Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 | Stone Brewing

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.26%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HimerMan on 01-27-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
328
Reviews:
259
Avg:
4.07
pDev:
10.07%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
27
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 328 |  Reviews: 259
Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Limited early 08 release"...eagerly annually awaited nectar, pours clear medium amber, darker eggshell head, leaves spotty lace, loads of candied fruit, some smoke and devilish alcohol in the nose. Big and bold, yet surprisingly smooth and mellow tasting for such a young barley wine. Super velvety on the tongue, with waves of malt, more fruit, and snappy alcohol clearing the tongue late. Simply outstanding....Will only get better with time...

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange amber with a head that descends to fine, lasting swirls. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with some golden raisins and some pine/resin and citrusy orange. There's a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is of caramel/toffee - sweet - with prune and golden raisins. It's backed by some citric/floral bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but not raw. Still, it shows its hand. Malty and boozy with supporting bitterness in the finish.

It's full-bodied with a syrupy character in-line with the style.

Alcohol is not masking, but certainly enough to put a dent in the overall drinkability. A slow-sipper - not surprising for an abv of over 11%. It has that "Stone" character. A nice sipping brew.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/25/08- Purchased at Ledger's in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, 2008 release. Poured into my Old Guardian glass.

Appearance- Brown, cough sytup orange colored pour. 1/4 inch head with light lace traces.

Smell- Fresh hot grapefruit hops, light fusel alcohol nose with a suprising caramel malt nose.

Taste- Stone has officially gone soft! A Old Guardian perfectly fresh that is balanced?!? Hops come through as a sweet and prickly grapefruit flavor, but here comes caramel malt right behind and almost it's equal! Seems like a fair amount of alcohol, but not as much as usual.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, a touch creamy and nice and smooth.

Drinkability- One of the better vintages for sure. Not hot as most right out of the bottle.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revisted: 10 Jul 2010
Almost 2 Years Aged

Pours a nice orange golden amber color, nice creamy tan head, nice lacing throughout the drink. Scents of sweet malts, slight citrus, slight hops, caramel, and slight alcohol. The taste is still very nice, sweet malts, hoppy, slight caramel, and slight alcohol, nice dry finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, still very nice, but the ABV was not as present as fresh, and the citrus and hops were also on the downside.

Pours a nice orange golden amber color, nice creamy tan head, nice lacing/puddles throughout the drink. Scents of sweet malts, citrus, hops, spices, caramel, yeast, and slight alcohol. The taste is amazing, sweet malts, hoppy, slight caramel, and slight alcohol, nice dry finish. Medium body, pretty complex barleywine. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from Stone to say the least.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared with Chris, Adam and Pino at Volo, split into some wine glasses. 22oz, ABV as stated.

Pours an amber brown, khaki head leaves a big collar with a thin film of head. Unfiltered and big legs on this one. Nose has some caramel and toffee, citrus hops can be sensed but feel muted in the overall spectrum. Taste has big toffee notes, some candied flavour, bitter hops notes come after the fact. Great full and creamy feel, with a significant sweetness that doesn't even come close to cloying. Great feel that lingers immensely, alcohol is felt but not at all tasted. Great drinkability again. Fantastic.

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Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with a white head that sticks around as a ring. Starts out hot, both in aroma and taste, but it mellows as it opens up and breathes. Once it calms a bit, there is still some vodka like alcohol and some sweet, sugary malt and some apricot and pear. The taste is still somewhat hot and there is a sustained bitterness and quite a bit of citrus from the hops. Big, and not really sweet, but there is a bit of breadiness in the end. Mouthfeel is bitter, a little bit thin, and not all that smooth. Kinda like dinking a shot of vodka in a double IPA- not all that barleywine like. Eh.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'08 22oz picked up at the Coop today for about $6.. poured into my New Belgium snifter.

Very long lasting 2 finger light yellow head.. left ribbons of lace above a slightly hazy light amber/dark gold brew.

Nose is bready malts ... whaffs of caramel .. maybe some earthy/spicy hops .. but a bunch of spicy alcohol .. where are the (American) hops???

Flavor is again pale/toasted malts with a very generous bitter backbone.. big fruity yeast esters .... biscuit malt characteristics ... but really the only thing going on here in a big way is the alcohol. As it warms, an oily hop presence makes itself known.. but again .. this is not a prototypical American hopped BW .. Almost no "C" hops .. more of a "Stone" version of an English BW... fairly thick .. but I think if I burped I may be able to light the fumes... I would swear that there was a small but relevant rye component adding to the spicy flavor.

Don't get me wrong .. this is certainly a pretty good barleywine .. but absolutely does not seem "West Coast" ... Body is big .. alcohol is huge .. malts (pale) are big .. but the traditional left coast hop aroma/flavor profile is nonexistent. If the alcohol wasn't so up front, I could easily drink quite a few of these until my knees buckled.. very drinkable for sure.

What is killing me on this one is, "Will it cellar? Or, Should I drink the hell out of the right now?" I am pretty sure the booze will mellow significantly .. but approaching the bottom of the bottle, I am starting to forgive all my above problems with the '08 OG and beginning to appreciate it for something that is completely different than previous years.

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Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Mahaffey's last night.

The beer pours a brownish toffee flavor with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just some sweet malt with some underlying hoppy bitterness. I had a hard time with this beer on the palate, and I really think it needs more time to come together. The beer shows a huge marriage of hops and malt, with the hoppy bitterness winning the day. The beer comes across as quite dry for a barley wine, and at present I thought the abv. was entirely too noticeable. I ultimately couldn't finish my 10 ounce glass of beer, as the high abv. finally just wore me out.

This beer reminds of certain wines that are either too tannic or just closed up. That's what I thought of this beer... the flavor profile is a bit closed right now; I'm sure in a couple of years it'll turn into something sublime. For now it just isn't a very enjoyable beer to drink, though I think that will change over time. Oh well...

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, bought today - 1/27/08, at the BevMo in Cypress, CA,

A: Pours a dark orange, with a full white head, which has good retention and leaves excellent sticky lacing.

S: The nose is kind of lacking, but I do get a nice brush of pine if I really stick my nose into it.

T: Very flavourful. Malty at first, a toasted biscuit quality, the hop attack starts, though it is not as forceful and raw as I remember it being last year. Full pine, pink grapefruit, and pineapple/tropical fruit are the main hop flavours in this barleywine.

M: Thick and rich, resiny and oily, highly alcoholic, but hidden fairly well, but it definitely has a bite, very crisp at the end.

D: This is a barleywine that I certainly enjoy both fresh and raw and aged, it'll be interesting to see how this beer changes over time, though it is very good right now.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lighter in color than a typical barley. Clear, amber red with a creamy head. Smells od vanilla, raisins, grassy and earthy notes, malts, caramel and toffey nose. Tastes of a slightly caramelized malt up front with a slight hint of toffee, raisins, and vanilla. After the sweetness lingers for a brief moment the hop jump in to remind you this is a West Coast barley wine. The Guardian is the hoppiest barley I've had to date, I absolutely love it. The smell is deceptive, maybe it was served too cold? I don't detect alot of aroma and is not very pronounced. From a taste perspective, it's completely opposite being far more intense. The beer is very smooth and produces slight priclies on the tongue, heavy in body. Very drinkable, it's the quintassential hopped up West Coast version of a barley. A nice change of pace, I love it.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. No bottled date, except for mentioning it to be an early 2008 release. . .

(A)- Pours a murky reddish amber color with a decent off-white to light orange head formation with some good lacing. This beer actually cascaded for a good ten seconds after initial pour!

(S)- Caramelized brown sugar with woody pine. Assorted flowery apples as well.

(T)- Piney hop bite that is really really dry, in fact, its massive! Light citrus of grapefruit but otherwise has just massive hop flavors with the beginnings of the malt poking through. Some interesting cider components within the malt character.

(M)- Seriously dry and hoppy. Rather thick in its texture. Good carbonation level. Mouthcoating hops. A tad hot and boozy on the finish. Pretty sweet as well.

(D)- Perhaps one of the hoppiest beers I have had to date, which is saying something since this is about 18 months old! This could age for years and years considering how strong it still is. I would probably give it another couple to sit before I would revisit it again. Definitely a great barleywine, but it really hit me hard in the alcohol level; share with a friend!

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Photo of cjgator3
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a beautiful dark amber color with an awesome off-white head that sticks around forever leaving lacing all over the glass. The nose is very aromatic with a lot of malt, dark fruits, a good dose of hops and some alcohol. The taste starts out very smooth with a nice malty base, with the hops providing a nice bitterness in the finish along with some warming from the high alcohol content. The alcohol is definitely there in the taste, but it is pretty well hidden. I really enjoy the smoothness in this one, followed by the well integrated hops. Very nice indeed. Overall, Stone Old Guardian is an excellent barleywine that is highly recommended. I haven't tried this one aged yet, but it seems like it would really be nice in a few years. I have a couple more bottles that I plan on setting aside and allowing them to age for a few years.

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Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber brown color with thick, foamy white head. Strong alcohol presence in the aroma as well as roasted malts and a bitter hoppiness. The two years of aging really opened this beer up and there is a pleasantly surprising amount of hops balancing out the maltiness and strong alcohol taste. Amazing!

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Photo of DucksFan16
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky orange with a small white head. Smells of malt and pine. Nice combination.
Taste is unusually grapefruity and pine-y for a Barleywine. Lots of hops, malt and very young. A year or twon this and it would be a beast!! What a good barleywine but it needs some more maturity before I call it Great.

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The odyessy continues. Not too quickly though, I'm too old for this stuff…

A: The barleywine is a golden orange, brighter at the base with a bit of a glow. Still transparent. The ale sports a thick head, over two fingers with plenty of lace.

S: Mellow. Still hoppy but the the aroma isn't a blast of malts and hops. Pepper and citrus are present but it seems like I have to search for them.

T: Plenty of caramel in the first sip, possibly even some smoky rye flavors. The grains are lightly toasted but quite strong. Even the hops, restrained in the nose, stand out with a little more power. They are citrusy, pepper in tow, and still reasonably fresh. A nice wall of malt pops up near the finish but the ale still comes across as young. A lively citrus presence, hops definitely but quite sugary, sees the ale away. I like that the maltiness isn't as intense as the '07 and '06 versions.

M: The hoppiest of the three. Not surprising as it is the youngest. Also the nicest finish, not nearly as intense either.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from the cellar. 2008 vintage, purchased at the Village Pump the first year Stone made it to MD.

A mildly hazy ruby red with a dense, beige head that falls off to a ring leaving little lacing, this looks decent. The nose is still Hoppy with plenty of bitterness and some stale grapefruit juice. A moderate crystal malt character is present with toffee and caramel. Some honey and cotton candy are present. That almond like nuttiness that the better barleywines have is missing here.

The palate opens with a blend of mild bitterness and moderate sweetness. Toffee, oxidized honey, a little paper, and a little bit of sherry are present. Caramel, brown sugar with a touch of stale crystal malt is also present. Sticky sweet and full in body, this beer is mildly carbonated. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, though it does have a pleasing warmth. Carbonation is moderate. The bitterness and sweetness do clash, especially on fresh pours. As it breathes, the bitterness does fade, bringing out the honey, toffee and mildly nougat flavors out front. Decent.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a nonic

Pours a beautiful slightly cloudy amber with a thick two finger head that stuck around for a long time. Skinny rings of lace were left behind near the top, but nothing from the middle-down.

Smell is of dark fruit, caramel, sweet toasted malt, candied grapefruit and booze. Pretty much right where you want it to be. Balanced and enjoyable.

This is a slick, well-balanced barleywine. A near perfect balance of sweet malt and a bitter grapefruit hop bite. A good layer of dark, ripe fruit and raisins. But lacks that big punch I want from my elite barleywines.

Slick and uber smoothe. Medium bodied with a bitter hop/boozey aftertaste that lingers and lingers.

This is a sipper at 11+%, but getting through this 22 was a breeze.

One of Stone's finest.

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Photo of DrJay
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange with a light haze and thin cap of fine, off-white bubbles. Spotty lacing right off the pour and a few larger bubbles formed a solid collar. Great head retention. Malty aroma, lots of cereal grain and caramel, quite bready. Light fruit character and hops in the nose. Nicely balanced flavour with a solid malt backbone, caramel and grain, plus some citrusy hops that appear part way through and become a little spicy towards the end. Fruit was evident up front. Bitterness was strong without being aggressive and lingered in the finish, along with a bit of pine resin. Alcohol added to the flavour profile in the finish. Full bodied with creamy carbonation, really smooth. This stuff is dangerously drinkable. I really like this year's batch - it's really balanced for being young. I'll definitely be picking more up.

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Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on Friday night. First time I've seen this in VT.

Color: Reddish-amber color with a one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and malty. Seems lighter than most barleywines as in the alcohol seems hidden.

Taste: Malty and bready with a light alcohol kick to it. Not too much warmth. Nice and hoppy but not in a way that overwhelms. Caramel and toffee show through in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Hops and alcohol warmth. Fairly thin and simple.

Drinkability: Definitely going to pick up a second bottle to age. I like it right now and I believe I'd like it even more after aging a bottle for a few months, etc. It seems nice and drinkable even at this stage. When compared to Vermonster (a local barleywine of the same style), this seems better rounded and if it improves with age, then it's a worthy investment of time and money. I like it.

Then again, Stone has never disappointed me.

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Photo of maximum12
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An almost two-year old bottle of Old Guardian sent my way by an East Coast BA. I do wonder why this beer merits its own designation every year? Oh well.

Pours Mississippi muddy, about as turbid a beer as I've seen, even with a gentle pour excluding the bottom muck. Rusty & flat. Wicked booze in the nose, not much else.

Old Guardian is nothing if not old. Pungent, solventesque taste is rather over-the-top, tempered by a square of caramel & deep, hard-dirt fruit in the background. Touch of yeast, bit of day-old bread. Very flat & slick in the mouth, lack of carbonation is either from age of high ABV. Either I'm getting old or not eating enough, because this one's warming me up in a hurry after an evening out on the ice.

Pretty decent beer, but it feels like I'm missing out on something reading the other reviews, & I believe I will not be buying any more barleywines any time soon - I believe I've lost my taste for them. If this happens to IPAs there might need to be a medical intervention of some sort.

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Photo of Bung
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Thick, near opaque orange pour. Some cream colored bubbles at first, then pretty much nothing. Malt, caramel covered apple and citrus aroma. Some booze and light pine. The taste has a lot going on. Caramel/toffee and malt bases. Some red fruits, yellow raisin, citrus and tea/tobacco. Mouthfeel is solid, but carbonated enough to keep it from being syrupy. A little piney hops middle through the finish give this a nice bitter clean finish. More than this would be too much for me, I think the age did good here by me. Drinkable enough for a large warming beer. Still refreshing enough to drink on a summer night.
I don't know if there is a better way of describing this than saying it's a perfect mix between and English and American(west coast) barleywine. I was really expecting a hop bomb barleywine, boy was I pleased to find different. The year and half probably also helped, but I'm guessing this one was pretty balanced from the beginning.

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Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy, burnt orange color with a off-white head that thinned to leave a ring of sticky lacing.

Aromas are mainly sweet malts comprised of rich caramels and toffee. As you revisit you get some extremely light indiscernible earthy hops.

The tastes begin with the malty sweetness, caramels and burnt brown sugar, a little toffee. As you further consume and enjoy you are assaulted with the aggressive bitterness and light taste of alcohol which both continue to emerge and overwhelm your palate as your consume. The bitterness seems to almost become greater with each sip.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth, yet extremely dry yet full finish with a pleasant gentle warming.

Overall this beer has aged to perfection and can definitely still go a few more if necessary. The ample hopping has allowed this to age and have the potential to age for as long as the consumer can stand/wait. While not my favorite style (I prefer Eng Barleywines for their balance), I really enjoy how the age has met this beer with compromise and grace. Look forward to sampling older vintages as the years allow.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing
4.07 out of 5 based on 328 ratings.
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