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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

250 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 250
Hads: 1,851
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 64
Gots: 474 | 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: 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: 250 | Hads: 1,851
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 Thelonious_Mahler_Crate
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Amber hue with a beige head that surprisingly dissipates somewhat quickly. Very bubbly.

Smell: Tons of malts, as is to be expected.

Taste: Malty, biscuity, earthy richness. As it warms up, more flavors come out, though I can't identify them all... They just taste good. Booze comes out and lights up your nasal cavity a bit at the end of a sip.

Mouthfeel: Nice level of viscosity and carbonation.

Overall: My second barleywine after SN Bigfoot, and I think I like it better. It's a very pleasant beer that I may get another one of, and see what aging does to it. (582 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz.

Pours a hazy amber, inch of yellowish white head is pillowy and retains well. Eventually dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of buttered bread, apples, fresh piney hops, and maple.

Flavor is of maple and honey malts, buttered toast, apple, and a piney floral hop finish. Some woody and nutty undertones.

Body is medium to full, viscous, with a stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Very good Barleywine, not as hoppy as a lot of American styles, but hoppy enough to balance out the heavy malt. Overall very balanced, very good flavor and aroma. Worth seeking out. (585 characters)

Photo of brewski09
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Release aged in a combination of a cool dark closet and a beer fridge. Poured into a red wine glass (a nice serving substitute for a goblet or tulip style glass).

A - Pours a ruddy brownish red with a small head that doesn't stick around too long. The beer is nice and clear.

S - The smell is now dominated by a big sherry note as expected by the original booze note when this was fresh. I feel like there is a non-distinct hop aroma in the background here too. Overall, a really nice progression of the malt profile and alcohol, but still balanced enough by the other beer characteristics.

T - The beer still has a mild hop bite to it up front that hangs around the taste profile. The sherry hits you up front as well, but then fades into the background and allows the booze to mellow and then allows the malts and hops to return.

M - The mouth feel is thinner than expected, somehow less viscous than the fresh beer was. The carbonation seems a little finer as well. The mouth feel falls just a little short for me.

O - A really nice progression of a high quality barleywine. Happy I hid this one instead of just drinking it right away.

If you have one of these from 2011 still, I would probably drink it now. (1,223 characters)

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 22 oz bomber 2012 release

A - A cloudy amber red, with 1 finger of head and sticky lace left all over the glass. Zero clarity and particle floating throughout. Unfiltered. Beautiful

S - Brown sugar, piny, and caramel. Lots of brown sugar. Not as quite as strong in the nose as some other Barleywines

T - Oh my. Brown sugar, sweet, malty, boozy. Delicious!

M - Full bodied and well carbonated. This one is a sipper

O - Another amazing offering from Stone. All hopped out and full of flavor. Would not expect any less from Stone. Well done, and I will be purchasing this one again...and soon! (597 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A copper%2Famber pour with a finger of white head%2C great retention. Smells fantastic - tons of caramel%2C honey%2C brown sugar%2C barley%2C and a touch of grassy hops.%0AThe flavor is a sweet barley %22juice%22 with brown sugar%2C roasted notes%2C burnt caramel. Just delicious.%0A%0AFull body with modest carbonation. Thick and creamy on the lips.%0A%0AThis is a fantastic beer at a ridiculously low price. Don't pass on it. (428 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 davey101
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass.

A - Dark red clear body. One finger light khaki head. Moderate amount of lacing and retention.

S - Great balance between rich toffee malts and grapefruit hops. Caramel, pine, and some dark candied fruits.

T - Super smooth and sweet. Grapefruit and piney hops, vanilla, dark fruits, and rich toffee. Finish is a tad boozy with some faint bitterness. Chewy and smooth mouth feel.

O - Perfect example of an American barley wine. Loads of rich toffee and malt sweetness with just the right amount of citrus hops which lends a nice piney bite. Delicious and well priced. (617 characters)

Photo of mt24turner
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Aroma- Dried Apricot, pineapple, Heavy Malt sweetness.
Taste- Sweet upfront with heavy fruit flavor apricot, pineapple, raisin, plenty of caramel sweetness backed up with a nice balance of bitter hop resins, very spicy hop oils and warming alcohol finish.
Huge mouthfeel on this one, carbonation helps balance the heavy malt. Great barleywine definitely recommended (367 characters)

Photo of santomark
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured this caramel, orange, redish, colored body. Less than 1" finger head. Nice lacing though.

S - Upfront there's this smell of molasses, caramel sugar sweetness, malty, big malt presence, bready, little to no hops, a bit of a pine.

T - A bit of bit from the abv which is the malt, there's no hiding this. Followed with this sweet spiciness. It is very unique, can't really describe.

M - Very heavy body, I stay away from using syrupy or thick, this is just a heavy body. Carbonation is up there, to the point of spiciness.

O - I like this, but I prefer the Oaked Smoked version of this. The oak mellows it out, this is it's out of control sister. It's still a great beer, and I will have it again. This beer is Beer Gone Wild. (766 characters)

Photo of davewlfpckfan29
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Guardian 2012!

This is the second Old Guardian that I have tried. I had an aged 2010 Old Guardian on tap a couple weeks ago.

This seems to be a great example of a barley wine. Stone does it very well (as they do with any beer they make).

Barley wine really has a unique taste that is hard for me to describe. The tastes I can identify are fruits, lots of them:
Raisins, citrus too. And a brown sugar kind of taste.

My cousin and I agree that this is very comparable to Bigfoot. (487 characters)

Photo of 44Stone
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 9oz Brandy Snifter. Pours Dark Copper with a light tan foamy head. Excellent lacing and body.

Smells of softened dry fruit and honey with a nice earthy hop aroma. Very inviting.

Tastes like it smells; beautiful malty sweetness, more than I remember from last year's version (although we just tried last year's bottle from the cellar and the hops of course mellowed a bit). The hops are defintely present but not as forward as past versions, in a good way. It takes a little warmth to develop but worth the wait. Excellent balance and dangerously drinkable.

Overall, probably my favorite Un-aged version of Old Guardian. I lean towards the English style for Barleywines, and this one satisfies until the end. A must-try. (736 characters)

Photo of mjgarrett2
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition Old Guardian

A-Translucent copper color, delicate head like with most barleywines.

S-Extraordinarily enticing: not sure if it is the spices or the malts but a very elegant aroma.

T-Well spiced and a bit tart. Excellent balance (no bite from the alcohol) if a bit bitter on the back end.

M-Great, nothing to complain about.

O-Nothing in particular jumps out at you but I couldn't be happier sipping and enjoying this. Seems a little unremarkable yet I would judge all other barleywines by how well they compare to this one. (540 characters)

Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. Bottle (2009 vintage)

Lets play a game called the waiting game. I didnt mind this fresh, but aged... That is another story. This is the 2009 edition that I am currently enjoying. Yeah, I am boring you, time for the brew! This Gargoyle pours pretty! Deep copper body with light golden blonde hues. Nice white soapy lacing. This beast looks outstanding!

The aroma has notes of oxidation, wet cardboard with an underlaying caramel and toffee. They seem to stretch out first and hit the nose hairs first. On the backend seems to be a bleachy aroma that fades fast to some green apple skin. I am not joking its there. Yet to me that adds some complexity to the aroma.

The flavor is the justifying agent, so what does the tastebuds have to say? The flavor is fine! Its shooting forth notes of caramel sweetness that lays forth sherry notes of toffee and fruits. So I guess some oxidation is proven in the flavor. Yet, its not as off-putting as the aroma describes. Then the apple skin flavor pulls forth after the swallow that leaves an earthy bitter tobacco aftertaste. This finishes sweet and bitter with a subtle dryness that leaves you satisfied. This brew feels is light on the palate with boring carbonation.

Overall: I would like to have a Verticle with all the vintages. Yet right now, I know it ages with the best of them. If you like oxidation in your brew. The age of this brew has hidden the high gravity of the brew, yet it's oxidation pulls forth some favorable characteristics. Sherry notes I like, yet the wet cardboard and bleach in the aroma is a bit of a let down, not by much though. The rest of the flavor of the brew is a win for me! So I guess its not a total loss at all to age one of these buggers. Now I have to see how a fresh one tastes. Blah, blah, blah! This brew is Recommended! (1,818 characters)

Photo of daledeee
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 22 oz bomber.

Poured into a large wine glass. Got a nearly black body with an off white head.

Nose was hoppy mostly. Some malt?

Taste was heavy bodied with lots of malt and hops. I found this one to be very balanced.

Mouth feel was really good. Overall, I thought this was one of the better barley wines I have had; surprised it is not ranked higher. (358 characters)

Photo of Lemke10
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (463 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Old Guardian 2012

Poured a share into a brandy snifter. Oh boy, I can already start to smell this one.

Two-and-half fingers of cream-colored head that looks dense. Dark amber in color with some murk, but otherwise, great clarity.

Papery scents mixed with muted citrus hops, toffee, buckwheat, pine, booze sweetness, and dark fruits. Lots of malty vs hoppy, where malty wins.

Hops are in the front row, getting tackled by the alcohol in the middle. There's a rye spice character that works in tandem with the pine/citrus hops. An earthy, bread crust-y malt is big and enveloping, working in media of burnt sugars and musty fruits. Gotta love that spicy prickle, almost like there's a bit of cayenne in the mix. Stings in the finish amidst the bubbles. Hey, it's hot, but I kind of like it like that. I have another one to bury in a dark place for awhile, but I like to experience the fresh example. Medium-heavy bodied with great fresh barleywine carb presence. A little sticky on my upper lip, but far from cloying. Knock a few points for the big stomach-sinking booze, but the mouthfeel is otherwise top-of-the-line.

I can't believe this is the first time trying Old Guardian. Gotta look into scoring some older vintages. Highly recommended, and at $6.99 a bottle, a huge win! I'll buy mo', fo' sho! (1,311 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 batch, It has been in my cellar for about six months. Sampled on April 9, 2013.

I like the way it pours with its medium reddish to mahogany amber tone and its short, silky white head. The head becomes a ring. Handsome looking beer.

For a barleywine the aroma is more subtle and mellow. Certainly it is malt forward and sweet with a roasted note but the hops are played down. There is also a bit of a dark fruit character mingling in the background.

The body is medium to bold.

The taste is warming. malty, and sweet with the faintest of alcohol. The hop finish lingers briefly but tends to be low to moderate. This is a pleasant barleywine. (649 characters)

Photo of JTbrue
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'14 vintage on tap at the Bier Stein, Eugene, OR. L: Great color, a little hazy but the orange-dark red-brownish color with an off-white head is really doing it for me. S: more booze than I expected considering there's not too much in the taste for an 11%, big hops, big caramel-candi-dark fruit smell. T: Well it's a Stone beer... Perfect hop balance and flavor from beginning to end. The malt flavors are there too, along with dark fruits and a little caramel. Very little alcohol- big plus for me with a barleywines. F: heavy bodied, not too much carbonation which I like with my barleywines. Incredibly smooth and dangerously drinkable. O: living in Southern California, I am always hesitant to say that I love Stone beers considering how huge they are nationwide, but they continue to come out with beers that are just fantastically well made. This is one of them, especially after a year when you get that hop flavor and the bitterness has died down a bit. Really tasty, very drinkable, overall a really good beer. (1,021 characters)

Photo of obywan59
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear orange/amber with a 4 finger, thick and chunky, light tan head.

Rich sweet malt, alcohol, and tart to over-ripe citrus in the aroma. A bit of pineyness as well.

Sweet malts and alcohol dominate the taste. Tart citrus contributes in a big way. Bitter hops finish it off. The flavor seems to be in much better balance after the beer warms.

Fairly heavilly-bodied with a light prickle of catbonation and the sting of alcohol. Creamy and syrupy.

I sampled this with some Hersheys Bliss rich and creamy dark chocolate. I'd say that the chocolate moderated the sweetness of the beer, bringing out the beers tart citric character, but the beer moderated the bitterness of the chocalate. This beer is well balanced, especialloy after it warms. Not as good as as I rememvber the previous versions to be, but still worthy. (839 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Size able head. Leaves ample blanketing lace. Cloudy amber to brown color where light passes in a murky way.

Sweet malt sugar nose. It smells like pre-hopped, pre-fermented batch of home brew. Some alcohol in the background.

Rich, thick and full of caramel. This could probably go well on top of vanilla ice cream. There's enough hop to prevent this from becoming cloyingly sweet. It's surprisingly easy to drink despite the 11% abv. The mouthfeel is chewy. (461 characters)

Photo of Bauzen
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark copper in color.

Smells of strong malt, hops, and sweet caramel.

Flavor is hoppier than the smell would suggest. The ABV certainly aids the flavors along and gives the beer a flavorful bitterness. The sweetness doesn't last. In fact, it drinks more imperial-IPA-like than a Barley Wine. There's also an undeniable density to the brew. Carbonation makes it feel light, but it's anything but light. This is a serious beer, but the finish is refined, dry, and bitter.

Second to Stone's Enjoy by IPA, this is my favorite of their year-round offerings. It's potent and rewarding with every sip, a welcome variety from their bolder beers that can be hit-or-miss depending on what you like. Well done, Stone... Well done! (724 characters)

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (302 characters)

Photo of Craigory
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 release, poured from a 22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a slightly murky, auburn colour, with tons of off-white head. The head sticks around for a decent amount of time, eventually settling to a light ring on top of the beer.

S: Tons of caramel and burnt sugar, a fair amount of alcohol, and just a bit of citrus-y hops. Smells sweet, sweet, and sweeter.

T: Follows the nose exactly. This is a lot of burnt sugar and toffee, a bit of caramel, a bit of citrus hops, and just enough alcohol to keep me from drinking too fast. There is a little bitterness on the back end, but this is a nice, sweet barley wine.

M: Medium-bodied, just a bit of carbonation. A nod toward syrupy, but not so much as to totally coat the mouth.

O: I like this as an American Barley Wine. Big sweetness, big alcohol, and fairly hop-forward, in keeping with Stone's values. Drinkable in the sense that it tastes great, but take the 11% seriously; this is a night of drinking unto itself. (985 characters)

Photo of BastardKing24
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My 50th review, and on Christmas! woot! one of my all time joys of a beer, very first barleywine I ever had. This beer was my gatewqay to stronger beers. I can still remember the day I had it, drinking it out of the bottle (many years ago I did this) and thinking how bitter it was and how complex I thought it tasted.

A - a lovely deep red color with a small head that falls to a ring and lacing. Sticks around for a bit. Looks rather sticky. Bubbles are present ascending in the body.

S - I get big caramel malt smells and hops. Citrus, leather, biscuit, pine, although not as big a nose as some other barleywines I've had.

T - Big sweetness hits you in the face, then an assault of bitter hops glides through the profile and ends with a slightly sweet yet bitter aftertaste. Orange zest, ripe fruits, candied mango, dates, and brown sugar. The flavor changes through the taste, and is a little in your face, this being 2013 and 6 months old. Its balanced yet has sufficient polarized flavors to keep you interested at this age of the beer. I have had this aged for 2 years and its much more mellow and rounded out in terms of the sweetness and bitterness.

M - Great feel to this one, its medium carbonation keeps your taste buds tickling, and leaves a long finish of hops and malt.

O - I like this beer alot for the price and wish I could find it more often here in Oregon. It's around but have to seek it out. (1,418 characters)

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.