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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of rwilde
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of Beerboi1123
1/5  rDev -74.6%

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.

 615 characters

Photo of tbeq00
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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 NickMunford
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of bonbini26
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of quantumcipher
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of hawkmage
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of photomike
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of rrryanc
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of codynevels
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of mikennat
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

 482 characters

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.

 517 characters

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.

 545 characters

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.

 780 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 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.

 913 characters

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.

 797 characters

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.

 668 characters

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.

 1,815 characters

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