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

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Very Good
74 Ratings

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 BeerAdvocate on 03-27-2009

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Ratings: 74 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of Beerboi1123
1/5  rDev -74.6%

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?

 486 characters

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 NickMunford
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of vissai
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -23.7%

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 orangesol
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of gueuzegossage
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

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 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 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.

 705 characters

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Hobbit
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Piddmeista
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of AgentZero
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

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 Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 liter growler; Sampled August 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost four-finger thick, lightly amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves lots of lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is a nice amber hue that shows a clear, copper-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has notes of caramelized malt up front and a warm, spicy alcohol note to the finish. Fruity notes of dates and raisins are joined by light oak contributions of coconut as well as some toasted malt notes in the finish. There seems to be a fair amount of vanillin noticeable as well as a touch of buttery oak and even some spicy oak notes that combine with the alcohol to produce a sense of Bourbon character. There is quite a bit of malt character here with lots of toasted pale malt notes, biscuit like aromas, lots of crushed whole grain cracker notes, some caramelized pale malt aromatics as well as some toffee. After a bit it seems like the hot alcohol gets a bit too dominant in the, in fact I am soon questioning that I ever was able to notice the up front complexity that was first found in the aroma. After coming back to the aroma after some time I notice some nice fruitiness again as well as some herbal hop notes that get a bit grassy and green at times.

The beer tastes lightly sweet with caramel malt notes (though not overly so) and some toasted grain flavors. Bitter hop notes are joined by hot alcohol, and some spicy oak character in the finish. Bitter, green, somewhat astringent hop character in the finish can really linger on the palate. Up front there is a nice fruitiness, some of which seems to be hop contributed (citrus), but there is a bit more to it than that, but I can't quite put my finger on the other notes right now. There is a nice toasted malt character to the flavor with biscuit like notes, crushed malt notes and crystal malt flavors; this last plays a supporting role and does not too heavy as crystal malts can so often get.

Coming back to the nose makes me wonder if I imagined the oak influence; hop character and fruit notes are all I notice in the nose now. Even the flavor doesn't seem to have any real barrel character to it. The fruitiness is nice and might be from the Red Wine barrel, but I could easily be convinced that this is not the case. Overall this beer has certainly softened a bit with age as it is not as aggressive as when it is fresh. The beer does become much better as it warms up, despite starting at a 50ºF / 10ºC initial temperatures; it becomes more fruity, with more berry like notes and some notes of lightly spicy oak, a even a hint of vanillin seem to come out even.

I let this beer sit for a whole hour in the hopes of it getting more complex, finally I seem to get confirmation that this was aged in a Red Wine barrel; there is a definite red wine fruitiness (though it is soft still) and even some grape skin and tannin notes towards the finish.

Interesting, my second pour of this has me noticing more of the red-wine berry notes in the nose again. Letting this beer breath quite a bit certainly helps with the flavor as well. Still, the red wine character in this beer is easily missed, especially if you didn't know it was there. This beer really wasn't all that great during my first, full pour of this beer; despite starting out at only a cool 50ºF / 10ºC. I easily could have poured this beer out. I am glad I stuck with it though as it really starts to open up after warming up and being allowed to breath. In the end though, I waffle between enjoying a complex, interesting beer and not really finding this beer all that drinkable.

 3,657 characters

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 0110x011
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got the last of the keg at Stone on 05/10/09. 2008 vintage, poured into a New Belgium globe.

A - Medium amber color. One-finger off-white head has solid staying power.

S - Huge oak aroma, with vanilla and caramel notes. Citrusy hops in the back.

T - Huge, overwhelming oak presence. Some Caramel and hazelnut, with a piney, citrus hop character in the back. Did i mention oaky?

M - Big and full. Tannic from the oak.

D - Good for a barleywine, but loses points for the insane amount of oak.

Holy crap, this is the oakiest beer I've ever had. I thought I was an oak fiend, but this beer changed my mind. Alone, this is very tasty, as the oak aging calms some of the OG's flaws (over hopping, excessive heat), but were this blended into standard OG, the intense oak flavors wouldn't dominate the overall profile. Glad I tried it, but I wouldn't seek it out again.

 867 characters

Photo of u2carew
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Serve on tap at Cambridge Brewing Co. collaboration night. Serve in a wine stem glass.
A) Hazy. Ruby to amber in color. Thin, sticky and creamy head / lacing.
S) Sweet fruity notes. Light caramel hangs in the mix.
T) Rich up front. Caramel. The hops are somewhat hidden and eventually break through after a few swigs.
M) Crisp. Full bodied. Slightly syrupy. Alcohol effervescence.
D) Yes. Pour me another to nurse to the last sip.

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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 AVDeuph
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing after the fact; this was on tap at the Uptown Grille, I was told this is the wine-aged edition.

Beer came to the table as a sparkling and rich golden goblet. Smell was not overwhelming, and a little hard to place. There was a definite hop assertiveness in the brew that I wasn't expecting.

Taste is excellent. To be honest I really don't enjoy barleywines that often and despite having some of the "best" in the style, I've been disappointed. That said, this beer by Stone was hands down the best I've tried (keep in mind that this is to my taste, which doesn't really like barleywines to begin with). A strong hop profile that is balanced well with the sweet and strongly present malt bill.

Mouthfeel is nice. Well carbonated, especially as it is coming from the tap. Not super-thick like some of this style that I've had. I think the drinkability is very good for a high ABV ale (alcohol was masked very very well by the way), but I was happy with just the one with my dessert.

Very nice beer by Stone, I'm now interested to try the standard bottled Old Guardian to see how it compares.

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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