Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged | Stone Brewing

very good
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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel AgedOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 08-05-2008

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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 139
Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


A: Rich malt, with a caramel/toffee like quality, slight oxidation, lightly boozy, with ample bourbon character.

A: Dark amber color, clear with a thin white head that dissipates into the glass.

T: Rich caramel like malt, slightly sweet, with some light esters of dried fruit, followed by an ample bourbon presence.

M:Full bodied with light carbonation.

O: Excellent; the 2910 base barleywine is definitely starting to show some oxidation, however the beer is still drinking quite well. The bourbon barrel nicely accentuates the base barleywine.

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Photo of BrotherDylan
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml, 2010 Vintage, cork and cage bottle

After 4 years, this beer is beautiful. It has become more wine than beer, but in a great way. Its very sweet and fruity balanced out with some bourbon and barrel character.

At 4 years the beer is a bit past its prime and starting to turn, buts its dam good as it is right now. Its mellow, its sweet, and its got just the right touch of bourbon.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half liter bottle poured into Double Bastard glass. 2010 OG aged in bourbon barrels.

A: Pours a clear, dark whisky amber with a finger of greasy and soft looking light tan head. The head quickly faded into a soft bubbly film and lasting collar.
S: Rich and sticky smelling scents of caramel, bourbon, coco, hop resin, and candied dark fruits. Smells like an aged bottle of old guardian with its smooth, mellow and well integrated barleywine flavors with the added kick of some very mellow and lightly spicy bourbon barrel.
T: Follows the nose albeit a tad sweeter. Rich flavors of hop oil and tree sap, leather, caramel, candied dates, toast, chocolate syrup and toffee. The finish is full of sweet bourbon and candied/dried fruits, and the aftertaste is lightly spicy and full of tobacco and bitter pine hops and anise.
M: Full body, slick, smooth and sticky mouthfeel, low, soft and tingly carbonation. Very slight and welcomed booziness.
O: A rich a mellow sipper. The bourbon adds a nice dimension to a beer that already ages very well. Not the greatest I’ve had, but rich and decadent nonetheless.

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Photo of corby112
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy, dark copper color with mahogany edges and a one finger white head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring. Minimal spotty lacing left behind. Decent retention for style and ABV.

Strong boozy barrel aroma that's nicely integrated into the notes of the base beer. Strong toothpick and toasted oak presence along with spicy, boozy bourbon but you can still pick up leathery malt, caramel sweetness and vinous dark fruit notes. Subtle grassy hops in there but they are really overpowered by the charred oak, bourbon and heavy malt bill.

Full bodied with a nice barrel presence that gives off strong dry oak and spicy bourbon sweetness that lingers over the leathery malts and sweeter notes into a bone dry finish. Barrel is a bit stronger than I like with strong booze/heat but the caramel malt sweetness, toffee and dark fruit flavors come through. Dry toothpick and burnt oak followed by boozy bourbon with sherry like notes and vinous currant and fig. Could use more sweetness and toned down barrel flavors but it's still pretty good.

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Photo of TastefulNudity
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle branded Guardian's Slumber. The cork was stuck in the bottle so badly it ripped in half while I was trying to twist it out. Had to use a corkscrew!

A: Ugly. A murky, hazy, reddish brown with a small eggshell head. Reminds me of my first homebrew. Alcohol legs.

S: Whoa baby. Big bourbon up front, sweet caramel, maple, dark fruit, booze, hint of tropical fruit. I like where this is going.

T: Big, sweet caramel bourbon. Dark fruit, tropical fruit, hop bitterness, alcohol burn. At 15%, it's very expected. Yummy.

M: Big ol' barleywine mouth that's actually nicely cut by the carbonation. Lots of burn and a lingering bitterness.

O: Dig it, underrated @ a 90. However, not worth the $20 they charge per 500ml. Wish I used that money on Fyodor's.

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Photo of For_those_near_death
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2014 Release

A - mysteriously uniform, baltic amber

S - didn't notice it

T - warm, colorful, splendid

M - right there at that Kentucky border, not Indiana, not Ohio, just over the river and into the land of oak barrels...too many empty...and now filled with beer.

O - ready to buy more....a USA friend tells me that its now at costco...and a great deal too....I would jump on a non-stop from Zurich to California, get off the plane, and buy a case at costco... und dann, bis später!

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Photo of rudzud
3.08/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage.

A - Poured into a tulip a nice honey amber hue with next to no head our lacing.

S - Aromas of cardboard, light bourbon. Doesn't make me want to drink it.

T - Taste is, well, just like regular old guardian. Loads of caramel malts, lots of light bourbon. Nice light toffee, faint cardboard. Not exactly great but not the worst one.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit thin, lightly carbonated. Boozy, eh.

O - Overall this beer was yet another let down from stone with the 500 ml series. Thankfully I have no more.

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Photo of kylegillick
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark amber with decent clarity, small head with great lacing

S: Like Old Guardian, but with bourbon...Ok lots of bourbon with some spice, hops and hints of caramel. a very sweet smell to it.

T: Toffee caramel, solid bitterness, lots of bourbon and a nice sweet finish

M: Medium carbonation and mouthfeel. solid consistency

O: Great beer, to be enjoyed for a good occasion. If you like old guardian and bourbon then you will love this.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml, QM 2013, Vintage 2011
Riedel tulip

A: Pours a deep orange amber color. Basically no head. A thin collar of bright white. Lower carbonation.

S: Booze. Still some hops. Sweet malts. Butterscotch. Vanilla. Some muted hops. Toffee.

T: Still some bitterness up front. Still hoppy, ever slightly. Sweet bready malts. Caramel malts. Toffee. Vanilla. Finish is long.

M: Full bodied. Chewy. Dessert beer.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From notes. From notes. Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a snifter.

My pour has a caramel amber color in the center, with a dark golden color at the edges. A small, tightly wound off-white cap gently forms around the edge of the glass.

A burst of bourbon is the first aroma to come across my nose. Wafting across after that are notes of caramel malt, apricot citrus, vanilla, and oak.

The bourbon comes across strong in the flavor as well, but it seems to me that the bottle has had enough time for the bourbon to blend into the base beer nicely. Good amounts of toffee, caramel, and vanilla all swirl around with the bourbon flavor, instantly showing off the beer’s fun complexity and aged smoothness. Some light notes of apricot citrus, figs, dates, oak, and spice add even further depth. The finish has a nice little bourbon kick.

Stone manages the mouthfeel of the bourbon barrel old guardian nicely. The body is cut just a little bit with the bourbon aging process, and the carbonation is still creamy and robust. A light stickiness is still present from the base beer, and there is a bit of alcohol burn at the back end of the sip. This is pleasantly smooth right now and will become more so over the next few years.

Being able to try this beer was definitely a treat, and I hope they will release it again in the future.

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Photo of Roger55
4.64/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: 2010 Old Guardian Aged in Bourbon Barrels Batch (?)

Aroma: caramel, dark fruits, bourbon, smells excellent. Appearance: Dark Amber.

Taste: Heavy Dark fruits, barrel character from the bourbon, excellent Old Guardian Aged taste.

Overall: Too good, an excellent bourbon barrel aged barley wine!

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber with a ring of light tan head. Excellent clarity and retention, but no lacing.

S: Rich caramel and a touch of oak and bourbon, and spice.

T: Liquid caramel, mild oak and vanilla, light bourbon, finishing with mild astringency and a little sweetness that rounds out the long finish nicely.

M: Medium-full body, a bit sticky, and medium-light carbonation. Alcohol is mostly hidden.

O: Tasty. The barrel treatment is very light but complements the base nicely. The astringency on the palate is my only complaint.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage. 500 ml bottle poured into a glass.

A- pours a dark amber with a 1 finger tan head. Some trails and blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- caramel, toffee, big dark fruits, some pine

T- sweet toffee, dark fruits, bourbon and some pine bitterness

M- medium body and carbonation. Abv is hidden well and has a semi dry finish.

O- good BA Barleywine. Big dark fruit notes, sweet malts, and some pine bitterness.

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Photo of dgilks
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 500ml bottle shared with friends

Clearish red colour with a smooth, creamy head. Nice lacing.

Oak and fruit with some lovely bourbon notes. Almost chocolatey. Nice.

Oak and chocoalte with nice fruitiness and bourbon character. Tons of hops too with plenty of bitterness. Delicious, balanced and great.

Medium body. Well attenuated. Good, moderately-high bitterness.

A delicious beer. Great bitterness and interesting character. Handles the barrel well.

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Photo of lightindarkness
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL caged corked 2010 bottle

Appears rich copper in color, slightly hazy with a nice dense khaki head with some sudsy bubbles patched around. Little lacing, head thinning quickly.

Nose is somewhat mild, some caramelly grain aroma and some warmth. Faint bourbon notes, but underneath, not prominent.

Taste is certainly stronger and more favorable than the smell. Soft and round with some lingering caramel and sharp bitterness of the barley wine. Not too rich, nor sharp or boozy, but rather warm and mild, with soft bourbon notes filling in the edges with some vanilla, wood, and, well... bourbon. My initial thoughts were that this wasn't as impressive as I might have expected. A muted barley wine with only somewhat faint bourbon barrel influence. However, as it sat open over the course of the afternoon, much more sophistication seems to come forward. All the flavors blend with great balance, a nice hint of sweetness, momentary piercing of hops, and some subtle smooth bourbon finish.

Feel is medium full, a little thinner than expected, with some mild carbonation.

I would not have initially thought so highly of this beer, seeming somewhat underwhelming. With some oxidation and breathing, however, it seemed to fill out. I suppose my expectations changed somewhat too. It's not a heavily bourboned, huge barley wine (even though that's what might have been expected), but a nuanced and interesting subtly rich beer.

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Photo of warnerry
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dfillius for sharing.

A - Nice pop when the cork comes out. Pours hazy reddish brown with half a finger of tan head. Head maintains a cap throughout. Only small spots of lacing.

S - Nice caramel nose with some citrus, vanilla, oak and faint alcohol. Bourbon character is nice, not over the top.

T - Citrus is more pronounced in the taste than the aroma, as is the bourbon components. There is a particularly strong tannin presence in the finish that lingers for awhile. The caramel and vanilla provide a nice counter to the dry bitterness from the other flavor components, though the bitterness definitely wins out.

M - Medium mouthfell with significant dry bitterness throughout.

O - Pretty tasty, and more enjoyable than the regular Old Guardian for me. The bourbon flavors are quite nice. Each aip seems to alternate between lightly sweet and intensely bitter.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was IMO probably the best beer of the Boise Stone Tap Takeover.. '06 Bourbon Barrel aged Old Guardian...

The nose is thick and unmistakable .. vanilla, bourbon, bready malts and some definite caramel.. everything is very well integrated in the aroma.

Flavor is perfectly meshed.. thick vanilla caramel.. woody bourbon... toasty maltiness helps dry things out... more oak on the finish.. still a bit boozy for sure, but I appreciate the direction it is shooting from.. The "good" beer and the "good" whiskey combined with years in the same barrel make this a pretty epic brew. Maybe a touch sweet, but that is questionable for anybody's palate.

I had my fair share of this keg.. There was no doubt this brew was special.

Much appreciation to Erin, Dave, Matt, and Chris for making the Stone event come together. Very cool.


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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber in color with a white head. Smells much hoppier than I expected. Not a ton of barrel/bourbon character. Some vanilla and a bit of booze, but mostly pine and citrus with caramel malt. The flavor is more of the same. Probably the most bitter barrel aged barleywine I’ve ever had. Pine and citrus with caramel, a hint of vanilla, some oak, and maybe just a touch of bourbon. The beer is good, but it's not a ton different from regular Old Guardian.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1268th Review on BA
Bottle to 4oz snifter
500ml C/C

Shared with Jazzpatel, GuruDel & Mrhirschybar

App- A very golden looking orange with ambers running throughout. Had a nice one finger head with scattered cling.

Smell- It was a bit stinging and still too fresh. This one needs a bit more time to envelop flavors and mesh well. Had some light vanilla with a bit of orange juice as well.

Taste- Way too fresh. Had a huge sting behind it with a bunch of bourbon notes. The vanilla was not layered well with the other flavors and each sip was unique and not layered. Orange juice and spice make this one up.

Mouth- A slightly more medium dense body with a creamy dense carbonation. Way too much behind the bubbles on this one.

Drink- For their base beer its one of the best. This hasnt come into its element yet, but has a ton of potential.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh at a Stone tasting a while back. Thanks Matt.

The beer is amber and mostly clear with a small white head that leaves sparse lacing on the glass. The aroma offers oak, malt, booze, caramel. The flavor follows suit. A bit sweet, as is customary of the other Stone barleywines I have had. Some nice notes of oak and bourbon linger. Medium bodied with adequate carbonation. I enjoyed this and would have it again. Best in small doses.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.07/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (2010)

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 1+ years)

Blind Tasting and Review

Clear dark orange and light brown with little visible carbonation that leaves the glass oily with residue. Compared to the other barrel-aged barleywines, this one is much lighter in color.

A mild aroma, especially compared to the others in the tasting, that includes mild caramel, toffee, and alcohol. There is very little bourbon or barrel evident in the aroma.

The flavor is mild, with very little barrel character. There's some caramel, toffee, a bit of bread, and a moderate level of bitterness. There's also some distinct oxidation present.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This was no better than average, and one of the most disappointing in the blind barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour provided by ehammond1 at the blind barrel aged barleywine tasting hosted by DarthKostrizer.

2010 vintage.

Pours a clear dark orange with a beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is solely of malt and alcohol aromas. Taste is the same along with a slight brown sugar flavor that comes out more as the beer warms. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine when it warms up but it’s quite boozy in my opinion.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Huge thanks to chris for sharing this Quingenti Millilitre series bottle! 2010 Vintage.

(A)- Pours a deep reddish mahogany color. Produced a solid cap of tan froth. Lacing too despite its 10.7% ABV.

(S)- A nice, almost fruity fig and caramel/toffee character with bits of resin-like citrus. Very very subtle, almost piney wood finish.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. The resin-like hops definitely knocks at your door up front. Middle comes the nice malty caramel and fig. And again, finishes quite dry with some wood characters.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Heavy on the hops and malt which seems to be overpowering the barrel characters which happen to be quite subtle, if at all present. ABV is well hidden.

(D)- A barleywine classic, but barrel aged; it is extremely subtle, but it is there. Just as good as its non-barrel-aged counterpart.

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Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Stone.
A - Pours a very clear dark copper amber color with an off white finger tall head that leaves some sticky lacing on the glass.
S - The nose is fantastic, you can really pick up the bourbon notes as well as caramel, molasses and some woodiness.
T - The bourbon flavors are definitly there but not overpowering and well integrated in the beer, you can taste some alcohol with the toffee and caramel flavors.
M - Its got a solid medium body with a pretty good chewiness to it, its well carbonated and leaves a little stickiness.
O - Very impressed, I guess its what I would have expected from a good beer like OG getting the bourbon barrel treatment.

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Photo of madpentzer
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a sample of this at the "The Craft of Stone Brewing Co: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance" book signing event at Stone World Bistro.

A-Golden-amber with a small, white head.

S-Very sweet. Some vanilla with oak and toffee intermingled.

T-A wonderful blend of sweet malted barely, with vanilla, oak, and a slight hint of bourbon.

M-Great carbonation with a medium body.

O-Overall a great beer with great balance. Better than the fresh example of this beer and I'm excited to see what some age does to this beer.

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing
4.05 out of 5 based on 139 ratings.
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