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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:
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3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

tommyguz, Aug 06, 2013
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4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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4.75/5  rDev +11%

trancesk8er, Jun 09, 2012
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5/5  rDev +16.8%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 08, 2011
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5/5  rDev +16.8%

jerz, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of khumbard
5/5  rDev +16.8%

khumbard, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of ZX6Chris
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Dark amber, light around the edges. The liquid in the glass looks so smooth and inviting. Nice carbonation after all these years. A thin layer of head with a nice ring of offwhite bubbles around the edge. Nice lacing, this sticks to the glass.

S-No hop aroma. Alcohol isn't even present. Malt aroma, tropical fruit, carmel.

T-Malty sweetness that comes off as pineapple to me so I'd say it has a tropical fruit taste. A little alcohol on the finish. Maybe a touch of bitterness from the hops on the finish.

M-Medium body. Smooth! Slips all over your tongue down your throat. This is the first beer I've had that I would call luscious.

D-Easy drinking for a BW. This could age for many more years. I definitely like this aged.

ZX6Chris, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
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.

ChainGangGuy, Sep 09, 2008
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.

sessycuban, Jan 29, 2008
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.

BlindPig, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of FightingEntropy
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I asked my sister to get a few bottles of the 2003 Old Guardian, and she got me a case. Best decision she's ever made for me. Drank most in the first year or so, but just opened a three year old bottle tonight. Still pours with a creamy tan head, that leaves pretty quickly, but the beer is somewhere between a teenager and middle aged, so give it a break. Strong alcohol scent wafts up with a lot of raisin and vanilla, spicy. The hops have receded a bit into the background, but the smooth, oily character of a full integrated aged beer makes up for it. It warmed up well, opening up even more with the fruity esters and big malt in the nose and mouth. Slight bitterness on the way down the back. It aged well, and aged beer is the ultimate pleasure. I've got three more bottles and going to aim to make them last a total of ten years or so, and I'll re-review as I go.

FightingEntropy, Sep 27, 2006
Photo of lackenhauser
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

lackenhauser, Apr 17, 2006
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Feb 22, 2006
Photo of TastyTaste
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

TastyTaste, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of ggroller
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another trade with Swillinbrew.

Same type of silk screened bottle as 2002.

Translucent amber colored beer with a huge, tightly wound head. Very nice lacing.

The smell is surprisingly subdued. Sweet caramel with hints of brown sugar.

Tastes hot. A bit rough around the edges. Sweet honey up front with a bit of coffee and dark chocolate in the back.

Chewy sweet mouthfeel with a residual maltiness.

A nice beer that I think would have been even nicer (is that a word?) next year.

ggroller, Dec 30, 2005
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.

OldSock, Oct 11, 2005
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.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 09, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

sampled with Unionmade and a whole buttload of indian cuisine.. i must first say this was the way to do it and a perfect beer pair for the spicy food.

pours a red ale-ish red. seriously strong lacing, double-fortified. lots of crater-strewn head that looks rather picturesque. this is a beautiful beer to behold. aroma is full of orangey maltiness.. vanilla cream and crystal goodness dominate the flavor. so three dimensional and able to cut through the indian food aftertaste like a knife. alcohol on this puppy, despite its three years of age, is hot as hell. this would be the perfect bottle on a cold winter's night.. sipping to last hours... however, on a hot july night, it didn't feel too wrong either.

goodbyeohio, Jul 04, 2005
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!

Sephiroth, Jun 29, 2005
Photo of trancefishy
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this 2 years ago and lugged it across the country in a move, and it was the very first beer I have ever aged. It has watched over my beer collection for a long time.

appearance is dark garnet ruby colour, small tiny head with some good lacing. served in a brandy snifter.

Aroma is intense. way juicy. oh so juicy. citrus smells and what else, barleywine. smells sweet. yummm

taste is phenomenal. lucscious pine saturated sugar. smoooth taste. very smooth. perfectly balanced. just a smidge of a dry finish long after your swallow, which begs you to take another drink.

mouthfeel is excellent as well. the taste and mouthfeel are just creamy smooth. carbonation is small, but, very nicely done.

wow. this is one of the best beers I've had. i'm certainly glad I held out 2 full years on this one. i only regret not having another, as there is nobody guarding my beer collection. Sad to see him go, but, wow, this is really good stuff. I rarely give 5s, and this is a first time ever for 2 of them. so that says something.

trancefishy, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 22oz. Bomber: This pours a somewhat hazy, somewhat coppery color. There was very little head, yet still managed some lacing. This has a very smooth, silky taste. A wonderful Barleywine. I like this much better than the keg version that I previously had, which was probably a bit young. I have been aging this for a year, and the harshness from the hops has gone away. This is a very nice and balanced brew. I’ve bought some ’04 for next year!

Boto, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of CRJMellor
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

CRJMellor, Jan 17, 2005
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.