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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

This brew pours a lovely amber color with a creamy head that last for the duration, leaving a sexy lace in its trail. The sweet smell of caramel and roasted malts fill the nose along with a moderate hop aroma.

WOW, this baby is mighty strong, caramel is very strong in flavor along with alcohol. The toasty malts are also noted along with a moderate hop flavor, this is a good one, as the beer warms the hops get stronger and so does that sweet caramel maltiness.

The medium body makes this an easy one to drink but don't have many you will be on your ass in amatter of a few minutes.

Cheers

Photo of Dogbrick
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.

Photo of marc77
4.45/5  rDev +4%
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.

Photo of oberon
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.

Photo of Bighuge
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.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

-ABV: 9.91%
-Hops: Warrior

Old Guardian starts with a beautiful, very clear reddish-mahogany body topped by a thinnish barleywine looking head that managed to stick around longer and lace better than the first impression suggested it might. The initial nose is unexpectedly dominated by a bready malt character more in league with Bell’s Third Coast Ale or Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout than a West Coast barleywine. I expected a beer that could easily be confused for a Double IPA, but Guardian is at least as malty as it is hoppy. It helps (me at least) that the malty nose is the kind of nose that comes typically from the use of wheat malt, Belgian aromatic malt, or one of those other exceptional, pleasantly-pungent smelling malts. In addition to that addictive bread aroma, a good dose of those Warrior hops is evident, as well as a hot flash of peppery alcohol.

The ultra viscous body is the first impression of this beer in my mouth. I couldn’t even concentrate on the flavor at first because I was so overwhelmed by the thickness of the body—it feels like lightly carbonated mineral oil: so thick and slippery… After my brain forced that other part of my brain to begin cognitive analysis on the actual flavor of the beer, I was able to very quickly ascertain that the malt flavor was not contradictory to the malt aroma: doughy bread with slightly caramelized frosting? Perhaps I’m reaching a bit… Then come the hops—the flavor I anticipated all along. Interesting that they play 3rd fiddle to the maltiness and the mouthfeel… Those resinous cones team up with the roasted malts (crystal maybe—I’ve tasted this before) to create a touch of harshness that lingers in the corner of my mouth. That’s the flavor that I expected to dominate this brew. I was thinking that Guardian would be more like SN Bigfoot than Old Horizontal. In reality, it was right in the middle, with Stone’s very English (IMO) house yeast providing the slight diacetyl-ish creaminess to the body that sets their Pale Ale apart. I guess I’m assuming they use the same yeast for both brews.

All in all, this was a great beer and one that was way more balanced than I anticipated. The aromatics of the maltiness were a real treat and the super-thick, oily texture was refreshingly different and quite enjoyable. I’m glad that I bought multiple bottles of this one :)

Photo of Darkale
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright cherry red in color, really quite a beautiful beer to pour, though the tan head is small and temporary and soon fades to a faint skim. Awfully sweet, heavy and alcoholic, and an underpinning of smoky hops. But, to my mind, not enough hops to balance.

Still, a lovely beer to contemplate. Could drink far too many of these far too quickly.

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

2003 version. good stuff man. i love the saying on the bottle... "guarding against all things drab, dreary and dull." this is very true. starting off with the appearance it poured with a thick plae yellow head with a brilliant ruby color. the aroma is of sweet malt mixed with cranberry, cherry and yeast. great mix. the taste was yeasty, alcohol, oaky, and malt. it was a medium bodied beer that had a very late, surprising, hop flavor kick in, in the aftertaste.

Photo of hyuga
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

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