1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Rastacouere
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a rather clear amber with a generous and beautifully laced off-white head, surprisingly big for a 10% beer. The aroma is very hoppy, citrusy but flowery, not so piney. A bit of alcohol is noticeable, especially as it warms where it seems to get a little thinner and more vinous with an almost grapey fruitiness. At cellar temperature, it had a flowery/peachy flavour profile with a creamy maltiness playing around with the big hops, warrior?

Photo of drabmuh
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I love Stone brews. Stone IPA is one of the greatest beers available and likewise all beers I've tried from them have been way above par. For some reason, this beer disappointed me. I love barely wines (Bigfoot 2004 and Old Numbskull I would recommend) but this one was difficult to drink. It had no specific flavor. Perhaps my expectations were too high. They all can't be winners.

Photo of tommyguz
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of BrewMaster
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ManekiNeko
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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!

Photo of jdhilt
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
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 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.

Photo of HopheadEd
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Limited winter '03 release, this ale pours a usual caramel brown color with a limited head that fades quickly but leaves a lasting, sticky lace. Caramel and spices confront you at the first smell, and a bit of alcohol. Starting with a big malt flavor, this beer changes with temp., as now that it has warmed, the alcohol and hops take over. Short, spicy mouthfeel, with limited carbonation, I now realize this will be unbelievable in a year or two. Too new, but as it warms becomes pretty good. Next review(or update) Feb. 04.

Photo of benmiliron
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $4.79 for a 22 oz. bottle.

Pretty good barley wine, but not great. Good sweetness and malty hoppiness. There's a corky flavor in the back of this that I can't quite pinpoint. A bit cloudy in the glass. When Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is on the shelves, there's no contest, go with the SN!!!

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 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 WanderingFool
3.98/5  rDev -7%
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 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 LarryV
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

This beer is a medium, coppery brown. It's seems to be the official color of American barleywines actually. We had several classic American examples of barlwines tonight and almost all of them looked like this. There's a good caramel malt to it and a bit of alcohol and grassy hops to support the sweetness.

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

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.

Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was brought over by sheepnutz in a 22oz bomber bottle. We had this side-by-side with the 2004 version. Pours a red/copper color with a large head and leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy (pine aroma) with some alcohol being obvious as well - there are some dark malts there too. The flavor is big. The alcohol and hops are strong and it has a very strong malt character. Well-crafted beer. I'd have this again anytime.

Photo of zerk
4/5  rDev -6.5%
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 mickeymac
4/5  rDev -6.5%
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 OldFrothingSlosh
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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

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 mouthfeel.
Good drinkability for the style.
Overall, a good beer I look forward to sampling again.

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 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.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.