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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:
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!!!

benmiliron, Apr 22, 2004
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.

Elemental, Jul 25, 2003
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.

nomad, Sep 08, 2003
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.

WanderingFool, Mar 04, 2003
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.

Darkale, Mar 26, 2003
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.

LarryV, Feb 11, 2003
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.

aracauna, Jan 11, 2004
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.

scottum, Feb 08, 2003
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.

clvand0, Oct 20, 2004
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.

zerk, Feb 23, 2003
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.

mickeymac, Feb 23, 2003
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.

OldFrothingSlosh, Feb 21, 2003
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.

PhantomVodoo, Feb 16, 2003
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.

Quaffer, Jul 27, 2003
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 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.

xgrigorix, Sep 05, 2003
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
Photo of Brent
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this with some trepidation - knowing well Stone's predilection for massive flavor overload, I expected a monstrous assault on my palate. Big flavor, indeed, but I was pleasantly surprised with the beer's relatively easy-going nature, for a barley wine. Massive, slightly syrupy malt - but not overwhelmingly caramel, as is so often the case with the style. Big hops prop up the malt, but don't try to steal the show. High abv is slyly hidden, showing itself more in a peppery burn on the tongue than in the flavor. For me, a little barley wine usually goes a long way, but here the bomber vaporized with little effort.

Brent, Nov 20, 2003
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 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.

AtLagerHeads, Oct 26, 2003
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 BeerManDan
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It poured a clear, thick reddish-brown with no foam or lace. The smell was of spices and malts, with a hint of fruit. The taste was of spice and malts, with a hint of caramel and you can taste the alcohol, but not over powering. Althought it was well balanced with the spices, malts and alcohol, it was just a touch to bitter. The bitterness in the after taste took away the pleasantness of the spices and malts. Not as good as 2002 or 2001! Maybe with age it will mellow out.

BeerManDan, Feb 20, 2003
Photo of silenius
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. It is a clear brown with red-orange glints. The head is slight at first, but as it warms and the beer is swirled, it actually produces a fair amount of tan foam. This is a thick beer in the glass.

I get a surprising melon scent off this one with some big sweet malts. My girlfriend describes it as smelling like something sweet baking in the oven. Green hops are big as well. Piney, piney, piney. Little citrus fruit hop scent finds its way out from this one.

Taste is alcoholic warming sweet malts and considerable bittering from the hops. A green hops flavor smothered in dark caramel and buckwheat honey. The bitter and sweet fight for who will last longer on your tongue.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and viscous with some carbonation keeping it from appearing syrupy. A little alcohol warming here. Perfect!

Despite being so big, it is not tiring. Great drinkability. I still like Bigfoot better, though.

silenius, Jul 25, 2004
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.

freed, Aug 20, 2003
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.

Myk, Mar 22, 2003
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.