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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale

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

1,235 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1235
Reviews: 199
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.78%


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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,235 | Reviews: 199 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of kemoarps
kemoarps

Missouri

4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2012 02:58:16 | More by kemoarps
Photo of williamjbauer
williamjbauer

West Virginia

4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 20:24:33 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 22:27:14 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured dark brown and hazy. Head was minimal. Not much light penetration but this beer was blatantly brown and didn't tiptoe on the realm of blackness.

S-I was expecting more punch from the aroma. There was booze, a bunch of concentrated sweetness and some bitterness which was subtle. Dark fruits. Not very impressed by the nose.

T-The bittering hoppiness comes out more on the tongue. The hops lend much bitterness but are not very complex and do not leave much hop-derived flavor complexity. There is plenty of booze (although shaded in decently enough), and dark fruits laced in rich caramel.

M-Big body. Mellow carbonation. Bitterness lasts. Somewhat slick. A rich feel.

O/D-Full pint glass of this came in at $3.50 so I cannot complain about the price, but I was not satisfied with this beer. Most of Stone's brews are great but this one didn't hit the same spot for me. Still a nice juggernaut beer for a great price-per-fill.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 04:14:42 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of Lemke10
Lemke10

Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a single 22oz bottle (2012 Release) from Woodman’s in Rockford, IL in early 2012 for $6.49

Pours a cloudy, medium brown color with a fluffy, cream colored head. Scent reminds me of an IPA with strong scent of hops, some grains and hints of citrus. Taste is strong and bold. Lots of barley taste mixed with hops and yeast. Smooth and so delicate almost as if it was aged in an oak barrel. A bold and yet dry finish. Delicious and well worth purchasing.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 03:12:57 | More by Lemke10
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.45/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle (2012 release) with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I remember enjoying the 2011 release.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and average (~one minute) retention for the style. Colour is a clear dark copper-gold. No floating yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Hops - both floral and bittering, but more towards the bittering end. Malts. Barley. Cream. Not a particularly appealing aroma. There's nothing unique or special about it, and it doesn't get me excited to taste it. Moderate in strength. I'm hoping it's not as hoppy as it tastes.

T: It is. Entirely too hoppy for the style, ruining the balance with wretched bitterness that doesn't at all belong. Clean malts are there alongside simple barley, but no yeast comes through. Some alcohol does. Horribly balanced. Poorly built for a barleywine. I'd vastly prefer complex malt layering with some subtle hop notes and maybe biscuity yeast, but none of that is here. The finish is okay, with some vague fruit hints coming through - but the hops still overwhelm everything.

Mf: Too thick. Wet and smooth, with some coarseness from the hops, lending it an awkward texture that feels somehow hazy. Doesn't complement the flavours well. Adequately carbonated. Weak. A touch watery on the finish.

Dr: A barleywine that demands aging to mellow out its harsh hop notes. I wouldn't have this again unless it was free and had a few years on it. I don't understand hoppy barleywines and I don't know that I ever will. A major disappointment from Stone. Age your bottles if you buy this. Hides its ABV decently. Difficult to drink on account of its severely limited quality.

Wouldn't pair well with food. Doesn't even do well on its own.

I don't know how it would age, but it can only get better. Pray for early hop death.

High D+

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 00:30:24 | More by kojevergas
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 02:49:26 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 22:48:13 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of KomodoDragon
KomodoDragon

Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Copper with thin tan head. Quiet and clear.

S - dark fruits, barley, can sugar.

T - intense sweet malt, grassy hops and a looong finish with citrus tone and a bit of a warming feel

M - Tremendous. Smooth, full, and lightly carbonated.

Solid entry and perfect to style. Dangerously delicious.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2012 03:45:17 | More by KomodoDragon
Photo of Muthacack
Muthacack

California

3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

A-Pours a reddish clear amber and a nice two finger head with good retention which leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S- The smell is not overpowering at all. The hop smell is very faint. A dry cherry aroma is the most prominent along with the alcohol.

T- The hops are definitely present now and the pine shows. The beer has a nice bitterness. It is slightly sweet but not overpowering.

M- There is a little carbonation. Very smooth but a tad sticky. The aftertaste is where you really get the alcohol. It has a nice bite.

O- Needs to sit for a while as the previous years have tasted better with age.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2012 03:38:48 | More by Muthacack
Photo of Kromes
Kromes

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 00:50:34 | More by Kromes
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2012 02:28:26 | More by GilGarp
Photo of DavidST
DavidST

Texas

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter, 2012 edition. This pours a clear mahogany color with a small tan head which is short lived. The smells are of alcohol, hops, grapefruit, caramel, toffee, The feel is somewhat thick and tingly. The taste is good, plenty of hops, some caramel and toffee malts, definite alcohol burn.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2012 01:49:34 | More by DavidST
Photo of bsp77
bsp77

Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2012 01:28:56 | More by bsp77
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split with abecall98 and friends. Snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark caramel color with a finger of khaki head that faded into a bubbly collar.
S: Sweet scents with a good dose of sticky hop resin. I get hints of caramel, toffee, leather, and cocoa. Leafy and sweet smelling.
T: Follows the nose with sweet and a bit woody and buttery flavors of leather, toffee, caramel and hop resin. I get hints of vanilla in the finish.
M: Bubbly carbonation, smooth body, full mouthfeel and solid bitterness.
O: A very solid barleywine but I think I prefer these with some age.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2012 19:05:05 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Listers
Listers

Illinois

4.1/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 06:08:41 | More by Listers
Photo of JustinQ
JustinQ

California

3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from 22 oz bottle into Snifter Glass

Appearence: Clear, Burgundy color, Nice head, Beautiful Beer

Aroma: Grapefruit, Some citrus, Hops, Good yeast character

Taste: Hops, Good bitterness, Bitter grapefruit, long hop dryness, No alcohol. Residual Sweetness +1

Mouthfeel: Good co2, Dry, Crisp, Warming

Overall: Great Beer, Should grab another one for the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 01:38:58 | More by JustinQ
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 03:13:16 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of JTSbeerislife
JTSbeerislife

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at the Fridge

Poured into a small flared mouth snifter. An acceptable glass.

Pours a rather thin head which rapidly reduces to nothing. A swirl of the glass brings everything back to life.
Beautiful reddish amber color.

Big aroma of malt and yeast, followed by citrus and pine hops. Quite fine and extremely enjoyable.

Very full, crisp, bitter hop dominated entry on the palate. There is a lot of delicious rich malt.
Very full mouth feel with perfect light carbonation.
Slightly sweet but not overdone considering the amount of hops and malt present. Balanced.

Very, very long finish of hop dominated malt. The hop oils last forever. Trademark Stone’s.

An exceptionally delicious Barleywine. In the top tier along with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Troegs Flying Mouflan. Lots of distinct hops and balanced malt make for a highly drinkable brew.

Highly recommended!

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2012 01:29:57 | More by JTSbeerislife
Photo of vic21234
vic21234

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 23:36:08 | More by vic21234
Photo of BWED
BWED

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2012 22:51:43 | More by BWED
Photo of Scotchboy
Scotchboy

Idaho

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Rogue pint glass.

A: Dark and very clear amber, a slowly forming half-finger eggshell-colored head dissipates but is easily revived...traces of alcohol feet on the glass.

S: More malt than I was expecting; toffee and buttered toast, butterscotch, grains...yeast esters and light fruity notes, spicy hops with a touch of earthiness, faint citrus zest.

T: Lots of sugary and sweet caramel and toffee malts. Reminds me of an English Strong Ale or English-style Barleywine, though there are some citrus notes and spiced characters from the hops. There is some alcohol heat present on the finish and a slight burn. Finishes like a rum or hard alcohol in a way.

As it warms the spice notes and hop flavors increase, with herb-like zesty citrus fruit flavors.

MF: Medium, chewy and viscous. Dry finish.

O: Didn't dig it as much as I thought I would, thought this offering would be more hop-forward than it was (closer to a Bigfoot). Right now it is a lot like Alaskan's offering, and a bit like Cockeyed Cooper (without the barrel), though I like both of those beers better.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 15:11:26 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of Murrhey
Murrhey

Montana

3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Thin khaki head with decent retention. Light caramel brown color with awesome clarity.

S- Barley and some booziness to it. A light sweetness with some caramel notes.

T- Strongly bitter in the first sip, the barley and grains are very present. Some bourbon sort of booziness.

M- Winey body, light and smooth.

O- Good overall. Not my favorite, but tasty and drinkable. Also boozy.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2012 07:42:40 | More by Murrhey
Photo of StoneTSR
StoneTSR

Colorado

3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: Poured into an oversize snifter at Freshcraft in Denver. The head was huge on my 8 oz. pour and it stuck around for a while. The color was a little on the lighter side than the typical Barleywine, but it was still mahogany. Some spotty lacing clung to the backside of the glass.

SMELL: Tons of banana and some sweet maltiness. A little sugar cane and some breadiness come through as well.

TASTE: Bread, banana and dark fruit up front with a warming estery heat at the finish. A little pine and some lemon and grassy bitterness tie everything together.

MOUTHFEEL: Rich and bold up front, but thinning towards the end. Creamy and without much sparkle.

OVERALL: The Old Guardian is a solid beer fresh, but it seems designed to age. The bitterness and heat is a bit strong, but in two, three years this is going to be spectacular.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2012 07:40:19 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505

New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stella glass aggressively. Pours a clear bright orange red, with a beautiful 3 inch head with a little hint of orange in it. Has some nice lacing and the head takes some time to settle. Smell is hard candy, burnt carmel, pine cones, and alcohol. Taste is better, very aggressive hops on the finish, all the stuff in the nose, but more balanced. Body is on medium large, good a mount of life for its large ABV, a little dry, and fairly drinkable for its large size. This is a nice Barleywine, that prefer with a few years on it for some reason. Its not the aggressive hops, but the beer seems to blend better over time.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2012 00:32:06 | More by SawDog505
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,235 ratings.