Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

245 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 245
Hads: 1,838
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 65
Gots: 464 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: smerrell on 02-18-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 245 | Hads: 1,838
Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. This is a 2012.

Pours somewhat cloudy, reddish brown color, very little head. The head that is there is light beige. Smell is sweet and musty, very fruity. Lots of alcohol in the aroma.

Taste is muted, alcohol, some fruityness. Some hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick and still. Overall, it's pretty god. Not as good as I remember, but pretty good. (394 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release, poured into a 25oz snifter. Pours a deep brown color with reddish hues when held to the light. Creamy beige head holds good retention and leaves some chunky lacing on the glass. Huge, rich caramel nose, with toast, grain, bread crust, piny hop, brown sugar as well. Tastes are complex and bold with rich and sweet caramel up-front, followed by an assault of the palate with pine resin. Bready, toasted grain, dark brown sugar in the middle. Full of flavor, well balanced, boozy on the finish with burnt caramel and pine lingering. Body is full, creamy but resiny, with ample carbonation. Overall, once again awesome Stone quality! (644 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft into snifter at Yard House in San Diego, Calif., on July 28, 2012. Three fingers of head when I got it. Mahogany brown color. Thick white foam/lacing. Good retention all around (sides and top).

Smelled caramel, light chocolate, rye and nuts.

Tasted nutty, toffee, caramel. Very malty. So smooth.

Full body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long lasting smooth finish.

Absolutely loved this beer. Very malty, but it worked. So smooth and a great aftertaste. (472 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an almost clear amber-orange with a thin layer of frothy off-white head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel, biscuit, and caramelized malts with grapefruit, citrus, and pine hops and some booze.

T - Starts off with some sweet caramel and biscuit malts with lots of grapefruit and citrus hops and some bitterness. Through the middle, pine hop flavors comes through with more bitterness alongside some caramelized sugars and some more biscuit malt. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts with lots of tropical, citrus, and resiny pine hops, bitterness, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a resiny, bitter, dry, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice hoppy American Barleywine. The hop profile is really great and helps to balance out the hotness and body. Enough malt flavor to keep up as well. (933 characters)

Photo of Philousa
3.36/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly bright, clear copper color with a couple fingers head that dissipates quickly to leave splotches of bubbles on the surface. Aroma is sweetly caramel with a slight cinnamon accent. Hops are definitely prevalent - mainly grassy and musty, not too abrasive. Caramel and woodsy flavors dominate. A little barky, rough in flavor. Syrupy sweet, but balanced in feel. The aftertaste lingers in the back of your throat like it owns the place, all musty and bitter-like. It's very Stone-ish. The alcohol is there, but deceptive. I never would have pegged this at 11%. Feel is slightly thick, finish is dry.

I'm ambivalent about this beer. It's super sweet for a Barleywine, but the bitterness milds it out a bit. I've had the 2009 version this winter and I can say for a fact that it does mellow well with time. Should have layed this down for a couple years... (869 characters)

Photo of Bottlebomber
2.98/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bomber of this from the liquor store, poured into a wine glass.

A: A dark burnished copper. Pours a nice head, then BAM! Gone. Left spotty lacing. Unfortunately this is probably the highlight of this beer.

S: Bread, buttered biscuits, caramel, and some citrusy hops. With the amount of malt and hops that can potentially go into this style, I was underwhelmed.

T: Tasted quite like the smell - biscuity malt, some caramel, some citrusy hops. One thing I will have to give it was the bitterness was just right. Some people go really nuts bittering these ABW's, and I think a Barleywine should be more about the malt. Still, not enough going on to impress.

M: Semi-full. Really not as voluptuous as a Barleywine should be. This is supposed to be a sipper, I wasn't planning on finishing the bomber but it is drinking like an IIPA.

O: Meh!! An unexpected meh! I am really surprised that with all of Stone's over the top offering that they put so little into this beer. I should have listened to the other reviews :( (1,033 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 acevenom
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
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. (969 characters)

Photo of gustogasmic
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (313 characters)

Photo of brandon911
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.53/5  rDev -12%
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. (910 characters)

Photo of KingPuuChuu
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (634 characters)

Photo of FlemingVSKing
2.68/5  rDev -33.2%
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. (954 characters)

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (456 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (1,224 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – Pours a deep reddish-amber color with a one finger yellow tinted off white head. The head has great retention and fades slowly over time to give decent lacing.

Smell – The aroma is of a big bready biscuit smell. Mixed with this aroma there is an alcohol smell and with some fruit aromas of citrus and banana. There is a very light pine aroma that mixes with the others overall creating a nice complex aroma.

Taste – A big bready and slightly hoppy flavor greet the tongue. The breadiness is initially mixed with a sweeter orange citrus and the banana that was in the nose. The orange taste also is present initially as a light hop like flavor. As the taste advances on, some nice pine hoppiness begins to develop with the sweeter citrus lightening. While the sweeter fruit flavors diminish in the middle of the taste, some caramel sweetness takes its place. The pine hop gets more intense as the taste advances until just before the end, where it levels out. While the hop flavors level out at the end, an alcohol taste comes into the flavor, leaving a nice warming aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of this brew is on the creamier side with a lower level of carbonation. While creamy, it is not as thick as would have been expected from its abv. and bready taste and smell. The lower carbonation suits the beer well although the body would be better a little chewier.

Overall – This is a barleywine with a nice taste and great smell. Its mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but overall it is a good brew to sit back and enjoy. (1,604 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of jmdrpi
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
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 (362 characters)

Photo of RickS95
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (934 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.73/5  rDev -7%
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. (673 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 russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
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! (681 characters)

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

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

Photo of 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 JohnnyBarman
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
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! (708 characters)

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