Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2012)
Stone Brewing

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2012)Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2012)
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Barleywine - American
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2012)Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2012)
Reviews: 296 | Ratings: 2,043 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes 3/13/13: Pours hazy brownish amber producing a single finger of dense, lasting, beige head that yields little lacing. Aroma is of dark, strong malts, caramel and toffee, dark tea, grapefruit pith, orange, alcohol booze and something a little dark grape-like. The taste is fronted by strong malt, sweet caramel and toffee with some dark fruits; grapefruit, a lingering leafy dark tea bitterness and alcohol warmth/spice. Aftertaste is caramel sweetness and bitter dark tea. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied, carbonation is on the high side of moderate.

Oct 23, 2019
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 classic release, bottled 2/7/15, so closing in on 4 years old. Poured into a goblet.

Cloudy deep orange/amber body with some serious dark floaties. Big slightly off white head leaves very good lacing.

Strong aroma of boiled sweet candy.

Now this is the kind of American Style barley wine that I like. There is some initial bitterness followed by a strong slightly sweet wash, but the bitterness lingers on the back of the throat, but is somehow soft instead of powerful. Delicious.

Mouth is close to full, finish is bitter/sweet/bitter

Overall, nice sipper in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter's night .Only thing that ruined it was the freakin' patriots winning :(

Jan 21, 2019
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

$ 9.53 (Including tax)/capped 22 oz bottle ($ 0.433/oz) from Oppermann’s, Saginaw, MI.
Yellow ink-stamped on the shoulder “Bottled On 02/07/15”, cellared for three years, then stored at 42 degrees and served at 60 degrees in a hand-washed and hand-dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.
Body – Amber, opaque. When held to the light, amber and hazy.
Head – Upon removing the cap, a tube of yellow-tan foam slowly worms from the neck and falls over the side. When poured into the glass, the head is average (Maximum three cm, controlled center pour), yellow-tan, medium density, short retention time, rapidly diminishing to a one to three mm ring and a thin island.
Lacing – Poor. There is a single segment of tiny bubbles in the shape of an ax.
First pour – Medium amber, hazy.
Aroma – 4.25 – Initially, a burst of malt and lemon. The lemon rapidly fades leaving malt and a bit of caramel.
Flavor – 2.75 - Begins with a taste best described as “medicinal”, slightly bitter, and coating the oral cavity. Subsequent swallows seem less medicinal and blander. The medicinal coating is still present. The malt, caramel, and lemon from the nose are conspicuously absent. No alcohol, no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 - Medium, average, lively carbonation.
Impression and summation – 2.75 – The best thing about this brew is its aroma – the lemon was entirely unexpected but still worked very well with the malt aroma. Appearance was average at best. The “flavor” was unbearable, suggesting contamination and production of fusel alcohols. The palate would seem to bear this out, since it is thin and over-carbonated. Checking back in my notes from a previous encounter, I see had this rated as a solid “mehh” back in 2009. This time it would rate a “mehh minus”.

May 17, 2018
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(750 ml bottle, 2015 classic release, bottled on 02/17/15... poured into a snifter)

L: incredibly-turbid (major chill haze), deep reddish-amber liquid - beyond cloudy; only a thin collar, no lace...

S: caramel, leather, dried apricot and apple, candied grapefruit and orange peel, ghostly hint of piney hops, faint sweetish booze... redolent dried fruits, robust caramel malts - inviting enough overall, with no off-aromas or signs of major damage

T: hard-clipped medium-dark caramel, dark cookie malt note... spicy-fruity finish with a touch of pithy bitterness, reminding me of one of those Sanpellegrino flavored seltzers... heavy grapefruit essence builds on palate with each sip... even at this age, the hops still maintain a slight edge in prominence over the malt

F: round about medium-bodied with a subtle jet fuel heat cutting through a bit and pushing it along, but a finely-shredded, frayed expanse of hop oils and malt sugars lend a light silty, fuzzy, static texture throughout, eliminating any definition or contour... keeping with the flavor theme, this does feel like a barleywine with some unfiltered grapefruit juice blended in

O: bought this a few months back at a distributor in South Philly that anecdotally doesn't go to great lengths to establish balance in temperature control throughout the seasons - the look and taste of this bottle does indicate a rough life... in spite of that, its core flavors haven't come close to suffering total devastation, though if one were to buy a bottle of this age with its history, don't expect greatness - maybe pair it up with overpowering foods, or use it as an ingredient in cooking

Mar 04, 2018
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polloenfuego from Canada (ON)

3.42/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2015 vintage.

Pours a nice amber/tawny port in color with a thin head. Nice lacing after head breaks.

Smell is typical of an American barleywine and of Stone...Strong hops up front, and then the malts come in to provide a sweet balance.

Taste, unfortunately, is very medicinal. This taste overpowers the hops and malts, which still have presence, but are mostly buried by that cough syrup dominance.

Feel is actually decent considering the taste, it is medium/full with a nice smooth creamy texture. ABV is present, but not too much.

This one was a bust for me, but I think this is the exception rather than the rule. I would love to try this again, and see if it was just that this bottle was off.

Dec 31, 2017
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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

2.94/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

2013 bottle. Pours a ruddy brown, thicky foamy head with good retention. Aroma is wet fig, leather, piney hops - a tad fusel. Gives off a cough syrup vibe - very medicinal, the hops are super piney (even with four years on the bottle), deep caramel, sweet fig, tannin, fusel. Bit of a mess, though I am partial to English style so maybe it is just the deluge of hops turning me off. Mouthfeel is super thick and sticky.

Dec 19, 2017
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Harrison8 from Missouri

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a murky red-brown with two fingers of khaki head. Head retention is tight and lasts a good amount of time, with good lacing left behind. Aroma is molasses, caramel, toast, and pine hops. Flavor profile is pine, resin, and herbal hops balanced with caramel, molasses notes. Toasted and nutted malts form a firm foundation. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a smooth, creamy texture. Overall, a bold beer with a bite of hops supported on a sturdy malt foundation.

Served in a 12oz snifter form a 22z bottle. 2014 vintage, reviewed in December, 2017.

Dec 05, 2017
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy dark amber with a one finger off white creamy head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is toffee, brown sugar, plums, and cherries.

T - The taste is caramel malts, brown sugar, dark cherries, plums, grapefruit and piney hops.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - A classic Barleywine. Great mix sweetness and bitter hops.

Nov 04, 2017
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jjamadorphd from Florida

3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I love me some barley wine brews and this did not disappoint...

Picked this up in my local craft beer store, a tad bit dusty and with "2015" stamped on it. I snatched it 'cause it had been aging for two-year - good enough for me. And boy, did it age well. The beer poured a copper-ish color with caramel hightlights, little to no head and definitely no lacing. The smell was a sweet and tangy mixture of the barley wine and malts that lead me to a mouthfeel that was so creamy and smooth. If it weren't for the almost 12% ABV, I might have pounded this sucker. Anyway, the taste was boozy but I prefer something a tad more balanced when it comes to these. Don't get me wrong, I like the booze, but I do want to enjoy something more than its brute force capability. Nonetheless, this is definitely a good beer, and I'm glad I shelled out the bucks for the 16 oz. bottle.

Oct 07, 2017
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heygeebee from Australia

4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Totally solid effort, have let warm as the bottle goes down, and it drinks just as well chilled as warm-ish. Lots of malt and molasses on nose, and quite sweet palate wise, but not overbearing. Orange undertones, hint stonefruit.
2016 so a year old, has mellowed, not too hoppy, but not too smooth either.

Aug 11, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, the appearance was a soft dark muddy brown color with an eggshell white foamy finger’s worth of head. Solid sticky stringy lace. The aroma had some dark fruits, sweet apples, caramel and toffee malts closes with a light tobacco quality. Grassy hops. The flavor balances between a strong semi-malty sweetness to the dark and apple fruits. Nicely blended aftertaste. Dry semi-smooth sweet finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a solid sipping quality about it. Fairly dry, hop bitterness hits appropriately. Carbonation seems to have died off a bit. ABV still feels on par. Overall, very nicely done American styled barleywine that I would love to have again.

Jun 25, 2017
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with ruddy hues. Has a fluffy tan froth that sits a bit. Redolent with brown sugar, caramel, cherry, plum and piney hops. Has a tasty mix of sweet (caramel, dark fruits, gum) and bitter (pine, faint resin) on the tongue. Medium in body with a pinch of spicy alcohol in the finish.

And old classic and the real deal.

Apr 18, 2017
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gatornation from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark rusty brown with a fresh Khaki head.smells of dark fruits and citrus hops Taste of raisins and dates mixed with pine hops sweet robust malts balance this out , mouth feel is fruity hoppy and sweet . A pleasure to drink.

Jan 14, 2017
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LAp from Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Returned to this beer (the first barleywine I ever tasted) at a barleywine tasting with friends. A vertical with 2011 and 2015 present. Served in a Kuhnhenn XV tasting glass. The 2015 was far fizzier and hoppier than I expected from a beer branding itself as a barleywine, though definitely notes of big malt, raisins, and figs were lurking under the surface. The 2011 mellowed the hop of the 2015 dramatically, and brought it much more inline with the style, though interesting notes of now-more-savory-than-astringent hops came through. There was also a unique, almost raspberry or strawberry jam profile to the 2011 which was an interesting departure from the typically-darker-fruits present in the style. Overall, excellent - a beer that truly benefits from cellaring.

Sep 16, 2016
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Marius from Netherlands

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled at CBC 2016 - second day. Deep caramel pour with a thin beige head. Tons of hops in this barley wine, making it quite delicious. Notes of caramel, grapefruit, pine resin.

Aug 22, 2016
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GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had the 2013 just last Wed, and came crawling back to,catch a bit of the remaining keg on Saturday. Thought about it those few days and couldn't wait to see if any left. This stuff was absolutely amazing. Taste, smell, mouthfeel is rarely matched. On the level of Bourbon County for me. Would like to compare to fresh now.

Aug 03, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.44/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Giving those deep copper and amber appearance feels, this one has a thin 1/2" head that dissipates quickly. Aroma was lots of crystal malt, lots of c hops, lots of alcohol.

Taste is much like Ruination, but even bigger. Waves of crystal malt and hop bitterness with the stinging bite of a double digit abv. So much malt it doesn't seem as hoppy as it is, but I'm confident this clocks in around the 100 ibu range. So if you're up for something huge, check it out. Not an every day drinker, decent in small quantities, but no way am I doming an entire 22oz of this to myself.

Jul 18, 2016
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weareallfalafel from Virginia

4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber bottled in February 2015 poured into a large snifter. Pours a deep mahogany color with a beautiful 1 inch head that dissipated very slowly and left great lacing all the way through. Smell is of caramel and sweet malt with some hops and then booze following close behind. Taste is of toffee and burnt sugar and then a combination of booze and hops that lingers beautifully on the tongue. Feel is smooth and luxurious. Overall, an absolutely killer barleywine that hits all the qualities I look for and more! Great ale for sure, definitely worth looking for and saving some if you can resist it long enough.

Jul 05, 2016
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FLima from Brazil

4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 release. I have been cellaring this for almost four years, let’s see how this evolved.
Nice red mahogany color with a thick light caramel head with short to medium retention.
Malty aroma with notes of orange marmalade, caramels, pine, molasses, rum and red fruits.
This has an intense flavor with notes of pine, grapefruit, wood, a bit of charcoal, resin, eucalyptus honey, cherries and raspberries jam, American yeast, nuts, tangerine, biscuit, caramel, and toasted malts, cinnamon, butterscotch, dates, earth and some cocoa. Dry aftertaste with a long though rounded resiny bitterness.
Full body with appropriate carbonation. Somewhat sticky sensation. Alcohol of 11% is very well disguised; it is just complimentary to its flavor and perfectly integrated.
Very good American Barley wine; very complex and intense with no sharp edges. At some point I had to stop looking for flavors, because they would just keep coming. Very drinkable considering the style.
For this, I am glad this winter was colder than in the recent past. I feel that I could have aged this even longer, though.

Jun 26, 2016
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Bierliebhaber3 from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This barley wine pours a rich, dark brown with a medium tan head, which is fairly well retained and gives a more creamy texture to the beer. The smell is mild, but is sweet like caramel and somewhat citrusy, possibly of lemon. The flavor is complex, like many barley wines. It has definite flavors of caramel, and a strong biscuity malt backbone. It also has some more subtle fruit flavors, maybe lemon or tangerine. The aftertaste is alcoholic and fairly dry, which is typical of barley wines, being high percentage beers, though the malts balance this one nicely and keep it from being overwhelming. There is also a good hop presence that really only surfaces on the aftertaste leaving a little bitterness in your mouth. This beer is not for the faint of heart, but that’s my style.

Jun 12, 2016
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at 50 degrees. A light tan two finger head that has okay retention. The color of the beer is a medium copper color with some ruby/mahogany highlights. The beer is murky but carbonation bubble are visible. The beer has some legs and the head is leaving some lacing on the glass.

A rich caramel, toasted malt, biscuit, floral, earthy, spicy, and yeast.

The beer is has a nice strong hop flavor, it is floral, earthy, and some perfume. The malt has toast, biscuit, caramel, and bready notes. Yeast is apparent with some apricots.

The mouthfeel is chewy, rich, carbonated, and slightly astringent.

This beer has to be the best barleywine I have ever drank, Although it is 6 years old, it has aged beautifully. The alcohol is present but not hot like a fresh barleywine. The flavors have meld so well together that each sip is bliss. The hops is evident although not fresh, they still pack much flavor. Absolutely amazing.

Jun 11, 2016
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seedyone from New York

4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Coopers Chelsea. Very pretty deep golden, treacle color. Fine bubbles leaving a solid sheet of lacing. Always a sign, IMO , of a well made brew.The aroma, while chilled points at oak. Then there`s the flavor & that`s why we`re all here.

First impression is butterscotch, slight but there. Just behind is a rich ale with an assertive presence of hops. IMO, this should satisfyretty much everyone that can appreciate an 11% ABV bevvie.

Very Very good.

Thanks to Dave for finding this gem & making it available.

May 22, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is the good stuff! Potent but extremely drinkable. Gorgeous appearance with a small creamy head, amber/ruby body, sweet fruit and cidery aroma, malt and hops kick in on the taste. Lots of warming action on the way down.

May 18, 2016
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CHickman from New York

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 Classic Release (11.2% ABV): Pours cloudy copper to reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger creamy/foamy tan head that was full of tiny bubbles, dissipating very slowly and leaving excellent foamy lacing covering the sides with rings as it went down. The lacing stuck to the glass and did not budge, it was great looking.

Smells of caramel, sweet malt, toffee, light brown sugar, faint cinnamon, dark rum, toasted grains, piney hops, dark fruits, orange peel, grapefruit and fruity candy. Some herbal notes like tea leaf, fresh wet citrus hops and weed mix in with the malty sweetness which comes off lightly boozy and full of toffee and caramel.

Taste of strong booze soaked grains up front, followed by toffee, caramel, graham cracker, vanilla, orange peel, brown sugar, honey, tea leaf, piney hops, grapefruit, wet leather, tobacco, gummy bears, Belgian candied sugar, coriander or peppery spices and rum or even dark rum. The ABV is well hidden and the dominant malt base allows the hops to add character and nice complexities to the overall profile. There is a constant sweet yet earthy aspect that ties everything together and almost seems like a thick bready yeast acting like glue. Pretty damn tasty.

Mouthfeel is on the smooth side with average, fizzy carbonation, a medium to thick chewy body that feels dense and like leaf particles are floating in it. Aftertastes is slightly bitter, but still unleashes a lot of malty sweetness, caramel and toffee notes. Seems midway between an American Barleywine and a Strong Ale. Either way you classify this to me it was very good. Enough kick for a barleywine and enough flavor to help it go down.

Apr 22, 2016
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mschrei from Illinois

4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with light orange undertones. Creamy looking with a lasting thick white foam and lacing to go with active carb. Mild hop and malt notes on the smell. Well balanced hop and malt tastes. Very ale like for a barleywine. Alcohol is hidden rather well. Slight back burn. Good beer.

Apr 13, 2016
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale (2012) from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 2043 ratings