Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2001) | Stone Brewing

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2001)Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2001)
17 Ratings
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2001)Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2001)

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mitchster on 03-13-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of Roth_Daddy
1/5  rDev -76.8%

Photo of trancesk8er
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of jerz
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 2001 vintage. The beer was an orange-ish color with an off white foam head. The aroma was light and consisted of pine hops and a light sweet maltiness. The flavor was really smooth. No sense of the ABV at all. The taste whisks you into a slippery slope of sweet caramel malts and slight dark fruitiness. What was once a sharp pine hop bitterness has mellowed to allow the sweeter pine hop flavor to come on out. Very nice. I wish I had the fore thought to let a couple of these '01 bombers age. I just drank as I bought 'em.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- about a 1/4" light tan head. A cloudy amberish body with brown in it also (not as much as the 2000). Bit of a whitish color and head sticking to side a bit.
S- Big malts with a strong alcohol in there. A sharp alcohol smell. Maybe some light citrus hops with some grass or pine ones in there too. Has the dry bitter hop smell. A bit of fruits too. Big strong aromas.
T- Big strong alcohol flavors that really cut through everything else. Must be one of the harshest OG's. Malts also come through but not as smooth and caramely as the 00. More of a citrus flavor in this one. Some strong harsh fruits mixed with the alcohol. Has a underlying bitterness that comes through just a tad more than the 00 also. Still has a nice caramel malt but its like a diet caramel (not as strong and not as much flavor). Still a very sweet brew. As it warms the caramel malts come through a bit more and make for a more sweet liquid caramel for all the other flavors to glide on top of.
M- Full body. Sticky and a bit cloggy. Low carbonation.
D- The 2000 OG was better. I'm not sure if this would get better with age or if its just the way the brew is. Still a fine brew just if I had the choice I would go with a 2000.

Note: I just read the back of the bottles after drinking most of it. I just found out that it is the same recipe as a 2000. Hard to believe trying these pretty much one after another. If you have a 2001 I would HIGHLY advise holding on to it til 2007-2008. It will make this pretty darn good barley wine go into probably the best barley win you have tried.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great beer with one of the most beautiful looks ever produced in a brew. The look is a ruby-hued deep amber with a lovely tan head that laces with a vengeance. The aroma is solid, mixing portions of heavy caramel malt, pine and citrus hops, and the alcohol that is a major part of the mix.

The taste is so much better than most barley wines, a style of which I am particularly leary because of the heavy body and hammering alcohol content. This one, however, gives you asense of well being as it wraps the hops around that malt/alcohol combo and creates a lighter sense and feel. But this is big beer and one to be respected. The drinkability is higher than normal for this style, but still limited by its potency. Use caution!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Sampler at the Stone Brewing Company “Special Event” at the Stuffed Sandwich, San Gabriel, California, held on 24-26 July 2003. This was the Sixth of the Eight Stone Beers Samplers. Advertised as “Old Guardian Barley Wine 2001”, and served on draft.

Appearance: A clear deep ruby red color, small head that is a beige-cream colored one, and unlike some of the other samplers, this head stayed around a while.

Nose: Caramel infused with a fruity aspect, which is all wrapped up in alcohol. It has some feint candy sugar hints that surprised, and intrigued me.

Taste: Caramel is just as prevalent in the taste, as it was in the nose. Devon Toffee rises in the middle with the smooth buttery caramel rounding off the start. The alcohol and bitterness accentuate the back-end of the beer, and the whole beer finishes with a mild warming astringent sensation.

Mouthfeel: As with all of the other Aged Stone Anniversaries on sale, I felt that the draft dispense definitely aided the solid mouthfeel with a pleasing creamy smooth feel which was very satisfying. Of course, a dry bitter finish mixed with the high alcohols also helps.

Drinkability: I really tried to savor this beer, I did, but it was quaffable, even given its strength that it sadly disappeared in no time at all. The fused alcohols, smooth creamy caramel malts and the bitterness in the finish make this a real delight.

Overall: Another winner from Stone, just how the hell they keep constantly turning out such great beers, that always seem to age so well, is quite astounding.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, this is a very pretty ale. Rich ruby-hued mahogany with a beige head of variously sized bubbles. The aroma of malt, alcohol and hops is fairly potent at first pour and remains faintly throughout. The sweet caramel-like malt makes for a full rich body. There are plenty of hops to enjoy. Grapefruit and piney bitterness is tempered lightly by the candy sugar sweetness. The presence of alcohol esters lasts throughout. This is not a subtle beer and perhaps not the best choice for drinking on this warm summer evening. I’ll try it again on a snowy winter's night in front of the fireplace.

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Photo of Loki
3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Christmas 2002 special release sampled from a 22 oz bottle.

Poured a burnished copper color for a nice thick head. Left a decent amount of lacing, but nothing to get excited about.

Aromas of estery alcohol, sweet cookies, grapes, barley, spice, and hops and then some more hops.

The back label says that this year they skipped the Tomahawk hops and used only Guardian hops. Well I had never experienced Warriar hops before and let me tell you they are fierce. The first taste is sweet with grapes, barley, and malt. Then the hops and the alcohol kick your teeth in. Completely unbalanced and a bit rough. The alcohol and hops just wreckshop in the mouth. It was good, but wild like an untamed horse. You could see the promise, but I knew this beast was too much for me. Maybe I'll try to ride it again in a few years when it has calmed a bit. Or maybe I'm not man enough for this brew.

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Photo of Dantes
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: ~10oz. from draught in a tulip glass at the Stone 12 event. Served a bit cold. Cost: $5.

Appearance: Very nice syrupy pour yielded a densely moussey head the color of marzipan, dissolving into a lasting, opaque film. The body was a mahogany-reddish color and appropriately cloudy (interestingly, the Double Bastard, Arrogant Bastard, and Old Guardian were very similar in color, varying by a shade or two). I was able to hold this to the daylight through the window.

Smell: The first notes were a fugue of hops, pine-tar, citrus fruit notes, and dark fruits. Backbeats of wood and nuts poke through the alcohol.

Taste: Surprisingly, this doesn’t assault the palate as expected, exhibiting some finesse. The rich, malty sweetness are cut with the characteristic Stone hoppiness, some tar, and a junipery note that ran through several of the samples that day. The sweetness is an alloy of malt, dark fruits like currant and raisin, and a toffee, caramel element. The age really allows these flavors to marry, taming the hops I think (I haven’t had “fresh” OG) and adding a nutty, woody undertone. Finish goes on forever, balanced between sweet and dry.

Mouthfeel: Subtle carbonation is present. Body is very full and viscous, providing an enjoyable chewiness.

Drinkability: I would have to rate this more on “savorability” rather than drinkability, as it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was sorry that I felt compelled to sample all of the other Stone brews, as I would be happy to slowly work my way through a few of these on a crisp evening.

Wow, aged Old Guardian on draught! I don’t think it gets much better than this. I would love to have the resources to set aside a keg of this for myself. Unfortunately, I don’t have the experience to compare this special sample against “regular” Old Guardian, but this was a truly great barley wine: complex, potent, savory, and satisfying. This beer only got better as it warmed in my hand. Maybe this is what Steely Dan meant when referring to “Grapefruit wine!”

Bottom Line: A truly special experience for which I’m glad I was present. Thanks Greg!

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Photo of philipt
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cellared since release date.

A big, powerful, and wonderful beer. Exceptional aroma and taste. Pours red/copper in color, with a thick, sizeable, cream colored head (with a hint of orange color to it). Smells quite bready, cookie-like perhaps. Malt dominates the aromas, but there is just the slightest hint of alcohol. The taste is initially sweet, malty, and floral. Caramel and doughnuts come to mind. There also a very subtle tea like flavor to it. Slight alcohol spiciness, but not as much as expected. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of Denali
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Blind Tiger in New York City.

Appearance: Opaque amber with thick tan head.

Smell: Sweet malt and slight citrus.

Taste: Very sweet malt flavor up front mixed with hop bitterness. Sour apple taste comes in next and then rolls back into the sweet malt flavor and hop bitterness flavors. Aftertaste is both sweet and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy with tingly light carbonation.

Drinkability: Very strong. A sipping beer.

Comments: Quite enjoyable. Very strong – started feeling the alcohol ½ way through my glass.

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Photo of Gusler
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

07/10/02: Vintage 2001 Release:
Deep amber or ruby red if you prefer, the head is large, frothy, the lace in sheets. Nose is malt, caramel, floral, a hint of bubble gum, maybe even a touch of butter. Front is sweet, the top is medium, the finish is acidic, dry, highly hopped and the alcohol leaves a bit of its bitterness on your palate, 'Damn what a great beer'. Seems every time I drink it I find something more that I like.

09/16/02: Vintage Spring 2000 Release: A rusty nail looking thang! cloudy and rusty red the color, the head is frothy, beige, huge sheets of lace. Nose 'Oh Baby' Floral, fusel alcohol, brandyish, malts and caramel. Front is malt sweet, the top full, the finish is 'Hopped To The Max', alcohol bitter, acidic, dry, and what a 'Tummy Warmer'

03/07/03: Vintage Winter 2003 Release: Deep burnished copper on the pour, the head immense in size, spumescent in its texture, and a winsome light beige in color, as it evanesces, it leaves a thick glutinous sheet of lace welded to the glass. Big sweet malt nose, fusel alcohol, caramel, hints of the hop flower, a real treat for the schnozzle. Start is ambrosial, loaded with malt and the top peanut butter thick, and the finish spiteful in its carbonation, the hops prickly in their spicy bite. The aftertaste dry as a bleached desert bone, oh yes, almost forgot the “alcohol”, quite evident in its bitterness and “tummy warming”. Ah another great year of Old Guardian got a case aging away, but the chances of it lasting more than a year slight.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was the "Pre-Spring '01" release, and part of a great trade with Murph. Gorgeous medium-dark amber color, with a full, tan head and good lace! Strong nose, with dark fruit, raisiny notes, sweetness, alcohol and hops, too! Great mouthfeel; full, smooth, chewy! Malty sweetness along with the dark fruit flavors lead off. Feel the alcohol presence warm you on the way down your throat, and then the hops smack you upside the head to conclude things. Mmmm, good!

overall: 4.75
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of ZAP
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

White grapes, and sweet sugar on the nose...peach in color..slight lace..some alcohol hits buds along with a hidden forest of hops..sweetness (licorice) dominates palate,but very very balanced..husky spicy hops linger on the finish...easy drinking and beautifully balanced heavyweight..

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Photo of Bighuge
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I should preface by saying this beer is the 2001 edition.

This brew pours a hazy deep amber color with an orange tint. Head is minimal, but seems fitting for a sipping beer. Pretty malty nose for a barleywine. I do get some slight floral hop tones as well. Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, but I like it. Taste to start is a little medicinal. But that characteristic fades. The taste also has alcohol present at the begining, but that too fades. There's a great sweet caramel maltiness to this one. I get a nice lingering bitterness. The more I work my way through this brew, the more I like it. It seems to become more drinkable (less alcohol). By the end of my drink I am scavenging for more and offering my brother money for the rest of his, but he's not taking. At this point I have come to the conclussion that this is one outstanding brew.

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Photo of Murph
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pre-spring 2001 release purchased in April 2002. Pours a nice golden red/copper with a smallish somewhat creamy head. Smell is almost all malty goodness with some alcohol thrown in as well. Malt and a nice warming alcohol flavors are the first to announce themselves on the tongue. As these flavors subside a huge hop presence kicks in and holds on coating the tongue in its bitter goodness. Creamy mouthfeel and very drinkable for a barley wine. I can't wait to try a few more Stone brews to see what I've been missing.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2001) from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 17 ratings