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

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Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 74
Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On Tap

Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

Dark ruby red with dark orange edges and a thin, light khaki colored head that leaves dots of lacing down the glass.

The aroma is a combination of sweet, freshly baked bread, a slight hint of wood, a bit of grape, and some cardboard/oxidation, though it's not too distracting or at all off-putting.

The flavor too is sweet, moderately bitter, a bit of maple and wood character, and grape skin. Pleasant, and very little alcohol presence.

Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation, though a bit oily.

Decent, and certainly tasty, but I think the base beer is better.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1093rd Review on BA
Draft to 4oz Taster

WinterStorm 2012

App- A deep creamy orange with some intermixed yellows and bruleed sugar notes. Maybe a 1/4" of bubbles that falls to a pond layer of head.

Smell- A very tannic nose. Grape skins and a little oak. A bit malty with some more citrus from the base beer coming through.

Taste- Much more malty than the base version than I remember. A lot of citrus and tannin flavors. The oak comes through quite well and the grape notes are very forward.

Mouth- A light-medium body with a medium full carbonation level and a lot of residual tannin and citrus.

Drink- A very good beer with a lot of layers and a striking fruit presence. Very tasty and would like to have again.

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Photo of Overlord
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange-ish brown with a surprisingly large off-white head.

Smells like booze, some caramel with orange-rind sugar, maybe a hint of grapes, and ... umm ... some more booze and a bit of grapefruit? Where's the red wine?

No red wine in flavor, either. Or at least, not much. Maybe a hint of grap-iness. The booze and caramel/orange sweetness take over and obliterate whatever else might have been here. Pleasant enough.

I like, but wouldn't go out of my way to seek out again.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler fill from Stone Brewing Co.

2008 vintage.

Pours a dark opaque amber with a small 1/2 head that fades to nothing. Spotty lacing on the glass on the drink down. Smells of caramel malt, grape juice, dark fruits. Taste is of sweet caramel malt, dark fruit, grape juice. Low bitterness from the hops on the drink down. You can really taste the red wine essence gained from the barrel aging. Good carbonation with a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Good drinkability and nice to try beer aged in wine barrels.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Stone. 2008 Old Guardian aged in red wine barrels.

A: Reddish orange with a beige head.

S: Plum, grape, grapefruit, orange, pine, and sugary caramel. The wine barrels add a nice vinous element to the beer.

T: A nice balance of hops and sugary caramel malt. Notes of grape, plum, and grapefruit are present, with accompanying orange and pine. Booze is mellow and bitterness is at a moderate level.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky.

Overall: A nice variation on Old Guardian.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Liter swing top growler pour courtesy of askofficerfriendly over on ratebeer. Thanks a ton man! Been wanting to try this for some time now. Pours deep near murky copper with full firm, impressive too for a growler pour, off white head. The aroma is full of malt sweetened grapefruit, vanilla, sugary apricot slices, spicy cotton candy, peach candy and oak. Seems like an odd array but they play wonderfully together. The taste is straight up smoothness urging you to sip slow to enjoy every pico liter of this liquid goodness. I get blunted smooth and also somewhat sharp citrus hop notes, sweet vanilla, malts and yummy smooth rich fruity esters. Into the finish it picks up a surge of grapefruit and tangelo as well as sweet smooth vanilla and assorted lingering hoppy goodness.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.76/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Stone Total Tap Takeover in Baltimore. '09 Vintage.

A-pours a deep dark amber color with a thin white head.

S-the nose has hints of oxidation already, cardboard up front, light notes of oak with hints of the juicy red wine but faint.

T-same as the nose with a little bit of envelope glue towards the back and some light bitterness in the finish.

M-syrupy feel to it with a decently carbonated finish, juicy on the palate with a chewy malt body.

D-oxidized, not horribly like some others at the event, barrel adds some nice flavors but they are light. i do enjoy their wine barrels I just wish they held up better.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Served up a modestly-hazed orangey body with a wispy, near-white head.

Smell: An initial sniff yields a faintly sweetish scent of bready malts with toffee and encrusted sugars. Then, some citrus rinds, follow by a whisper of oak wood and even less when it comes to the wine.

Taste: Sweet uprush of toothsome, candyish caramel maltiness towing a subtle grainy breadiness behind it. Touch of citrus. Tart red wine character bringing in modest tastes of raspberry and rosehips. Slight flutter of tannins, follow by a pop of hop bitterness, which somewhat scuttles the wine character leaving only a dry, bitterish finish with plenty of alcoholic warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: The wine pulls you in one direction, the bitterness pulls you in another direction, the alcohol pulls you in a third. It's interesting, though, perhaps, not the smoothest presentation.

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Photo of m1ked
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Off work early on a Friday. At K&B during beer week. Not bad at all.

A- pours a murky rusty orange brown color. When held up to the light I can't see through it, but it looks as if there is a small fire in the center. Micro thin off white cap with clinging edges.

S- Rich sweet maltiness. Not quite caramel, a little brown sugar. Unmistakeable white grape aroma in there. A touch of sweet vanilla. Smells heavy, but good.

T- Rich malty, sugary with a sharp bitterness that softens a bit but hangs on. I am unable to grasp the wine charcter until the very end, but subtle.

M- Thick, chewy, viscous. Just how I like my b-wine.

D- delicious b-wine. I was hoping for more red wine influence, and the reality is that it may be there and I'm failing to appreciate it. Good 1 glass beer for me.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at RnH during Tap Takeover event. review from notes. 2008 vintage.

Pours a golden auburn with a bit more head and filmy retention then some of the other Guardians served at the event, along with some slight spotty lacing.

The nose is packed with some bitter hops, lighter wood, and a faint detection of dark fruit tart.

Plenty of bitter dry hops up front, with dark caramel malt and roastyness. The wine comes in later with some dry fruit and faint tart tendencies. The oaked flavor rounds everything out with some vanilla and wine. Finishes with some boozy warmth.

Medium to heavier body, slow drinking due to ABV, overall very unusual but super tasty.

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Photo of stakem
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes taken on 10/1/10 during the Stone total tap takeover event at the Alewife. This is the 2009 vintage.

Pours a hazed amber orange color with a light white cap of foam that receeds to a thin layering atop the brew. As it receeds, it leaves small patches of lacework on the glass. Swirling the glass reforms the head to almost a finger thick that again receeds fairly fast.

The aroma of this brew is grainy and herbal with some solvent alcohol. There is a vinous influence to the nose here that is enjoyable and unlike the scent contributed by other barrel versions of old guardian. Overall quite sweet smelling, which is borderline candy like.

The taste is bitter herbal hops with a bold presence of alcohol and vanilla. Plenty of caramelized malty sweetness runs all through the profile. The wine barrel influence comes through this brew more prominent than the nose led on. The vinous taste blends very well with the herbal bitterness and bold alcohol character. It is readily noticeable that at the time of this sampling, the Old guardian is less than a year old and still quite hot compared to the other vintages I got to sample both at the stone event and in recent memory. A lingering taste of herbal bitter hops along with a touch of yeast is left clinging inside the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The yeast flavor that starts to come out is a bit distracting and decreases the overall drinkability a bit but overall this brew is quite a solid offering. I would love to try this beer again with a few more years of age on it. After the brew came up to almost room temperature there was a bit of a twang about it that has me thinking it is a lactic note but not quite. Perhaps that is just the somewhat strange vinous contribution from the barrels.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the Stone Tap Takeover in Charlotte. 2008 Vintage. Served from tap into a tumbler. Poured a hazy red-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, wine spices, and subtle hop. The flavor was of malt, subtle chocolate, and a hint of red wine spices. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was one was very nice. I actually enjoyed the '06 in Bourbon Barrels better than this one. Not sure if it was the extra age on the other or if it was the barrel-type they were aged in. However, this was quite nice and definitely worth a try for sure as the chocolate was another surprise for me that I quite enjoyed.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Small bar as part of the Stone event. Drank side by side with the bourbon version. 2008 batch...Pours a medium mostly transparent copper, looks watery with a light tan head. Looks exactly like the bourbon...The aroma is rather dead, at first I thought I was getting aroma fatigue because the bourbon is very strong but finally I comes to the conclusion its just a very dead nose. A light hint of red wine and oak on the tail end of the finish...The taste brings a lot of flavor, more than enough to make up for the aroma. The taste is a typical barleywine, caramel, light hops but this is very smooth due the barrel aging. The wine barrels don't bring out a much of a vinous character I think it more contributes to killing the alcohol of the barleywine.

I prefer this version over the bourbon, but both are worth trying.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the worst barleywine of the 4 I sampled at churchkey. This beer was much hazier than the others. It was red and had a weird distraught head. It had no carbonation.

Beer smells about the same as the others. Its malty, caramel, but this one had more of a sense of alcohol and perhaps a little fruits.

Beer tastes like barleywine mixed with red wine. Redbarleywine. Not pleasing, still kind of malty in the front, mild sweet, no bitterness, the midpalate was 100% wine. Not again.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey. 2005 Vintage sampled side by side with the 08 aged in wine barrels.

a - Pours a dark amber color with an inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, and sticky sweet dark fruits. Hints of oak and alcohol, but not much at all.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bready malts, and dark fruit. No oak and hints of the brandy.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent version, but I enjoyed the bourbon barrel aged version much better. I just didn't feel as though the oak or brandy really came through. Wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at Small Bar Fullerton side-by-side with the 2005 Bourbon version. This was listed as the 2008 vintage. Served in a goblet.

A - Looks pretty similar to the other Old Guardian variants, but with a slightly thicker ring of foam left after the foam dissipates.

S - It's vinous, but more in a sweet grape rather than heavy red wine way. It's definitely less oak and barrel influenced than the bourbon version. The grape sweetness integrates quite well with the caramel and sugar flavors.

T - The taste is again, a pleasant integration of vinous ripe red grapes and typical barleywine flavors of caramel and burnt sugars. I'm guessing the wine barrels have had a lot of the oak stripped through the multiple uses, and as a result this doesn't have the nice vanilla flavor in the bourbon version.

M - Feel is pretty similar to the bourbon version.

D - This is slightly more drinkable, as it doesn't have the whiskey bite and slightly astringent oak in the nose, but not so much that it warrants additional points.

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Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a reddish brown color. Seemed a bit more murky than the regular Old Guardian. A fairly thin off white head not too much lacing.

S- I could pick up a red wine smell clearly on this one. Quite a bit of hops coming through and some nice hops.

T- Again I'm picking up red wine traits here. Quite a bit of hops and caramel malts here. A little on the boozy side but still very solid. Being not a huge fan of wine I think it might of taken a little bit too much away from this one.

M- Smooth feel to it. Medium in body and lighter carbonation.

D- A little hot here from the alcohol. Not my favorite by any means but it was cool to try for sure. It was very different but not too bad either.

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Photo of jampics2
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ DLD 2010. Thrilled to have this, funny enough Travis and I separately both made a dash to the guest taps table and came back with this as our #1 pick to try.

Appearance was not exceptional, however. A ruddy amber/caramel color with a nice head. But the color is unappealing and dull.

Smell is very similar to the normal old guardian with a touch of Merlot grapes, tannins, and oak. Nice elements of caramel and some subdued hops too.

Taste is exceptional! Great barleywine - breadiness, toffee, carmel, red wine adds some tannins and oak gives a touch of woody depth. Great!!

Mouthfeel is perfect. Low carb gives a creamy depth, hugely viscous, perfection!

This went down oh so well! Thrilled to get the chance to try it, I'll seek this out again if I have the chance.

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Photo of abrand
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint at DLD 2010 while waiting in line.

Pour is amber color with plenty of off white lacing. Smell is lot of sugar malts. Some subtle red wine grapes pop through as well as cherries. Taste is very similar to the nose with much more of the wine characteristics being noticed. Nice malty finish to a very drinkable barleywine. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Drinkability is good for a barleywine as these is far from a drinkable style for me. I love the taste but nothing I could handle more than a pint of.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at dark lord day 2010

pour was light copper with orange. nice white head that retained very well

very citrus hop oriented on the nose with light hints of sweet bread and floral hops.

lots of hops on this, they still dominated but there was a light red wine sweetness that lingered through out. light bitterness. light caramel and bread in the malts. this was good but different.

moderate carbonation, full body, but not too heavy.

this was good, but it was very different. i enjoyed this but it was not something i wanted a lot of. there just was not the balance or something.

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Photo of charlzm
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed Feb 7th, 2010 at Stone World Bistro.

2008 vintage.

Presents a cloudy orange-yellow (as most Old Guardians do, apparently). Fine off-white head provides good lacing.

Aroma is a little sweet, slightly herbal and fruity; I got more of an apricot aroma, though the wine scent is there in a supporting role.

Flavor is a different story; red wine pops right out with the first sip. Flavor is otherwise weighted towards sweet, bready and caramel malts. Some alcohol flavor towards the end. Low bitterness.

Some of the "flavor experiment" beers I have tried fail because the featured flavor overwhelms rather than complements the standard flavor profile of the beer. This one works due to its relatively subtle addition which works with rather than buries the usual flavors.

Dry, fairly clean finish marked by alcohol heat.

Interesting experiment I would gladly try again. And again.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008 version, not sure if there are others. Had this at the Goat opening. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance- Reddish brown hue. Uber-rich chestnut color, with a solid inch of head. Nice and deep. Good lacing.

Smell- Muted. Red wine tannins. Rich, with the alcohol coming through. Some wood? Oak possibly.

Taste- Comes through with the red wine. Fruitiness. Possibly berries. The booze is strong on this one, especially on the finish. There is also a hint of burnt caramel, and some malt.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation, not too light. It's still smooth and silky, without being flat. Very rich.

Drinkability- It's still pretty boozy. Still, it goes down smooth. Would be nice on a cold day.

Did not love this one, but didn't hate it either. I had pretty high expectations, which this failed to meet, but it is certainly interesting.

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Photo of SShelly
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the goat.

Aroma is malt and booze.

Flavor is mostly light fragrant malt with a vinuous aftertaste, all of the hops from the OG have faded into the background. Leaves a light sweet and malty flavor in the mouth.

A little light in the mouth but overAll very tasty.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap. 2008. Sick! (This review is from cellphone notes)

A bit darker than regular old guardian. Dark amber, slightly golden/orange in color. Opaque. Two finger white head. Good sticky lacing. Quite impressive for a barrel age beer. Good retention.

Caramel and honey malts mostly. A bit of oak and red wine in there.

Caremel, honey and big toffee flavor from the malts. A bit of oak. Bitterness from the red wine barrel. A hint of tartness. Also a bit spicy/peppery. Interesting. Lots going on here.

Full bodied. Well carbonated. A little hot from the abv.

Good for tha bv. The barrel adds a distinct bitterness that makes you want to sip it slowly.

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Photo of MisterClean
2.2/5  rDev -44%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had on tap a the Grad. List said 11.20%...AT LEAST.

A - Dull orange color and no head. No carbonation either.

S - Very fruity, nectars, fruity, and malty. Strong smell of alcohol.

T - very acidic, lots of alcohol, some fruit, the wine barrel basically killed the beer.

M - Very astringent, moderate to full bodied, wine barrel, I mean malt dominated. High alcohol.

D - Virtually undrinkable. Alcohol and wine dominate. Wow, I had a bad beer from stone. Maybe it's freezing in hell?

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale - Red Wine Barrel-Aged from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 74 ratings