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: 465 | 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 Tucquan
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-03-08 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge

A - Pretty clear mahogany with 1/4-finger off-white head and light lacing.

S - Mild dark fruit, brown bread and hop floral. Not very strong.

T - Rich malt body with some caramel, raisin, earthy spice, touch of pepper, pine, grapefruit juice and rind. Fairly sweet but the alcohol helps to balance this. Aftertaste remains sweet, peppery, very spicy with lots of rind bitterness. I like the flavor.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Prickly and lightly oily.

O - Very good. Plenty of interesting flavors. Reminds me of a triple IPA. (608 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an almost clear amber-orange with a thin layer of frothy off-white head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel, biscuit, and caramelized malts with grapefruit, citrus, and pine hops and some booze.

T - Starts off with some sweet caramel and biscuit malts with lots of grapefruit and citrus hops and some bitterness. Through the middle, pine hop flavors comes through with more bitterness alongside some caramelized sugars and some more biscuit malt. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts with lots of tropical, citrus, and resiny pine hops, bitterness, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a resiny, bitter, dry, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice hoppy American Barleywine. The hop profile is really great and helps to balance out the hotness and body. Enough malt flavor to keep up as well. (933 characters)

Photo of Herky21
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
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. (585 characters)

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

Lots of toasty, roasty malt, biscuit, toasted bread and barley. Caramel malt is evident but not sweet. Some tea leaf, roasted nut, pecan and grains. I let this sit a while to cut down the hoppiness and I'm glad I did. (217 characters)

Photo of arizcards
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine in early March for $5.99. Bottled on 2/7/14.

Beer poured chestnut with a nice white head.

Nose is citrus booze with a big malt base.

Taste is zesty hops up front, big malt base, a bit uneven but tasty.

Mouthfeel is huge, full and smooth.

Overall this is quite a booze bomb, lively hops make things interesting. Looking back at prior Guardian reviews i can tell my palate has change as has the offerings out there. This is a good beer, worthy of a shot for the price. Give it a try if you like big hoppy beers. (550 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and slightly hazy brownish ruby red with a moderate amount of bubbles. Decent one finger of off white head that dissipates into a small patch. Moderate amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts with a good hint of toffee. Hints of bananas and some citrus fruits. Light presence of earthy hops and some sugar. The sweet malts and caramel stand out the most here with the hops being fairly subtle. Alcohol is pretty faint.

Taste: The hops come out a lot more in the taste. Sweet malts with plenty of caramel and toffee. Hints of banana and a little sugar. A good amount of citrus hops with notes of grapefruit and orange. Also a hint of apple. Pretty juicy with a nice kick of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Chewy and moderately sticky. Alcohol heat is pretty moderate.

Overall: A very good American Barleywine. Full juicy flavor and pretty smooth for the ABV. (1,030 characters)

Photo of rarbring
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is clear copper amber, a warm off-white head leaving good lacing and small curtains.

Smelling hoppy, grass, nettles, pine. Then sweet dried fruits, honey, heather.

Sweet toffee, brown bread with honey, bitter oranges, dried apricots, then bitter citric peel. Slightly boozy.

Medium carbonation, small bubbles, oily and sticky, a coarse dry finish.

Once again I have consumed a barley wine far too young. (416 characters)

Photo of Brew33
2.64/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sometimes I like to revisit a beer I didn't love the first time just to see if I may have had a bad experience, hence me revisiting Stone's Old Guardian. 2013 Vintage

It pours a really nice, deep, garnet with a small, light tan head. Looks nice in the glass, perfectly clear. The aroma is subtle. Caramel malts, slight cardboard, alcohol, no hops to speak of. Not very good frankly.

The flavor is the real disappointment here. One dimensional malt profile. Slight hop bitterness but no real hop flavor. A Stone beer that is underhopped for the style? Huh? Really lacking complexity. The alcohol is prominent but the malt flavors are downright bland and the beer seems a little over attenuated for the style. No real sweetness or pronounced flavors at all. Hop flavor is nonexistent and the bitterness is restrained.

The beer leaves a sticky residue on the lips which is perfect for the style IMO but it's a touch overcarbonated and a little thin for my liking.

Overall, it's pretty much what I remember and that is a below average American Barleywine. Stone has really hit a few homeruns lately especially with the Enjoy By series but this is just not a good American Barleywine. (1,186 characters)

Photo of aquazr1
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. 2014 Classic release.

A - Pours a dark amber, almost brown, with a very small head that dissipates quickly.

S - Mostly malt, I can pick up a hint of the grains in the background. I don't get much from the hops.

T - The toasted malts come through strong, but not in a bad way. Very drinkable.

M - Medium bodied that feels good going down.

A very drinkable barley wine ale. The high alcohol content is hidden well. Another well done beer by Stone. (495 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml 2012 vintage bomber into a heavy chalice glass. Pours amber/orange appearance with a froth off-white head that slowly thins out into nice lacing throughout. Aroma portrays a clean hop bitterness with pine followed by raisin, a bit of toffee, and light sweet malt. Taste is clean hop bitterness and spots of pine followed by a strong bitterness with raisin, plum, and a bit of heat in the back finish. Mouthfeel is thin-bodied and crisp up front. A nice example of a barleywine, but a bit too hoppy (which exemplifies what Stone truly stands for in their beers). (579 characters)

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

Chilled bottle into a glass. I don't buy a lot of Stone products anymore besides the 3 main seasonals (Double Bastard, Old Guardian, and IRS). Last year's Old Guardian was not very tasty, so I was hoping this year would have a return to form.

A: This is a rose-tinged maroon body capped with a fluffy, off-white head that leaves streaky lace webbing around the sides of the snifter. It's nice to look at.

S: Caramel malt, rose petals, grass, plum, toffee, and grapefruit. This is a welcome change from the over-malted recipe that 2011 presented; the hops are bright and hint at both flavor and bitterness in the taste.

T: Yep, I was right. This is incredibly, powerfully bitter; grassy hops lead the way, packed with tons of IBUs. Thankfully, the beer also uses some hop flavor instead of just bitterness. It has a floral presence of rose petals that works very well with Stone's signature citrus-driven profile. The malt backbone is firm, giving the beer plenty of caramel and toffee character throughout the taste.

M: The mouthfeel is quite hefty, as you'd expect from a beer of this gravity. It suppresses the booze and provides a firm grounding point for the bitterness and hoppy flavors to do their work. The booze is lightly noticeable, but pretty restrained overall.

O: This is substantially better than last year's recipe, which I found oddly malty. But it is also bruisingly bitter, so the pendulum has swung too far in the corrective direction. The price point in my area ($6) is very reasonable, so I'll probably buy one or two more, calorie budget permitting, before the hops drop off. (1,607 characters)

Photo of mfnmbvp
2.91/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle (1 pint 6 fl oz), the 2013 release of this beer. A beer from Stone that I haven't had before, so I'm going in as unbiased as possible. Bottle claims an 11.60% abv, rather than just 11% as BeerAdvocate says.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - First pour yields about a finger of doughy off-white / khaki colored head. Beautiful clear, light ruby red colored body. My final pour, a good hour and a half later, yields some pretty nice sheets of lacing coming down the sides of the glass.

S - Smell is strongly of malted barley, and some fermented dark fruits like plum or cranberry. Faint citrus hops creeping out in the background.

T - Bleh. Not my preferred barleywine, that's for sure. Some hop bitterness is present, but this beer is overwhelmed by a sickening medicinal cherry cough syrup flavor. Thick and heavy. Bit of alcohol warmth. As hard as I'm trying, I am not digging this one at all. Admittedly, as the beer warms to room temperature, the artificial cherry medicine seems to disappear and opens up to more dry bitter spicy hop presence. Body has a sleek creamy feel to it. This is a beer you definitely want to let warm up before consuming it.

M - Feel is dry and chalky. Bitter hop aftertaste.

Overall, I enjoyed the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, and was expecting similar results here, but it took me a long time to warm up to this beer. When cold, it is on par with drinking a 22 oz. bottle of Robitussin. Following a warming period, the beer opens up and becomes more lively, with a more pronounced hop presence, and the sickly medicinal flavors disappear.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale ---3/5. (1,668 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Dirty brown body with a surprisingly foamy tan head. Aroma is of sweet malt, green raisins and a bit of caramel. Flavor is on par for the style, sweet caramel, toasted malts, a dash of dried fruit. Full bodied with medium carbonation. This one is a good example of the style and has held up very nicely after a few years. (335 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle

A: Pours a light brownish/amber color with about a half inch of head

S: Lots of malts and hops, some alcohol. Pretty standard fare for the American barleywine, aside from the big dose of hops that Stone is known for

T: Follows the nose with a big dose of hops at first and then a transition to the malts and alcohol. The alcohol isn't too hot and leaves some nice peppery and fruity notes on the tongue that work well with the bitterness of the hops that return for the finish

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Slick from the hops

O: Still one of my top 5 American barleywines, although I still feel this is best with at least a year on it. Even though this isn't too hot or overbearing right now, the smoothness and complexity take a turn for the better after aging. Get a few bottles, drink one now and lay the others down. You'll be glad you did (884 characters)

Photo of brandon911
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer chalice

It poured a tan, one-fingered fairly dense head that dissipated quite quickly. The beer itself is reddish amber and quite opaque. On the noise it's got barley, some faint roast malts, some grassiness,cotton candy, hops, a little booze, and some citrus. It tastes fairly similar to the nose, less so on the malts, but with addition of caramel, raisins and bread. The mouth is quite nice, bitter with some bite-y carbonation, just enough to keep one from drinking it too quickly. It's also pretty smooth going down. Overall it's a great beer, not as good as the other barleywines I've had, but still very good. I'd suggest getting it, but not going out of your way for it. (698 characters)

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

Served slightly chilled into a pint glass.

Redish amber color with great clarity. The head is thick and slow to settle. Great lacing left behind.

Aroma is malty sweet and slightly boozy. Mild fruity quality with cherry and apple.

Flavor is intense with huge hop bitterness. The malts are big enough to support the hops but just barely. This is one giant barleywine.

Mouthfeel is medium plus bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall a really great version of the style and about as big as they get. (503 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
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. (864 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

2012 version.

Pours a gorgeous dark copper light amber color with some awesome ruby hints and hues. The head is nice and at about 0.5 inch recedes at a moderate pace to a nice thing film and then to a nice sticky ring.

Sweet malty notes to start off with some intense molasses, nice caramel notes. Some slight brown sugary notes are present as well. There is also some nice resiny hop notes with some pine and slight sweetness in there as well. The nose is definitely more in the malt and caramel realm. Nice boozyness is also perceived.

Now the hops definitely speak up in the taste. Starts off with some intense citrus notes and some real piney notes as well. There is definitely a big booze note to the beer and some heat. However the hops help to offset this a bit. There is also tons of caramel and sweet malt notes in the flavor as the nose indicates. Pretty intense flavors overall but well done. The mouthfeel is silk and oily with some lower carbonation that helps to accentuate some of the intense malt and hop notes.

Good brew by Stone. I think the hop heavy recipe is a step in the right direction for this years release. (1,184 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a two finger off white head with very good retention and lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, caramel malt, and pine. I am very happy that Stone chose to use Cascade hops for this year's Old Guardian.

The taste has grapefruit, pine, and caramel malt. Has a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness. The alcohol is not noticeable, which is surprising for an 11.00 % abv beer.

Full bodied with average carbonation. Has a bitter sweet aftertaste with a bit of a sticky feeling, and finishes somewhat dry. A nice beer to sip and enjoy. This would be a nice beer to age for a while. (602 characters)

Photo of herman77
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark clear amber/dark copper with a fairly large off white head that dies down after a bit. Awesome lacing.

S: Lots of bready malt. Toffee and a bit of carmel malt too. Pine hops and a bit of grapefruit in the mix as well.

T: Tons and tons of deep carmel malt and toffee. Caramelized sugar. There is a good dose of pine hops. It's got that classic stone hop profile taste that's intense and in your face, but the malt is stronger than the hops in this one. Some lingering hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium body. Smooth and moderate carbonation.

O: Nice. I thought it would be a lot hoppier having had a decent amount of Stone's stuff, but the malt is center stage here. I like it, but if remember, it seems a lot like Double Bastard. (746 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft into snifter at Yard House in San Diego, Calif., on July 28, 2012. Three fingers of head when I got it. Mahogany brown color. Thick white foam/lacing. Good retention all around (sides and top).

Smelled caramel, light chocolate, rye and nuts.

Tasted nutty, toffee, caramel. Very malty. So smooth.

Full body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long lasting smooth finish.

Absolutely loved this beer. Very malty, but it worked. So smooth and a great aftertaste. (472 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Pours a cloudy reddish and orange color. Very little head but what does come out is kind of a creamy white. Leaves some nice lacing.

Smell:
A strong mix of hops and malts. the malt smells sweet bordering on caramel while the hops seem to be citrus bordering on orange. Other smells include dark fruit.

Taste:
Tastes like it smells but that the hops are stronger.

Mouthfeel:
Lite carbonation and fairly heavy bodied.

Overall:
A fairly nice barley wine and this beer really brought me into the style so I might try some other ones. (545 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (1,131 characters)

Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Beautiful mahogany which glows nicely in the light. Decent sized light tan cap with good lacing.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, plum, booze and some citrusy hops.

Taste: Malty core of toffee, caramel and plum. Pretty spicy, and somewhat bitter, hops at the finish with some citrus. Some alcohol taste.

Feel: Thick, full body with moderately low carbonation. Smooth, but some definite alcohol burn.

Overall: Surprisingly standard Barleywine from Stone. Hoppy, but not as much as expected. Ultimately, this is nicely balanced, but too boozy. (597 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper in color. The nose smells like stale hops - odd since this was just shy of two months old when I cracked it open. This offering is malt forward with just the right amount of hop bitterness. The malty sweetness really comes forward as this beer warms. The finish is dry with just a trace of alcohol. (309 characters)

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