Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,831 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,831
Reviews: 267
rAvg: 4
pDev: 11.5%
Wants: 64
Gots: 457 | FT: 33
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,831 | Reviews: 267
Photo of MEsoJD
4.16/5  rDev +4%
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!!!

Photo of brureview
4.16/5  rDev +4%
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.

Photo of mdfb79
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 06/17/13 notes. 2010 vintage on tap at Pony Bar on the UES in NYC. 8 oz. pour, side by side with the oak and smoke version.

a - Pours a hazy amber brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Leaves some light lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, toffee, toasted malts, molasses, sugar, dark fruits, and bready malts. Very nice nose, loads of caramel and fruits, but not too sweet. I like it a lot.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, sweet dark fruits, toasted malts, sugar, molasses, bread, burnt malts, earthy notes. Taste has a little more dark fruity malts and is a little bit sweeter. Like the nose a little bit better.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, body is very smooth and creamy. Doesn't feel like 11% ABV at all.

o - Overall I liekd this a lot; I think it has aged really well. I've had it freshed and thought it was fine, but think 3 years on it has definitely improved it. Super smooth and easy to drink and a ton of caramel in the nose. Will probably pick up a bottle and store it away for a while now.

Photo of steelerguy
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber, large off white head, a good bit of carbonation for a barley wine keep the head tall for awhile.

S - Lots of malt in this bad boy, you get hints of toffee, but the aroma is about the hops...earthy and citrus.

T - Starts off with a lot of malt, sweet toffee and some slightly toasted malts. The resinous hop character then comes on with citrus quickly followed by a good bit of alcohol flavor. This barelywine is young and does not come close to hiding the fact that it is 11%...some more age would help smooth it out. End with a bitter bang of hops.

M - Full bodied beer, the alcohol and carbonation help keep it from being overbearing, but this is a sipper regardless. Ends with quite a bit of alcohol warmth.

O - This is good American Barleywine that would certainly improve with some aging. Lots of good flavors and qualities that would meld together and round out over time.

Photo of hardy008
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Twenty-two ounce bottle shared by Andrew. 2006 Vintage.

A: Pours a semi-clear amber with a very thin (1/16-inch) white head with essentially dissapears and leaves a couple of spots of lace.

N: Loads of caramel and vanilla, sweet malts, slightly oxidized notes.

T: Sweet caramel and toffee, slight stale bread.

M: Semi-full body and light carbonation. Finishes with a lingering sweet caramel.

O: The age on this makes it extra special. A treat.

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of rmargeson
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The smell Is getting to be a problem now that I am getting older. Served in a red wine glass to get more aroma and breathing - and this turned into a good sipping beer!

Photo of BeerNW
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle of 2012. This beer ages very well.

Photo of jsausley
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a stout glass.

A: Dark and thick like a black coffee. Little bit of carbonation bubbles on the outside edge of the glass.

S: Rich and malty with a toffee and vanilla nose.

T: Very boozy, but not overpowering. Big chocolate and vanilla flavors. Malt body, no bitterness or hops apparent. Coffee, toffee and caramel in the middle and on the finish.

M: Smooth, rich and creamy. Very fun to drink. Silky.

O: A very cool, rich and heavy beer. Not something to drink lightly (no pun intended), but very, very good.

Photo of stampfler07
4.12/5  rDev +3%
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

Photo of barczar
4.12/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of Listers
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. 1/2 inch off-white head. Smells of sweet toffee and caramel. Medium bitterness in the taste. Taste of boozy/fruity English malts. Taste fresh and hoppy while having a heavy/fully feel. Solid beer; never had any from this series before from Stone.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 ounce snifter glass. 2012 release bottle.

Appearance:A very cloudy deep amber. Almost opaque, yes that cloudy bubbles are strong and moving all over the bottom. Head comes off orange to white just about a notch under a finger's length.

Smell: Has a light rum scent, as if this brew was barrel aged. This is great and all but definitely a lighter smell than I was expecting.

Taste: Absolutely rich, you taste the strength of this beast and absolutely no reason not to like. It is complex, robust in flavor. You feel the rum that i smelled earlier but magnified. A littler bitter almost to the point you think you are chewing tobacco but it's sweet at the same time.

Mouth: Medium, but very sticking. Crisp and toasty after taste.

Overall: I will put it this way, I am going to have it again and again. I am not saying this will be the best barleywine you have ever but it will be a memorable one (in a good way). While in season grab yourself a bottle and drink up, Salud!

Photo of RickS95
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release

It's got that classic Barley wine murky look to it. Pours a dark amber with an almost milky quality to it. The head is thinnish and doesn't have much retention, but provides nice lacing.

No mistaking the smell as a Barley wine. It's all malted barley with a backdrop of citrus fruits. As it warms, there's a nice banana breadiness that comes wafting from the glass. If you stick your nose deep into the snifter, the alcohol will burn your nose.

If it's too cold, it's not a good taste, but as it warms, everything your nose picks up will find its way to the tongue. Mostly malt and resinous pine, with the citrus notes.

Pretty tame early on, but then everything hits you...the alcohol and the bittering hops. It's an aggressive beer and definitely a barleywine, but it goes relatively easy on the palate.

The first time I had this, I didn't care for it. But after a second bottle, it's very drinkable for the style.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of KingPuuChuu
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of Brittonnash
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Really good. Awesome taste. Sweet and sour.

Photo of Jason
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz brown bomber with a vintage date.

Deep reddish amber, epic lacing. Minty spicy hops, ripe melon, caramel, broth and esters permeate the nose. Creamy, smooth, boozy and full bodied. Intense, bitter, bready, toasted grain, caramel, ripe fruit, hay and tangerines on the tongue. Finishes bitter and semi-dry.

Powerful and bold and very enjoyable to sip.

Photo of Rope
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of Beric
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served: 12 March 2015

Appearance: Pours a dank yellow/brown color with a very minimal head that quickly dissipates under the effect from the high ABV.

Smell: Bright and sweet from the heavy malts, but with a distinct fresh hoppiness.

Taste: Really pleased with this one- it's nice and sweet on the palate, but not cloying. Assertive herbal hoppiness keeps the sweetness in check. Very refreshing for a Barleywine. ABV masked well.

Mouthfeel: Big body with low carbonation. Feels full on the palate.

Overall: One of the best barleywines I've had- the alcohol is masked nicely behind the herbal hoppiness and the beer isn't a sugar bomb. A nice sipper for sure.

Photo of MadScientist
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2010 release

A: A hazy medium copper with deep orange and red hues. The head is short, cream and a little rocky off-white; it leaves a little lacing on the glass. The hazy clears as it warms.

S: Rich moderate malt aromas of caramel and toffee with a faint citrus hops aroma. A moderate perfumey alcohol aroma. Moderate fruit esters of figs and orange.

T: A smooth, rich caramel malt flavor with a moderately-strong hops bitterness and some alcohol sweetness on the back end. Not surprising that there is little citrus hops flavor left after aging. There is some moderate dark fruit flavors. The balance is bitter and alcohol but there is a good backbone of malt sweetness as well giving an moderately dry finish.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderately-low carbonation. Lot of alcohol warmth

O: A very smooth, potent beer with a decent amount of hops bitterness.

Photo of smerrell
4.08/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of kemoarps
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So the bar im at has a tap labelled as the verticle epic 11.11.11, but in reality it was old guardian. Initially i was disappointed by this fact. Then i had a pint.

Pours a beautiful deep amber. Nice off white head leaving plenty of lacing down the glass.

The nose shows off a rich sweetness, almost a deep apiaryfresh- honey backbone with a hint of citrusy hops somewhere in the body.

The taste follows the blueprint laid ojt by the nose fairly closely, presenting a honey sweetness up front balanced with citrus and finish featuring some hop bitterness and the warming presence of the eleven percent.

Quite drinkable for the glass-of-wine level alcohol. Appropriately carbonated and smoothe and arming otherwise. If i had to use a childhood book to describe my beers, this one would be, 'the velveteen rabbit' (man i love that book). Definitely worth trying if you are lucky enough to find it in your town.

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,831 ratings.