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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:
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

02-25-2013 02:18:12 | More by t0rin0
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
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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 oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Pennsylvania

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!

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2003 19:05:19 | More by NeroFiddled
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feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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!

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 21:04:42 | More by feloniousmonk
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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
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WVbeergeek

West Virginia

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2003 17:11:11 | More by WVbeergeek
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Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +16.8%

12-08-2011 20:19:18 | More by Rochefort10nh
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jdhilt

New Hampshire

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

Clear copper color with a good head and some lace. Nose is malt and not much else. The finish is very slightly hoppy and goes real good with a mild cheese and wheat thins. This is a good, medium bodied barley wine, too bad it is $6.99 for a 22oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2003 15:39:13 | More by jdhilt
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Bighuge

Minnesota

4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep ruby red with some scarlet hints as well. A thin head disappears and leaves a skinny edging that leaves spotted patterns of lacing. The aroma is more malty than hoppy. Sweet malt. Caramel malt. Also some good sized wafts of passion fruit, pineapple and mango. The mouthfeel is lush. Smooth and easy. Body of about medium, maybe medium-full. The flavor profile is rife with tropical fruits. Mango, a little coconut, pineapple, orange. Beautiful. There's an awesome malt backbone. Sweet and caramel like.....and deep. Some ethanol shows up here and there throughout, but only seems to accentuate everything that is going on. There is nice bitterness, but not way over the top. Everything seems to click like clockwork here. Nothing seems out of place. And Damn! This is one fine barleywine once again from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2003 20:33:35 | More by Bighuge
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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
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Dogbrick

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2003 06:29:53 | More by Dogbrick
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tavernjef

Minnesota

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!

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2003 01:33:32 | More by tavernjef
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WOLFGANG

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

07-08-2013 04:56:01 | More by WOLFGANG
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RoyalT

Ohio

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!

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2003 03:03:38 | More by RoyalT
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RBorsato

Virginia

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.)

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2003 20:45:20 | More by RBorsato
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francisweizen

Alaska

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

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2003 14:22:24 | More by francisweizen
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TheLongBeachBum

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2003 18:43:37 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Kentucky

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2003 21:18:14 | More by Brent
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Bierman9

New Hampshire

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

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2003 14:03:14 | More by Bierman9
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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
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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
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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
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.