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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale | Stone Brewing

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

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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:
277
Ratings:
1,976
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
11.41%
 
 
Wants:
86
Gots:
529
For Trade:
29
User Reviews
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Reviews: 277 | Ratings: 1,976
Photo of CHickman
4.03/5  rDev 0%
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.

 1,656 characters

Photo of Dave1999
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle.

The appearance is a dark amber with a nice white head.

The smell is sweet, caramel, toffee and peppery spices. There's a little bit of alcohol as well.

The taste is sweet up, caramel and toffee like the smell, it finishes very bitter, with some pine and some citrus.

The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with medium carbonation.

A very nice barley wine, very bitter for the style but still delicious as expected from stone.

 439 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.03/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep reddish brown color with good carbonation with a great dirty white cap

S: Caramel, light pine with a nice grapefruit presence

T: A nice hop bitternes, with a blast of Cascade hops presenting a nice grapefruit presence and a hint at pine. Some caramel and booze mix with the hop profile leaving a nice impression of the style. Finishes a bit bitter but not like fresh Bigfoot bitter and a bit sticky

M: Full bodied, well carbonated with loads of flavor

O: Very nice. Should withstand the test of time as most OG's do. Nice changeup by Stone.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy medium amber color. 1 finger light tan colored head seems fairly dense. Head dissipates to a small layer of cream. Good lacing left behind.

Aroma is caramel and toffee malt. Piney, earthy hops. Toasted coconut.

Hop flavors come through first. A bit earthy and a bit spicy.. Piney and resinous. Smooth malt flavors abound. Caramel, toffee, biscuit, molasses, and toasted coconut.

Rich, semi-thick mouth feel. Moderate carbonation. Creamy and oily on the tongue. Lingering bitterness fading to a malty sweetness.

A solid American Barleywine with really good balance/blending of flavors between malt and hop. Aroma seems a little dull but mouth feel is great.

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Photo of williamjbauer
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber served in a pint glass

A - Clear caramel amber with 1.5 khaki head with good retention and moderate lacing.

S - Barley, clove, malt, caramel, dark fruits,

T - Follows the nose, quite sweet with abundance of malt and caramel with barley notes and nice grassy, herbal, and floral hops. Well balanced.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation. Smooth.

O - A little sweet but fits the style and very well balanced with some nice touches.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep, mostly clear beer, this Barleywine flares out from the middle, flaming orange-red in the middle with molten copper-gold further out from the center. It has a tan-grey head, pretty dense, that reaches one finger. Retention is good, and lacing is patchy while being deposited plentifully on the glass.
Being a Barleywine, if it's well done it's bound to have depth and a complexity of smells and flavors, not to mention strength. It does have all those things. It's a mix of sweet, boozy, malty and hoppy. Brown sugar and notes of something like molasses combine with a bit more sweetness from caramel malts and bread. There's some citrus likely attributable to the hops, which mostly add a floral note at the back of the tongue. There's a bit of spiciness all the way through, and an unusual element added by something not quite briny. Esters and yeast, contributing some hay-like earth and lots of dark fruits, ride it out from front to back.
The body is medium-full with a certain richness to it, crispness up front continuing into a nippy sort of smoothness as the beer takes enough dryness for a semi-dry finish.

 1,123 characters

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Purchased from Okinawa Brewing Company, Next to Tori Station Okinawa...

A - Poured from bomber into Avery tulip taster glass; a rich mahogany, pure and clear with a thick off white head.

S - A full hop profile from the nose hides what should be a metric ton of malt making up the backbone of this beer.

T - Sweet, savory, and thick in the front, hoppy and spicy in the rear, very enjoyable and a kick in the teeth like I so needed.

M - Shows a nice full body with a calm level of carbonation; warming while it sticks to the cheeks and gums.

Overall a very nice ABW that has what is expected, high IBU's, a waterfall of malts and a burning touch reminiscent of an old friend. Recommend.

 690 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A two year vertical (and horizontal with the current oak-smoked Guardian)
2013: Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours an orange-copper amber with a thin, patchy off-white head forming an almost perfect clover shape in the glass with a ring around the glass with light lacing. Surprisingly mild aroma of caramel malt, pine hops and grain alcohol. Flavor follows aroma with caramel malt, great piney and citrus hops, a bit of dark fruit. The hops dominate the finish, leaving a pleasant pine bitterness. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A very nice hoppy American style barley wine.

2009: Also poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours an orange-copper amber with a thin off-white head formed a thin persistent film and ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, brown sugar, dark fruit and a hint of sherry oxidation. Flavor follows with caramel malt, dark fruit and mild grassy hops. Nicely integrated and the alcohol noticeable on the fresh Guardian is now well covered. Medium bodied with only a suggestion of creaminess (unusual for a barley wine aged this long). This has held up very well and definitely mellowed with the flavors and alcohol melded very well. Hops are muted, but identifiable. This will absolutely stay in my cellaring cycle, but scores about the same as the fresh one; the fresh shows brighter, spicier hops, but the alcohol is more noticeable. The older one is more muted in flavor, but more balanced and less boozy tasting.
Scores are almost identical, but the 2013 gets a half point off for being rather muted. Total score here is for the aged one.

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a light brown that is slightly red with a dense two finger off white head
S: smells of toffee and caramel along with some herbal and slightly citrusy hops
T: hops on the front with that herbal flavor followed by some caramel and toffee noes. A little back and forth takes place between the two sides. there is the occasional burst of citrus flavor and the swallow brings a bit of alcohol, more resinous earthy hops and a bit of sweetness to finish things off as it all fades away
M: medium bodied with adequate carbonation, a little viscous but not overly so
O: it's good but it needs some time to mellow. Nothing extraordinary but another well crafted beer from Stone. I might have to buy another couple bottles to cellar. I have one put away right now but it seems lonely.

 783 characters

Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer out of a growler in a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a light copper hue with a thin white head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet malty aroma with a decent hop background..

T: Malty barley wine flavor with a caramel and hop background.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Solid barley wine – good flavors and aroma.

 390 characters

Photo of WesMantooth
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle

Bright ruby orange with a tan head.

Smells sort of musty and hoppy with sweet caramel/toffeeand rock candy sugars.

Still considerably hoppy. Pretty herbal/green and sharp. Balanced pretty well by the sweet malt base that has quite a bit of carmalized sugars. Tastes like a fig newton and the toffee flavors are so strong that it comes across like chocolate a little bit.

A tad astringent, but a very nice American Barleywine overall. I think that I like this one more than a 2 year old Bigfoot.

 514 characters

Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Nice clear ambery brown color

Smell: Nice malts, caramel, fruit, toffee

Taste: Nice balance between bitterness and maltiness, spicy hops with hints of resin. Fruit, caramel, toffee

Feel: Full body, good carbonation

Overall: A pretty good barleywine, this is a fairly fresh 2015 bottle. The character is fairly well balanced for being so fresh, which isn't always typical of barleywines.

 398 characters

Photo of TwelveOunces
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 batch poured into an Old Guardian glass

A- Pours a clear dark orange with a one finger off whitish head. Decent retention and lacing. Some good alcohol legs here as well.

S- Smells very citrusy up front. A lot of grapefruit and some dark fruits as well. This beer smells very much like caramel and it also has some breaddy malt notes.

T- Nice bitterness up front and all throughout the mouth. A nice dark fruit and caramel malt flavor. A bit of a molasses and toffee. A good bit of a hop citrus flavor. A bit of alcohol. This is one bitter Barley wine. The flavor is not too bold or different but is very high quality and is there in balance.

M- This is a big beer but not as big as I was expecting an 11% barley wine to be. There is some alcohol taste as well as some warming. Very bitter and mouth tingling at some points.

O- This is a good barley wine and a perfect example of the style. It has a nice, but plain flavor. Would love to see it with some age. This beer is not as intense or as harsh as I was expecting. I always forget that Stone, while making bold and intense brews, never rules out drink ability. This is a high quality, available and reasonable priced barley wine that does the style justice.

 1,224 characters

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Killer Barley Wine. It pours extremely well into the glass, a coppery amber with a moderate head. Goes down entirely too easily! ...the next day, you pay!

 158 characters

Photo of PeterIngemi
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bottle, poured into duvel glass

A- pours deep ruby with a hint of brown. Aggressive pour leaves a one finger off white head that disapates rather quickly, only slight lacing. Very clean looking, not murky in the least.

S- caramely sweet malts, sticky pine, citrusy

T- bitter, sweet syrupy carmel covered hops, maltyness, the sweetness is deffinatley there but the intense hop flavors hold
It all together well, hint of alcohol and slight toasty breadyness in the finish, citrusy hop notes also weave through the malts. Very complex and enjoyable

M- medium to full bodied with crisp medium carbonation, coats the mouth a bit with sticky pine bitterness, drinks clean and crisp just the same.

O- this is a big boy barleywine that's for sure.... Intense and delicious, viciously hopped up and ready to go. Enjoyed it very much.

 842 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been anticipating this one for a while. It pours a nice ruddy orange color with a really good head (maybe I poured too fast). The smell is not very strong. The taste is average barleywine and alcohol. This is the first Stone beer that has ever disappointed me. it wasn’t bad but I always expect to be blown away by Stone seasonal beers (I usually am). The alcohol was pretty noticeable but I think in a year or two this one will be awesome. I plan on picking up a case for aging purposes. Update: 06/2007: This tastes much, much better after having six months behind it. I have to adjust my review accordingly because the flavors really made me smile this time.

Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 01-29-2007 23:16:39

 724 characters

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle ---> DFH signature glass. Dark amber/orange with two finger white head. Some lacing along the glass with a column of rising bubbles.

Decent balance of sweet robust malt, caramel and big bitter hops. Sticky, sappy, pine and mild citrus fade into unique spice notes...cinnamon

Layers of flavor combine pine, citrus, musty earthiness, burnt sugar, and robust malt. Bit of a warming effect from alcohol with enormous wave of prickly bitterness and more booze...still smells hot six months later

..Had again 6 months later with subdued bitterness, less citrus, still very sweet...enjoyable

Big bodied Barley Wine. Thick with mild carbonation.

This one could mellow out a little before cracked. Not bad fresh though.

 726 characters

Photo of brandon911
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer chalice

It poured a tan, one-fingered fairly dense head that dissipated quite quickly. The beer itself is reddish amber and quite opaque. On the noise it's got barley, some faint roast malts, some grassiness,cotton candy, hops, a little booze, and some citrus. It tastes fairly similar to the nose, less so on the malts, but with addition of caramel, raisins and bread. The mouth is quite nice, bitter with some bite-y carbonation, just enough to keep one from drinking it too quickly. It's also pretty smooth going down. Overall it's a great beer, not as good as the other barleywines I've had, but still very good. I'd suggest getting it, but not going out of your way for it.

 698 characters

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a clear medium amber red, a one and a half finger creamy off white head building. Good retention, good lacing.
The smell is citrusy hops, honey caramel, and some alcohol.
Tasting this beer, the sweet honey caramel flavors hit up front, being checked by fruity and citrusy hops in the middle. At the finish, some more bitter hop flavors as well as some bread flavor.
Nicely balanced beer with some kick, just as a Barley Wine is supposed to be.

 456 characters

Photo of Scotchboy
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Rogue pint glass.

A: Dark and very clear amber, a slowly forming half-finger eggshell-colored head dissipates but is easily revived...traces of alcohol feet on the glass.

S: More malt than I was expecting; toffee and buttered toast, butterscotch, grains...yeast esters and light fruity notes, spicy hops with a touch of earthiness, faint citrus zest.

T: Lots of sugary and sweet caramel and toffee malts. Reminds me of an English Strong Ale or English-style Barleywine, though there are some citrus notes and spiced characters from the hops. There is some alcohol heat present on the finish and a slight burn. Finishes like a rum or hard alcohol in a way.

As it warms the spice notes and hop flavors increase, with herb-like zesty citrus fruit flavors.

MF: Medium, chewy and viscous. Dry finish.

O: Didn't dig it as much as I thought I would, thought this offering would be more hop-forward than it was (closer to a Bigfoot). Right now it is a lot like Alaskan's offering, and a bit like Cockeyed Cooper (without the barrel), though I like both of those beers better.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Beerswag
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz 2013 bottle aged 6 months. Pored a brandy color with yellow undertones.. off white- tannish head pours a 1/4" head that stays around for a few.not too much stickiness, lacing on the glass. Lots of malt and yeast on the nose.. Smell is malt heavy followed by candied "stone-fruit", peach and plum on the nose, caramel, toffee, and a little orange zest. Taste is mellow and balanced: white grape, plum, pear, yeasty hop profile in the finish. Carbonation is slightly crisp which is mildly dry and approachable. Mouthfeel is medium body with the ever slightest bight from the hops. Mildly acidic for the style, but that is to my liking. Overall a memorable beer from a respected brewery..would order on tap to compare.. Age has proved well on this 1. Would like to see this one aged for 2 years and the paired with goat cheese, cinammon and spiced desserts, or any fowl.

 872 characters

Photo of sommersb
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 04-22-2012
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

A: Clear beer, with a dark red-brown color. The head is tan and creamy, but disappears quickly. Very good lace on the glass.

S: Big hop aromas at first, of pine, citrus and woodiness. But there is also malty sweetness with dark fruits, caramels, brown sugar and molasses. Very complex smells, including an alcohol presence.

T: Initially I get a malty and bready richness, which is then followed by spicy, bitter hops. Warming from the alcohol. The flavors open up nicely as it warms to room temperatures.

M: Thick mouthfeel and body and low-to-medium carbonation. The finish is balanced between sweetness and bitterness, although the bitterness edges out ahead. Somewhat harsh in the aftertastes.

O: Overall a very good barleywine.

 874 characters

Photo of katan
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2009 vintage.

A - Copper color body, lots of mocha colored head formation. Well retained, little bit of lacing. Fairly opaque.

S - Super strong malty body - caramel, some toffee. Hopping is restrained, but i can't complain based on the aging of this beer. As it warms I get a little bit of resinous hops.

T - Starts off lightly malty, sweet some some background of the lightly toasted malts. Mid-stream does bring in some hopping, citrus first and then pine. Bitterness grows strongly in the finish, tongue grabbing. Finishes clean with toasted flavors.

M - Full bodied, light carbonation. Some alcohol warmth. Very big and sticky overall.

O/D - A good barleywine that I should try fresh. It obviously is a HUGE beer even after several years of aging. A bit filling, very slow sipper.

 792 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Release.
A finger of head on a deep amber colored body.
The aroma is nice with caramel and lemon coming through; and touch of bread.
The taste is good with a hidden boldness: lemon bitterness, caramel and bready sweetness; great balance and drinkability.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
One of the most drinkable barleywines that hides its high ABV well.

 376 characters

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing
4.03 out of 5 based on 1,976 ratings.
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