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: 465 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 245 | Hads: 1,838
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 Hoptometrist
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
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. (744 characters)

Photo of KajII
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky medium chestnut brown with an average (1-2 finger) light tan frothy head that reduced to a large puddle with a medium collar and had excellent streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a sweet bread malt, resin and pine hops and a doughy yeast with notes of citrus (grapefruit and orange peel), caramel, dark fruit (raisons and prunes) and a pronounced alcohol odor.

The taste was malty sweet with notes of caramel and dark fruit up front, and then became very hoppy with a good strong citrus peel presence and an intense alcohol finish. The flavor lasted quite a long while following the swallow, with a bitter-sweet citrus peel alcohol taste left behind.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and dry in texture with a carbonation that was just beyond medium.

Overall this was a very powerful tasting brew that possessed a nice hoppy sweet taste, although it was slightly overpowered by the high ABV...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews (986 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 SawDog505
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (632 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$7 pint at Boat Works in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

Seeing this on-tap and loving Stone, I knew I had to try it. I'm not the hugest fan of American Barleywines, but I enjoy them time-to-time. The last one I really liked was Crunkle Sam from Clown Shoes, so this unfortunately gets compared to that.

When I first got it no doubt at a temperature far colder than the recommended temperature, I just zeroed in on the intense bitterness that would be off-putting to many. As it warmed up, it changed a lot, as I expected it to. The rich, plentiful malt character shined through, although there wasn't much sweetness, given this particular style. Massive hop bitterness with a lot of citrus rind characteristics in this one. Lacking on flavor depth, though -- a nice Barleywine-y malt quality that I expect, then the fruitiness from the hops, but nothing too new or original. I really enjoyed, for instance, Crunkle Sam because it offers a distinct orange sort of flavor.

Old Guardian is a very good American Barleywine that certainly doesn't skimp on the hops. The alcohol is reasonably hidden when it's cold, but as it approaches room temperature, you REALLY know what you're getting into. A nice beer -- not a great one, but one worth trying if you like the style, no doubt. (1,276 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The 2012 edition. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Dark amber with a tan half-finger head that leaves bubbles in its wake. Significant lacing.

S: Bourbon, leather, licorice, brown sugar.

T: Excellent. Smooth; robust hops dominate. Barley malt heavy. Sweet, bourbon-y. A lightly bitter finish that settles well.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Creamy.

O: Outstanding. Alcohol slides in for a fine buzz. Will buy again. One of the better barleywines available. Go, Stone! (475 characters)

Photo of zac16125
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle into a small snifter
2013 vintage

A: Pours a rather clear orangish red with less than 1 fingers width of light khaki colored head, which quickly dissipates down to a wispy center and outer ring. Really pretty beer with the color and clarity. Leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: Crisp apple, caramel, toffee, melting sugar. Quite sweet but at the same time smells refreshing.

T: Doesnt follow the nose at all. Heavy hop notes right off the bat (with lots of bitterness) coupled with burnt sugar. The two combine to give it an astringent quality that I sometimes get in American Barleywines but rarely get in the English counterparts. Booze is also prominent. I also get citrus rind and pine hoppy characters, and some sweetness in the form of caramel although this is mostly masked by the bitter astringency.

M/D: Medium bodied, carbonation on the higher end of the style, ABV is noticeable but no heat going down. Drinkability is moderate at best.

O: Ive been really disappointed by the last few ABWs Ive had. Maybe I am just spoiled or have different expectations since I more commonly drink EBWs which are more in line with my palate preference. Either way, this is not a bad beer, but it left me disappointed. It comes off as harsh throughout much of the drink, not in a boozy or burning way, but in terms of harsh flavor with the burnt and bitter notes dominating. Im gonna throw my other bottle in the cellar, we'll see how this changes over the next couple of years. As is, its drinkable but not worth making a special trip for (price is right though!).

Also, Im a pretty big Stone whore when it comes to their hoppy beers, seems like the never miss on those. However, this is the second miss for me when they go outside of the IPA/pale realm, as I thought their RIS was a big miss as well. (1,819 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 ounce snifter glass. 2012 release bottle.

Appearance:A very cloudy deep amber. Almost opaque, yes that cloudy bubbles are strong and moving all over the bottom. Head comes off orange to white just about a notch under a finger's length.

Smell: Has a light rum scent, as if this brew was barrel aged. This is great and all but definitely a lighter smell than I was expecting.

Taste: Absolutely rich, you taste the strength of this beast and absolutely no reason not to like. It is complex, robust in flavor. You feel the rum that i smelled earlier but magnified. A littler bitter almost to the point you think you are chewing tobacco but it's sweet at the same time.

Mouth: Medium, but very sticking. Crisp and toasty after taste.

Overall: I will put it this way, I am going to have it again and again. I am not saying this will be the best barleywine you have ever but it will be a memorable one (in a good way). While in season grab yourself a bottle and drink up, Salud! (996 characters)

Photo of Furlinator
3.74/5  rDev -6.7%

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy copper. The 1/2 inch khaki head fades to a thin cap on top and leaves very faint lace. There is visible floating sediment.

The smell is of toasted bread, caramel, toffee and faint booze.

The taste roasted malt, biscuit bread, toffee and a hint of booze.

The texture is heavy bodied with low carbonation.

A solid caramel malt heavy barleywine. (378 characters)

Photo of jimmah120
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 2012 release

cherry amber look with a small ring of foam. smell is melon juice, rubbing alcohol, grassy hops. big and chewy body, some alcohol burn. medicinal hop finish with sweet wine-y (wine-ish?) malt.

very chewy and bitter. I'm likin' it. (259 characters)

Photo of sommersb
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 04-22-2012
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

A: Clear beer, with a dark red-brown color. The head is tan and creamy, but disappears quickly. Very good lace on the glass.

S: Big hop aromas at first, of pine, citrus and woodiness. But there is also malty sweetness with dark fruits, caramels, brown sugar and molasses. Very complex smells, including an alcohol presence.

T: Initially I get a malty and bready richness, which is then followed by spicy, bitter hops. Warming from the alcohol. The flavors open up nicely as it warms to room temperatures.

M: Thick mouthfeel and body and low-to-medium carbonation. The finish is balanced between sweetness and bitterness, although the bitterness edges out ahead. Somewhat harsh in the aftertastes.

O: Overall a very good barleywine. (874 characters)

Photo of Beerswag
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz 2013 bottle aged 6 months. Pored a brandy color with yellow undertones.. off white- tannish head pours a 1/4" head that stays around for a few.not too much stickiness, lacing on the glass. Lots of malt and yeast on the nose.. Smell is malt heavy followed by candied "stone-fruit", peach and plum on the nose, caramel, toffee, and a little orange zest. Taste is mellow and balanced: white grape, plum, pear, yeasty hop profile in the finish. Carbonation is slightly crisp which is mildly dry and approachable. Mouthfeel is medium body with the ever slightest bight from the hops. Mildly acidic for the style, but that is to my liking. Overall a memorable beer from a respected brewery..would order on tap to compare.. Age has proved well on this 1. Would like to see this one aged for 2 years and the paired with goat cheese, cinammon and spiced desserts, or any fowl. (872 characters)

Photo of damndirtyape
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review #500! 22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 release.

Appearance: Hazy dark amber. Light tan thin head. Lots and lots of persistent fine strand lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Orange citrus, alcohol notes, fruity esters, roasted malts, caramel.

Taste: Citrus hops right up front, the moving into a wide range of flavors: toffee, roasted malts, pine. Some alcohol heat noted. Lingering bitter finish with some malt sweetness thrown in. The finish had notes of pine and lemon, with the lemon being sharp as the beer warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly thick, sticky, with just right carbonation under it all.

Overall / Drinkability: Overall, I think this needs to be paired with the right meal, which I didn't hit tonight, which was a barley, potato, and ditilini + vegetable broth soup. But, it's pretty damn good sipping slowly all by itself. I think this would pair better with beef and roasted vegetables. Despite the food mismatch this was quite tasty and dangerously drinkable. I knew it was 11.2% ABV going in, but one large snifter later I'm feeling the effects, and yet I want some more sips. The hoppiness of this Barleywine is just right - it's strong enough for a hophead, but not overpowering; it allows the malt to shine and compliment all the hop flavors. The lemon note was a nice touch with this one. This beer sat and aged for about ~8 months (or whenever it was bottled at the start of 2013), and I wonder how it would be with another 9-12 months but maybe the hop flavors would get too muted. In any case, I very good choice for my 500th beer review and I may pick up another version of this and let it sit longer next time. (1,659 characters)

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle ---> DFH signature glass. Dark amber/orange with two finger white head. Some lacing along the glass with a column of rising bubbles.

Decent balance of sweet robust malt, caramel and big bitter hops. Sticky, sappy, pine and mild citrus fade into unique spice notes...cinnamon

Layers of flavor combine pine, citrus, musty earthiness, burnt sugar, and robust malt. Bit of a warming effect from alcohol with enormous wave of prickly bitterness and more booze...still smells hot six months later

..Had again 6 months later with subdued bitterness, less citrus, still very sweet...enjoyable

Big bodied Barley Wine. Thick with mild carbonation.

This one could mellow out a little before cracked. Not bad fresh though. (726 characters)

Photo of Kromes
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

S: Caramel malts, fruit with floral hop.

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

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

O: A good Barleywine, this one could use some mellowing before cracking open. (357 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
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. (443 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

Good stuff. (440 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of vandemonian
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale is a tasty barleywine without much in the way of unexpected flavour.

A: Red brown colour and a good 4 mm head that lasts. 4.5

S: Malty and a little oxidised with some hop aroma still evident. 4

T: Malty with sweetness and cardboard. Some burnt brown sugar in the finish. 4

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 4 (346 characters)

Photo of Dave1999
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle.

The appearance is a dark amber with a nice white head.

The smell is sweet, caramel, toffee and peppery spices. There's a little bit of alcohol as well.

The taste is sweet up, caramel and toffee like the smell, it finishes very bitter, with some pine and some citrus.

The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with medium carbonation.

A very nice barley wine, very bitter for the style but still delicious as expected from stone. (439 characters)

Photo of Radome
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from a 22 oz bomber bottle labeled "2015 Classic Release."

L - A beautiful beer. Dark amber color with some red; absolutely crystal clear. Head is light tan, huge and fluffy and long lasting. Gobs of lacing.

S - Great blend of strong bready malt, raisins and stone fruit, and American hops. Some low yeast fruitiness.

T - Like the aroma, the flavors are a blend of malt (warm bread, light plums and raisins, hint of soy sauce) and US hops (pineapple and earthiness). Some rummy alcohol flavors mix with the malt.

F - Medium to full body. High, creamy carbonation. Strong alcohol presence. There is a huge hit of hops bitterness, letting you know this is definitely an American barley wine.

O - A good barley wine, but not excellent for me. This is a huge beer in terms of hops bitterness and alcohol, but I don't think the flavors are as interesting as the other assertive qualities would lead you to want. (931 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 kemoarps
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (912 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: May 20, 2015... GLASSWARE: Duvel snifter... OCCASION: Cavs begin the Eastern Conference Finals in Atlanta--as good a time as any for the Old Guardian! APPEARANCE: Dark ruby body that is almost opaque; sports a fortified, thick, creamy off-white head that laces in equally thick webbing... AROMA: a blast of hops--Cascade, centennial, and Amarillo, by estimate--elicits a welcome interest; some earthy, damp tree-like tones; malts are dark and intense... PALATE: gloriously and uncompromisingly full-bodied; thick and creamy, with a long-lasting finish that warms the throat--a pleasantly irrepressible presence...TASTE: A potpourri of hops crunch in the teeth--citrus, mango, apple, berry, licorice, liquor, and cinnamon; the malts are the size of a horse blanket and approximate the taste--a raw, full tete-a-tete between hop and malt; slight medicinal undertones... OVERALL: as I remember it--a force of nature, repressed alcohol nonetheless driving a bold, balanced barley wine that smashes the senses--am I speaking in too much hyperbole?--and strikes a vinous similarity with a lighter red; a champion of the genre...supersedes the Bigfoot.... (1,161 characters)

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