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

245 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 245
Hads: 1,838
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 65
Gots: 464 | 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
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Reviews: 245 | Hads: 1,838
Photo of puboflyons
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 batch, It has been in my cellar for about six months. Sampled on April 9, 2013.

I like the way it pours with its medium reddish to mahogany amber tone and its short, silky white head. The head becomes a ring. Handsome looking beer.

For a barleywine the aroma is more subtle and mellow. Certainly it is malt forward and sweet with a roasted note but the hops are played down. There is also a bit of a dark fruit character mingling in the background.

The body is medium to bold.

The taste is warming. malty, and sweet with the faintest of alcohol. The hop finish lingers briefly but tends to be low to moderate. This is a pleasant barleywine. (649 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 release.

Depp ruby and copper colored brew. Decent, slow tan head for a barleywine . Pretty good bubbling too.

Rich, warm, caramelized fruity aroma. Sweet, toasty biscuits overwhelmed by syrupy fruit marmalade and alcoholic warmth. A little mustiness in there too.

Caramel meets with marmalade, heavily toasted biscuits, caramelized plums and apples. Add to that ,a sometimes bitter, alcoholic twang and palate. An obvious slow sipper best shared with family and friends, or selfishly by yourself.

;) (512 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.84/5  rDev +20.7%
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. (1,836 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish brown with solid one-finger offwhite head and lace on top of lots and lots of barely malt, as the label states, but also lots and lots of floral hops to match it seems. Hearty, boozy malts are prevelant and a slightly sticky and medicinal feel. The malts only slightly overpower the hops, so while there is a good sweetness and some hop bite the sweetness doesn't stick out like it should. Thicker, less carbonation leads to a dry, bready finish w/ minimal sweetness as the ABV kicks in here. A good beer, nice sipper, but more hoppy than I prefer for this style so TO ME a tad off balance. (607 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release, poured into a 25oz snifter. Pours a deep brown color with reddish hues when held to the light. Creamy beige head holds good retention and leaves some chunky lacing on the glass. Huge, rich caramel nose, with toast, grain, bread crust, piny hop, brown sugar as well. Tastes are complex and bold with rich and sweet caramel up-front, followed by an assault of the palate with pine resin. Bready, toasted grain, dark brown sugar in the middle. Full of flavor, well balanced, boozy on the finish with burnt caramel and pine lingering. Body is full, creamy but resiny, with ample carbonation. Overall, once again awesome Stone quality! (644 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured dark brown and hazy. Head was minimal. Not much light penetration but this beer was blatantly brown and didn't tiptoe on the realm of blackness.

S-I was expecting more punch from the aroma. There was booze, a bunch of concentrated sweetness and some bitterness which was subtle. Dark fruits. Not very impressed by the nose.

T-The bittering hoppiness comes out more on the tongue. The hops lend much bitterness but are not very complex and do not leave much hop-derived flavor complexity. There is plenty of booze (although shaded in decently enough), and dark fruits laced in rich caramel.

M-Big body. Mellow carbonation. Bitterness lasts. Somewhat slick. A rich feel.

O/D-Full pint glass of this came in at $3.50 so I cannot complain about the price, but I was not satisfied with this beer. Most of Stone's brews are great but this one didn't hit the same spot for me. Still a nice juggernaut beer for a great price-per-fill. (939 characters)

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

22 oz bomber served in a pint glass

A - Clear caramel amber with 1.5 khaki head with good retention and moderate lacing.

S - Barley, clove, malt, caramel, dark fruits,

T - Follows the nose, quite sweet with abundance of malt and caramel with barley notes and nice grassy, herbal, and floral hops. Well balanced.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation. Smooth.

O - A little sweet but fits the style and very well balanced with some nice touches. (449 characters)

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (1,123 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – Pours a deep reddish-amber color with a one finger yellow tinted off white head. The head has great retention and fades slowly over time to give decent lacing.

Smell – The aroma is of a big bready biscuit smell. Mixed with this aroma there is an alcohol smell and with some fruit aromas of citrus and banana. There is a very light pine aroma that mixes with the others overall creating a nice complex aroma.

Taste – A big bready and slightly hoppy flavor greet the tongue. The breadiness is initially mixed with a sweeter orange citrus and the banana that was in the nose. The orange taste also is present initially as a light hop like flavor. As the taste advances on, some nice pine hoppiness begins to develop with the sweeter citrus lightening. While the sweeter fruit flavors diminish in the middle of the taste, some caramel sweetness takes its place. The pine hop gets more intense as the taste advances until just before the end, where it levels out. While the hop flavors level out at the end, an alcohol taste comes into the flavor, leaving a nice warming aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of this brew is on the creamier side with a lower level of carbonation. While creamy, it is not as thick as would have been expected from its abv. and bready taste and smell. The lower carbonation suits the beer well although the body would be better a little chewier.

Overall – This is a barleywine with a nice taste and great smell. Its mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but overall it is a good brew to sit back and enjoy. (1,604 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep copper with a billowing, frothy dark cream head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of thick lacing.

Sweet, brown sugary caramel malt, toffee, muted grapefruit, resin, and caramel form the initial aroma. Raisins, dates, and prunes add complexity.

Flavor reveals underpinnings of grapefruit pith, tart tangerine, and lime, with a fairly sweet, toffee malt backbone, finishing resiny and fairly bitter. Rum-soaked dates, raisins, and figs add complexity.

Body is full, smooth, and luscious, with modest carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Great contrast of sweet malt and bitter hops, with tart, fruity hop notes countering dark fruit nicely. It's a little hot and a bit bitter for my liking, but the other notes redeem it very well. (758 characters)

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

I had been anticipating this one for a while. It pours a nice ruddy orange color with a really good head (maybe I poured too fast). The smell is not very strong. The taste is average barleywine and alcohol. This is the first Stone beer that has ever disappointed me. it wasn’t bad but I always expect to be blown away by Stone seasonal beers (I usually am). The alcohol was pretty noticeable but I think in a year or two this one will be awesome. I plan on picking up a case for aging purposes. Update: 06/2007: This tastes much, much better after having six months behind it. I have to adjust my review accordingly because the flavors really made me smile this time.

Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 01-29-2007 23:16:39 (724 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with a friend this weekend. Poured into a wine glass.

Pours a hazy dark orange/amber, with a half inch fizzy head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells like brown sugar, raisins, pine, citrus, booze, and brown sugar.

The taste is similar. A big hop blast up front, sticky pine resin and some citrusy grapefruit zest, followed by a big wave of sweet malt flavor- some brown sugar, caramel, toffee, raisin, and a spicy alcohol burn that is integrated into the flavor profile fairly well. The flavor combinations in the malt profile bring to mind candied plums and cinnamon raisin bread, it's awesome.

Medium bodied, sticky, boozy mouthfeel, drinkable despite the ABV. Low carbonation.

This was awesome, glad I finally got to try it. (750 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a toffee-coloured ESB kind of hue. Head is off-white, loose threads, not much left. Lace is alright. Looks OK.

Smell is lovely, caramelly toffee and sweet. Buckwheat, a touch of port and salted caramel above all else. Bit of solvent is a slight glitch, but otherwise very pleasant indeed.

Taste gets more of that caramel than all other flavours, but lots more as well. Bit of figgy richness, buckwheat again, some slight herbal hopping and some metallic notes. Bit on the heavy/sweet side, so not for every day, but it was always going to be. Still lots to like here.

A little flat and very syrupy texture. Could use something maybe to dry it up at the back, or more hops to cleanse.

Big, sweet beer. Nice, but could use a bit more on the balance side perhaps. (770 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, 2012 edition.

deep copper in color, clear. 1/2" cream colored head. fades fairly quickly. fairly piney aroma, but mixed with some biscuit malt.

taste is much more hoppy and bitter that the smell. lingering earthy hop flavors. mouthfeel is a bit stickey. medium thickness & carbonation.

overall - maybe not as over the top as last year's version (362 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 Rutager
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle

Appearance. Pours a murky burnt orange with almost two fingers of thick orange/off-white head.

Smell. Oranges, grapefruit, booze caramel and lemon with a little lightly toasted grains.

Taste. Burnt caramel, bitter oily pine sap, orange and grapefruit rinds, booze. Lots of lingering bitterness. Fairly sweet.

Mouthfeel. Full body with medium+ carbonation.

Overall. Crazy amount of hops in this one. I'll bet that in around 5 or so more years, when the bitterness and booze mellows a bit, this would be really nice. I'll have to grab another bottle to stash away and collect some serious dust. (609 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split with abecall98 and friends. Snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark caramel color with a finger of khaki head that faded into a bubbly collar.
S: Sweet scents with a good dose of sticky hop resin. I get hints of caramel, toffee, leather, and cocoa. Leafy and sweet smelling.
T: Follows the nose with sweet and a bit woody and buttery flavors of leather, toffee, caramel and hop resin. I get hints of vanilla in the finish.
M: Bubbly carbonation, smooth body, full mouthfeel and solid bitterness.
O: A very solid barleywine but I think I prefer these with some age. (564 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2012 release

Pours a clear copper color with a nice two finger head that had good retention. Eventually the head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass.

There is something odd about the aroma. Sort of smells like an orange cream soda. A cream soda with a bunch of booze in it. More citrus and grassy hops along with caramel malt.

The flavor just does not feel deep to me. The alcohol comes on too strong, too soon. Just not able to savor the malt and hop flavor. Bitterness is high with citrus, grassy flavors. Some toffee malt as well.

Good body and carbonation. Enjoyable, smooth texture.

This beer, like a few other Stone brews, would benefit greatly from some age. A couple of years from now, this beer could be excellant. As it is now, just too hot. (798 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2012 edtion and thanks to my favourite bottleshop for this and it pours a hazy light amber hue which leaves a two finger creamy head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very barley and malt orientated with aromas of obviously barley,caramel fudge,toffee treacle,butterscotch and also Xmas cake,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and could be thicker for my liking of the style and the taste is nice but doesnt leave you gobsmacked like other big American Barleywines and the taste is very sweet with hints of marzipan,toffee treacle,butterscotch candy,raisins soaked in brandy,fruit cake and finished with a touch of bitter herbal hops to take a little edge off the sweetness first encountered and overall its not bad and could age a little bit but not too long as the malt profile is dominant and if left for a while could be even more sweeter and theres definately better Barleywines out there cheers. (910 characters)

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

2013 release. 11.6% ABV. Quite fresh.

A: Pours a clear dark red/amber. Big, fluffy tan head. Head fades away quite slowly, leaving thick fluffy splotches of lacing behind. Top notch head retention.

S: Lots of bread and caramel but a surprising amount of hops too. Resinous, piney hops mainly.

T: Even hoppier than the aroma gives away. Tons of pine and resin up front with a surprising amount of bitterness. Dark breads and caramel in the middle. Sticky malt and oily hops with more bitterness in the aftertaste. Long lingering bitter, drying resinous aftertaste. Hoppy all the way through, really surprising.

M: Fairly heavy, very sticky and very oily.

O: Wow, I was really surprised by this one. Yes, it's Stone, but I wasn't expecting it to be THIS hoppy. Honestly it's hoppier than fresh bigfoot. It's borderline big DIPA-ish, like a double crooked tree or a 120min. Very sticky mouthfeel one of the strongest I've had in that sense. The beer literally stick to your mouth and the flavors stays around forever as a result. Oily from all the hops. Very intriguing. I really enjoyed this one, one of the better american barleywines I've ever tasted. I bet some barrel aging would make this sublime. (1,208 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Release.
A finger of head on a deep amber colored body.
The aroma is nice with caramel and lemon coming through; and touch of bread.
The taste is good with a hidden boldness: lemon bitterness, caramel and bready sweetness; great balance and drinkability.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
One of the most drinkable barleywines that hides its high ABV well. (376 characters)

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

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a rusty copper color with decent, but not perfect, clarity. The head is a one finger light mocha color. Retention and lacing are average for the gravity.

S: The caramel/toffee backbone is very evident from the smell, along with some candy-coated hops. I'm not getting a huge hop scent otherwise, though there are some floral notes peeking through.

T: At first taste, I'm immediately reminded of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, only with a stronger malt backbone. Plenty of floral, herbal, slightly citric hoppiness hit the tongue initially, which ultimately mellows out allowing its sweet, fruity character to shine through some. The "jammy" quality is there on the finish, but so is a strong alcohol bite (the two flavors go hand in hand, really). Balance isn't superb, but it has decent complexity. All told, this is still really good, even great.

M: Wow, this is dry and astringent as all get out, helped out (or hindered?) by its heavier body. In typical Stone fashion, there's plenty of lingering piny stickiness left on the tongue. Not an easy drink at all, due to the perceivable alcohol and other qualities, but this isn't something that should be drank quickly. Decently carbonated.

O: Though I enjoyed it quite a bit, I can see why others wouldn't like this one at all (the rest of the family universally disliked this). Finishing off a bomber solo requires time and patience, lots of it. If you're gonna get this, then either drink it now, or age it a year, because the hop profile is going to become unpleasant with just 3-4 months on it. Still very much recommended for hopheads. (1,620 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 thecheapies
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Old Guardian 2012

Poured a share into a brandy snifter. Oh boy, I can already start to smell this one.

Two-and-half fingers of cream-colored head that looks dense. Dark amber in color with some murk, but otherwise, great clarity.

Papery scents mixed with muted citrus hops, toffee, buckwheat, pine, booze sweetness, and dark fruits. Lots of malty vs hoppy, where malty wins.

Hops are in the front row, getting tackled by the alcohol in the middle. There's a rye spice character that works in tandem with the pine/citrus hops. An earthy, bread crust-y malt is big and enveloping, working in media of burnt sugars and musty fruits. Gotta love that spicy prickle, almost like there's a bit of cayenne in the mix. Stings in the finish amidst the bubbles. Hey, it's hot, but I kind of like it like that. I have another one to bury in a dark place for awhile, but I like to experience the fresh example. Medium-heavy bodied with great fresh barleywine carb presence. A little sticky on my upper lip, but far from cloying. Knock a few points for the big stomach-sinking booze, but the mouthfeel is otherwise top-of-the-line.

I can't believe this is the first time trying Old Guardian. Gotta look into scoring some older vintages. Highly recommended, and at $6.99 a bottle, a huge win! I'll buy mo', fo' sho! (1,311 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)

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.