Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 89 | Display Reviews Only:
4.58/5 rDev +7%
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!
09-19-2003 01:33:32 | More by tavernjef
3.95/5 rDev -7.7%
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.
09-08-2003 15:22:47 | More by nomad
4.08/5 rDev -4.7%
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.
09-05-2003 17:19:08 | More by xgrigorix
4.6/5 rDev +7.5%
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.
08-26-2003 01:58:41 | More by johnrobe
4.2/5 rDev -1.9%
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.
08-20-2003 05:49:25 | More by freed
4.53/5 rDev +5.8%
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.
08-10-2003 09:55:59 | More by chilidog
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
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...;)
07-29-2003 02:11:18 | More by frank4sail
4.03/5 rDev -5.8%
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.
07-27-2003 00:47:46 | More by Quaffer
3.95/5 rDev -7.7%
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.
07-25-2003 03:22:19 | More by Elemental
4.28/5 rDev 0%
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.
07-25-2003 01:06:36 | More by IrishRedRock
4.25/5 rDev -0.7%
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.
07-24-2003 06:59:50 | More by kmcnair
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
07-16-2003 15:31:16 | More by Running4beer
4.25/5 rDev -0.7%
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.
06-22-2003 16:37:48 | More by Mitchster
4.22/5 rDev -1.4%
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!
06-20-2003 11:38:16 | More by Jon
4.5/5 rDev +5.1%
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.
06-17-2003 14:22:24 | More by francisweizen
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
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!
06-11-2003 22:43:44 | More by MJR
4.22/5 rDev -1.4%
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.
06-05-2003 08:13:37 | More by jcalabre
4.83/5 rDev +12.9%
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.
05-21-2003 07:03:16 | More by irishmoss
4.63/5 rDev +8.2%
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!
05-19-2003 21:04:42 | More by feloniousmonk
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
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.
05-14-2003 08:36:03 | More by goz
4.83/5 rDev +12.9%
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.
05-05-2003 18:14:41 | More by kunzbrew
4.47/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
04-28-2003 06:29:53 | More by Dogbrick
4.45/5 rDev +4%
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.
04-20-2003 18:09:22 | More by marc77
4.58/5 rDev +7%
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.
04-19-2003 15:37:40 | More by oberon
4.83/5 rDev +12.9%
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.
04-14-2003 20:33:35 | More by Bighuge
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.