholic finish- the Bigfoot seems more balanced and has more fruit in the taste.

Overall- this is a BIG beer. Best tasted at warmer temps- cellar temp to bring the hops and alcoholic finish. I wanted to taste more fruit- but the hops and alcoholic finish were too prominent.

This is an excellent beer for the style.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2013 03:19:05 | More by brureview
Photo of rangerred
rangerred

Tennessee

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber. 2011 vintage.

Pours a clear dark copper with just a fleeting white head that fades to a thin ring around the top of the beer.

The aroma really disappoints me. It is lacking nearly entirely giving off just a slight metallic note with some caramel and pine very distant in the background. Not sure if this is a product of the age but the aroma has really fallen off.

Thankfully, the taste is more substantial than the aroma. Sweet, bready grain along with a strong bitterness from piny hops. Strong wood notes along with some hints of sherry from what i presume to be some oxidation. Alcohol makes an appearance towards the finish but it is only fleeting leaving a pleasant warmth. Mouthfeel is silky and a bit sticky but not too sweet.

Overall, this barleywine has aged really well apart from the nose. The bitterness is still there but the aroma is lacking. Not my favorite barleywine but really good.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 03:10:59 | More by rangerred
Photo of yankeepride
yankeepride

New Jersey

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 16:35:58 | More by yankeepride
Photo of Kuaff
Kuaff

Alaska

4.73/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A 2012 bottle of Old Guardian, served to myself at cellar temperature in a snifter.

A pour of this stuff creates a beautiful, beige, two-finger frothy head that sticks around stubbornly. Also beautiful is the clarity and color of the deep-ruby, sort of mahogany body. Good lacing, too. An astounding appearance.

It smells sublime. It's an aroma of caramel, spicy hops, leather, ripe red apples, grape juice, and dark fruits. POWERFUL dark fruits. Prunes and raisins are pretty apparent. Maybe a hint of vanilla or bourbon, but not in a boozy way.

The taste is... phenominal. It's like potent hops soaked in caramel and dark fruit extracts. As it should be with a Stone beer, this has astringent, bitter and piny hoppiness, but not immediately. At the beginning of a sip, a sweet, luscious brandy character mixes with those awesome dark fruits. This sweetness then fades fantastically into a finish full of the deliciously dry, bitter hops. No alcohol in the taste. This barleywine is mellow and smooth.

Great feel. Somewhat thick with mild carbonation. It lets all the flavor complexities come through wonderfully.

This barleywine rules, dudes.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2013 15:53:25 | More by Kuaff
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant

District of Columbia

3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Had to go a little strange on the rating in this case due to the fact I agree with the odd review here that this is not a barleywine style of beer. Given the ABV, it's and Imperial IPA.

Given that, I enjoyed the beer a lot, it had classic Stone high-hop dryness in the mouthfeel with a touch of maltiness. However, I don't think it fits the style, as the hops overwhelms the flavor, and I don't believe that should be.

A: cloudy red with nothing special in head or lacing (normal)
S: earthy with some plum notes
T/M: caramel or butterscotch on the malts, helped by the hops and carbonation, the hops draw present throughout, and as the beer warms a little, the malt seems to hang around a little longer
O: as stated above, am not sure it fits the style (and rated down due to that), but if you enjoy Stone beers, don't skip thjs one and ignore the overall score.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2013 04:32:31 | More by cjgiant
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,232 ratings.