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: 1,839
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 245 | Hads: 1,839
Photo of ONUMello
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 edition, poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass
A: Reddish brown with a 1/2-finger head that settles very quickly
S: Nice, fairly typical barleywine nose full of roasted malts along with some caramel, toffee and a touch of hops
T: Fruit esters, rich malt, toffee and caramel. Like the nose, typical for the style but well done
M: Full-bodied, a bit sweet/viscous but again that's the norm for this type of brew
O: Solid as are most Stone brews. Nothing extraordinary here but a nice beer try if you're looking for a good example of the barleywine style. I have to give a nod in that respect to the SN Bigfoot though, mostly because it comes in a 12oz bottle which given the high abv is much easier to consume solo than the 22oz here (742 characters)

Photo of IronLover
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep weathered copper orange in color with a deep haze. Poured with a short off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap that left sticky lacings on the glass. Sweet caramel malt and pungent tropical grapefruit and orange hop aromas with a hint of booze in the background. Medium bodied with a resinous feel and light, subdued carbonation. Sweet caramel malt flavors up front that are slowly washed away by tangy citrus hoppiness. Finishes with a rush of grapefruit hop flavor, followed by alcoholic heat and a sticky pine hop aftertaste. (536 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut colored body beneath the thin, light tan head which quickly dissolves to leave only traces of lacing around the glass.

Generous fruit and vinous aromas float from the glass with abundant earthy and pine hops as well as some a touchdown nuttiness.

The favor is fruity and sweet up front with hints of nuts and a generous hoppy finish tat features grass, wood, and spice notes.

Fuller in body with generous carbonation and a big biting finish.

A tasty American Barleywine with the traditional sweet fruit character of the English style, yet Packing a west coast hops punch. Well done. (601 characters)

Photo of thedoubler55
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This brew is a dark amber in color, a bit transparent and a dark redish almost, a tiny off white head at the top that leaves a bit of lacing around the glass.

S: Very hoppy nose, lots of caramel and brown sugar with slight hints of dark fruit.

T: Up front is almost all of the nose, lots of brown sugar sweetness with caramel and dark fruits present, the hops are all over the tail end with the bitterness.

M: Medium bodied, mid carbonation, nice and smooth.

O: Not a bad barley wine but I have had better, this was pretty subtle nothing crazy, but a good beer. (568 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crisp copper without a bit of beading. Soft, loose, sticky head. Perfect lacing.

Strong nose - caramel, toffee, raisin, booze, candied sugar, molasses, complex. Translates well to the tongue.

Bitter, boozy start on the tongue which then moves through numerous waves of goodness. Quite nice. Everything in the nose finds a home somewhere in the taste.

Not too easy going down, but it's lovely to sip slowly and savor.

Good stuff. (440 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 release.

Appearance: Super hazy orange amber color with a resilient off-white one finger head.

Aroma: Sweet barley and an orangey hoppy character. A tinge of alcohol. Not all that aromatic.

Taste: A big beer by any account. There is a lot of subtle malt flavors that sort of blend and come across as an amber and caramel flavor. No toffee or toasted qualities just unaltered malt flavor. Counteracting the sweet blend of barley is an understated bitterness. It's understated because it never feels more intense than moderate but definitely sticks with you long after the finish. The hop character is mostly orange with a touch of pine. As with most Barleywines, Old Guardian has a serious amount of hops and malt to it but a definite balance between the two extremes. At 11% ABV it's shocking how very little alcohol is present. In fact, there is really only a slight alcohol flavor right at the start that is quickly hidden by the robustness of the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Thick like a milkshake. Average carbonation but I'd recommend an aggressive pour. A full bodied as it is, Old Guardian has good drinkability. Although perhaps not when paired with a meal.

Final Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of Stone Brewing and for the most part Old Guardian completely met my expectations. However, I'm not a fan of orange hop flavor especially in Barleywines as it tends to accentuate the malt sweetness in a bit of a cloying manner. Personal preference that only affected my scoring very slightly. Aside from that note, another excellent beer from one of my favorite and most respected breweries. Would I drink it again? Yes, I expect on-tap would be fantastic. (1,655 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 Bowers-Brew
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

A - Nice brown / amber malt, clean white porous head.

S - Sweet malt, caramel, slight vanilla / oak, light grassy notes.

T/M - A sweet creamy malt body with a hoppy/bitter finish.

O - I wanted to try one fresh so I can compare it to one that ages. This was a bit hot and hoppy, which I hope will smooth out. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about some of the extra hoppy American barleywines. Some people will read the label, because why not? Prost! (465 characters)

Photo of RyanCave
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Red with a carmel haze..

N: Sounds weird but I get tomato on the nose. It's like smelling a V8 juice..no shit

T: Very bitter, a bit overpowering..I like a good amount of bitterness in my BW's (Old Ruffian is one of my favorites) but this is a bit too much. Just a bit of malt sweetness, a little vegetable too, a lot of earthy notes

M: what you'd expect from a BW

O: I wouldn't say this is my favorite BW, but its pretty good. It's definitely a stone brew for sure with all the bitterness and bold flavors..I'd drink this again for sure but wouldn't seek it out (568 characters)

Photo of Thickfreakness
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a beautiful, clear copper orange into my Ithaca Excelsior tulip. Two fingers of creamy off white head that floats and sticks around for a while. Tons of sticky lacing left all over the glass even after 10 minutes.

S- Really nice sweet caramel right up front! Decent punch of pineapple and CA citrus! HUGE alcohol presence. Some dark dried fruits... raisins, plums, figs. Some nice spicy notes of caraway and black pepper that blend seemlessly with the fresh caramel notes.

T- Burnt brown sugar, sweet cream caramel, ALCOHOL! Wow! The booze is huge this year! I hope it settles down with some time. I do like the way the alcohol brings out the dried fruit and sweet citrus nuances though. Picking up some spicy basil, peppercorns, rye bread w/ caraway, and mission figs.

M- Really hot! Huge alcohol presence that hopefully will die down with some time and cellaring. It enhances some flavors, covering and detering others. Not as sticky as past OG's.

O- Definately think this one has some potential after 6months-1yr in the cellar. Right now its really boozey. Has really nice sweet caramel and dried fruit notes that will get much bigger as the alcohol fades. (1,175 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Stone IRS snifter. Lets hope its better the the Belgo IRS I had earlier

A 2 finger white-ish head with a tint of red and the body is clear amber/red. After the head recedes some lacing is left in a ring above the beer.

S Gigantic sweet bready dough malts and sweetness. A little bit of dark fruits and a little yeast in the nose. Doesnt smell too American

T lots of big malty tastes here. Doughy bread yeast and some sweet malts take over in the front. Slight hint of booze in the middle along with the tiny bitterness toward the end.

M Thicker mouthfeel is accompanied by lighter carbonation. My mouth is left feeling slightly syrupy after a sip. Big beer with big presence

(693 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 Smurf2055
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed Nov 2011, vintage 2007

2007 vintage enjoyed at Bevridge Place in West Seattle.

Aroma was amazing! Sweet yet balanced, malt and hops, aggressive yet friendly.

Appearance was dark amber with about a finger of foam. Obviously at four years old, there’s very little carbonation on it.

Taste was decent. Warming feeling and a bit of citrus. Lot’s of malt. There was a bit of an alcohol bite, and I sort of expected a bit more complexity at four years old.

Palate was full and strong all over and remains for a while.

Overall, as far as they go, this one was pretty good. It’s very Stone brewing; up front and aggressive, and it knows it. (658 characters)

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

Served in a bottle at Idle Hands in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear amber with a thin off-white head that reduces to a ring of bubbles at the edge of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Caramel malts, some light pine hops, and a fair amount of sweetness.

T: Nice caramel malts and toffee sweetness to this one followed by a pine hop bitterness. Some light amounts of heat from the alcohol and a nice amount of complexity.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Great sipping beer though a little sweet for my palate. Nice complexity in both the smell and the flavor. I like the hop bitterness on the finish that helps the beer from being overpowering in sweetness. The high ABV is fairly well hidden. (739 characters)

Photo of Roman5150
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle into duvel glass

appearance: dark red mahogany with 2 finger slightly off white head, intricate lacing

smell: herbal earthy hops, floral notes, sweet grapefruit, clementines

taste: sweet earthy bitterness, you can feel the warmth from the alcohol, but it's not too forward. Very sweet aftertaste that coats the tongue with a warm bitterness.

mouthfeel: average carbonation with a thick syrupy feel

overall: A great brew from Stone, this is a very hoppy sweet beer that is superbly balanced. A regular buy from them, if you're a fan of any of their IPA's you will love this. (585 characters)

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

Poured into a tumbler pint at Savage's Ale House, Muncie IN.

Appearance - 3.5

Hazy amber with a creamy off-white head, 1/4" fizzles out after a couple minutes. Tiny bit of lacing at top of glass from the previous head.

Smell - 4.0

Citrusy, piney hoppiness with a sweet tangy sting finish.

Taste - 4.0

Rich pine, resin taste. Not so much of any maltiness. A little less balanced than a lot of barleywines.

Mouthfeel - 3.5

Thick, heavy. Not a very drinkable beer, but that's how an 11% Barleywine should be.

Overall - 4.0

Great flavorful barleywine. A little less balanced than a normal, but still a very impressive beer. You can definitely feel the effects at the end of this drink. Two or three of these babies would knock me down. Can't wait to taste next year's batch. (785 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 Kromes
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A clear copper color with a finger's width tan colored head.

S: Caramel malts, fruit with floral hop.

T: Carmel malt with floral and grassy hop. Finishes with an alcohol flavor and burn and a hop bitterness.

M: Heavy, syrupy feel. Dry and bitter with a burn in the finish.

O: A good Barleywine, this one could use some mellowing before cracking open. (357 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 tdm168
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Pours an amber, plum color with a thin lacing of white head that fades quickly. The nose is quite fruity with notes of raisins, figs, and ripe cherries. The flavor is a malty, bready, caramel flavor up front that quickly turns to the same fruity notes from the nose, dark fruit, figs, raisins, ripe cherries and maybe plum. The finish showcases a decent, clean, balanced hop bitterness and a warm alcohol presence. The mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, a bit syrupy, crisp, and just a bit heavily carbonated.

This is a decent beer. It's definitely a bit fruity, but is intriguingly complex. The fruity sweetness and the bitter finish at times seem to clash. As the beer warms, the flavors tend to play a little more nicely with each other. If you're a barley wine person, it's definitely worth a try. (838 characters)

Photo of bushbeer75
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1pt 6fl oz brown bottle - Bottled on 1/25/13 printed on shoulder/neck 11.6% abv

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2013 Classic Release has a dark amber body and atop sits a 1/2-finger khaki colored head. The head dissipated very quickly to form a collar of bubbly foam in the walls of my snifter. The smell is dominated by toffee malts, yeast and hop character also is noted. The flavor first noticed is of rich malt ,i.e., caramel and toffee followed by a yeast presence. The ale finishes with a strong grapefruit citrus hop bitterness. The mouth feel is full, rich with a lingering hop bitterness and alcohol warming at the back of the palate.

Even after aging a little over 2-years this still is a "monster" of an ale. Drinkability is only limited by its abv. A sipper for sure. (789 characters)

Photo of badgustav
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - sweet, figgy, with malty notes. Appetizing from the get go.

Look - a clear, ruby brown. The head is thick and rocky, with a reddish beige color.

Taste - a light hopiness undercuts the sweet malt, but proves to be bitter in the aftertaste. The malty sweetness, with fig and fruit notes. A slight paperness is also present, which is unpleasant. Sadly, the taste doesn't live up to the aroma.

Feel - rich, but undercut by the bitterness.

Overall - this Barleywine doesn't live up to the promise of the aroma. I'm hoping aging improves this beer and the sweetness covers the paper notes from stale hops (611 characters)

Photo of DRyan
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Ranger Creek Tulip glass

A: Pours a deep ruby with a heavy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly but leaves serious lacing
S: Sweet malt and toffee, some hop bitterness, hint of vanilla
T: Malty and sweet, but pretty well balanced. Could be a bit more hop-forward, but overall it is sweet but not too sweet, somewhat hoppy but not overly at all. The toffee from the nose carries through, along with a little alcohol bite on the aftertaste.
M: Smooth and silky, with very light carbonation
D: Easily drinakable for 11% abv (540 characters)

Photo of BrownNut
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb 2012 release drunk in May 2013. Served cool in tulip.

A - 4.5 - Beautiful, crystal clear ruby amber. Loose, creamy off white head that lingers a good while.

S - 3.75 - Pleasantly malty. Hoppy in a familiar flavor I can't put my finger on. Smells like it's going to be a moderate bruiser hopwise and moderately caramel sweet maltwise.

T - 3.75 - Moderate sweet malt partially offsetting notable bitterness. The balance swings bitter. Exhale is all hops and aftertaste is lingering bitterness.

M - 4.0 - Medium heavy body. Immediate hop abrasion on the tongue. Thanks to that, it has a dry astringent end. Gentle waves of boozy warmth wafting up the throat.

O - 4.0 - A nice one, if kind of unbalanced. I've never had one fresh - this one is 15 months old. Next time I think I'll try for 2 or 3 years to see if it'll balance out a bit more. The nose on this is nicely balanced. The body not as much. It's to be expected for the style I suppose. (952 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.5/5
Deep orange-red. Lots of little carbonation bubbles. A finger and a half of light tan head. Moderately clear.

Smell - 3.75/5
Hops and citrus. Lightly sweet.

Taste - 3.75/5
Tastes like the smell, slightly sweet hoppy citrus flavors. Mellow rather than sharp.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium full, smooth, slight carbonation.

Overall - 4/5
This is way hoppier than I like my barleywines. Still it was a great beer. (427 characters)

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