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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

89 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 98
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 8.47%
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:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 01-29-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 89 | Hads: 98
Photo of Dogbrick
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (377 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
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.) (380 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
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! (1,846 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
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! (878 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
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 (463 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
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. (2,537 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (1,718 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
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 (1,345 characters)

Photo of Brent
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
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. (626 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
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! (449 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (1,311 characters)

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (1,133 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, dark caramel in color, forming a thin, light-beige head atop fine bubbles with poor retention and lacing. A fine silt bed of yeast settles in the bottom of my goblet. Aroma is of figs, raisins, sweet prunes, and potently strong notes of whisky-like alcohol. Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth with a semi-dry finish, syrupy, but not sickeningly so for a brew of this strength. Taste begins with abundant citric hops with initial bright acidity, fading into a firmly sweet sticky menagerie of amber malts..prunes, raisins, dates....mmmm good. A whiskey note pops in as spicy alcohol warms the belly. This Stone brew, unlike the majority of their brews, is in harmony with itself. The finish is everlasting bitterness with astringent whiskey alcohol and sticky malts that leave the gums sweet. One bottle of this and it's time for nap.......Zzzzzz. A winner. (860 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When I opened this bottle of '03 Old Guardian a yeasty aroma came flowing out. Once poured it quickly faded. The beer is a nice clear copper color with a small beige head that quickly dissappears. A smell of caramel, hops, citrus and alcohol floats above the beer. Each sip begins with a strong caramel flavor that is quickly followed by a combination of bittersweet hops and spice. I think there's a hint of citrus in there as well. A mild alcohol taste is found at the end and stays behind for a little while.

This is a well balanced brew that hides the 9.91% alcohol very well. It's very drinkable with more flavors emerging at every sip as the beer warms in the glass. (675 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a really fiery red amber color. Virtually no head and no lace though carbonation is clearly evident.
Aromas of juicy, dark and light citrus fruits mingled with some lighter pine and caramel notes.
Flavor packs a really chewy caramel note, almost sticky; followed by light resiny notes and some citrus notes as well. .
Mouthfeel is really very sweet and herbal. Just a hint of the ABV present with a slight tingle of burning on the finish.
Drinkability is very considering the power inside this bottle. May have just been starting to lose its edge a bit but very enjoyable. (582 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice amber red color with just a coating of head over the beer. The nose gave me some raisin/fig and even a hint of sugary sweetness ontop of the malty sweetness. The flavor is nicely balanced with sweet caramel and figgy malt and a solid backbone of hop. Those flavors play well together. The beer is thick and highly drinkable for such a big boy. Thanks to SheepNutz for sharing this one with us. (416 characters)

Photo of Crosling
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
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! (471 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.04/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerrun13 for including this gem in HBIF 3. Awesome addition!!! Somewhat murky brown color-good orange to amber highlights. Extreme fusion of malt and hops in the nose-really quite the "bomb" on the senses. Almost an apricot/marmalade sort of smell. Huge malt flavor with an overabundance of hops. Big, slick heavy handed hop and malt mix. Hasnt mellowed in the least. The "brightness" might be gone but thats about it. Perfect mouthfeel-get me spoon. Its just a big, bold, in your face body that doesnt let up. Very, very drinkable. Wouldnt make it my primary barleywine but like everything else I have had from Stone it is highly recommended. (654 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

Drinkability: Excellent beer, every sip is a tribute to the style, I thanks to OldFrothingSlosh for this remarkable beer. (534 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.02/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was brought over by sheepnutz in a 22oz bomber bottle. We had this side-by-side with the 2004 version. Pours a red/copper color with a large head and leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy (pine aroma) with some alcohol being obvious as well - there are some dark malts there too. The flavor is big. The alcohol and hops are strong and it has a very strong malt character. Well-crafted beer. I'd have this again anytime. (453 characters)

Photo of marc77
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (1,649 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
3.13/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a rich tawny amber, topped with a meager ring of head. The head dies out completely about halfway through the glass. Very attractive and potent looking.
Aroma is pretty much all hops. A very resinous bitterness wafts up, with some big malt, and a touch of alcoholic booziness poking through. I'm betting the IBUs on this are way up there. Very floral, with a citric, grapefruity hop aroma. A bit of graininess to the malts, lending an overall coarseness to the aroma, when coupled with the overwhelming hops.
The flavor starts out powerfully malty, which is effortlessly crushed almost instantly by an oily, resinous juggernaut of hops. Gigantic body, with a coarse, lightly carbonated mouthfeel. Rindy citric hops up front, leading into a herbal pine flavor. Some fruitiness is buried beneath the bitterness, but mostly lost in the undertow. Big grapefruity hop finish, with a slick alcoholic warmth going down. Some grainy flavor pokes through in the finish. The beer is mostly an offering to the hop gods.
I think the beer will certainly be better with a few years aging, to let the hops tone down. Any subtlety within the flavor is completely blasted over at this point. Good, but pretty mediocre as far as a barley wine goes. I think drinkability will increase as the flavors tone down, but it's too coarse and rough hewn for me at this time. (1,365 characters)

Photo of aracauna
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a medium, coppery brown. It's seems to be the official color of American barleywines actually. We had several classic American examples of barlwines tonight and almost all of them looked like this. There's a good caramel malt to it and a bit of alcohol and grassy hops to support the sweetness. (307 characters)

Photo of Wildman
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (516 characters)

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

OK, I've tried and tried, and there's just no use. I can't find a bad beer from Stone. Sorry I tried, but all of their stuff is great, not that I won't keep trying.

This barley wine, not one of my favorite styles, is no exception to the Stone rule. Though highly ABV'd and full the brew still satisfies in a very nice way. The look is a lovely red-tinged hazy amber with very finely packed head above and tight lacing throughout.

The nose is full of lovely malt and hops come through as well. The flavor is rich and full of malt, sweet and yet not over the edge. A strong spicy sense joins in a also gives a strong warming sense. The feel is full and taste lingers long; not a clean finish but not overtly negative either. Limited drinkability. (750 characters)

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.