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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

98 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 89
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 5
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.91% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 01-29-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.15/5  rDev -3%
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.

Photo of cokes
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crimson hued. Bloody and angry-looking beneath its gaudy beige helmet.

And deservingly so.

Nose is bombarded with dried, smoked cherries, sherry, and more torched fruit. Caramelized mangoes drenched in vaporous pine syrup. Burnt raisins. Oh my! For as much hype as Stone gets from their hops, I gotta say that the malt loads of their brews are every bit as impressive.
A double-edged assault, indeed.

Raids the mouth. Loots and pillages and rapes. Like ten thousand vikings, drunken and horny. Touting massive caramel swords, swinging brandy-dripping battle axes and lighting huge fruit bonfires. Tossing orange rinds, pineapples, mangoes, raisins, and plums into the ceremonial inferno. An inebriated cry goes up around the the stack of smoldering fruit, as its molten discharge of raspberry- and currant-syrup floods the recently conquered streets. The brawn is flaunted unshakably. Cocky as hell. Boasting tanginess, burned fruit and substancial hop wrath; Who's going to stand in its path?
Give up your lands now, and avoid the ensuing carnage. The savage victory is laden with sprucey hop sludge. Warrior indeed!! No analysis is needed. The rubble Old Guardian produces is testiment enough. Another war cry goes up towards Valhalla, as the cognac-infused, sherry alcohol vapors dance above the flames.

The strike is thick and all-consuming. Little time for the reprieve carbonation provides. A blanketing conquest. Unrelenting in its coating invasion.
No time to prepare, or make plans of escape.

Its over now.

Best not to fight, as your casualties are mounting.

Give up, stop resisting, and accept your domination.

Hope there was sufficient time to hide your women and children.

Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Extremely thick and cloudy orange-brown in color with a monster head that would not go away. Finally it settled down to a deep film on the body, but this was relentless. The lacing on my glass was beautiful.

Smell – Big, giant hops lead the way for this Barley Wine. The sherry base is present as well, but this one is all about the hop compliment.

Taste – The sherry and hop mixture is amazing. There are also some nice fruity flavors in here such as big cherry, orange, and cranberry, but the quality hops and oak-aged sherry flavors stand out.

Mouthfeel – Dry, dead flat, and extremely refreshing. This is a full-bodied ale that quenches the thirst. There is absolutely no indication of alcohol whatsoever.

Drinkability – They serve this on tap at the beer store that I frequent. I usually suck down a pint while I’m buying some pints. Awesome!

Photo of hotstuff
2.53/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of UnionMade
3.1/5  rDev -27.6%
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.

Photo of tavernjef
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark caramel brownish orange with a plumy purple reddish tone, has some chill haze to it. A small fine tannish creamy head bubbles slowly up from underneath gaining strength and girth and then fades away quickly like a ghost in a dream. The carbonation boils slowly from below as if its just starting to cook. Which I think is the leading cause to the smell of lots of ethanol/alcoholic sense, which takes a second to get past, which eventually leads to lofty strong darkly sweet malts, some fruityness and hard candy, caramel and toffee-like slightly make some wayward notions in subtle nuances. Juicy citrus hops with a bit of floral factions play in the back. The alcohol really makes its presense felt as it warms, quite strong and warming in the nose with a mellow sweetness. Taste is smooth, creamy, and warm, a pure pleasure to let it fill your your head and tummy up. Solid malts lending soft bread chewyness and caramel and toffee candy and light dark fruits of plum and maybe cherry upfront. Hops keep a very nice lingering bitterness of subtle pine and juicy citrus-like peels throughout the middle with some herbal/floralness slipping in and stemming into the finish with some light peppered spicyness and herbal hoppy grab sundrys in the finish as well but a bit later just after the hops make there way off the palette, a very nice effect. Feel is quite full, pleasingly warm from start to finish, smooth and creamy, mellowing and easy. One excellent drinkin' BW, the bomber wasn't enough but the alcohol was. A fine barleywine, top notch with no rough edges, balanced well, and I'm sure with some aging the alcohol might lose some of its potency and make it much more unbelievabley yummy then what it is now. Wow, what a notion. Given what it's at now it can only get better.

A big thanks to the big dog, xlperro for the bottle!

Photo of nomad
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a very red amber color, quite beautiful, with a thin foam head that stuck well. Left big stains of all sorts of shapes from the great lace. Smelled of big ass barley malt, almost cherry and certainly of caramel notes. The malt could be slightly grainy at time – a nice rough hewn touch, though. Eventually it opened to grapefruit notes. Tasted of an even and straightforward sweet barley malt flavor, and of course high alpha hops. A tiny bit spicy, it had some caramel tones swirling about and a creamy finish. Thin mouthfeel, so it drinks like a session beer.

Straight, simple, and solid, thus lacking the amazing complexity of many other barleywines. Good now but would strongly benefit from aging. Not everything Stone makes is perfect.

Photo of xgrigorix
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of johnrobe
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone continues to impress with this brew! This is probably the most drinkable barleywine I've ever had. It pours a slightly hazy, light burnt orange with a scant off-white head. BALANCE. This sucker is exquisitely balanced on both the nose and the palate. There is quite a load of both chocolate and caramel malts giving that "Tootsie Roll" flavor which seems to be the hallmark of many a great barleywine. Partnering with that rich malty sweetness are some citrusy hops that don't don't overwhelm. Amazingly smooth for such a young barleywine. The high alcohol presence is never obvious (until you try to type a review...and have to constantly edit). :-D The rough edges so obvious in other barleywines (I'm lookin' at you, Bigfoot!) are absent here. Perhaps this will hurt its cellaring potential; only time will tell.

Photo of freed
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of chilidog
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! A very nice B.W. Great bottle design with mention to Ohio for the abv, as I do, thanks for letting Stone brews in. Thisone pours a dark amber\red with little to no head or lace. The aroma of spice and citrus. A nice blended taste of sweet malt, spice and a load of citrus hop. What makes this brew so special is its mouthfeel & drinkability. It is so smooth, as creamy, buttery, mouth left with a hint of oil. Its easy to drink. At over 9+%, you would never know it, till it hits you, its that well done! A great addition to any cellar stock.

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

Deep amber/ruby color. Sweet cotton candy, abv, cherry, melon smell. Quite a complex nose. Lots of fine little bubbles in the goblet. The nice white head on the pour settles into a consistant white outer ring and lace on the goblet. A pretty lookin little (I mean big) girl. Big malty nutty sweet flavor followed by a citrus bitter hop finish. It really has an impact on the tongue. It is still a little rough around the edges but this is very good for such a "young" BW. Awesome mouth and look. I can't wait to tast my others in the cellar in upcoming years. It can't get much better... but it will...;)

Photo of Quaffer
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Elemental
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is a clear dark-amber copper color that invites you to drink it. It has a medium size head that quickly disapates into a light ring of foam. The smell is a little too sour for me but bitter. It has a sweet taste to start with that quickly becomes bitter and tart leaving the mouth dry. Overall a good beer with the only weekness of the off-sour smell, but once you get past that its great.

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love hops. Enough of this, "its too hot to drink barleywines." This is exactly what I need. Pours out a dense bright amber, with a flowing hoppy aroma that also contains traces of smoke, dry fruit, and a bit of a dank mustiness. It's got character.
Flavors seem pretty balances. Barley wines can sometimes have a dominant character, but this seems to have nothing standing out more than anything else. A mild sweetness (very mild) precedes the blast of hops...ends with a bit of dry malt and plum. Quite a tasty and complex barley wine. Maybe it's just that I havent had one in a while, but this is delightful.

Photo of kmcnair
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This barley wine pours a nice dark and opaque amber and carries a rather sweet fragrance. It fills my glass smoothly with very little head at all, but in my experience this is an acceptible characteristic of a barley wine. Flavor is very sweet, fruity and floral. As I indulge, I notice there is very little lace left on my glass. The 9.91% alcohol smacks you right in the face, but I expect that from the gargoyle on the bottle, very strong and very present. The mouth feel is very sweet, sticky, and leaves a thick coating on the throat... almost overbearing Overall I really enjoyed this one, very sweet and mellow with an alcoholic sneak attack.

Photo of Running4beer
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber....
Poured out a rich amber color with little to no head and no lace. Strong smell of spicey hops, citrus hops and some caramel malts. Taste was fairly balanced a bitter bite at first with a sweet finish, raisons, spice, caramel and a hint of lemon or grapefruit was noticed in the flavor, quite good. Mouthfeel was rather smooth not what I had expected, I was expecting something rough with a crisp sharp bite on the palate. This was very good.

Photo of Mitchster
4.25/5  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.

Photo of Jon
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another classic southwestern barleywine, from one of the classic southwestern breweries. Stone! This beer poured a beautiful dark red colour with a small, whispy yet creamy head. The aromas were big on malts, hops, and alcohol. The taste, very warming, alcoholic, fruity, hoppy, malty, and wonderful. This beer had a very thick mouthfeel but it was still amazingly easy to drink. This was a very well balanced and restrained beer from Stone Brewing.
Cheers!
-F

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

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear reddish-amber. A light tan head stays strong at a small cap.

Smell: Lots of sweet malt, lots of raw hops. Simple enough...

Taste: What begins as bitter and coarse, then smooths out with a shot of sweet malt that is both caramelly and fruity. The hops have much more of a grapefruit flavor than last year, but still retain a lemony, citrus taste. A touch of roasted malt shows up on the tail end. Finishes bitter and burnt with a burst of alcohol that lingers on and on...

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, with a dry crisp mouthfeel. Leaves a nice alcoholic warmth on the palate.

Drinkability: Good overall drinkability. This one is a bit better than last year's, as the alcohol is less noticeable in the flavor. A well done barley wine.

Yet another fantastic brew from Stone!

Photo of jcalabre
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

This beautiful beer pours a nice deep amber color with a nice tan head that dissipates rather quickly. A nice lattice of lace remained on the sides of the glass. The flavor was caramel and malt with a hint of fruit that quickly gave way to the amazing, yet not overpowering, hoppiness. A great beer with great mouthfeel. The flavor makes it drinkable and the high ABV kicks you in the teeth. But I never complain about that.

Photo of feloniousmonk
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!

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

Pour is a deep mahogany, with a small tan head that leaves little lace, a lot of clingy carb bubbles on the glass with the initial pour. Aroma has a big caramel sweetness, backed up with a strong hop presence. Flavor starts with dominant sweetness (mostly caramel), middle has some "raw" maltiness to it, and ends with a rather strong spicy hop assault. Incredibly thick and chewy mouthfeel.

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