1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale

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

1,507 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,507
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 42
Gots: 333 | FT: 26
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,507 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sendbeer
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

sendbeer, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +0.3%

chinchill, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Popped a bottle that is a few years old. Wish I could remember how old, somewhere in the 2-3 year old range most likely. Pours out a deep burnt copper and light brown. Mild off white head in the .4" range. Heavy aroma of alcohol, two row and hops. Hops being last in the aroma equation, alcohol first.

Taste, gigantosaur beer, heavy sting of alcohol, full bready mush of a malt presence, massive. Hops really don't come through as much as Greg Koch insisted a few years ago at the San Diego International Beer Festival. If the bitterness and hops are going to be this high, I'd like to see less of a malt impression, more like a dipa, but then even many dipas these days are more like barleywines. This has the west coast hopping, but with like east coast hops and a heavy east coast attempt at balance with the gigantic malt bill.

I was surprised how much the hops stuck around years later in this one. Or maybe it was just the bitterness. Anyways, not really my favorite Stone beer by a mile, and as time goes on, I get less and less interested in this style of beer. Used to love it. Now, its only the old favorites and new blonde barrel aged barleywines that seem to do the trick.

Beerandraiderfan, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +0.3%

dmorgan310, Oct 07, 2013
Photo of DrJay
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.

DrJay, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Zaphog
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Zaphog, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +0.3%

PEIhop, May 26, 2013
Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

ShanePB, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of rolltide8425
4/5  rDev +0.3%

rolltide8425, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of johnnnniee
4.11/5  rDev +3%
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.

johnnnniee, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Hazy reddish amber. Off white head. Sticky lacing. Some chunks of sediment.

Smell - Hoppy. Lots of barleywine malt aromas. Caramel. Very monotonic.

Taste - Hops and caramel. Well balanced, but it's just hops and caramel. Nothing wrong with it, as long as you're into hops and caramel. Bitter in the back.

Mouthfeel - Not boozy and not really heavy. Easy drinking and clean, but dull.

Overall - Unexciting. I wrote in my notes that it "hits hard." Take from that what you will.

Alieniloquium, May 16, 2014
Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev +0.3%

tobelerone, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of drummermattie02
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

drummermattie02, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A two year vertical (and horizontal with the current oak-smoked Guardian)
2013: Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours an orange-copper amber with a thin, patchy off-white head forming an almost perfect clover shape in the glass with a ring around the glass with light lacing. Surprisingly mild aroma of caramel malt, pine hops and grain alcohol. Flavor follows aroma with caramel malt, great piney and citrus hops, a bit of dark fruit. The hops dominate the finish, leaving a pleasant pine bitterness. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A very nice hoppy American style barley wine.

2009: Also poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours an orange-copper amber with a thin off-white head formed a thin persistent film and ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, brown sugar, dark fruit and a hint of sherry oxidation. Flavor follows with caramel malt, dark fruit and mild grassy hops. Nicely integrated and the alcohol noticeable on the fresh Guardian is now well covered. Medium bodied with only a suggestion of creaminess (unusual for a barley wine aged this long). This has held up very well and definitely mellowed with the flavors and alcohol melded very well. Hops are muted, but identifiable. This will absolutely stay in my cellaring cycle, but scores about the same as the fresh one; the fresh shows brighter, spicier hops, but the alcohol is more noticeable. The older one is more muted in flavor, but more balanced and less boozy tasting.
Scores are almost identical, but the 2013 gets a half point off for being rather muted. Total score here is for the aged one.

LiquidAmber, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev -1%
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.

;)

scruffwhor, Apr 03, 2013
Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

GraduatedCashew, Apr 25, 2013
Photo of BeerFMAndy
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.

BeerFMAndy, Apr 11, 2014
Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -6%

KAF, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

chippo33, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev +0.3%

atrocity, Apr 23, 2014
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Hopheadjeffery, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Evil_Pidde, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

WOLFGANG, Jul 08, 2013
Photo of Axnjxn
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Axnjxn, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

barnzy78, Aug 16, 2012
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,507 ratings.