Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale | Stone Brewing

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
276 Reviews
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by smerrell on 02-18-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
276
Ratings:
1,971
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
30.27%
 
 
Wants:
83
Gots:
526
For Trade:
31
User Reviews
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Reviews: 276 | Ratings: 1,971
Photo of Kuaff
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A 2012 bottle of Old Guardian, served to myself at cellar temperature in a snifter.

A pour of this stuff creates a beautiful, beige, two-finger frothy head that sticks around stubbornly. Also beautiful is the clarity and color of the deep-ruby, sort of mahogany body. Good lacing, too. An astounding appearance.

It smells sublime. It's an aroma of caramel, spicy hops, leather, ripe red apples, grape juice, and dark fruits. POWERFUL dark fruits. Prunes and raisins are pretty apparent. Maybe a hint of vanilla or bourbon, but not in a boozy way.

The taste is... phenominal. It's like potent hops soaked in caramel and dark fruit extracts. As it should be with a Stone beer, this has astringent, bitter and piny hoppiness, but not immediately. At the beginning of a sip, a sweet, luscious brandy character mixes with those awesome dark fruits. This sweetness then fades fantastically into a finish full of the deliciously dry, bitter hops. No alcohol in the taste. This barleywine is mellow and smooth.

Great feel. Somewhat thick with mild carbonation. It lets all the flavor complexities come through wonderfully.

This barleywine rules, dudes.

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.66/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful pour, a deep amber with beige foam. Nose is strong the second you pour it. Bready, malty, with hints of dark fruits. Complex flavors - get a lot of caramel and again, some dark fruit. Silky and smooth. This definitely exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy, copper beer with a biege-yellow big head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Nose: Caramel, cream, milk, orange, butter, banana, syrup, hops, malt and grass.
Taste: Burned malt, coffee, burned christmas candy, dark syrup, grapefruitcest and orange.
Body: Medium to full body. Oily. Little carbonation.

WTF! This is sooo good! I just love Stone! How the h*** do they always deliver?

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Photo of QuantumPint
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Release from a bomber. Poured into CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, deep amber. Thin head which dissipates quickly.

S: Smells like bread pudding. Raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg reign.

T: Again bread pudding and the aforementioned ingredients. Boozy late and on the finish.

M: Still comfortably crisp, with enough carbonation to give it a pleasant feel. Finish is surprisingly dry.

O: Solid brew. I would definitely drink this again. I'd love to try it with a bit less than 4 years on it.

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Photo of colts9016
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

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Photo of MrJolly
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Color is slightly hazy copper-gold. The little carbonation in the pour dissipates after a couple minutes. The slightly bronzed head, which is thin and full of small bubbles, pours to two fingers but settles to less than a half.

Smell: It is a sweet and rich smell with definite alcohol in the nose.

Taste: This one starts out a bit tame, actually, with a very sweet kiss at the tip of the tongue and a warming in the middle. At the end, though, you might be swerving homeward with the lingering sensation of citric bitter. It's a good taste, but leaves you a little forlorn. What a lot of emotion in this outwardly-sweet looking beer.

Mouthfeel: It is a thick beer, not super slippery. It is almost edible. You could take a bite, maybe.

Overall: Wowzers. The barley wine-"style" means maybe a lot more hops than a barleywine. It is a good thing Stone Brewery exists in the world.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark red with creamy head about a finger thick. Smells of tropical fruits, caramel and some barley. Really inviting. Tastes of mango, bananas barley and some hops come in the background to finish things off. Alcohol is noticeable a bit, but not overpowering. A fantastic barleywine. Hope to score some more in the future.

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Photo of seedyone
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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Photo of Ellis1701
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually hate barley wines...but this one is really excellent. I think what makes it so tasty is that Stone tends to heavily hop their beers, and the hop bite in Old Guardian that offsets the sweetness that usually makes barley wine style beers among my least favorites. I go back to this one again and again...something I've not done with ANY other barley wine.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. 2012 release.

A - Pours a hazy ruby gold color with a wispy one-finger off-white head. Nice lacing of tiny bubbles all around the glass.

S - Big heady aroma of toffee, butterscotch, caramelized cotton candy, and pine.

T - Matches the smell almost exactly with big toffee/butterscotch sweetness upfront. In the mid-palate the taste take a 180 degree turn with a huge blast of piney/sprucy hops and hop alpha acids. Extremely rich flavors. The mid-point in the transistion between the intensly sweet and intensely bitter is divine. Alcohol very well hidden.

M - Full bodied. Low carbonation. Together this makes for good drinkability for small sips. Just a little oily.

O - A great American barleywine. Love the hop profile in this one, which blends perfectly with the extreme maltiness. Just excellent all around. Why aren't I drinking this more often?? I can remember drinking a "current" version of this one around 2011, and it wasnt nearly as sweet; I think the 9-11 months of aging really did this one some good!

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Photo of goochpunch
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Version.

Pours out a rusty, orangey red with a thin, almost not there head. Smells of caramel, dates, toasty malts, and citrus/pine sap from the hops. I pick up some booze as well. Taste is maltier than some versions from other years. Sticky dates and golden raisins. Citrus and earthy hops towards the finish. Aftertaste is like citrus peel candy. Not too much bitterness or alcohol burn compared to last year's. Mouthfeel is sticky, mouth-coating, and has low carbonation. They did a great job with Old Guardian this year, which has always been a hit-or-miss barleywine, depending on the year. I might have to get a few more bottles than I'd planned to drink more of it fresh, instead of putting it away to age.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes: Aroma – rich intense malt, faint hops, fruit. Appearance: Rich amber, 2”off-white head, quickly dissipates. Palate: big malt, malty, caramelly, sweet, and then the hops come on, the hops are assertive but not harsh. Mouthfeel: Very creamy rich, malt, alcoholic, malty. Above average carbonation, chewy body. Overall: A big bitter, malty beer.

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Photo of Flashy
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Purchased in Vermont, $8 for a bomber. One of the finest, and most readily available American Barley Wines out there. Like with most Stone products- the price and quality are right.

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Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, poured into a 12 ounce snifter. Pours a dark orange, slight oxidation, tons of apricot and peach on the nose. Taste is amazing rich and full, tons of mid-range color fruit, thick mouth-feel, wish I had more than one bottle...

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Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release, poured into a 25oz snifter. Pours a deep brown color with reddish hues when held to the light. Creamy beige head holds good retention and leaves some chunky lacing on the glass. Huge, rich caramel nose, with toast, grain, bread crust, piny hop, brown sugar as well. Tastes are complex and bold with rich and sweet caramel up-front, followed by an assault of the palate with pine resin. Bready, toasted grain, dark brown sugar in the middle. Full of flavor, well balanced, boozy on the finish with burnt caramel and pine lingering. Body is full, creamy but resiny, with ample carbonation. Overall, once again awesome Stone quality!

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-a hazy brown color with a large tan head that lingers and leaves a heavy lace
S-heavy hop aroma and a malt mixture
T-heavy wine taste with a heavy hop aftertaste that then goes to a heavy alcohol taste that does not go away
M-medium body and high carbonation
O-The warmer it gets or the more I drink the better this one gets. Never been much of a barley wine person but this one hits the mark

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Photo of gandres
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From growler to wine glass
Appearance: Brown hazy no head/lacing
Aroma: Strong aroma of toasted grains, not boozy even at 11 ABV
Taste: excellent, Bitter with strong sweetness
Mouthfeel: very good
Overall: Excellent beer, something to look forward to
Drank February 12, 2016

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Photo of 29mikoyan
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

One of my most favorite barley wines! What I like about it is that the citrus hint is not overly strong. It does have that piney hoppy flavor, but at the same time it has that nice maduro tobacco and cedary hint.

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Photo of sevenarts
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruddy reddish-orange, somewhat cloudy and opaque, with a modest off-white head and no lacing. Very cidery-looking.

S: Lots of layered malt tones: caramel, bread, toffee. The malty sweetness is mixed with an equally strong hoppy presence of pine and grapefruit.

T/M: Delicious! Caramel malty goodness up front, quickly giving way to the bitter sting of the hops, with lots of grapefruit and pine notes as in the aroma. Very dry, throat-coating thickness on the back end, with a lingering grassy, piney hop aftertaste. The high ABV is very well-hidden.

O: A real tasty, powerful barleywine with loads of flavor. Well balanced and does a very good job of hiding its alcohol so it's not nearly as hot as one would expect. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Bobheed
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: light caramel color with a pasty off-white head, about 1 finger. Pretty fair amount of alcohol lacing

S: Hops right up front, huge rotten grapefruit kind of hops. I get lots and lots of sweetness to it, almost like a caramel sugary sweetness.

T: Get lots of caramel malts and fruitiness. The flavor has shifted from a citrusy kind of fruitiness though, to a more dark fruit taste, like raisins and dates. Hops really hit you at the end and stick with you for quite a bit

M: Nice and creamy with medium carbonation. Leaves the mouth tingling and wanting more.

Overall I thought this was very good. This is, by all accounts, what an American style barleywine should taste like

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Photo of RattleheadKV2
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into 16 oz goblet.

Appearance: Pours a nice dark amber, with about a half a fingers worth of off-white head, the dissipates rather rapidly.Tons of alcohol legs.

Smell: Wow, this sure is an American Barley Wine, hops all over the place. Tons of piney citriusy notes; grapefruit, oranges, pine needles aplenty.

Taste: Tons of hops at the front, that blends into a smooth sweet maltiness, and finishes bitter, and dry.

Mouthfeel: Nice full body on this one, you can almost chew it.

Overall: Great brew, and rather smooth for such a your barley wine. I grabbed a few extra of these to cellar over the years. Truly a great release that I look forward to every year.

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Photo of HopNelius
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of 22oz and into sniffer.
Appearance- brown, medium carbonation, some lacing.
Smell- dark fruit and malts.
Taste- dark fruit, clove,bread. Great taste drinkable for the abv, alcohol is not overpowering.
Mouthfeel- pleasant
Overall- great beer, I bought two and will age one to see how thi tastes over time.

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Photo of Prospero
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle - 2012 (this is one of those beers that gets better with age)

A- sweet caramel nose
L- slight haze, reddish-brown, medium tan head, dissipates quickly
T- sweet caramel and toffee flavor with slight bitterness from the hops that creates an incredible balance, hops much less prominent than fresh
F- rich, coats the palette and lingers nicely
O- I've decided 3-years is perfect age for this that let's the sweet malty backbone shine, hides the alcohol and not much presence of oxidation yet when properly cellared.

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Photo of stangski83
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely amazing; the local bottle shop was clearancing this for 4.99/bomber (2012 release). I can't believe how smooth this 11%'er went down and am damn proud that I was able to snatch a bottle for slow and appreciative consumption. Stone should be proud. Sad that distribution out east sometimes turns into a waiting game and retailers that are unsure of aging and amazing beer in their shops. Sad, sad, sad!

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 276 ratings.
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