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: 66
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 MadScientist
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (870 characters)

Photo of smerrell
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (894 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (912 characters)

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 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 midnitesun11
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours an amber reddish color with sporadic carbonation bubbles floating up from the bottom. Head is a nice cream color but lacking in volume.

Smells like a fruity citrusy wine. Hoppy, vinegary, kind of a bitter grape type smell.

Tastes of smokey, spicey hops and a bit of alcohol. Has a rich carmel flavor to it as well!

Ends with a slight bitterness that lingers around for a bit. Very thick almost heavy mouthfeel, goes down smooth and pleasant though!

It's a very good beer. I haven't drank too many barley wines but I'm going to start trying more now! Very drinkable and high in alcohol, so drinker beware! Sneaks up on ya if you drink it too fast! (659 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 Apellonious
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt 9 fl oz bottled 1/11/13. Yeah, I know, you are supposed to wait. I can't. I made an effort. I'll pick up another and hide it better next time.

A - ruby red pour with cloudy brown interwoven. One finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - brown sugar, grapefruit, berries.

T - grapefruit and hop forward. Some back end malt sweetness dark fruit style and a slight tinge of alcohol. Tart finish. Picking up some raisin and a hint of toffee.

M - moderate to low carbonation. Decent amount of heft but not thick or sticky. I take that back. Things get sticky.

O - Solid offering, this one will warm you up and hit you. A good beer to share with a friend and a discussion. Would like to try one that is properly cellared. Based on my willpower, it may need to be off site. (777 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, 2012 version, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark ruby color with two fingers of thick beige head, leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Smells like a monster, I'm getting a pretty even mix of piney, fruity hops and sweet caramel malt and booze, all in pretty large and aggressive doses.

T- Follows the nose with lots of hop bitterness, citric and very piney, is followed up by loads of sweet caramel malt, nice bready texture, has a bitter finish of herbal hops with a bit of black pepper.

M- Full-bodied, thick but smooth and creamy, dry finish, very pleasant.

O- A very tasty barleywine, manages to keep huge flavors working together very nicely. I also tried pairing this with some Roquefort cheese and Old Guardian seriously rocked it, the beer's sweetness, caramel and some nutty flavors came out really well, while the cheese seemed to balance the hops and booze. I had a great time drinking this beer. (923 characters)

Photo of vic21234
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. Pulled from the fridge and left at room temperature for about fifteen minutes. 2012 Release

A- Pours a cloudy dark amber color. Initially a finger's worth of an off-white head dissipates to about a half fingers worth. Lots of lacing along the sides of the glass.

S- Smells sweet and of light fruits. A slight caramel smell is apparent as well. The alcohol is noticeable in the aroma.

T- Initial taste is rather sweet, with caramel malt notes. It then moves to the hop character, with a nice bitter, dry finish.

M- Medium bodied, dry. The alcohol is noticeable but not as much as one would think with 11%ABV.

I now have the 2008-2012 Old Guardian Vertical in my cellar. A great example of an American Barleywine, and the new hop characters are great. (790 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass because that's how you are suppose to drink beer? Got it? Now do it.

Beer is dark amber / red and clear with a nice tan head of small bubbles, some lacing on the glass, moderate to low carbonation, nice retention.

Aroma is sweet, a little boozy, some hops too. A nice maltiness with a mild yeasty / biscuity finish.

Beer is big in body and nice on the finish. It is strong and not too boozy but the alcohol is present. The finish is quite bitter, nice yeast breadiness in the mid-palate, strong beer with a nice finish, a little dryer than I expected. These beers are better fresh in case anyone was wondering. (653 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is pretty much everything i like in a barleywine. pours clear dark red with a tall off white head that hangs around a bit before fading out. smells like caramel, sweet desserty malts, and an uncommonly hoppy character. flavor is huge, sweet up front like molasses and brown sugar, hoppy like a big ipa on the back end, bitter and resinous. flavors of vanilla, candied orange peel, and alcohol dance in between. feel is great, full bodied and very strong, especially when it warms up. mild carbonation, but not too little. this is a great evening sipper. overall an excellent barleywine, complicated but approachable. i would highly recommend this to any lover of strong ales. (680 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The 2012 edition. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Dark amber with a tan half-finger head that leaves bubbles in its wake. Significant lacing.

S: Bourbon, leather, licorice, brown sugar.

T: Excellent. Smooth; robust hops dominate. Barley malt heavy. Sweet, bourbon-y. A lightly bitter finish that settles well.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Creamy.

O: Outstanding. Alcohol slides in for a fine buzz. Will buy again. One of the better barleywines available. Go, Stone! (475 characters)

Photo of obrike
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a bomber at Round Rock Specs just a few days ago.

Pours a deep ruby with a some dark honey/brown. Pour leaves a one finger off white head that dissapates fairly quickly. Lovely looking brew...only thing keeping it from a 5 for me is the lack of significant lacing.

Getting a ton of sticky sweet malts, some pine and citrus...and a booze burn. Big booze burn.

Nice mix of bitter, sweet carmel covered hops and sugary malt. The sweetness is there, but mix of hops and alcohol make for an interesting, bold take on the style. Certainly a sipper as the 11% will sneak up on you quick.

Another Stone beauty here...not one for the masses, but certainly a brew for people looking to enjoy a very well crafted Big Bad-ass American Barleywine
(747 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 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 vandemonian
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale is a tasty barleywine without much in the way of unexpected flavour.

A: Red brown colour and a good 4 mm head that lasts. 4.5

S: Malty and a little oxidised with some hop aroma still evident. 4

T: Malty with sweetness and cardboard. Some burnt brown sugar in the finish. 4

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 4 (346 characters)

Photo of Dave1999
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle.

The appearance is a dark amber with a nice white head.

The smell is sweet, caramel, toffee and peppery spices. There's a little bit of alcohol as well.

The taste is sweet up, caramel and toffee like the smell, it finishes very bitter, with some pine and some citrus.

The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with medium carbonation.

A very nice barley wine, very bitter for the style but still delicious as expected from stone. (439 characters)

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

A: Poured a deep reddish brown color with good carbonation with a great dirty white cap

S: Caramel, light pine with a nice grapefruit presence

T: A nice hop bitternes, with a blast of Cascade hops presenting a nice grapefruit presence and a hint at pine. Some caramel and booze mix with the hop profile leaving a nice impression of the style. Finishes a bit bitter but not like fresh Bigfoot bitter and a bit sticky

M: Full bodied, well carbonated with loads of flavor

O: Very nice. Should withstand the test of time as most OG's do. Nice changeup by Stone. (561 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 JoeAmerican77
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Purchased from Okinawa Brewing Company, Next to Tori Station Okinawa...

A - Poured from bomber into Avery tulip taster glass; a rich mahogany, pure and clear with a thick off white head.

S - A full hop profile from the nose hides what should be a metric ton of malt making up the backbone of this beer.

T - Sweet, savory, and thick in the front, hoppy and spicy in the rear, very enjoyable and a kick in the teeth like I so needed.

M - Shows a nice full body with a calm level of carbonation; warming while it sticks to the cheeks and gums.

Overall a very nice ABW that has what is expected, high IBU's, a waterfall of malts and a burning touch reminiscent of an old friend. Recommend. (690 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (1,601 characters)

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

A: pours a light brown that is slightly red with a dense two finger off white head
S: smells of toffee and caramel along with some herbal and slightly citrusy hops
T: hops on the front with that herbal flavor followed by some caramel and toffee noes. A little back and forth takes place between the two sides. there is the occasional burst of citrus flavor and the swallow brings a bit of alcohol, more resinous earthy hops and a bit of sweetness to finish things off as it all fades away
M: medium bodied with adequate carbonation, a little viscous but not overly so
O: it's good but it needs some time to mellow. Nothing extraordinary but another well crafted beer from Stone. I might have to buy another couple bottles to cellar. I have one put away right now but it seems lonely. (783 characters)

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

Enjoyed this beer out of a growler in a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a light copper hue with a thin white head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet malty aroma with a decent hop background..

T: Malty barley wine flavor with a caramel and hop background.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Solid barley wine – good flavors and aroma. (390 characters)

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