Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
280 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:
280
Ratings:
1,993
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
11.41%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
534
For Trade:
28
User Reviews
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Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 1,993
Photo of damndirtyape
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review #500! 22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 release.

Appearance: Hazy dark amber. Light tan thin head. Lots and lots of persistent fine strand lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Orange citrus, alcohol notes, fruity esters, roasted malts, caramel.

Taste: Citrus hops right up front, the moving into a wide range of flavors: toffee, roasted malts, pine. Some alcohol heat noted. Lingering bitter finish with some malt sweetness thrown in. The finish had notes of pine and lemon, with the lemon being sharp as the beer warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly thick, sticky, with just right carbonation under it all.

Overall / Drinkability: Overall, I think this needs to be paired with the right meal, which I didn't hit tonight, which was a barley, potato, and ditilini + vegetable broth soup. But, it's pretty damn good sipping slowly all by itself. I think this would pair better with beef and roasted vegetables. Despite the food mismatch this was quite tasty and dangerously drinkable. I knew it was 11.2% ABV going in, but one large snifter later I'm feeling the effects, and yet I want some more sips. The hoppiness of this Barleywine is just right - it's strong enough for a hophead, but not overpowering; it allows the malt to shine and compliment all the hop flavors. The lemon note was a nice touch with this one. This beer sat and aged for about ~8 months (or whenever it was bottled at the start of 2013), and I wonder how it would be with another 9-12 months but maybe the hop flavors would get too muted. In any case, I very good choice for my 500th beer review and I may pick up another version of this and let it sit longer next time.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up an okay amount of head which has decent retention. The head is a very light tan or khaki while the body is a very dark amber that has slight hints of maroon which don't appear in the light. Considerable lacing is left behind.

Nose- Very hop forward with a thick, malty base. Big notes of orange, lemon, and grapefruit. Caramel to burnt caramel and brown bread. Matchstick, some tropical fruits. Light notes of honey and raisins. Some cherries. Swirling rounds out the bitterness of the hop notes a little bit.

Taste- Very reflective of the nose and every bit as hoppy as the aroma indicated. Lots of citrus that ranges from orange to grapefruit with some tropical fruits thrown in. Big middle of caramel with some toffee that mixes with the pine, resin, and matchstick of the hops to give off a burnt caramel note. The hops are definitely very fresh and even tend toward earwax on the finish. A slight indication of heat on the finish but the strong pine of the finish pretty much trounces it. Hints of spice- some pepper, perhaps a little coriander. Some cherry and other stone fruits around the edges. Hop lovers should really appreciate this one but it's a little much for me. This beer is quite representative of why I tend to avoid American barleywines. Some molasses, brown sugar, and brown bread to the malt bill. A good, solid beer that flirts with being really good. And I would consider it to be really good if I appreciated the hop profile as much as I would have in the past. Not as messy as a lot of the American barleywines that I encounter, such that the word almost doesn't apply.

Mouthfeel- A little more than medium bodied with a good amount of syrup to the texture. Appropriate carbonation that has a little bit of a sting which works well with the spice and hop bitterness of the finish.

Drinkability- Fairly accessible for a young American barleywine. A little over the top for me but the alcohol is almost invisible. Another Stone bargain at 7 bucks a bomber but the only reason I would buy this again would be to age it.

Overall- A solid, good beer that has inclinations toward being really good. It is a very good representation of the style and a must try for fans of American barleywines.

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Photo of daledeee
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 22 oz bomber.

Poured into a large wine glass. Got a nearly black body with an off white head.

Nose was hoppy mostly. Some malt?

Taste was heavy bodied with lots of malt and hops. I found this one to be very balanced.

Mouth feel was really good. Overall, I thought this was one of the better barley wines I have had; surprised it is not ranked higher.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a single 22oz bottle (2012 Release) from Woodman’s in Rockford, IL in early 2012 for $6.49

Pours a cloudy, medium brown color with a fluffy, cream colored head. Scent reminds me of an IPA with strong scent of hops, some grains and hints of citrus. Taste is strong and bold. Lots of barley taste mixed with hops and yeast. Smooth and so delicate almost as if it was aged in an oak barrel. A bold and yet dry finish. Delicious and well worth purchasing.

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Photo of mschrei
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 edition, picked up in Knightly Spirits Orlando, and survived the trip back to Canada.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Nice deep copper ruby hue, with about a half inch head from the pour. Settles into a thick ring.

Nose is classic barleywine: malt heavy, good sweetness, a bit of bread, fruit and light citric hops.

Good take on the style: sweet malt, bread, fruit, grape a dry boozy finish. This brew felt a bit hot - a few months of cellaring would have done well, but it is certainly quite enjoyable as is. Carbonation is sharp, mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly sticky.

Nice barleywine, though nothing to stop the presses over. Worth holding on to if you can pick up one or two at any rate!

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Photo of KajII
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky medium chestnut brown with an average (1-2 finger) light tan frothy head that reduced to a large puddle with a medium collar and had excellent streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a sweet bread malt, resin and pine hops and a doughy yeast with notes of citrus (grapefruit and orange peel), caramel, dark fruit (raisons and prunes) and a pronounced alcohol odor.

The taste was malty sweet with notes of caramel and dark fruit up front, and then became very hoppy with a good strong citrus peel presence and an intense alcohol finish. The flavor lasted quite a long while following the swallow, with a bitter-sweet citrus peel alcohol taste left behind.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and dry in texture with a carbonation that was just beyond medium.

Overall this was a very powerful tasting brew that possessed a nice hoppy sweet taste, although it was slightly overpowered by the high ABV...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews

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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.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So the bar im at has a tap labelled as the verticle epic 11.11.11, but in reality it was old guardian. Initially i was disappointed by this fact. Then i had a pint.

Pours a beautiful deep amber. Nice off white head leaving plenty of lacing down the glass.

The nose shows off a rich sweetness, almost a deep apiaryfresh- honey backbone with a hint of citrusy hops somewhere in the body.

The taste follows the blueprint laid ojt by the nose fairly closely, presenting a honey sweetness up front balanced with citrus and finish featuring some hop bitterness and the warming presence of the eleven percent.

Quite drinkable for the glass-of-wine level alcohol. Appropriately carbonated and smoothe and arming otherwise. If i had to use a childhood book to describe my beers, this one would be, 'the velveteen rabbit' (man i love that book). Definitely worth trying if you are lucky enough to find it in your town.

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Photo of IronLover
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep weathered copper orange in color with a deep haze. Poured with a short off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap that left sticky lacings on the glass. Sweet caramel malt and pungent tropical grapefruit and orange hop aromas with a hint of booze in the background. Medium bodied with a resinous feel and light, subdued carbonation. Sweet caramel malt flavors up front that are slowly washed away by tangy citrus hoppiness. Finishes with a rush of grapefruit hop flavor, followed by alcoholic heat and a sticky pine hop aftertaste.

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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.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 2012 release

cherry amber look with a small ring of foam. smell is melon juice, rubbing alcohol, grassy hops. big and chewy body, some alcohol burn. medicinal hop finish with sweet wine-y (wine-ish?) malt.

very chewy and bitter. I'm likin' it.

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Photo of DavidST
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter, 2012 edition. This pours a clear mahogany color with a small tan head which is short lived. The smells are of alcohol, hops, grapefruit, caramel, toffee, The feel is somewhat thick and tingly. The taste is good, plenty of hops, some caramel and toffee malts, definite alcohol burn.

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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.

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

Served in a Stone Old Guardian glass. This beer is best served at 55F to bring the hops, toffee, and alcohol finish.

The beer poured a tea color with a 1F head. The aroma was evident without holding the glass close: toffee and some alcohol.

The mouth feel, as expected, was very carbonated- the higher serving temp brings out the hoppiness and alcohol.

The taste is similar to other American Barleywines: toffee, big hops, and a strong alcoholic finish.
Comparing this beer to a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot- while similar to the Bigfoot in hops, toffee, and alcoholic finish- the Bigfoot seems more balanced and has more fruit in the taste.

Overall- this is a BIG beer. Best tasted at warmer temps- cellar temp to bring the hops and alcoholic finish. I wanted to taste more fruit- but the hops and alcoholic finish were too prominent.

This is an excellent beer for the style.

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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 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.

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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.

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Photo of Kromes
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A clear copper color with a finger's width tan colored head.

S: Caramel malts, fruit with floral hop.

T: Carmel malt with floral and grassy hop. Finishes with an alcohol flavor and burn and a hop bitterness.

M: Heavy, syrupy feel. Dry and bitter with a burn in the finish.

O: A good Barleywine, this one could use some mellowing before cracking open.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Thin khaki head with decent retention. Light caramel brown color with awesome clarity.

S- Barley and some booziness to it. A light sweetness with some caramel notes.

T- Strongly bitter in the first sip, the barley and grains are very present. Some bourbon sort of booziness.

M- Winey body, light and smooth.

O- Good overall. Not my favorite, but tasty and drinkable. Also boozy.

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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 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.

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Photo of yamar68
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crisp copper without a bit of beading. Soft, loose, sticky head. Perfect lacing.

Strong nose - caramel, toffee, raisin, booze, candied sugar, molasses, complex. Translates well to the tongue.

Bitter, boozy start on the tongue which then moves through numerous waves of goodness. Quite nice. Everything in the nose finds a home somewhere in the taste.

Not too easy going down, but it's lovely to sip slowly and savor.

Good stuff.

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

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale is a tasty barleywine without much in the way of unexpected flavour.

A: Red brown colour and a good 4 mm head that lasts. 4.5

S: Malty and a little oxidised with some hop aroma still evident. 4

T: Malty with sweetness and cardboard. Some burnt brown sugar in the finish. 4

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 4

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing
4.03 out of 5 based on 1,993 ratings.
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