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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

1,231 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1231
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
Ratings: 1,231 | Reviews: 199 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of obywan59
obywan59

Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 06:31:30 | More by obywan59
Photo of acevenom
acevenom

Louisiana

4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 Release.

Poured into a large brandy snifter. Pours dark caramel brown with a tall, biege head that dissipates very slowly. A moderate quantity of tiny bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. Some lacing is left on the side of the glass as the head dissipates. Plenty of lacing is left on the side of the glass during consumption.

The aroma is sweet and malty with some citrus hop aromas. There is a dark fruit smell as well. There smell is mostly sweet and bready. The big, sweet malts are very forward in this beer. The sweetness is akin to caramel. The hops provide a nice balancing bitterness for this malt bomb, also adding to the bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is also detectable in the taste.

The body is medium with adequate carbonation. The beer is smooth with excellent drinkability for a sipper. You definitely want to sip this beer and savor it. This is an excellent barleywine and a fine example of the American take on this style.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 18:15:14 | More by acevenom
Photo of gustogasmic
gustogasmic

Michigan

3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours straight copper with a large head, 2 inches at least. smells like pruney alchohol blended with bourbon old ale. good stuff, could use more age. comes across boozy and sweet. very nice vsnills/ bourbon to carry the dark prune-rum notes. works well and is perfectly balanced. old hop dryness, alcohol warming.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 05:56:47 | More by gustogasmic
Photo of brandon911
brandon911

Texas

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

Poured into a beer chalice

It poured a tan, one-fingered fairly dense head that dissipated quite quickly. The beer itself is reddish amber and quite opaque. On the noise it's got barley, some faint roast malts, some grassiness,cotton candy, hops, a little booze, and some citrus. It tastes fairly similar to the nose, less so on the malts, but with addition of caramel, raisins and bread. The mouth is quite nice, bitter with some bite-y carbonation, just enough to keep one from drinking it too quickly. It's also pretty smooth going down. Overall it's a great beer, not as good as the other barleywines I've had, but still very good. I'd suggest getting it, but not going out of your way for it.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 02:58:21 | More by brandon911
Photo of ADZA
ADZA

Australia

3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2012 edtion and thanks to my favourite bottleshop for this and it pours a hazy light amber hue which leaves a two finger creamy head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very barley and malt orientated with aromas of obviously barley,caramel fudge,toffee treacle,butterscotch and also Xmas cake,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and could be thicker for my liking of the style and the taste is nice but doesnt leave you gobsmacked like other big American Barleywines and the taste is very sweet with hints of marzipan,toffee treacle,butterscotch candy,raisins soaked in brandy,fruit cake and finished with a touch of bitter herbal hops to take a little edge off the sweetness first encountered and overall its not bad and could age a little bit but not too long as the malt profile is dominant and if left for a while could be even more sweeter and theres definately better Barleywines out there cheers.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2012 13:26:48 | More by ADZA
Photo of KingPuuChuu
KingPuuChuu

Arizona

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 02:51:03 | More by KingPuuChuu
Photo of FlemingVSKing
FlemingVSKing

Florida

2.65/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had a lot of expectations. I love Stone. And I'd loved my only other Barley Wine experience with Sam Adam's Griffin's Bow.

Old Guardian is probably made well, but it tastes like pure alcohol. I could seriously describe it as tasting like a rather subpar jello shot.

Now at 11% it is one of the very strongest beers I've had, and that's part of the taste, but I just don't pick up anything else of value in the flavor profile. The alcohol taste just sits right on top of what comes off of an amber ale background. Not fruit tones, no hop or spice notes.

Generally I'm not terribly concerned with the pour, but it is worth noting that after dumping this one straight down a pint mug like a Pepsi, it formed no head. A slight head emerged only after sitting for a few moments, and it was about 1/4 inch, fairly thin, and dissipated soon after.

I just don't see anything really special going on here.

Frankly I'd rather have some stock beer than this.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 12:27:08 | More by FlemingVSKing
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Hopfenpeter

Maryland

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

The color is a clear medium amber red, a one and a half finger creamy off white head building. Good retention, good lacing.
The smell is citrusy hops, honey caramel, and some alcohol.
Tasting this beer, the sweet honey caramel flavors hit up front, being checked by fruity and citrusy hops in the middle. At the finish, some more bitter hop flavors as well as some bread flavor.
Nicely balanced beer with some kick, just as a Barley Wine is supposed to be.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 12:19:19 | More by Hopfenpeter
Photo of TwelveOunces
TwelveOunces

Kentucky

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

2012 batch poured into an Old Guardian glass

A- Pours a clear dark orange with a one finger off whitish head. Decent retention and lacing. Some good alcohol legs here as well.

S- Smells very citrusy up front. A lot of grapefruit and some dark fruits as well. This beer smells very much like caramel and it also has some breaddy malt notes.

T- Nice bitterness up front and all throughout the mouth. A nice dark fruit and caramel malt flavor. A bit of a molasses and toffee. A good bit of a hop citrus flavor. A bit of alcohol. This is one bitter Barley wine. The flavor is not too bold or different but is very high quality and is there in balance.

M- This is a big beer but not as big as I was expecting an 11% barley wine to be. There is some alcohol taste as well as some warming. Very bitter and mouth tingling at some points.

O- This is a good barley wine and a perfect example of the style. It has a nice, but plain flavor. Would love to see it with some age. This beer is not as intense or as harsh as I was expecting. I always forget that Stone, while making bold and intense brews, never rules out drink ability. This is a high quality, available and reasonable priced barley wine that does the style justice.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2012 02:20:47 | More by TwelveOunces
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

4.05/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2012 23:40:13 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of WillCarrera
WillCarrera

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 07:38:38 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi

Pennsylvania

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

22oz bottle, 2012 edition.

deep copper in color, clear. 1/2" cream colored head. fades fairly quickly. fairly piney aroma, but mixed with some biscuit malt.

taste is much more hoppy and bitter that the smell. lingering earthy hop flavors. mouthfeel is a bit stickey. medium thickness & carbonation.

overall - maybe not as over the top as last year's version

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 02:47:34 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 01:53:06 | More by RickS95
Photo of pmlondrigan
pmlondrigan

New York

3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 into a short glass. Deep amber to light red, creamy light tan/off white head. Completely transparent, little head retention. Very pungent aroma. Mostly pithy grapefruit hop aromas. Some sticky resin and a faint amount of caramel and toffee. The flavor brings more of the same. A huge amount of hops, grapefruit flavor, bitter citrus pith, and behind this there is that little bit of caramel flavor and toffee. The finish has a hint of sweet followed by all bitterness. Clearly a hop forward affair. Thick and rich mouthfeel, almost syrupy, which I like. I just have no idea why I always return to this style, I don't like it. But...this is a good interpretation of it.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 01:25:40 | More by pmlondrigan
Photo of davey101
davey101

Connecticut

4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2012 01:52:41 | More by davey101
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with 2+ fingers of tan head. Much sticky lacing, good lacing

S: Pine & grapefruit & much booze

T: Follows the nose, some pineapple, rich breadyness & dryness up front. Herbal hops, a touch of caramel & much dryness, plus grapefruit by the truckload & pinesap, plus a touch of booze warmth. Finishes piney with some herbal & woody hops

MF: Chewy as all get out, skews hoppy, but there's plenty of malt body there too, subtle moderate carbonation

Full fledged hop assault, this would be a great one to take the winter chill off, but is going down great on a spring evening. The ABV is fairly well hidden. A great American Barleywine for hopheads & the rest of us too!

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 01:41:55 | More by russpowell
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 21:41:49 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of mjgarrett2
mjgarrett2

Maryland

4.25/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 00:34:02 | More by mjgarrett2
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 edition, picked up in Knightly Spirits Orlando, and survived the trip back to Canada.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Nice deep copper ruby hue, with about a half inch head from the pour. Settles into a thick ring.

Nose is classic barleywine: malt heavy, good sweetness, a bit of bread, fruit and light citric hops.

Good take on the style: sweet malt, bread, fruit, grape a dry boozy finish. This brew felt a bit hot - a few months of cellaring would have done well, but it is certainly quite enjoyable as is. Carbonation is sharp, mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly sticky.

Nice barleywine, though nothing to stop the presses over. Worth holding on to if you can pick up one or two at any rate!

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2012 03:17:29 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of davewlfpckfan29
davewlfpckfan29

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 17:59:37 | More by davewlfpckfan29
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver

California

4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 10:36:30 | More by SHODriver
Photo of yamar68
yamar68

Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 01:14:58 | More by yamar68
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

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

I had been anticipating this one for a while. It pours a nice ruddy orange color with a really good head (maybe I poured too fast). The smell is not very strong. The taste is average barleywine and alcohol. This is the first Stone beer that has ever disappointed me. it wasn’t bad but I always expect to be blown away by Stone seasonal beers (I usually am). The alcohol was pretty noticeable but I think in a year or two this one will be awesome. I plan on picking up a case for aging purposes. Update: 06/2007: This tastes much, much better after having six months behind it. I have to adjust my review accordingly because the flavors really made me smile this time.

Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 01-29-2007 23:16:39

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 00:32:19 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of Hoptometrist
Hoptometrist

Oregon

3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from the bottle into a tulip glass

A- Poured a very clear and dark ruby/mahogany color with a three finger soapy head that left some minimal lace

S- Big sweet sweet caramel, grapefruit, big breadiness, pungent aroma, molasses, and some hay funk

T- Big sweet breadiness, caramel, molasses, and raisin notes. Grapefruit, hay funk, and lots of alcohol

M- Quite sticky, syrupy, low carbonation, big alcohol warming

O- This is a super sweet beer, a little over the top for me. I think 10 oz. of this beer would have been fine, but a bomber of this was too much for me. I don't have a ton of experience with barleywines and it is not a favorite style of mine, I did like this beer more at first but after a while it became cloying sweet.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 02:26:44 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

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

Beer Review # 100! Old Guardian 2012 release

Appearance - Pours a deep, semi-clear reddish copper with a thick, creamy light tan 3-finger head. Excellent retention. Leaves behind a thick, sticky lace.

Smell - Dark fruity ester, citrus hop, brown sugar and a bit of alcohol to boot.

Taste - A complex array of flavors... it's gonna take a bit of time to break it all down. Starts off with a bit of citrus hop, then fades into a caramel malt which then turns dark quickly for a coffee / mocha finish, with a lingering bitterness behind this. Heat is subtle throughout. At 11%, that's not so bad.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied. Somewhat syrupy. As a barleywine, it comes with the territory.

Overall - An excellent barleywine. Not my favorite, but certainly up there. A fine choice for beer review # 100!

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2012 02:34:27 | More by TheSixthRing
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,231 ratings.