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

Not Rated.
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%
Wants: 5
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
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 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by silenius:
Photo of silenius
silenius

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev -1.9%

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.

07-25-2004 22:11:26 | More by silenius
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +7%

Wow,poured a great reddish/copper color mine poured with some head but it went fast.Smell of sweet malt and juicy fruitiness,taste was a complex mixture of caremelly malt and tropical fruitiness,incredible balance to this brew.It seems pretty drinkable for such a young beer as well.This was my first Stone beer and I am thorouly impressed for sure.

04-19-2003 15:37:40 | More by oberon
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%

Appearance – Extremely thick and cloudy orange-brown in color with a monster head that would not go away. Finally it settled down to a deep film on the body, but this was relentless. The lacing on my glass was beautiful.

Smell – Big, giant hops lead the way for this Barley Wine. The sherry base is present as well, but this one is all about the hop compliment.

Taste – The sherry and hop mixture is amazing. There are also some nice fruity flavors in here such as big cherry, orange, and cranberry, but the quality hops and oak-aged sherry flavors stand out.

Mouthfeel – Dry, dead flat, and extremely refreshing. This is a full-bodied ale that quenches the thirst. There is absolutely no indication of alcohol whatsoever.

Drinkability – They serve this on tap at the beer store that I frequent. I usually suck down a pint while I’m buying some pints. Awesome!

10-07-2003 03:03:38 | More by RoyalT
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

4.88/5  rDev +14%

This is what a barleywine is all about! It poured a deep amber color with almost no head at all. The smell was of plums and alchohol. The taste was pure malty goodness with a touch of hops to ballance it out and just a little bit of plum flavors in there as well. I think this one is a definant improvement over last years version which was much sweeter than this one. Another awesome brew from stone

11-22-2003 09:56:49 | More by Dmann
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
OldFrothingSlosh

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -5.8%

Presentation: 22oz amber bottle with the TM gargoyle guarding against "all things drab, dreary, & dull." $5.29 at Carytown Wine & Beer.

Appearance: Poured a fiery copper-red with a brief appearance by a tan-colored head that quickly disappeared.

Smell: A lovely mixture of caramel, citrus, pine cones.

Taste: This is a tough barleywine to judge. On one hand, the other BW's I've had have been much smoother and sweeter than this one. However, this is a very good beer, too. There is a very delicate balance achieved between the hops, the malt, and the alcohol. For a 95 IBU rating, I was very impressed by the smoothness and body. The hops clearly are present, but not off the scale like other Stone products I've had. When I first tasted it (right out of the fridge), it was a little on the harsh side. But as it warmed, the balancing act really put on a show. For an ABV of almost 10%, you sure don't notice it. Very well-hidden. Makes more of an appearance at the end and only after the beer had warmed considerably.

Mouthfeel: Not as creamy and chewy as I'd expected, but then again, how creamy can a hoppy beer be?

Drinkability: A little on the "crisp and dry" side for me. Not too much of a lingering aftertaste, either. Normally, this is a good thing. But I wanted a little more from a barleywine.

02-21-2003 18:00:14 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Did I ever say that I love Stone Brewing Company, well I will right now because as far as I have tasted they are the only ones with the balls to make a beer known for it's malt, a kick you in teeth hoppy beer. She poured an amber copper with a minimal short lived irish cream cappucino toned head. When I went to take a sniff of her I got greeted by a barrage of Tomahawk hops, and somewhere buried inside the aroma came the nice mellowing sweetness of a shitload of barley. Flavor is the great spicy kick of the tomahawks mixed with bite of the alcohol to eventually mellow out in the finish with the wave of barley malt. It was like throwing some water on the flame. But as it warms and settles this beer takes on the attributes off one of the best barley wines I have come into contact with. With two feet of snow outside there is no beer I would rather be enjoying right now then the Old Guardian. Simply put it brings you to the very edge of the style of perimeters only to pull up at the last second and grab you with all the malt you have come to know and love when you're about to fall. A nice syrupy texture carries all of this magnificant brew, and the heavy body is welcome with the style. A bold , big huge representation of a barley wine by one hell of a brewery.

02-19-2003 17:11:11 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.53/5  rDev +5.8%

Crimson hued. Bloody and angry-looking beneath its gaudy beige helmet.

And deservingly so.

Nose is bombarded with dried, smoked cherries, sherry, and more torched fruit. Caramelized mangoes drenched in vaporous pine syrup. Burnt raisins. Oh my! For as much hype as Stone gets from their hops, I gotta say that the malt loads of their brews are every bit as impressive.
A double-edged assault, indeed.

Raids the mouth. Loots and pillages and rapes. Like ten thousand vikings, drunken and horny. Touting massive caramel swords, swinging brandy-dripping battle axes and lighting huge fruit bonfires. Tossing orange rinds, pineapples, mangoes, raisins, and plums into the ceremonial inferno. An inebriated cry goes up around the the stack of smoldering fruit, as its molten discharge of raspberry- and currant-syrup floods the recently conquered streets. The brawn is flaunted unshakably. Cocky as hell. Boasting tanginess, burned fruit and substancial hop wrath; Who's going to stand in its path?
Give up your lands now, and avoid the ensuing carnage. The savage victory is laden with sprucey hop sludge. Warrior indeed!! No analysis is needed. The rubble Old Guardian produces is testiment enough. Another war cry goes up towards Valhalla, as the cognac-infused, sherry alcohol vapors dance above the flames.

The strike is thick and all-consuming. Little time for the reprieve carbonation provides. A blanketing conquest. Unrelenting in its coating invasion.
No time to prepare, or make plans of escape.

Its over now.

Best not to fight, as your casualties are mounting.

Give up, stop resisting, and accept your domination.

Hope there was sufficient time to hide your women and children.

10-26-2003 10:04:27 | More by cokes
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NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%

"Limited Winter '03 Release" enjoyed at just below cellar temperature to start, and up to room temperature (65F) to finish. It pours a surprisingly clear mahogany with an orange cast and beautiful crimson and ruby highlights. (It was so clear that I had to check the bottle for sediment to see that it hadn't been filtered)! Tiny bubbles rise slowly to the surface adding to the appearance. The body is capped by a short lid of creamy light-tan foam that holds fairly well before dropping to a creamy collar and whispy surface covering. A thin head can be brought back up simply by swirling the glass; and it leaves some nice lace throughout the serving. The nose expresses deep caramel, mildly citrusy/piney hops, and just a touch of dark fruit (mainly raisins, some plum). A limited amount of alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms. The body is full and it's remarkably smooth and creamy in the mouth due in part to an exceptionally fine, and moderate carbonation. The flavor is rich with a supple caramel maltiness, a touch of fruitiness, some mild citrusy/piney hop flavor, and an assertive bitterness that's balancing rather than abrasive. I was hoping to find more of the characteristics of the Warrior hops (as I'm unfamiliar with them), but I prefer it the way that it is - well-balanced! The alcohol is extremely well hidden within the aroma and flavor, although it clearly warms in the swallow. It finishes dry, but surprisingly short for a Stone beer, with some lingering malt and a solid bitterness as well as a fair amount of spicy alcohol. It's nicely restrained (can you say that about a Stone beer and not be beaten up?). I was expecting a more assaulting barleywine after tasting the Double Bastard and Ruination, but I'm delighted to say that this is much more refined. Extremely enjoyable, and with a great level of drinkability for a beer of this strength. Very nice! I'm considering buying a case to put away but I'm on the fence about that as it seems to need to be enjoyed fresh. I fear it may lose its vivid character if left for too long. Regardless, I'm highly impressed and sad to be at the end of a 22 oz. bottle. Really enjoyable, although limited in complexity. Well worth seeking out!

02-02-2003 19:05:19 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Jon
Jon

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%

The pour from a 22 oz. bomber is a beautiful, clear copper with a concentrated, tan head that dissolves into almost nothing after standing for a minute or so. No lacing is present. The nose is hugely fruity, most likely due to the copious addition of Warrior hops. In addition, the aroma is quite sweet, which is certainly a by-product of the addition of a ton of malt. Taste is quite sweet, and surprisingly balanced between the fruity hops and the sweet malt. I was expecting more bittering hops, but alas, fruitiness is the key element here. Notes of raisins are present. Feel is quite oily in a good way. For a barleywine, this one drinks almost too easily as the alcohol is difficult to detect until the final sips. Coming from Stone, this one surprised me a bit. For a barleywine bottled in Winter 2003, it's all ready quite mellow and a pleasure to drink. However, I still desire more hops!

06-20-2003 11:38:16 | More by Jon
Photo of Elemental
Elemental

Oregon

3.95/5  rDev -7.7%

The appearance is a clear dark-amber copper color that invites you to drink it. It has a medium size head that quickly disapates into a light ring of foam. The smell is a little too sour for me but bitter. It has a sweet taste to start with that quickly becomes bitter and tart leaving the mouth dry. Overall a good beer with the only weekness of the off-sour smell, but once you get past that its great.

07-25-2003 03:22:19 | More by Elemental
Photo of PhantomVodoo
PhantomVodoo

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev -5.8%

Coppery red in color with minimal brown head.
Sweet malt, hops, and some alcohol in the aroma.

Taste is pretty well balanced. Huge malt sweetness followed by an onslaught of hops. Some alcohol as well. Finish is a bit harsh at first, but this improved as the beer (and I) warmed. Barleywine style ales are new to me this year and I liked this one more with each drink I took. It left me eager for more. Big and bold, but well put together.

Good mouthfeel.
Good drinkability for the style.
Overall, a good beer I look forward to sampling again.

02-16-2003 10:28:38 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of benmiliron
benmiliron

Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -9.3%

Paid $4.79 for a 22 oz. bottle.

Pretty good barley wine, but not great. Good sweetness and malty hoppiness. There's a corky flavor in the back of this that I can't quite pinpoint. A bit cloudy in the glass. When Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is on the shelves, there's no contest, go with the SN!!!

04-22-2004 02:47:18 | More by benmiliron
Photo of hotstuff
hotstuff

Indiana

2.53/5  rDev -40.9%

First of all I am not a fan of Barley Wine's by any means, but I will still give them a try.The appearance was that of a small sized ivory head with fine-medium sized bubbles that fully dissipated.The body was dense and there was some carbonation observed.The hue was copper and the nose consisted of malt, caramel and some fruitiness.The flavor was very hoppy and sweet tasting with a fore and aftertaste that lingered.It had a tingly and bitey mouthfeel and it was light bodied.The lacing was somewhat fair.

09-28-2003 03:06:20 | More by hotstuff
Photo of Darkale
Darkale

Virginia

4/5  rDev -6.5%

Bright cherry red in color, really quite a beautiful beer to pour, though the tan head is small and temporary and soon fades to a faint skim. Awfully sweet, heavy and alcoholic, and an underpinning of smoky hops. But, to my mind, not enough hops to balance.

Still, a lovely beer to contemplate. Could drink far too many of these far too quickly.

03-26-2003 19:27:15 | More by Darkale
Photo of CRJMellor
CRJMellor

Arkansas

4.1/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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

Missouri

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear reddish-amber. A light tan head stays strong at a small cap.

Smell: Lots of sweet malt, lots of raw hops. Simple enough...

Taste: What begins as bitter and coarse, then smooths out with a shot of sweet malt that is both caramelly and fruity. The hops have much more of a grapefruit flavor than last year, but still retain a lemony, citrus taste. A touch of roasted malt shows up on the tail end. Finishes bitter and burnt with a burst of alcohol that lingers on and on...

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, with a dry crisp mouthfeel. Leaves a nice alcoholic warmth on the palate.

Drinkability: Good overall drinkability. This one is a bit better than last year's, as the alcohol is less noticeable in the flavor. A well done barley wine.

Yet another fantastic brew from Stone!

06-11-2003 22:43:44 | More by MJR
Photo of hyuga
hyuga

North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +15.2%

Mahogany colored with a tan head that disappears after a couple of minutes. Wonderful and huge aroma, big citrus hop character combining with ultra-caramel malt and fruitiness. Makes something that slightly resembles a fruitcake, or something like that. Maybe a bit of grape and breadiness as well. As for the flavors, first I must say that this year's is an improvement over last year's in the hop department. Big, chewy, sweet caramel and bready malt come in first, hops are all around and are very well placed, yet not too overpowering. Spreads the warmth very quickly. Excellently brewed barleywine, makes you feel like you're eating something, not just drinking it. Grab it while you can, and put some back for later too!

03-14-2003 01:06:49 | More by hyuga
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Brent

Kentucky

4.1/5  rDev -4.2%

Sampled this with some trepidation - knowing well Stone's predilection for massive flavor overload, I expected a monstrous assault on my palate. Big flavor, indeed, but I was pleasantly surprised with the beer's relatively easy-going nature, for a barley wine. Massive, slightly syrupy malt - but not overwhelmingly caramel, as is so often the case with the style. Big hops prop up the malt, but don't try to steal the show. High abv is slyly hidden, showing itself more in a peppery burn on the tongue than in the flavor. For me, a little barley wine usually goes a long way, but here the bomber vaporized with little effort.

11-20-2003 21:18:14 | More by Brent
Photo of goz
goz

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%

Pour is a deep mahogany, with a small tan head that leaves little lace, a lot of clingy carb bubbles on the glass with the initial pour. Aroma has a big caramel sweetness, backed up with a strong hop presence. Flavor starts with dominant sweetness (mostly caramel), middle has some "raw" maltiness to it, and ends with a rather strong spicy hop assault. Incredibly thick and chewy mouthfeel.

05-14-2003 08:36:03 | More by goz
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%

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.

08-18-2004 18:16:28 | More by Gusler
Photo of frank4sail
frank4sail

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%

Deep amber/ruby color. Sweet cotton candy, abv, cherry, melon smell. Quite a complex nose. Lots of fine little bubbles in the goblet. The nice white head on the pour settles into a consistant white outer ring and lace on the goblet. A pretty lookin little (I mean big) girl. Big malty nutty sweet flavor followed by a citrus bitter hop finish. It really has an impact on the tongue. It is still a little rough around the edges but this is very good for such a "young" BW. Awesome mouth and look. I can't wait to tast my others in the cellar in upcoming years. It can't get much better... but it will...;)

07-29-2003 02:11:18 | More by frank4sail
Photo of Rastacouere
Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -24.1%

Appearance is a rather clear amber with a generous and beautifully laced off-white head, surprisingly big for a 10% beer. The aroma is very hoppy, citrusy but flowery, not so piney. A bit of alcohol is noticeable, especially as it warms where it seems to get a little thinner and more vinous with an almost grapey fruitiness. At cellar temperature, it had a flowery/peachy flavour profile with a creamy maltiness playing around with the big hops, warrior?

06-09-2004 04:30:52 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of johnrobe
johnrobe

Tennessee

4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

Stone continues to impress with this brew! This is probably the most drinkable barleywine I've ever had. It pours a slightly hazy, light burnt orange with a scant off-white head. BALANCE. This sucker is exquisitely balanced on both the nose and the palate. There is quite a load of both chocolate and caramel malts giving that "Tootsie Roll" flavor which seems to be the hallmark of many a great barleywine. Partnering with that rich malty sweetness are some citrusy hops that don't don't overwhelm. Amazingly smooth for such a young barleywine. The high alcohol presence is never obvious (until you try to type a review...and have to constantly edit). :-D The rough edges so obvious in other barleywines (I'm lookin' at you, Bigfoot!) are absent here. Perhaps this will hurt its cellaring potential; only time will tell.

08-26-2003 01:58:41 | More by johnrobe
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%

ReRate 07 Feb 2003: Had the '03 on draught in a vertical tasting w/ the 99, 00, 01 & 02. The 03 has a very full mouthfeel a nice rounded taste & a sweet finish. This is a huge step above the 2002, in my humble opinion. Old Guardian has gone from a pretty good barley wine to a world class barleywine.

06-05-2003 08:13:37 | More by jcalabre
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

4.45/5  rDev +4%

Crystal clear deep ruby hue. Covered by an ivory white, dense one fingered head that leaves Belgian lace. The aroma is comprised of dominant toffee and biscuit sweetness, with subtle figgy fruitiness and butterscotch. As the beer warms, the nose dries, and a powered cocoa note surfaces along with hints of roasted malt. Mellow, citrus laced floral hop nose is surprisingly well integrated in aroma. Nostril singeing ethanol and higher alcohols are perceptible with a deep inhalation. Rich, buttery, carob sweetness is perceived at first in flavor. It is then quickly tamed by well calculated hop bitterness that provides balance, but doesn't overshadow malt character. Ripe, red currant like fruitiness mid palate couples with mild peppery ethanol to lend a red licorice impression mid palate. Caramel malt is pronounced, yet not at all overbearing. As the palate becomes saturated and the carbonation diminishes, Old Guardian becomes progressively more creamy and buttery (not diacetyl) yet hop character is retained, thus superb balanced is eventually reached. Full bodied with the ideal attenuation facilitating a smooth, thick, but not cloying mouthfeel. As in the aroma, hop character is well integrated, with the floral hop flavor complementing the malt sweetness, lending a rose like suggestion late. Finishes long, warm and complex, with a lingering impression of biscuit, pepper and bourbon. Old Guardian 2003 is an outstanding barleywine. The balance is striking, especially for a Stone brew. With a year or two of cellaring to tame the ethanol presence, this could become world class. It's already delicious in its current state. Superb.

04-20-2003 18:09:22 | More by marc77
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.