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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 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 HiroProtagonist
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured with little head, produced minimal scattered lacing. Beautiful color: a medium ruby-orange, rusty and scotch-like. The aroma contained powerful hops, some maltiness and alchohol. This was a great tasting barleywine, with moderate malty caramel overtones, well hidden alcohol, with a strong but perfectly balanced resiny hop finish. The mouthfeel was also excellent: thick, smooth and velvety, but not syrupy at all. Solid. Yet another amazing Stone brew, a must try!

HiroProtagonist, Dec 26, 2003
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

kunzbrew, May 05, 2003
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 Viking
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter '03 edition, all Warrior hops, 9.91% abv.

Clear coppery-amber body. Tons of CO2 apparent. Head initially about 3/8" thick, and quickly fades to lace. Smell is very malty (caramel and molasses, slightly rum-like) and slightly vinous, herbal and spicy, with faint notes of alcohol (especially as it warms a bit more). Malty and surprisingly bitter flavor, considering the maltiness. Finishes oily with a surge of alcohol, hop bitterness, and a lingering flavor of apple-like fruit. Chewey, smooth, and full-bodied beer. Damn good fresh. I'll have to pick up a couple more bottles to try in a year or so - if I have the patience.

Viking, Feb 18, 2003
Photo of SeanChouffe
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper red, light carbonation and a tan rocky head. The aroma is of hops, roasted grains, grassy, caramel and some smokiness. The flavor has a sweet start, very rich and creamy, with a lasting hop bite. The mouthfeel is full bodied; syrupy, slick and oily with a nice presence of effervescence.
As the beer warmed its character improved. Although it is very hoppy, this barleywine was well balanced and a pleasant experience.

SeanChouffe, Mar 18, 2004
Photo of OldSock
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance and Presentation – 22 oz bottle from Marty’s bought a few months ago. Poured into my snifter it is a deep brown/red with a 1 finger creamy off-white head with some bigger sudsy bubbles on top. In addition there is decent lacing, but retention that only lasts a few minutes.

Smell – Moderate alcohol with sweet toasted malts and some vinous character.

Taste – Remarkably smooth, age has treated this well. All that remains of the hops is a moderate bitterness that is overshadowed by the big complex malts. The malt is toasted, roasted and a bit smoky with hints of chocolate, very nice. Added complexity comes from dark fruit flavors, raisons and plums. Terrific balanced it’s a flavor that I really enjoy. Alcohol is almost non-existent in the flavor.

Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with light carbonation, just what a big barleywine should be.

Drinkability and Notes – Guardian 2003 has great drinkability for such a big beer. This is an excellent Barleywine at this stage of aging and I need to get back over to Marty’s to get more of this while it lasts.

OldSock, Oct 11, 2005
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.

kmcnair, Jul 24, 2003
Photo of johnrobe
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

johnrobe, Aug 26, 2003
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 :)

TXHops, Mar 31, 2003
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 ZX6Chris
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Dark amber, light around the edges. The liquid in the glass looks so smooth and inviting. Nice carbonation after all these years. A thin layer of head with a nice ring of offwhite bubbles around the edge. Nice lacing, this sticks to the glass.

S-No hop aroma. Alcohol isn't even present. Malt aroma, tropical fruit, carmel.

T-Malty sweetness that comes off as pineapple to me so I'd say it has a tropical fruit taste. A little alcohol on the finish. Maybe a touch of bitterness from the hops on the finish.

M-Medium body. Smooth! Slips all over your tongue down your throat. This is the first beer I've had that I would call luscious.

D-Easy drinking for a BW. This could age for many more years. I definitely like this aged.

ZX6Chris, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Not so thick a pour; off-white head goes up by a finger and subsides slowly to a clingy collar; after a swirl, thin sheets of lace crawl back into the glass, leaving surging walls of carbonation in their wake. Awesome burnt sienna color, a bit hazy; held to light this barelywine stuns the eye with a luxuriant ruby glow, a bursting neon pomegranate... Aromas of burning toffee and medicinal alcohol from a mile away. Enormous bouquet of molten dates and brown sugar; apricot and ginger brandy; hop cones leafy and blooming, rosemary and pine. Nosefeel is velvety in the body and vaporous in the finish. Flavor is at first shockingly sweet, with more dates and golden raisins; extreme caramel sugars and toffee, toffee rampant and oh yeah also butterscotch rum raisin and rum and then the HOPS without an ounce of twang pull towards juniper, pine sap, ginger (?). In no way are these flavors competitive--the balance is astonishing--finally, things wrap up with a sandalwood dryness. Massive, nougaty mouthfeel with alcohol that warms and dries; the hops resiny and coating fairly shellac the mouth; the palate waters. As far as drinkability, let's just say you're going to need some endurance... The thought of pairing this with baclava or a similar insanely sweet, syrupy dessert is boggling. Heroic.

NearerMyBeerToMe, Feb 01, 2004
Photo of khumbard
5/5  rDev +16.8%

khumbard, Nov 14, 2011
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.

HopheadEd, Feb 17, 2003
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.

Running4beer, Jul 16, 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 trancesk8er
4.75/5  rDev +11%

trancesk8er, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of trancefishy
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this 2 years ago and lugged it across the country in a move, and it was the very first beer I have ever aged. It has watched over my beer collection for a long time.

appearance is dark garnet ruby colour, small tiny head with some good lacing. served in a brandy snifter.

Aroma is intense. way juicy. oh so juicy. citrus smells and what else, barleywine. smells sweet. yummm

taste is phenomenal. lucscious pine saturated sugar. smoooth taste. very smooth. perfectly balanced. just a smidge of a dry finish long after your swallow, which begs you to take another drink.

mouthfeel is excellent as well. the taste and mouthfeel are just creamy smooth. carbonation is small, but, very nicely done.

wow. this is one of the best beers I've had. i'm certainly glad I held out 2 full years on this one. i only regret not having another, as there is nobody guarding my beer collection. Sad to see him go, but, wow, this is really good stuff. I rarely give 5s, and this is a first time ever for 2 of them. so that says something.

trancefishy, Feb 26, 2005
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.

irishmoss, May 21, 2003
Photo of sessycuban
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Stuffed Sandwich. You can always count on Sam having a gem or a thousand.

A - The beer pours a deep orange color. The head was very minimal, which is standard for an aged beer. Perfect retention, lots of sedement at the bottom. The lacing took a hit as well, but again, given the age, I think this is standard.

S - Very floral. I'm getting pineapple, dark fruits, and what I'd guess to be cascade hops. Very aromatic.

T - The beer is a bit subdued, but at the same time assertive in flavor. In it's current state, it tastes very much like Fred, albeit a lot murkier and probably has a richer hop profile. Very robust malt backbone, some unfermented sugars; in sum, very complex and very delicious.

M - Medium bodied. Very yeasty.

D - Excellent beer! It probably would've tasted better fresh but it was still good nonetheless.

sessycuban, Jan 29, 2008
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
Photo of FINA
4.28/5  rDev 0%
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.

FINA, Feb 27, 2003
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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2003 from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.