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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

98 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 89
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 6
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:
Photo of trancefishy
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.

Photo of trancesk8er
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Boto
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!

Photo of FightingEntropy
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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I quote now directly, with some editorial invasion, from my notes on this sampling: Appearance: a tumultuous flood of color, that eventually settles down into a bright cherry red, with a head off-white, frothy, and fizzy.
Aromatics: huge! complex, sweet, strong, alcoholic, cognac-like, flavors of rum, grapes, cherries, port...delirious...heavenly...candyish.
An overload on the palate! A jolt, a direct transfusion! WOW! I'm reeling!
Rich, delicious, fruity...I can't begin to sort out the flavors, it's too big and wild!
9.91%, eh! Hoo, baby!
Hops are large and in charge, they've set up camp and begun occupation of all the sensory regions! A full-on head-charge here, ..it really is a perfect barleywine! I can go no further from here, it's beddy-bye time. All previous allegiances are relinquished, it's Stone O.G. Uber Alles!
Flavor is large, generous, unstoppable!
Despite the bitter cold of our winters here, this is the first time I've honestly felt the desire to be a Californian, in order to be closer to this brew!
WOW! WOW! WOW!
I may have been inebriated, and I'll have to check on the legality of that allegiance thing (I still love you, Bell's Old Ale!), but damned if this one didn't didn't knock me for a loop! Now, to get my hands on another just to be sure I really meant what I wrote......
thanks to el mocoso for gettin' us together!

Photo of johnrobe
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I step into the Arena, head bowed, I enter the darkness that is punctuated by camera flashlights. I walk forward & my number #2 prizes the ropes apart, I climb into the ring, a strange name for a square platform. I sit, absolutely shit scared in the blue corner.

The decibels raise as the Champ enters; a chant of ‘Old Guardian’ & ‘Gargoyle’ reverberates around the arena. He enters the ring with a cocky self-confident leap over the ropes. He stands exactly where he landed in the red corner. 22 fl.oz. of pure brown muscle, he looks resplendent in his red & gold silk shorts. The referee calls us together, we stare each other out, “I want a clean drink gents - obey my commands at all times”. I return to my corner, punching my gloves together but quietly petrified.

The bell rings, the air is filled with the baying stench of hops, pine needles & a sweet but malty anticipation. We square up to each other, the ‘Old Guardian’ is a fine looking red-golden brown but I am pale white with fear. OG protects his head, it is hardly visible through his gloves, I weave & bob, left & right to catch a glimpse, it is as if he has no head at all. OG throws the first punch, it is a smooth alcoholic right arm that emerges slowly & a second later it is followed by a toffee & syrupy-fig left jab, another probing spicy right punch is quickly followed by a powerful refulgent barleywine left. My eye is cut by this quick voracious flurry. A tremendous reaching malty forearm hits me again; my face warms as the blood swells in my bruised skin. I struggle to regain composure & I take my eye off the champ for the merest part of a second. He catches me with a finishing alcoholic hoppy Uppercut, I’m stunned, dazed & confused - I'm canvas bound.

I lay, staring up through my sweat & blood drenched stinging eyes at the lights. The referee is waving his right arm in a chopping motion whilst the Champ stares down at me; I hear nothing in my ringing ears. Slowly my aural capability returns, the count gets to 8, 9, 10… the Champ walks, turns around & raises both arms to the crowd.
A winner yet again, I lay dejected & beaten. 49 seconds is all it took.

Can you go more than One Round with this Heavyweight Champion? Maybe the ‘Old Guardian’ does not fight like he did when he was at his peak in '02, but he still packs one serious fucking punch. My head hurts.

Old Guardian 2003 - A true Pugnacious Pugilist.
Marquis of Queensbury Rules, or not….
You take the “Old Guardian Gargoyle” on at your peril this year.

Photo of Bierman9
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh, another gift from the Bier Gods {Greg, don't let it go to your head! ;-) }. The color of this bier is simply exemplary! It is such a rich, chestnut-mahogany color!! Clear throughout, with some garnet shades as well. The head was thin, though, with a wispy, off-white ring of tiny bubbles ringing the glass, with a little bit o' lace. I poured it into my snifter and could get whiffs of it from a foot or so away.... Lots of robust, sweet malt combined with a healthy dose of hops. Quite pleasant!! The body is a bit over the medium point, trying to make its' way to fullness, though not quite getting there. It also has a silky smoothness on the tongue; not quite top-notch, but almost.... A sweet, rich toffee-like maltiness attacks the palate first, to soften things up, and then the main force of the Stone Army, the hops, attack full-bore! They are "Warriors", after all. Both components linger long on the tongue, savoring their successful assault! A wonderful bier, though if memory serves me, not quite up to the lofty standards set by the '01 and '02 vintages. Then again, I don't have them here to compare side-by-side. I might have to set one of these aside to compare to '04, if I can let it sit that long! Long live Stone!! Prosit!!

overall: 4.55
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5

491

Photo of oberon
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured with little head, produced minimal scattered lacing. Beautiful color: a medium ruby-orange, rusty and scotch-like. The aroma contained powerful hops, some maltiness and alchohol. This was a great tasting barleywine, with moderate malty caramel overtones, well hidden alcohol, with a strong but perfectly balanced resiny hop finish. The mouthfeel was also excellent: thick, smooth and velvety, but not syrupy at all. Solid. Yet another amazing Stone brew, a must try!

Photo of tavernjef
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark caramel brownish orange with a plumy purple reddish tone, has some chill haze to it. A small fine tannish creamy head bubbles slowly up from underneath gaining strength and girth and then fades away quickly like a ghost in a dream. The carbonation boils slowly from below as if its just starting to cook. Which I think is the leading cause to the smell of lots of ethanol/alcoholic sense, which takes a second to get past, which eventually leads to lofty strong darkly sweet malts, some fruityness and hard candy, caramel and toffee-like slightly make some wayward notions in subtle nuances. Juicy citrus hops with a bit of floral factions play in the back. The alcohol really makes its presense felt as it warms, quite strong and warming in the nose with a mellow sweetness. Taste is smooth, creamy, and warm, a pure pleasure to let it fill your your head and tummy up. Solid malts lending soft bread chewyness and caramel and toffee candy and light dark fruits of plum and maybe cherry upfront. Hops keep a very nice lingering bitterness of subtle pine and juicy citrus-like peels throughout the middle with some herbal/floralness slipping in and stemming into the finish with some light peppered spicyness and herbal hoppy grab sundrys in the finish as well but a bit later just after the hops make there way off the palette, a very nice effect. Feel is quite full, pleasingly warm from start to finish, smooth and creamy, mellowing and easy. One excellent drinkin' BW, the bomber wasn't enough but the alcohol was. A fine barleywine, top notch with no rough edges, balanced well, and I'm sure with some aging the alcohol might lose some of its potency and make it much more unbelievabley yummy then what it is now. Wow, what a notion. Given what it's at now it can only get better.

A big thanks to the big dog, xlperro for the bottle!

Photo of cokes
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of chilidog
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! A very nice B.W. Great bottle design with mention to Ohio for the abv, as I do, thanks for letting Stone brews in. Thisone pours a dark amber\red with little to no head or lace. The aroma of spice and citrus. A nice blended taste of sweet malt, spice and a load of citrus hop. What makes this brew so special is its mouthfeel & drinkability. It is so smooth, as creamy, buttery, mouth left with a hint of oil. Its easy to drink. At over 9+%, you would never know it, till it hits you, its that well done! A great addition to any cellar stock.

Photo of TXHops
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

-ABV: 9.91%
-Hops: Warrior

Old Guardian starts with a beautiful, very clear reddish-mahogany body topped by a thinnish barleywine looking head that managed to stick around longer and lace better than the first impression suggested it might. The initial nose is unexpectedly dominated by a bready malt character more in league with Bell’s Third Coast Ale or Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout than a West Coast barleywine. I expected a beer that could easily be confused for a Double IPA, but Guardian is at least as malty as it is hoppy. It helps (me at least) that the malty nose is the kind of nose that comes typically from the use of wheat malt, Belgian aromatic malt, or one of those other exceptional, pleasantly-pungent smelling malts. In addition to that addictive bread aroma, a good dose of those Warrior hops is evident, as well as a hot flash of peppery alcohol.

The ultra viscous body is the first impression of this beer in my mouth. I couldn’t even concentrate on the flavor at first because I was so overwhelmed by the thickness of the body—it feels like lightly carbonated mineral oil: so thick and slippery… After my brain forced that other part of my brain to begin cognitive analysis on the actual flavor of the beer, I was able to very quickly ascertain that the malt flavor was not contradictory to the malt aroma: doughy bread with slightly caramelized frosting? Perhaps I’m reaching a bit… Then come the hops—the flavor I anticipated all along. Interesting that they play 3rd fiddle to the maltiness and the mouthfeel… Those resinous cones team up with the roasted malts (crystal maybe—I’ve tasted this before) to create a touch of harshness that lingers in the corner of my mouth. That’s the flavor that I expected to dominate this brew. I was thinking that Guardian would be more like SN Bigfoot than Old Horizontal. In reality, it was right in the middle, with Stone’s very English (IMO) house yeast providing the slight diacetyl-ish creaminess to the body that sets their Pale Ale apart. I guess I’m assuming they use the same yeast for both brews.

All in all, this was a great beer and one that was way more balanced than I anticipated. The aromatics of the maltiness were a real treat and the super-thick, oily texture was refreshingly different and quite enjoyable. I’m glad that I bought multiple bottles of this one :)

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another classic southwestern barleywine, from one of the classic southwestern breweries. Stone! This beer poured a beautiful dark red colour with a small, whispy yet creamy head. The aromas were big on malts, hops, and alcohol. The taste, very warming, alcoholic, fruity, hoppy, malty, and wonderful. This beer had a very thick mouthfeel but it was still amazingly easy to drink. This was a very well balanced and restrained beer from Stone Brewing.
Cheers!
-F

Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of Dogbrick
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2003 Release: This is a top-notch Barley Wine. Pours a ruddy dark orange color with a medium light beige head. Aroma is really nice, with sweet malt and a lot of caramel. Less alcohol in the aroma than in most Barley Wines I recall trying. Rich flavors of malt, caramel and hops that come out of nowhere. Finish is nice and tangy. One of the best Barley Wines out there.

Photo of marc77
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a few of these as soon as I saw them show up in the local liquor store. This is my "early" tasting of the beer, and while it hasn't aged to peak condition yet, it's still pretty damn good. Autumn leave amber in color, with a thickish, off-white head and a good lace down the glass. Malty aroma with citric hops and a bit of alcohol present as well. The taste starts off surprisingly sweet -- do I detect a bit of bubblegum-like candi sugar up front? Lightly caramely, with a bit of banana-like fruit mid-palate. The alcohol is virtually undetectable, though it lends a certain peppery flavor toward the end. Typical generous Stone hops at the end contribute enough citric flavors and bitterness to balance the sweetness of the beer, and lends a tingly finish to an otherwise viscous, chewy, full-bodied beer. A lovely beer -- can't wait to see how it develops.

Photo of Wildman
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 Edition:
Well, I finally laid my hands on some Stone Barleywine. Thanks to the brewmasters old connection to Columbus, it is one west coast beer we can count on getting. This beer poured a dark amber color and formed a nice light tan bubbly head that disipated quickly and left some circular lace. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel and spice. A flavor of malt and caramel. The finish was a touch astrigent. May need to have this a little warmer, but I couldn't wait to try it.

Photo of Gusler
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.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
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.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
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.

Photo of OldSock
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.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.