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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
95
world-class

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:
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.

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

"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!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
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.

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

Copper-amberish color with a decent low tan head and low carbonation. Hops a bit more citric with a light fruity aroma compared to the '00 version. Tastes more balanced than aged versions. Full bodied and smooth but doesn't burn like aged versions.

Drink Fresher !

Label States: 9.91% ABV and Warrior hops.

Bottle: Winter '03 Release
Tasted: 11/14/03

($5.39 / 22 oz.)

Photo of sessycuban
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.

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

The Old Guardian poured a reddish copper color with a beautiful fluffy overpowering head that proclaimed its brilliance throughout the entire session.

The nose was nice. Dark fruits, caramel and a nice hop presense.

Plums, Raisins, Dates, Caramel, Cherries dominated this beer. The flavor was incredible and was so lingering on the palate. As the beer warmed more burnt dark fruits came out and the alcohol content became more alarming. Can't go wrong with Stone!

Photo of Sephiroth
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!

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

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!

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

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.

Photo of frank4sail
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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...;)

Photo of BlindPig
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.

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