Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale | Stone Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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:
1,977
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
30.27%
 
 
Wants:
86
Gots:
529
For Trade:
29
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 277 | Ratings: 1,977
Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage. Enjoyed as my first beer of 2016.

Comes in a slightly hazy, dark amber color with a finger of beige head.

The aroma is ripe with dark fruits and complex malts. Cherry, vanilla, caramel, pine, molasses, apricot, plum, and raisin.
Up front you get candy sweet malt flavors of caramel, molasses, baked bread, and brown sugar, followed a wallop of brandy-soaked cherries, figs, plums, raisins, and vanilla. It's like a boozy gingerbread cake. On the finish you get earth, grapefruit, orange, lemon, apricot, pineapple, and pine, and then grapefruit and pine linger long after the finish.

This beer is full-bodied, sticky, and yet smooth, with the perfect amount of carbonation.

This beer is freaking delicious. It drinks way too easy for 11.2% abv, and every sip is pleasure and destroys the palate with a medley of flavors. Another winner from Stone and a motivation to drink more barleywine!

 914 characters

Photo of scotorum
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

STONE OLD GUARDIAN BARLEYWINE 12/15/15

2014 issue cellared for a few days over one year.

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip

a: Nearly clear copper with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to thick surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Light ripe fruit and caramel malt.

t; Rich caramel malt followed by a moderate bite of hops and alcohol. Somewhat bitter finish and light throat burn.

m: Full, great body and good carbonation tingle.

o: A powerfully fine brew especially for fall and winter. Mainly smooth, tasty and satisfying.

 570 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a dark amber color with a little cap of a white head that dissipates at a nice pace. Lacing was mostly messy and sliding into the beer.
The smell starts off with a classic sweet caramel goodness sliding into mellow citrus and earthy hops. Barely a touch of "tobacco" slyly moves in underneath.
The taste was moderately sweet yet drawing on the subtle dry to earthy tobacco flavor to balance. There's a semi-sticky light little caramel aftertaste leading into a nice finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied. Its a great sipper on a chilly Autumn night with a slight dry bitter harshness hitting my tongue nicely.
Overall, English Barleywine or American Barleywine, well, let's just say, it's a damn good barleywine and call it even. Sure glad I have another bottle for Winter.

 832 characters

Photo of DuffDaddy
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bomber from ABC - man, this was a mouthful. It's a 2014 vintage so it's been cellared for a while, but nonetheless had tons of flavor and tons of alcohol.

 155 characters

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...

 239 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours copper with a large head.
Nose shows golden syrup, spicy and resinous hops, honey and caramel.
Similar flavours: honey, resinous and spicy hops and a massive aggressive bitterness.

 186 characters

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.

 363 characters

Photo of entenduintransit
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 classic release. 11.2% ABV. Really tasty stuff. Hoppy and easy drinking for a barleywine. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a good sipping beer.

 156 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Growler into pint glass. 2013 release (and yes, I trust State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD in this regard). Clear, dark amber with a thin, off-white head that dissipates rapidly....
But enough of this visual crap. You want to know what it tastes like, right? OMFG. This is exceptionally good! Maltiness vs hops (a draw); sweetness vs bitterness (another draw); big, thick, chewy mouthfeel that isn't syrupy but is reeeeeeally smooth. ABV is (too?) well hidden - it drinks like an 8 percenter, but it definitely packs a punch.
This is good stuff. Get you some.

 569 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 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.

 358 characters

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.

 253 characters

Photo of AndreRus
4.91/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 release. Probably sweeter than i normally would drink. At the same time it is normal amount of sweetness for barleywine. Well balanced by its hoppiness. Definitely a great beer!

 182 characters

Photo of rmargeson
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The smell Is getting to be a problem now that I am getting older. Served in a red wine glass to get more aroma and breathing - and this turned into a good sipping beer!

 169 characters

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

Lots of toasty, roasty malt, biscuit, toasted bread and barley. Caramel malt is evident but not sweet. Some tea leaf, roasted nut, pecan and grains. I let this sit a while to cut down the hoppiness and I'm glad I did.

 217 characters

Photo of dacrza1
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: May 20, 2015... GLASSWARE: Duvel snifter... OCCASION: Cavs begin the Eastern Conference Finals in Atlanta--as good a time as any for the Old Guardian! APPEARANCE: Dark ruby body that is almost opaque; sports a fortified, thick, creamy off-white head that laces in equally thick webbing... AROMA: a blast of hops--Cascade, centennial, and Amarillo, by estimate--elicits a welcome interest; some earthy, damp tree-like tones; malts are dark and intense... PALATE: gloriously and uncompromisingly full-bodied; thick and creamy, with a long-lasting finish that warms the throat--a pleasantly irrepressible presence...TASTE: A potpourri of hops crunch in the teeth--citrus, mango, apple, berry, licorice, liquor, and cinnamon; the malts are the size of a horse blanket and approximate the taste--a raw, full tete-a-tete between hop and malt; slight medicinal undertones... OVERALL: as I remember it--a force of nature, repressed alcohol nonetheless driving a bold, balanced barley wine that smashes the senses--am I speaking in too much hyperbole?--and strikes a vinous similarity with a lighter red; a champion of the genre...supersedes the Bigfoot....

 1,161 characters

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.

 212 characters

Photo of DeanWormer
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ignore the BA Score on this one. There are raters on here who do not know / understand / love barleywines. This is barleywine perfection. Hops and malts, bitterness and sweetness in perfect balance. This is awesome - what could be better? Well, the price, perhaps. But this is worth the price. Beware the 11% ABV - in the midst of all this deliciousness, it can sneak up on you.

 385 characters

Photo of Antg8989
4.89/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thought it was absolutely amazing. Smells sweet and hoppy. A barleywine/hop lover's dream. Rich amber color with an inch thick copper head. No lacing. It tasted sweet and creamy and finishes with just the littlest hop bite. Smooth, yummy. That's all I can say.

 260 characters

Photo of Radome
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from a 22 oz bomber bottle labeled "2015 Classic Release."

L - A beautiful beer. Dark amber color with some red; absolutely crystal clear. Head is light tan, huge and fluffy and long lasting. Gobs of lacing.

S - Great blend of strong bready malt, raisins and stone fruit, and American hops. Some low yeast fruitiness.

T - Like the aroma, the flavors are a blend of malt (warm bread, light plums and raisins, hint of soy sauce) and US hops (pineapple and earthiness). Some rummy alcohol flavors mix with the malt.

F - Medium to full body. High, creamy carbonation. Strong alcohol presence. There is a huge hit of hops bitterness, letting you know this is definitely an American barley wine.

O - A good barley wine, but not excellent for me. This is a huge beer in terms of hops bitterness and alcohol, but I don't think the flavors are as interesting as the other assertive qualities would lead you to want.

 931 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 1/28/15 so it's already 4 months old.

Appearance: copper red with a thick and billowy off white head. Very clear.

Nose: English malt backbone, raisins, fig, light hops aroma

Taste: slightly boozy, not hot alcohol but warming, sweetness from the heavy malt profile, spicy hops, very coating mouthfeel.

Overall: this is a great American barleywine. 2 more bombers of the 2015 left. I'll grab more.

 415 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 BeerEsquire
2.83/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

No intensity or strength in character, does not drink like a barley wine. Lack of hop distinction and strong alcohol palate typical of the brew - average brew.

 160 characters

Photo of Oldejoe
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look. Very nice golden red Amber, with light tan medium head.
Smell. Pretty robust hops and barley. Not too yeasty or beery.
Taste. Soft, slightly sweet, malty start, followed quickly by medium hoppy bitters, ends with dry mild hops.
Mouth feel. Medium heavy body, oily, chewy, palette smacking, with medium effervescence.
Overall. Probably my favorite barley wine. Very nice look, pleasant distinctive aromas, robust mouthfeel, and a good run of tastes from from front to back.

 482 characters

Photo of 57md
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper in color. The nose smells like stale hops - odd since this was just shy of two months old when I cracked it open. This offering is malt forward with just the right amount of hop bitterness. The malty sweetness really comes forward as this beer warms. The finish is dry with just a trace of alcohol.

May 2016 Update: After over a year of aging, I popped open a 2015 on Memorial Day weekend. The stale hop nose continues to linger (not sure if it really changed from the relatively fresh one that I had last year). I'd say that much of the flavor profile remained similar. My advice is to enjoy this fresh.

 618 characters

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing
4.03 out of 5 based on 1,977 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe