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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

1,235 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1235
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,235 | Reviews: 199 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of duracell
duracell

Quebec (Canada)

4.23/5  rDev +6%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 12:09:26 | More by duracell
Photo of MEsoJD
MEsoJD

California

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

[Poured into a Snifter glass]

I: Not much to say about this. It's a new stone, and automatically warrants a purchase on that fact alone. That said, I'm intrigued to see stones take on Barley Wines.

B: [11% ABV. 1 Pt. 6Fl Oz. Ingredients ("Tons and tons of Barley, bountiful hops, water, and yeast")] Stone makes some of the most beautiful beer bottles out there. Their Barley Wine bottle takes a more minimalistic approach that seems fitting. Nice gold font for the majority and red for the latter.

A: Damn fine looking brew. Transparent dark ruby red body, with a bubbly semi fluffy head(fast/medium dissipation), and light lacing.

S: Slight boozy pine, sweet caramel malt, some citrus, and some dark fruit presence. Smell wasn't as prominent as I expecting.

T: Heavily moderated by the creamy sweet caramel malt, fig, biscuity, molasses, citrus hops (take a backseat), and warming alcohol.

M: Super slick dry finish, medium/full bodied, medium carbonation, and apparent boozy alcohol presence (becomes more subtle overtime, but will creep fast).

O: Aw stone I love you so. Stone almost never diss-points with their official releases (same can't be said about the collabs). For once the hops aren't the star of the show, but the malt in this case. The only blind taste test identifier is the uniqueness of this brew. This is one slick/syrupy/sweet tasty beer that gracefully coats your mouth. It also looks gorgeous. I would say "Old Guardian 2012" is another winner. I recommend you buy this. Hell I wish I bought 3. Cheers!!!

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2012 05:03:48 | More by MEsoJD
Photo of KomodoDragon
KomodoDragon

Virginia

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

A - Copper with thin tan head. Quiet and clear.

S - dark fruits, barley, can sugar.

T - intense sweet malt, grassy hops and a looong finish with citrus tone and a bit of a warming feel

M - Tremendous. Smooth, full, and lightly carbonated.

Solid entry and perfect to style. Dangerously delicious.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2012 03:45:17 | More by KomodoDragon
Photo of Bobheed
Bobheed

Texas

4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: light caramel color with a pasty off-white head, about 1 finger. Pretty fair amount of alcohol lacing

S: Hops right up front, huge rotten grapefruit kind of hops. I get lots and lots of sweetness to it, almost like a caramel sugary sweetness.

T: Get lots of caramel malts and fruitiness. The flavor has shifted from a citrusy kind of fruitiness though, to a more dark fruit taste, like raisins and dates. Hops really hit you at the end and stick with you for quite a bit

M: Nice and creamy with medium carbonation. Leaves the mouth tingling and wanting more.

Overall I thought this was very good. This is, by all accounts, what an American style barleywine should taste like

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 04:03:26 | More by Bobheed
Photo of TastyAdventure
TastyAdventure

Kentucky

3.44/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on tap. (sure glad i didn't buy a bomber just to try it out!

A - nice shining caramel color. nice head.

S - Hops.

T - too much hops for a barleywine in my opinion. But maybe it's not the amount of hops so much as the lack of malty sweetness rich flavor to balance. While I'm sure there are plenty of malts, as the gravity is so high, maybe they should have included more malts that would have contributed more Flavor to balance, keeping in mind they would add a elephant load of hops, as can be expected from Stone. This is just my opinion, as I'm not a hop-head.

I did enjoy Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, and they are notorious/famous for overusing hops, but I think they had a better handle on how to construct a Barleywine.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2013 01:30:08 | More by TastyAdventure
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 Rope
Rope

Illinois

4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2013 01:05:00 | More by Rope
Photo of stampfler07
stampfler07

Colorado

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2012 02:54:30 | More by stampfler07
Photo of gustogasmic
gustogasmic

Michigan

3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours straight copper with a large head, 2 inches at least. smells like pruney alchohol blended with bourbon old ale. good stuff, could use more age. comes across boozy and sweet. very nice vsnills/ bourbon to carry the dark prune-rum notes. works well and is perfectly balanced. old hop dryness, alcohol warming.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 05:56:47 | More by gustogasmic
Photo of DRyan
DRyan

Texas

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 04:02:39 | More by DRyan
Photo of HopNelius
HopNelius

New York

4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of 22oz and into sniffer.
Appearance- brown, medium carbonation, some lacing.
Smell- dark fruit and malts.
Taste- dark fruit, clove,bread. Great taste drinkable for the abv, alcohol is not overpowering.
Mouthfeel- pleasant
Overall- great beer, I bought two and will age one to see how thi tastes over time.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 04:31:58 | More by HopNelius
Photo of Bills453
Bills453

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 12:27:30 | More by Bills453
Photo of Tonmeister
Tonmeister

Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle onto Goose Island Glass

Appearance: Red, amber, white thick head at first, followed by a thin head.

Smell: Apple, sweet barleys, hoppy, fruity, sugary with a faint smell of alcohol.

Taste is bitter-sweet, with a hint of alcohol. Sugary, on the forefront and hoppy, citric bitter presence afterwords.

Mouthfeel: thick, bubbly. Highly carbonated.

Overall this is one of my favorite beers. It is very well balanced between the sweet barley wine and the hops. This is a beer that is definitely meant to be sipped on; no need to rush to drink it. The hop presence cuts through when the beer is at room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2013 23:26:10 | More by Tonmeister
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 BigDRS
BigDRS

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 Release bomber. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a deep copper color with a pillowy light tan colored head that sticks around forever. All sorts of lace clings to the glass.

S - Complex. I get cherry/fruit cake notes along with some tangerine. Malty ... not a lot of hop character.

T - Front end is dominated by malts. Followed up by a blend of fruit, dark cherry, and dark chocolate. Hops finally come through in the end.

M - It's definitely full bodied. Not as thick and syrupy as some other barleywines I've had, and considering that there's 22oz of this for me to finish that probably is a good thing. Lighter mouthfeel (in comparison to others in the style) brings the hops forward a bit more, which I enjoy.

O - A solid barleywine. Would definitely drink another ... next year.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 03:38:15 | More by BigDRS
Photo of davewlfpckfan29
davewlfpckfan29

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Guardian 2012!

This is the second Old Guardian that I have tried. I had an aged 2010 Old Guardian on tap a couple weeks ago.

This seems to be a great example of a barley wine. Stone does it very well (as they do with any beer they make).

Barley wine really has a unique taste that is hard for me to describe. The tastes I can identify are fruits, lots of them:
Raisins, citrus too. And a brown sugar kind of taste.

My cousin and I agree that this is very comparable to Bigfoot.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 17:59:37 | More by davewlfpckfan29
Photo of Jree261
Jree261

California

4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a red amber color out of the bottle with a thin layer of foam.

Smell: Lots of cedar and char going on. Also an underlayer of pork and bbq.

Taste: All of the flavors that remind me of a backyard bbq, pork, gamy, some dairy flavors as well. Smoke, tobacco, and earth are big time.

Mouthfeel: Big hefty beer with a finish that goes on for almost a full minute.

Overall: Good beer, the finish definitely stands out as the best part for me. It makes me want a cheeseburger, a hot dog, and a sunny day.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 23:19:29 | More by Jree261
Photo of Andrew61923
Andrew61923

California

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured into my Tree House tulip. Have been obviously holding onto this for a while and hoping to start the night off on the right foot.

A: Pours a nice, clear ruby red with a frothy off-white head that leaves behind some nice lacing as it fades. A really good start here.

S: I'm picking up mostly on caramel and toffee sweetness from the high ABV and dosage of malts. I do get some hints of piney hops, but these are dominated by the aforementioned.

T: A lot of the same caramel notes from the nose are on the front of my tongue, but then are washed away by some pretty intense hop bitterness. I'm surprised that these have hung around as much as they have given the age of this beer, but I shouldn't be shocked since this is a Stone beer.

M: Solid carbonation and a smooth coating of the tongue. The ABV is hidden well, but this is most definitely a sipping beer.

O: Barleywines are not my favorite style of beer, but I enjoyed this. I should have probably closed the night with this instead of starting it (or split the bottle a few ways with friends), but I'm happy to have tried it aged.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2013 23:33:02 | More by Andrew61923
Photo of Bauzen
Bauzen

New York

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

Dark copper in color.

Smells of strong malt, hops, and sweet caramel.

Flavor is hoppier than the smell would suggest. The ABV certainly aids the flavors along and gives the beer a flavorful bitterness. The sweetness doesn't last. In fact, it drinks more imperial-IPA-like than a Barley Wine. There's also an undeniable density to the brew. Carbonation makes it feel light, but it's anything but light. This is a serious beer, but the finish is refined, dry, and bitter.

Second to Stone's Enjoy by IPA, this is my favorite of their year-round offerings. It's potent and rewarding with every sip, a welcome variety from their bolder beers that can be hit-or-miss depending on what you like. Well done, Stone... Well done!

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 00:23:34 | More by Bauzen
Photo of wrycon
wrycon

Minnesota

2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ruby-copper in appearance. Pretty transparent. About a finger and a half of off-white head. Lacing is semi-tight with minimal retention. Not the strongest nose. A bit of smoke, some dark fruit. Smelling a sort of candied fruit, not quite caramel. Not much there. Thick apricoty-toffee in front, not overly strong. That shifts to again a smokey sort of bitterness, which is not the best. Tastes like more of a DIPA than a barleywine. I'm getting a lot of pine in the back end and a lot of bitter. That's fine, I guess, but it's not what I want from a barley wine. Probably much better with a few years under its belt.

Like It? Not Really

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 01:45:48 | More by wrycon
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 smerrell
smerrell

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 00:55:52 | More by smerrell
Photo of Herky21
Herky21

Iowa

3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased for $5.99 - 2013 Vintage.

Appearance - caramel and burnt like fall leaves with a finely laced and dense head that dissipated quick.

Smell - banana, caramel, nougat, melon and citrus.

taste - alcohol, sweet caramel, backed up by a good amount of bitterness, kind of a fruity note in the swallow.

mouthfeel - very carbed and perhaps a bit too much for the style - full, thick beer.

Overall - pretty well done, but it doesn't quite hold a candle to Bigfoot. If you have one I'd recommend aging. It isn't super hot, but it would be a lot better in say 2 years.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 01:12:37 | More by Herky21
Photo of KingPuuChuu
KingPuuChuu

Arizona

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 02:51:03 | More by KingPuuChuu
Photo of stangski83
stangski83

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 22:49:47 | More by stangski83
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,235 ratings.