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

98 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 89
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.37%
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
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
4.32/5  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
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
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
4.82/5  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
4.62/5  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
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
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 +4.7%
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
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
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
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
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
4.82/5  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
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
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 +5.4%
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
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
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
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
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
4.92/5  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!

Photo of aaronh
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish copper body is topped by a tan head that displays great retention for a barleywine. The aroma is sweet malt and fruit, balanced very well by some assertive hops (did the bottle say Tomahawk?) Very sweet, yet very hoppy, as expected from a young barleywine from Stone. There are some alcohol notes controlling the taste, but the malt and hops put up a good fight to get noticed as well. The mouthfeel is very thick and rewarding. The drinkability is good, even at this young age. I hope to find a few more bottles of this to age for a while, because this is a very good beer now that I expect will only improve as the years go by. Another rewarding experience compliments of the Stone Brewing Company.

Photo of jdhilt
3.77/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper color with a good head and some lace. Nose is malt and not much else. The finish is very slightly hoppy and goes real good with a mild cheese and wheat thins. This is a good, medium bodied barley wine, too bad it is $6.99 for a 22oz bottle.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of FINA
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Golden / amber in color with a gorgeous dark cream colored head. Taste was outstanding with a malty nuttiness hitting me right away with a strong, but not overpowering, wave of hops coming in right after. That was followed by a slight warming alcohol on the backside. This beer was magnificent, I can only wait to try it in a year or so and see how the flavors mature.

Photo of Bierman9
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
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

Photo of mickeymac
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of zerk
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz amber bottle with the TM gargoyle guarding against "all things drab, dreary, & dull." $5.29 at Carytown Wine & Beer.

Appearance: Poured a fiery copper-red with a brief appearance by a tan-colored head that quickly disappeared.

Smell: A lovely mixture of caramel, citrus, pine cones.

Taste: This is a tough barleywine to judge. On one hand, the other BW's I've had have been much smoother and sweeter than this one. However, this is a very good beer, too. There is a very delicate balance achieved between the hops, the malt, and the alcohol. For a 95 IBU rating, I was very impressed by the smoothness and body. The hops clearly are present, but not off the scale like other Stone products I've had. When I first tasted it (right out of the fridge), it was a little on the harsh side. But as it warmed, the balancing act really put on a show. For an ABV of almost 10%, you sure don't notice it. Very well-hidden. Makes more of an appearance at the end and only after the beer had warmed considerably.

Mouthfeel: Not as creamy and chewy as I'd expected, but then again, how creamy can a hoppy beer be?

Drinkability: A little on the "crisp and dry" side for me. Not too much of a lingering aftertaste, either. Normally, this is a good thing. But I wanted a little more from a barleywine.

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