Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -6.5%
Pours out a clear red amber with a very thin head head. Not too smooth, not too bitter. This is a nice flavorful barleywine. Although for the price I was expecting the best barleywine on earth. This is not the best barleywine on earth, but it is quite good and worth tasting. I suspect that this brew will grow better with age. Double Bastard is much much better and cheaper, so I'll stick with that as my Stone brew.
02-08-2003 16:26:52 | More by scottum
2.53/5 rDev -40.9%
First of all I am not a fan of Barley Wine's by any means, but I will still give them a try.The appearance was that of a small sized ivory head with fine-medium sized bubbles that fully dissipated.The body was dense and there was some carbonation observed.The hue was copper and the nose consisted of malt, caramel and some fruitiness.The flavor was very hoppy and sweet tasting with a fore and aftertaste that lingered.It had a tingly and bitey mouthfeel and it was light bodied.The lacing was somewhat fair.
09-28-2003 03:06:20 | More by hotstuff
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
12-07-2006 04:58:13 | More by BlindPig
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Deep amber/ruby color. Sweet cotton candy, abv, cherry, melon smell. Quite a complex nose. Lots of fine little bubbles in the goblet. The nice white head on the pour settles into a consistant white outer ring and lace on the goblet. A pretty lookin little (I mean big) girl. Big malty nutty sweet flavor followed by a citrus bitter hop finish. It really has an impact on the tongue. It is still a little rough around the edges but this is very good for such a "young" BW. Awesome mouth and look. I can't wait to tast my others in the cellar in upcoming years. It can't get much better... but it will...;)
07-29-2003 02:11:18 | More by frank4sail
4.45/5 rDev +4%
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.
04-06-2003 20:14:18 | More by mzwolinski
4.22/5 rDev -1.4%
ReRate 07 Feb 2003: Had the '03 on draught in a vertical tasting w/ the 99, 00, 01 & 02. The 03 has a very full mouthfeel a nice rounded taste & a sweet finish. This is a huge step above the 2002, in my humble opinion. Old Guardian has gone from a pretty good barley wine to a world class barleywine.
06-05-2003 08:13:37 | More by jcalabre
4.2/5 rDev -1.9%
Pulled this out to share with a friend who had recently started enjoying good beers. Maybe not the best introduction, as its significantly hoppier than most Barley wines.
22 oz. bottle poured a rich orange golden color with just the slightest of a head that left only a thin ring. Carbonation was minimal. The aroma is of hops, rich malts, and alcohol. Taste is demanding; a mixture of copper and amber type flavors, some spiciness, and a rich bready, biscuit flavor. Significant hop flavor & bitterness aren't immediately noticeable, but slowly build and have a cumulative affect that's quite nice, though very different for a barley wine. High alcohol is apparent in a warm sensation that permeates each drink. Overall its a very good beer, and quite reminiscent of Brown Shugga, though not what I'd expect of a barley wine. My friend may have been turned off, but I really enjoyed it.
08-20-2003 05:49:25 | More by freed
4/5 rDev -6.5%
It's a pretty amber with a smallish head the disappears quickly. Sweet maltiness and pine needles come through in the smell. The taste becomes more complex as it warms, but it lacks the complexity and some of the spiciness of last year's version. Although I'm certainly no expert on cellaring, this doesn't seem like a beer that will hold up well over a long time. It's good now but may not hold up as well as a Bigfoot.
02-23-2003 22:20:25 | More by mickeymac
3.58/5 rDev -16.4%
Served from a 22 oz bottle. Color is a nice orange/amber with a stiff but thin head. The remains through most of the drinking but thins to a lacy near the end.
Aroma offers a sour spice smell. Taste is sour and tangy without much of a finish. Overall the flavor is harsh in a bad way.
I tasted this along side a 2002 and a 2004 Old Guardian and this 2003 was my least favorite of the three.
08-09-2004 00:29:03 | More by BrewMaster
3.78/5 rDev -11.7%
22 oz bomber served at cellar temperature in a Trois Pistoles goblet.
Appearance: Clear reddish copper topped by a thick and frothy tan head that quickly dissipates to a film, and subsequently to a ring. Incredibly dense lacing left on the glass. A beautiful sight.
Smell: Powerful smell of caramel and other sweet caramel malts. Golden raisins, peach, and honey aromas. Orangey pine scents as well.
Taste: Freeeyow, that hurts. A peppery, harsh, and bitter assault at first. Light caramel malt sweetness comes through eventually. Rough and brackish at times.
Mouthfeel: Viscous and heavy in taste and body. Aftertastes linger for eons.
Drinkability: Too rough at this point, IMHO, unless you like a burly barleywine. This sucker needs to guard the cellar for some more time. There are 2 more bottles in the cellar that are more than up for the job. Will get back to you on both of them. Bring on 2004!
11-18-2003 02:46:53 | More by ManekiNeko
4.03/5 rDev -5.8%
22 oz. Bottle
Appearance: This beer poured a caramel-orange color that showed a ruby redness within its depths. A light-tan head rose up and disappeared quickly. A thin ring of foam persisted around the edge of the glass, but it left little to no lace.
Smell: The smell was all sweet malt, toffee, cherries, sugar, alcohol, and the occcasional hint of hops.
Mouthfeel: This was one of the few beers that I have had that I would consider full bodied. It was buttery smooth and left my mouth with a coated feeling. There was a hint of tingle on the back of the tongue from the alcohol.
Taste: Dear Lord, man. There's nothing subtle about the flavor of this beer. Upfront were tastes of caramel, toffee, and sweet malt that seemed to ooze into the mouth. Then in the middle a tart, almost sour, cherry flavor assaulted the tounge. The the finish was a combination of alcohol and an indistinct bitterness. I say indistinct because the bitterness didn't really have a hop flavor; it was just bitter. The caramel flavor emerged once again on the finish. The aftertatse was a combination of bitter, sour, and a bit of alcohol.
Good beer. While the flavor was big, it was not harsh like some young barley wines can be. The conbination of bitter and sour on the lingering aftertaste was a little distracting, but not overly so.
07-27-2003 00:47:46 | More by Quaffer
4.65/5 rDev +8.6%
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.
09-27-2006 03:14:31 | More by FightingEntropy
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
This is a sight to be seen: Dense, lupulin rich head battles for almost a minute with the alcohol that wants to cut it down. In the end, they compromise and settle on an abstract lace atop the pint, but I sense a bitterness in both of them, some plan for revenge.
Measured. An aroma of big, but controlled hops and no alcohol leads into pineapple followed by pine, brown sugar reduction, a God-hating alcoholic dragon breath warmth, and sweet melon coming through on the finish. The Warrior hops are a wonderful go-between of the classic(ally boring) fruitiness of West Coast Cascades, the delicate peppery spiciness of some British hops, and the fight-you-to-the-13th-round retsina of Stone.
Cloying? Perhaps, but only in the sense that so many barleywines from Hardy to Victory are. With no oxidative qualities to back it up, the Stone relies on an impeccably fresh hop presence to balance the malt. This is both sweet and bitter beyond recognition, but the two flavors are so deeply concentrated that they balance, making this dangerously drinkable and paradoxically off-dry.
Despite its thickness -- a body derived clearly from an otherwise stealth alcohol -- and malt intensity, Old Guardian is in no way worty, which is what I love most about this beer. It feels like brew right out of the kettle and tastes like something fully attenuated and matured. The hops and malt linger -- the former with its floral, green, drying tongue, the latter with its tickling caramel sweetness -- and develop together with nuts, nougat, potpourri, and wood in the finish, nothing ever taking center stage.
I think this will age with the best of them. It's hedonistic now, but gives glimpses into the future of softer fruit and sugar, less piney aromatics, and more focused nuttiness on the finish.
07-05-2004 23:32:45 | More by ngandhi
4.03/5 rDev -5.8%
Coppery red in color with minimal brown head.
Sweet malt, hops, and some alcohol in the aroma.
Taste is pretty well balanced. Huge malt sweetness followed by an onslaught of hops. Some alcohol as well. Finish is a bit harsh at first, but this improved as the beer (and I) warmed. Barleywine style ales are new to me this year and I liked this one more with each drink I took. It left me eager for more. Big and bold, but well put together.
Good drinkability for the style.
Overall, a good beer I look forward to sampling again.
02-16-2003 10:28:38 | More by PhantomVodoo
4/5 rDev -6.5%
Pours a clear light amber with a thin off white head that leaves a touch of lace. Aroma is fruity and sweet, with notes of caramel, apricot, pine, and some spice. Flavor is quite malty, with caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, and a spicy bitter finish. Hops are pretty bold for a barley wine. Moutfeel is full, and somewhat oily and smooth. This is a very easy drinking beer, considering the high alcohol content.
02-23-2003 18:04:22 | More by zerk
4.22/5 rDev -1.4%
The pour from a 22 oz. bomber is a beautiful, clear copper with a concentrated, tan head that dissolves into almost nothing after standing for a minute or so. No lacing is present. The nose is hugely fruity, most likely due to the copious addition of Warrior hops. In addition, the aroma is quite sweet, which is certainly a by-product of the addition of a ton of malt. Taste is quite sweet, and surprisingly balanced between the fruity hops and the sweet malt. I was expecting more bittering hops, but alas, fruitiness is the key element here. Notes of raisins are present. Feel is quite oily in a good way. For a barleywine, this one drinks almost too easily as the alcohol is difficult to detect until the final sips. Coming from Stone, this one surprised me a bit. For a barleywine bottled in Winter 2003, it's all ready quite mellow and a pleasure to drink. However, I still desire more hops!
06-20-2003 11:38:16 | More by Jon
4.08/5 rDev -4.7%
Twenty two ounce brown bottle.
Radiant redish brown, clear appearance. Dense almond coloured head settles after a few minutes, leaving behind a thin sheet a lace that quickly slides down the glass to rejoin the host.
Interesting hop aroma, grapefruit, & a slight whiff of alcohol.
Nice caramel flavour swims through some malty sweetness. A bit of raisins, apples, & even some plums. A mild grapefruit flavour, with some pine. Hops are subdued, but more than present. The finish is semi-dry. Apples with a slight metallic flavour lingers pleasantly.
Think full body is complemented by slow & steady carbonation.
Alcohol eventually warms the body. Nice way to pass part of an evening.
09-05-2003 17:19:08 | More by xgrigorix
4.93/5 rDev +15.2%
Mahogany colored with a tan head that disappears after a couple of minutes. Wonderful and huge aroma, big citrus hop character combining with ultra-caramel malt and fruitiness. Makes something that slightly resembles a fruitcake, or something like that. Maybe a bit of grape and breadiness as well. As for the flavors, first I must say that this year's is an improvement over last year's in the hop department. Big, chewy, sweet caramel and bready malt come in first, hops are all around and are very well placed, yet not too overpowering. Spreads the warmth very quickly. Excellently brewed barleywine, makes you feel like you're eating something, not just drinking it. Grab it while you can, and put some back for later too!
03-14-2003 01:06:49 | More by hyuga
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Appearance: Pours a crystal clear reddish-amber. A light tan head stays strong at a small cap.
Smell: Lots of sweet malt, lots of raw hops. Simple enough...
Taste: What begins as bitter and coarse, then smooths out with a shot of sweet malt that is both caramelly and fruity. The hops have much more of a grapefruit flavor than last year, but still retain a lemony, citrus taste. A touch of roasted malt shows up on the tail end. Finishes bitter and burnt with a burst of alcohol that lingers on and on...
Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, with a dry crisp mouthfeel. Leaves a nice alcoholic warmth on the palate.
Drinkability: Good overall drinkability. This one is a bit better than last year's, as the alcohol is less noticeable in the flavor. A well done barley wine.
Yet another fantastic brew from Stone!
06-11-2003 22:43:44 | More by MJR
4.88/5 rDev +14%
This is what a barleywine is all about! It poured a deep amber color with almost no head at all. The smell was of plums and alchohol. The taste was pure malty goodness with a touch of hops to ballance it out and just a little bit of plum flavors in there as well. I think this one is a definant improvement over last years version which was much sweeter than this one. Another awesome brew from stone
11-22-2003 09:56:49 | More by Dmann
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Pour is a deep mahogany, with a small tan head that leaves little lace, a lot of clingy carb bubbles on the glass with the initial pour. Aroma has a big caramel sweetness, backed up with a strong hop presence. Flavor starts with dominant sweetness (mostly caramel), middle has some "raw" maltiness to it, and ends with a rather strong spicy hop assault. Incredibly thick and chewy mouthfeel.
05-14-2003 08:36:03 | More by goz
4/5 rDev -6.5%
Poured a nice reddish amber with a thin head that was quick to go the way of the Dodo. Pleasant aroma of hops greets the nose. This is a mellow brew for a barleywine, the hops lend a nice bitterness, but are well balanced by the malt. I thought the alchohol was very present in the taste, it was on the warmer side when I drank it. Quite tasty, but not what I would consider a big beer.
02-11-2003 11:52:45 | More by LarryV
4.38/5 rDev +2.3%
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!
06-29-2005 03:37:47 | More by Sephiroth
4.2/5 rDev -1.9%
Poured into a tulip glass. It is a clear brown with red-orange glints. The head is slight at first, but as it warms and the beer is swirled, it actually produces a fair amount of tan foam. This is a thick beer in the glass.
I get a surprising melon scent off this one with some big sweet malts. My girlfriend describes it as smelling like something sweet baking in the oven. Green hops are big as well. Piney, piney, piney. Little citrus fruit hop scent finds its way out from this one.
Taste is alcoholic warming sweet malts and considerable bittering from the hops. A green hops flavor smothered in dark caramel and buckwheat honey. The bitter and sweet fight for who will last longer on your tongue.
Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and viscous with some carbonation keeping it from appearing syrupy. A little alcohol warming here. Perfect!
Despite being so big, it is not tiring. Great drinkability. I still like Bigfoot better, though.
07-25-2004 22:11:26 | More by silenius
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.