Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 | Stone Brewing

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008
BA SCORE
4.08/5
Exceptional
328 Ratings
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
259
Ratings:
328
pDev:
10.05%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
26
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 328 |  Reviews: 259
Photo of Lofreqwave
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of joekfsu
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 2008 edition. Pours a clear copper with 2 cm off-white head. Aroma of malt, apples, grapes, and alcohol. Flavor is spiked apple juice with a slight hint of hops on the backend. Finishes hoppy and alcoholic. Light lacing, light carbonation, medium body, strong alcohol presence. Drinkable, more so to say you have tried it than anything else.

 355 characters

Photo of BeTheBall
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a nice foamy head. Excellent lacing as the glass emptied. Smelled of tofee and vanilla, with a slightly alcohol aroma as well, but in a nice way. I got huge vanilla on the tongue with a nice warming effect from the high ABV, just enough hops to balance things out, but not a hoppy beer per say. Mouthfeel was very staisfying. Drinkability is good due to the smoothness and excellent taste, but the buzz comes quickly, so be careful. One of the best Barleywines in bottle I've ever had.

 512 characters

Photo of Wonka
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz.
Limited Early 2008 Release
Sampled at 60 degrees

Appearance - sparse and quickly-ending carbonation rises through the mostly clear amber body; the off-white, two-finger thick head does its best to fight off the strength of the product below; partitioned sheets of lace

Smell - oh yes, this is a big, exciting experience; it draws you in to sip and early in the game, its an experience ahead of the taste; fig, raisin, caramel, citrus rind, flash of pineapple; some spice; steady line of alcohol gave me a sense that this offering is a caged monster

Taste - to open talking about the close of the flavor profile says something - its noteworthy at this stage; hotness comes through late as expected since its so fresh; lively hop profile enters early (orange rind, grapefruit) and remains long after the close; the malts aren't as prominent as desired but they'll be mined with time; fruity; bread and light brown sugar find a way through the hop jungle; if a hop punch is your thing, its very tolerable but age has a track record of doing the big Stone well

Mouthfeel - nice lush layer of carbonation for a barleywine; a light oil is cut by the hot; the alcohol dries the palette a bit (which will mellow with time) and this holds it back from being spot on but as ripe as this sample is, it's a 5; age aside, it's a 4.5; Stone seems to hit my preferred feel on just about every product in their lineup that I've sampled

Drinkability - its the Patterson fist that knocked out Johansson; a certain sipper that took me more than an hour to sample; time is on its side as it will favorably mellow; 1 is certainly enough to give the sampler a full impression

Buy 4 and drink one every year. It'll be a book that gets better as the bookmark advances.

 1,766 characters

Photo of PhiloPsych
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The color is just what you'd expect--clear, pretty copper. The light tan head puffs up, but thins and disappears quickly, leaving very little lacing on the glass. The smell is very sweetly alcoholic. More than any beer I've had before, this brew has a second kick after swallowing that is a very different experience from when the beer is in-mouth. (This isn't the same thing as "aftertaste" or even "finish" as I normally use those terms.) The taste is very big--lots of hops up front, lots of sweet malty flavor as the beers sits in your mouth, and very sweet alcohol in the aftertaste.

I should have paired it with a dessert. Last year I had the 2007 brew with bread pudding at the Stone Restaurant. It was great! Something like that would have been nice this time, too, I'm sure. My advice: plan to share a bomber. This isn't a beer to drink in quantity.

 859 characters

Photo of bheilman
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been in my "cellar" for at least 12 months. I am comparing it directly to a 10 month old sierra nevada bigfoot. Fairly light in color compared to most barleywines. Almost tan like a natural leather belt. The smell is not that present but does give me an idea of caramel. The taste is fantastic. Some citrus, lots of caramel, maybe some nut and a little chocolate/coffee. The aftertaste has a nice hops balance. The beer is drinkable, but only in the sense that all barleywines are drinkable. The taste is nice and smooth, so I could probably handle a couple of these but would probably want to switch flavors.

 623 characters

Photo of joezak5
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; clear and clean orangey copper with the most delicate tiny bubbles in the center. Little retention, good lacing.

Smell: Peppery and spicy sugary sweet malt. Deep syrupy with strong alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Hugely syrupy and sweet, muted carbonation, warmly alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, alcoholic, peppery spicy a little citrusy malt. The alcohol is a bit much, Peppery and cidery malt explosion. Womp you over the head warmth from the alcohol on the finish.

Drinkability: I bought six bottles based on the quality of the RIS, really think this will age nicely. It could use a little mellowing and blending. I think this is a great dessert beer...I just made my kid a molten fudge cake and it goes beautifully with it.

 761 characters

Photo of brantadid
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color into a snifter. A one inch white head formed and diminished quickly. Excellent lacing left behind.

Great nose. Nice balance in the nose. Big and malty with a ton of hops. Nice citrus profile. Some alcohol in the nose.

Big malty front palate that quickly turns to citrus rind, grass, and a drying bitterness. Nice layers of flavor. Alcohol also is present in the palate.

Mouthfeel is heavy but not syrupy. Moderate to low carbonate. Hop profile and bitterness gives that "want to take another sip" quality.

This beer has mellowed a bit since its release making it very drinkable.

 604 characters

Photo of pershan
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a cloudy, medium amber into a 12-oz pilsner glass. The smell was of fruity malt, with just a whiff of yeast. The beer had a huge alcoholic component (no attempt to mask the 11.26% ABV), which, by the way, seems incredibly accurate for an ABV label on a bottle - I don't think I've ever seen it taken out to 2 decimal places, but I digress. There IS a lot of hop bitterness in the finish, but this beer still seems pretty raw. A few years in the cellar, and the alcohol and hops will have time to blend and mellow and then this ale will be truly awesome.

 569 characters

Photo of aquaderek
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured this beast of a beer into my beer snifter. A very nice looking beer a very vivid orange color and a head that clings to the side of the glass but dissipates quickly, but when agitated reappears. The nose is robust, sweet, caramel, ripe fruit (dates and pears), spiciness (nutmeg), very complex. The taste is bold sweet hot with alcohol, a bitter hop finish. There is a slippery hop finish with the bite of alcohol. As far as drinkability if you have more than one, better hope there is no work tomorrow because you are gonna feel it.

 540 characters

Photo of HimerMan
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just picked this up at Oak Tree in NJ and tried it that night at a great temperature, never in the fridge.

Very nice amber/red/golden hue with a generous head that is a sticky off-white cappuccino-esque froth.

The aroma is immediately a nice blend of hops and a sweet malt, which was very refreshing to smell. This is the first time I had one of these so fresh, so I would imagine that this would dramatically change as the beer ages.

Great flavors. A rich barleywine that is beyond an IPA with its huge malt backbone and a caramel flavor that can't be missed.

This feels a bit thinner than the ones I've had in the past, however, I note that this was fresh and I typically prefer these to be aged for a few years.

I look forward to trying these over the next several years, and I would suggest buying 6-12 of them to add to the cellar. They age phenomenally well and will become mellowed as they get 3-5 years on them.

Definitely enjoy these out of a snifter, a nice red wine glass, or if you have them - the Old Guardian glass from Stone!

Cheers.

 1,055 characters

Photo of Manoftyr
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-Pours a dark caramel amber into the glass giving rise to some small head which leaves just the slightest dab of a ring of lacing. Much lighter color than I was anticipating.

Aroma-Sticky toffee and caramel aromas followed by some fusel alcohol; it isn't as wowing as I had hoped, it still smells good but it's fairly one dimensional.

Taste-Follows the nose with toffee notes followed by some piney hoppy bitterness and, again, that bite of tongue numbing alcohol on the back end. This tastes to me almost like a watered down version of Double Bastard with the sweet and bitter aspects watering each other down rather than outright competing with one another and with more alcohol to make up for this discrepancy; I was expecting something so much more out of this.

Mouthfeel-They nailed this at least, it's full, rich and syrupy just like a barleywine should be.

Drinkability-Meh, it's by no means undrinkable and in fact I do like it but it's rather sub-par by Stone's standards.

 995 characters

Photo of Bananaman
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me and my friend were a bit sceptical about drinking this beer so early at first. And it proved that this one probably would be a lot better in a couple of years, luckily enough we have one more bottle left.

The beer pours a amber color with a big beige head, it looks really nice! And the bottle is classy as always from Stone Brewing.

Aroma has notes of those typical American hops and some fruit-candy-thingy going on. Notes of caramel and rosted malts aswell. Really nice smell actually!

The taste is not as hoppy as one might think at first. It's rather more malt dominated with lots of caramel and fruit candy notes. The only problem is that it doesn't feel mature enough to drink.

A good beer anyway, not the best I've had from Stone, but I think this one would be great in a couple of years.

 803 characters

Photo of jakon
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased for $6.99

This beer pours a glowing orange/amber color with a sizeable creamy white head.

The aroma on this one reminds me more of the '06 version than last year's.

Huge all the way around, I pick up sweet biscuity malt, marshmallow, caramel, alcohol, and a strong fruity hop presence even after 6 month's time.

The taste is very nice. Not as hot as the past few years, while seemingly more dynamic in the malt department. Tastes like cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon, candied oranges and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Thick and kinda syrupy. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is a great barley wine. My favorite OG vintage I've tried thus far.

 700 characters

Photo of Baileyuk
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from Uptown from the Stone launch party. Again I left my notes behind from this one so I am going off memory altough it was within a day.

Color was a fairly light amber, some cloudiness. Head was reduced. The lacing around where the head was superb, the further down it went the weaker it got very quickly. After about 1 third there was no lacing.

Smell had a hoppy aroma but not overpowering. There was a sweet alcohol smell that was more dominant.

Some resiny hops. Tasted very much like pineapple. I think this is the sensation I get from Molasses (still a theory right now). Very pleasant and very drinkable. Was definately heavy with the alcohol content. However I could have done another, it was always a pleasure drinking it. Could definately feel it though!

 781 characters

Photo of ScottyC54
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Mancer
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage

I managed to pick this brew up for $6. It already has 2years of aging on it and it was definitely a pretty awesome and rare find.

This beer poured a beautiful burnt amber with a finger high off-white head. Thick lacing smothered the glass. The initial smell of the beer was powerful and could be smelt as soon as the bottle was opened. The scent was that of dark fruits, malts and a slightly masked citrus. The initial taste of the beer was that of the dark fruits, as well as an interesting malt presence. The malts were that of a burnt caramel. What followed was the hop presence which seemed in the range of citrus hops, and some pineyness to give it some earthy tones. The finishing flavor is that of spices, as well as a nice kick from the alcohol, which is something very noticeable about this brew. This beer has a medium body with light to medium carbonation.

All I can say is wow, this is a very good beer. It seems that I need to get a 2010 brew of this to get an idea of how this beer initially tastes. Definitely recommend this one to the B arleywine fans out there.

 1,094 characters

Photo of Flyer
2.87/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I think the beer I had was fresh, and I'm pretty sure this could use some cellaring. The nose is cereal and band-aid, and that ain't good. The color is nice and coppery, with a fair head. First sips are some caramel and earthiness, but then you're hit with some fairly intense brackish bitterness. This latter soon dominates the palate. I like bitterness, but not this bitterness. I got some alcohol-y brandied fruit on the finish, which is definitely good, but it struggled to break through that brackish taste. As I got through the bottle it seemed that big mouthfuls brought out more of the good flavors, but really, who wouldn't rather sip a barleywine? So I can't recommend this, but again, maybe with age...

 713 characters

Photo of Kallessin
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy orange/apricot color. It almost has a cider appearance. Has a tan head with a slight orange tinge to it, but it goes away very quickly.

Has a very fruity/spicy yeast aroma. The booze is obvious but not overpowering. There's some sweet cotton candy, vanilla and almonds?? in there as well.

A lot of sweetness with fruity esters and spiciness up front. Then plenty of malitness that goes to a moderate amount of hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is very toned down, which was a little surprising from the aroma. Not a very complex tasting beer but very enjoyable.

It's very smooth and full bodied. There's a little carbonation bite with a warming sensation and only a very slight burn on swallow. There's a little lingering dryness.

This beer is dangerously easy to drink. It should be a sipper but it's easy to forget the alcohol content. It's fairly well balanced between the fruity spice, sweetness and bitterness. A nice beer.

 946 characters

Photo of bifrostguard
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Golden in color with some amber undertones and a small light tan head that matched the body quite well.

S - Barley, malt with piney hops and alcohol to a lesser degree.

T - Taste is of barley and malt. It has a very well balanced sweet vs bitter flavor. Alcohol is warming but not very prevalent. Somewhat unremarkable, but certainly enjoyable.

M - Medium to full bodied.

D - The balance is there to make this one very drinkable. By drinkable I mean slow sipper.

 469 characters

Photo of RodBurg
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

08 release obtained from Tom's Farm in Corona on my way home from work.

Poured this into a pint glass, cloudy with a deep orange/amber hue. Gave me a nice cream colored, two finger head that left beautiful lace rings down the sides of the glass as it was drunk.

Initial smell is an intense bready malt with hoppy grapefruit and alcohol close behind.

Taste of hard hitting caramel malt and citrus hop bitterness. Warmth of the alcohol content is there as well.

Another wonderful brew from Stone. My first plunge into the barleywine world and it didn't disappoint. Drinkability is a bit limited due to the alcohol but I could still definitely throw back a couple of these. Good stuff.

 687 characters

Photo of jbone78
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't drink a whole lot of Barley Wines, but I do enjoy them. These Stone products are new to my area and I am liking.

A- Cloudy pumpkiny color with nice head, about a fingers worth.
S- Malty/Hoppy aroma, but in a good way
T- The hops are more present than the malts.
M- Super carbonated with a bittersweet aftertaste.
D- I think this Barley Wine is very easy drinking. Tasting this beer without knowing the alcohol content, I would guess lower than it is.

I will buy more and age for about a year.

-Bye

 510 characters

Photo of choyhosoi
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A-Pours a copper color with a nice white/brown head.

S-First thing that hits you is the hopps. After awhile you can get caramel and other sugary scents.

T-This a nice taste with a bite of alcohol at the end. Its a nice balance just not a ale you can taste with a sip.

M/D-Overall I think this is great ale. I really liked the taste but the mouthfeel had a little too much of a bite for my taste.

 435 characters

Photo of srroos
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter. Clear orange with one finger of tan head. Sweet yet hoppy smell with lots of citrus. Malty and sweet throughout, but definitely hoppy and bitter. Medium bodied and slightly syrupy, but very drinkable for the high ABV.

Great fresh, can't wait to see how it turns out in time.

 317 characters

Photo of unclederby
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had my first 2008 last night, poured into a Piraat tulip.

This was a beauty of a beer in the looks department: deep orange in color and with a healthy two finger head that wouldn't quit. Lots of sticky lacing. Incredible really given such a high gravity beer.

Save for a bit of crystal malt, I got absolutely nothing on the nose. I swirled vigorously; still, nothing. What's up with that?

It tasted great however, much like a 2IPA only mildly hoppy by Stone's standards. Well balanced and exceptionally drinkable: where's the alcohol?

Mouthfeel was near perfection to my tastes: oily, somewhat viscous, and with vivacious carbonation.

I still can't believe this beer is over 11%, as it went down so easy... nice and smooth. The high ABV precludes me from giving it a 4.5 in drinkability.

Well, i am a little hungover today, but the Stone wasn't my only beverage of choice last night.

I'll be drinkin' me a bunch more of these, and
soon.

edit: i had another of these tonight (03/01/08) and have to say my palate is picking up much more on the citrusy hoppiness of the beer.

 1,082 characters

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008 from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 328 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.