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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

98 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 89
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%


Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.91% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 01-29-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ZX6Chris
ZX6Chris

California

5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Dark amber, light around the edges. The liquid in the glass looks so smooth and inviting. Nice carbonation after all these years. A thin layer of head with a nice ring of offwhite bubbles around the edge. Nice lacing, this sticks to the glass.

S-No hop aroma. Alcohol isn't even present. Malt aroma, tropical fruit, carmel.

T-Malty sweetness that comes off as pineapple to me so I'd say it has a tropical fruit taste. A little alcohol on the finish. Maybe a touch of bitterness from the hops on the finish.

M-Medium body. Smooth! Slips all over your tongue down your throat. This is the first beer I've had that I would call luscious.

D-Easy drinking for a BW. This could age for many more years. I definitely like this aged.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 00:18:27 | More by ZX6Chris
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, obscured, rich amber body with a thin, beige head.

Smell: Sweetish, robust caramel maltiness with a scent of juicy raisins and aged plum jelly.

Taste: Rich caramel maltiness with a delicious, home-made quality to it. Pleasant dark fruitiness. Fairly restrained hop character, assumably due to age, but even less so than the 2002. Light hoppy flavors of citrus and shaved wood. A touch grainy. Very mellow alcohol presence. Sweetish, satisfying finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Enjoyed as part of a vertical spanning the vintages between 2002 and 2007. The 2003 was the real standout in the group, closely followed by the 2005. I'd recommend pulling it out of your cellars now or stealing out of someone else's.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2008 03:33:53 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of sessycuban
sessycuban

California

4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Stuffed Sandwich. You can always count on Sam having a gem or a thousand.

A - The beer pours a deep orange color. The head was very minimal, which is standard for an aged beer. Perfect retention, lots of sedement at the bottom. The lacing took a hit as well, but again, given the age, I think this is standard.

S - Very floral. I'm getting pineapple, dark fruits, and what I'd guess to be cascade hops. Very aromatic.

T - The beer is a bit subdued, but at the same time assertive in flavor. In it's current state, it tastes very much like Fred, albeit a lot murkier and probably has a richer hop profile. Very robust malt backbone, some unfermented sugars; in sum, very complex and very delicious.

M - Medium bodied. Very yeasty.

D - Excellent beer! It probably would've tasted better fresh but it was still good nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 05:32:21 | More by sessycuban
Photo of BlindPig
BlindPig

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Thin light tan head on a clearish amber body. Hints of orange too.Thin and small collar with very little sticking to side of glass and a little tiny bit of lacing in the middle.
S- Alcohol, malts, bit of fruit, and some grassy and citrus hops. Smell isn't as strong as the other years. Alcohol and caramel malts come though most. It has a pretty sweet smell to it also.
T- Big caramel malt flavor. Bitterness is also big but more under everything else but it like a bumpy ground...you know it's there. Some light cirtus flavors also. Maybe a hint of grapefruit. Alcohol is pretty strong too. It is very sweet. Can taste the pale malts also. A bit of toffee. Hints of oak too (almost like part of this was aged in oak barrels and mixed with beer that wasn't (like 20/80). Bit sticky and cloggy. Big in flavors and very complex. Maybe a bit bready?
M- Light to medium carbonation. Bit cloggy with a medium to full body to it.
D- It is a very good brew but not as good as 02 and 00 (they are the top so far). Very sweet and complex.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2006 04:58:13 | More by BlindPig
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy

Minnesota

4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I asked my sister to get a few bottles of the 2003 Old Guardian, and she got me a case. Best decision she's ever made for me. Drank most in the first year or so, but just opened a three year old bottle tonight. Still pours with a creamy tan head, that leaves pretty quickly, but the beer is somewhere between a teenager and middle aged, so give it a break. Strong alcohol scent wafts up with a lot of raisin and vanilla, spicy. The hops have receded a bit into the background, but the smooth, oily character of a full integrated aged beer makes up for it. It warmed up well, opening up even more with the fruity esters and big malt in the nose and mouth. Slight bitterness on the way down the back. It aged well, and aged beer is the ultimate pleasure. I've got three more bottles and going to aim to make them last a total of ten years or so, and I'll re-review as I go.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2006 03:14:31 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerrun13 for including this gem in HBIF 3. Awesome addition!!! Somewhat murky brown color-good orange to amber highlights. Extreme fusion of malt and hops in the nose-really quite the "bomb" on the senses. Almost an apricot/marmalade sort of smell. Huge malt flavor with an overabundance of hops. Big, slick heavy handed hop and malt mix. Hasnt mellowed in the least. The "brightness" might be gone but thats about it. Perfect mouthfeel-get me spoon. Its just a big, bold, in your face body that doesnt let up. Very, very drinkable. Wouldnt make it my primary barleywine but like everything else I have had from Stone it is highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2006 00:36:48 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - poured into a Belgian glass, it looks like a dull red, with some purple hues to darken things. Held up to light it shows more of an orange cast. Minimal head, I 'bounced' the last ounce or two in and worked up a half-finger or so. It held for a minute maybe before falling back to an incomplete cover. A splotch of lace here or there.

Aroma - very sweet, pineapple upside-down cake aroma. Could be seriously sweet, boozy, or both.

Taste - make that 'both'. Large sweetness right away, alcohol hitting mid-palate. Whew, that's some hooch. Following the swallow is the signature Stone hop assault on your tastebuds, this year by the aptly named Warrior hop variety. Grapefruit all the way. The sweetness never leaves, the alcohol backs off a tad at the end, but with the hop effect, all three combine for a great finish with some notable length.

Mouthfeel - I know it's a barleywine, but you better open your mouth - this stuff is so thick that attempting a small sip will be like trying to suck peanut butter through a straw! The feel is practically sliceable. Tongue-paint, how 'bout that? It's as thick a barleywine as I've had. I think it's how they all should be.

Drinkability - a fantastic sipper. The thickness slows you down, the flavor is on steroids. It's like beer concentrate.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2006 02:31:13 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Rusty brown-orange color, head is small on the pour. Hazy and fairly slick.

Smell: A wealth of hops, dark fruit, malt and alcohol come out of this beer. Lightly floral, very potent.

Taste: Mellow yet assertive. Alcohol is strong, hops are present and robust, a very nice bitter edge. Malt flavors are sweet, light maple and brown sugar. Excellent, well balanced barleywine, sweet and bitter.

Drinkability: Excellent beer, every sip is a tribute to the style, I thanks to OldFrothingSlosh for this remarkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2006 02:11:10 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of ggroller
ggroller

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another trade with Swillinbrew.

Same type of silk screened bottle as 2002.

Translucent amber colored beer with a huge, tightly wound head. Very nice lacing.

The smell is surprisingly subdued. Sweet caramel with hints of brown sugar.

Tastes hot. A bit rough around the edges. Sweet honey up front with a bit of coffee and dark chocolate in the back.

Chewy sweet mouthfeel with a residual maltiness.

A nice beer that I think would have been even nicer (is that a word?) next year.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 23:54:38 | More by ggroller
Photo of OldSock
OldSock

District of Columbia

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance and Presentation – 22 oz bottle from Marty’s bought a few months ago. Poured into my snifter it is a deep brown/red with a 1 finger creamy off-white head with some bigger sudsy bubbles on top. In addition there is decent lacing, but retention that only lasts a few minutes.

Smell – Moderate alcohol with sweet toasted malts and some vinous character.

Taste – Remarkably smooth, age has treated this well. All that remains of the hops is a moderate bitterness that is overshadowed by the big complex malts. The malt is toasted, roasted and a bit smoky with hints of chocolate, very nice. Added complexity comes from dark fruit flavors, raisons and plums. Terrific balanced it’s a flavor that I really enjoy. Alcohol is almost non-existent in the flavor.

Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with light carbonation, just what a big barleywine should be.

Drinkability and Notes – Guardian 2003 has great drinkability for such a big beer. This is an excellent Barleywine at this stage of aging and I need to get back over to Marty’s to get more of this while it lasts.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2005 21:30:27 | More by OldSock
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful melding of deep orange and burnished bronze with a roseate glow; a beautiful variation on my favorite beer color. The head is golden light orange, thick and tacky. I'm not surprised to see that it isn't a lace monster, but what ends up on the glass is thick, chunky and soon to be crusty.

While appraising the appearance, I appreciated some wonderful aromas from the glass and couldn't wait to take a big, deep inhale. I'm a little surprised, then, that the nose lacks a certain potency. That isn't to say I don't like it. It smells like caramel, brown sugar and sweet cherries macerated in Cherry Herring. The minimal alcohol presence might have something to do with the fact that it's two years old. That might also explain the relative lack of hoppiness. Man, I gotta start drinking my barleywines fresh.

Old Guardian sure doesn't lack potency on the palate. A bud busting amount of flavor mirrors the aroma (multiplied by three). As anticipated, this '03 is a gentle giant with flavors that have grown comfortable with one another over time. Sweet caramel melts into candied orange peel melts into brown sugar melts into candied cherries... and it all makes my mouth very happy indeed. For some reason, OG tastes like Christmas to me.

The pungent, bitter hoppiness that must have been present immediately after bottling is long gone, but I can still appreciate the fruitier aspects of the Warrior hops. The beer is incredibly well-balanced at this point in time, which makes me think that it was a true hop warrior in its infancy. No matter, I love every bit of the controlled explosion that takes place in my mouth as I sip and savor.

I had no doubt that a Stone-brewed barleywine would have a world-class mouthfeel. This one is nigh on perfect. It's polished, smooth and heavily, chewily silky. The finish lingers long enough for me to continue to marvel at the seamlessness and the complementary nature of the various flavors. This is truly a beer over which to ponder life's mysteries. On second thought, I'm having a good enough time trying to unlock Old Guardian's mysteries.

I'll need to check to be sure, but I feel safe in saying that OG '03 is my favorite barleywine to date. I might have liked it better when the Warrior hops were on the warpath, but then again I might not have. This is yet another example of the skill and dedication that Stone brings to the brewing of outstanding beer for lovers of outstanding beer. Now pardon me while I relish every last drop of this remarkable ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2005 22:59:04 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio

Oregon

3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

sampled with Unionmade and a whole buttload of indian cuisine.. i must first say this was the way to do it and a perfect beer pair for the spicy food.

pours a red ale-ish red. seriously strong lacing, double-fortified. lots of crater-strewn head that looks rather picturesque. this is a beautiful beer to behold. aroma is full of orangey maltiness.. vanilla cream and crystal goodness dominate the flavor. so three dimensional and able to cut through the indian food aftertaste like a knife. alcohol on this puppy, despite its three years of age, is hot as hell. this would be the perfect bottle on a cold winter's night.. sipping to last hours... however, on a hot july night, it didn't feel too wrong either.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 16:40:41 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of Sephiroth
Sephiroth

Indiana

4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky to find this at Kahn's.Thanks Brennan! You always take care of me.

I pour this beer into a tulip. There is a slight, three quarter inch thick head that dissipates before long. The body is a clear amber color. Thin, cloudlike swirls remain. The nose is well balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol.

This beer tastes like it is in its prime. The juicy hops battle the might of the malt to a draw. Caramel malt and somewhat piney hops are the dominant flavors. I am starting to think that this might benefit from another six months of ageing.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily, which is right on for a beer of this magnitude. I could drink this beer all night, except I won't, because I only have two left.

Edit: HaHa! I found another local source!

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2005 03:37:47 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of trancefishy
trancefishy

Colorado

4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this 2 years ago and lugged it across the country in a move, and it was the very first beer I have ever aged. It has watched over my beer collection for a long time.

appearance is dark garnet ruby colour, small tiny head with some good lacing. served in a brandy snifter.

Aroma is intense. way juicy. oh so juicy. citrus smells and what else, barleywine. smells sweet. yummm

taste is phenomenal. lucscious pine saturated sugar. smoooth taste. very smooth. perfectly balanced. just a smidge of a dry finish long after your swallow, which begs you to take another drink.

mouthfeel is excellent as well. the taste and mouthfeel are just creamy smooth. carbonation is small, but, very nicely done.

wow. this is one of the best beers I've had. i'm certainly glad I held out 2 full years on this one. i only regret not having another, as there is nobody guarding my beer collection. Sad to see him go, but, wow, this is really good stuff. I rarely give 5s, and this is a first time ever for 2 of them. so that says something.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2005 01:51:58 | More by trancefishy
Photo of Boto
Boto

Connecticut

4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 22oz. Bomber: This pours a somewhat hazy, somewhat coppery color. There was very little head, yet still managed some lacing. This has a very smooth, silky taste. A wonderful Barleywine. I like this much better than the keg version that I previously had, which was probably a bit young. I have been aging this for a year, and the harshness from the hops has gone away. This is a very nice and balanced brew. I’ve bought some ’04 for next year!

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 21:47:43 | More by Boto
Photo of CRJMellor
CRJMellor

Arkansas

4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a really fiery red amber color. Virtually no head and no lace though carbonation is clearly evident.
Aromas of juicy, dark and light citrus fruits mingled with some lighter pine and caramel notes.
Flavor packs a really chewy caramel note, almost sticky; followed by light resiny notes and some citrus notes as well. .
Mouthfeel is really very sweet and herbal. Just a hint of the ABV present with a slight tingle of burning on the finish.
Drinkability is very considering the power inside this bottle. May have just been starting to lose its edge a bit but very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2005 21:00:25 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear medium amber with a frothy head that emerged slowly and continued to rise to eventually overtop the glass. The head fell just as slowly and left a coating on the way down.

The aroma was deeply malty with a nice bready/biscuit impression and a muted citrus fruitiness and a deep caramel. The aroma had no apparent alcohol.

The flavor was very nice with a strong bready/biscuit component that complemented the smooth maltiness and dark caramel. The malt was well balanced by the hops, but the hop bittering never became overbearing creating an interesting and complex malt/hop character that is well done. The flavor had a slight fruitiness and no apparent alcohol.

The finish was just dry with lasting pleasant bittering lasting long into the aftertaste. The body was full and viscous and even creamy. The only indicator of the alcohol was in the warming effects after consumption. This one was a bit deceptive in that department which led to a very nice complexity.

22 ounce bottle. Winter 03 Release. I'm not sure I have ever seen a barleywine with that much head retention.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2005 00:58:38 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I love Stone brews. Stone IPA is one of the greatest beers available and likewise all beers I've tried from them have been way above par. For some reason, this beer disappointed me. I love barely wines (Bigfoot 2004 and Old Numbskull I would recommend) but this one was difficult to drink. It had no specific flavor. Perhaps my expectations were too high. They all can't be winners.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2004 01:38:40 | More by drabmuh
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice amber red color with just a coating of head over the beer. The nose gave me some raisin/fig and even a hint of sugary sweetness ontop of the malty sweetness. The flavor is nicely balanced with sweet caramel and figgy malt and a solid backbone of hop. Those flavors play well together. The beer is thick and highly drinkable for such a big boy. Thanks to SheepNutz for sharing this one with us.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2004 17:11:30 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

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

This was brought over by sheepnutz in a 22oz bomber bottle. We had this side-by-side with the 2004 version. Pours a red/copper color with a large head and leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy (pine aroma) with some alcohol being obvious as well - there are some dark malts there too. The flavor is big. The alcohol and hops are strong and it has a very strong malt character. Well-crafted beer. I'd have this again anytime.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2004 15:17:40 | More by clvand0
Photo of SheepNutz
SheepNutz

Kentucky

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a thistle glass. It pours an orange-red color with two fingers of head. There is just a little lacing. The smell has a bit of malt, but much more of a hop aroma. Tons of hops and a touch of alcohol are present in the nose. The taste has a hardcore maltiness up front, but even after almost 2 years the hops are still representing. Great hop flavor, not too green. The body is pretty thick and smooth. The drinkability is pretty good for such a strong brew. Stone does it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2004 04:54:43 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage Winter 2003 Release:

The beer after its extrication from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a deep burnished copper color on the pour with the head pythonic in size and the texture frothy and a toothsome light tan in color and after its demise the lace forms a thick and sticky sheet to smother the glass. Big sweet malt nose rich in fusel alcohol, caramel and hints of the hop flower, a real treat for the schnozzle. Start is ambrosial, loaded with malt and the top peanut butter thick, and the finish spiteful in its carbonation, the hops prickly in their spicy bite. The aftertaste dry as a bleached desert bone, oh yes, almost forgot the “alcohol”, quite evident in its bitterness and “tummy warming”. Ah another great year of Old Guardian got a case aging away, but the chances of it lasting more than a year slight.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2004 18:16:28 | More by Gusler
Photo of BrewMaster
BrewMaster

California

3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22 oz bottle. Color is a nice orange/amber with a stiff but thin head. The remains through most of the drinking but thins to a lacy near the end.

Aroma offers a sour spice smell. Taste is sour and tangy without much of a finish. Overall the flavor is harsh in a bad way.

I tasted this along side a 2002 and a 2004 Old Guardian and this 2003 was my least favorite of the three.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2004 00:29:03 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of silenius
silenius

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. It is a clear brown with red-orange glints. The head is slight at first, but as it warms and the beer is swirled, it actually produces a fair amount of tan foam. This is a thick beer in the glass.

I get a surprising melon scent off this one with some big sweet malts. My girlfriend describes it as smelling like something sweet baking in the oven. Green hops are big as well. Piney, piney, piney. Little citrus fruit hop scent finds its way out from this one.

Taste is alcoholic warming sweet malts and considerable bittering from the hops. A green hops flavor smothered in dark caramel and buckwheat honey. The bitter and sweet fight for who will last longer on your tongue.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and viscous with some carbonation keeping it from appearing syrupy. A little alcohol warming here. Perfect!

Despite being so big, it is not tiring. Great drinkability. I still like Bigfoot better, though.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2004 22:11:26 | More by silenius
Photo of ngandhi
ngandhi

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a sight to be seen: Dense, lupulin rich head battles for almost a minute with the alcohol that wants to cut it down. In the end, they compromise and settle on an abstract lace atop the pint, but I sense a bitterness in both of them, some plan for revenge.

Measured. An aroma of big, but controlled hops and no alcohol leads into pineapple followed by pine, brown sugar reduction, a God-hating alcoholic dragon breath warmth, and sweet melon coming through on the finish. The Warrior hops are a wonderful go-between of the classic(ally boring) fruitiness of West Coast Cascades, the delicate peppery spiciness of some British hops, and the fight-you-to-the-13th-round retsina of Stone.

Cloying? Perhaps, but only in the sense that so many barleywines from Hardy to Victory are. With no oxidative qualities to back it up, the Stone relies on an impeccably fresh hop presence to balance the malt. This is both sweet and bitter beyond recognition, but the two flavors are so deeply concentrated that they balance, making this dangerously drinkable and paradoxically off-dry.

Despite its thickness -- a body derived clearly from an otherwise stealth alcohol -- and malt intensity, Old Guardian is in no way worty, which is what I love most about this beer. It feels like brew right out of the kettle and tastes like something fully attenuated and matured. The hops and malt linger -- the former with its floral, green, drying tongue, the latter with its tickling caramel sweetness -- and develop together with nuts, nougat, potpourri, and wood in the finish, nothing ever taking center stage.

I think this will age with the best of them. It's hedonistic now, but gives glimpses into the future of softer fruit and sugar, less piney aromatics, and more focused nuttiness on the finish.

Relax, relax.
ng

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2004 23:32:45 | More by ngandhi
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.