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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:
1,977
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
11.41%
 
 
Wants:
85
Gots:
530
For Trade:
29
User Reviews
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Reviews: 277 | Ratings: 1,977
Photo of mjgarrett2
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition Old Guardian

A-Translucent copper color, delicate head like with most barleywines.

S-Extraordinarily enticing: not sure if it is the spices or the malts but a very elegant aroma.

T-Well spiced and a bit tart. Excellent balance (no bite from the alcohol) if a bit bitter on the back end.

M-Great, nothing to complain about.

O-Nothing in particular jumps out at you but I couldn't be happier sipping and enjoying this. Seems a little unremarkable yet I would judge all other barleywines by how well they compare to this one.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. Bottle (2009 vintage)

Lets play a game called the waiting game. I didnt mind this fresh, but aged... That is another story. This is the 2009 edition that I am currently enjoying. Yeah, I am boring you, time for the brew! This Gargoyle pours pretty! Deep copper body with light golden blonde hues. Nice white soapy lacing. This beast looks outstanding!

The aroma has notes of oxidation, wet cardboard with an underlaying caramel and toffee. They seem to stretch out first and hit the nose hairs first. On the backend seems to be a bleachy aroma that fades fast to some green apple skin. I am not joking its there. Yet to me that adds some complexity to the aroma.

The flavor is the justifying agent, so what does the tastebuds have to say? The flavor is fine! Its shooting forth notes of caramel sweetness that lays forth sherry notes of toffee and fruits. So I guess some oxidation is proven in the flavor. Yet, its not as off-putting as the aroma describes. Then the apple skin flavor pulls forth after the swallow that leaves an earthy bitter tobacco aftertaste. This finishes sweet and bitter with a subtle dryness that leaves you satisfied. This brew feels is light on the palate with boring carbonation.

Overall: I would like to have a Verticle with all the vintages. Yet right now, I know it ages with the best of them. If you like oxidation in your brew. The age of this brew has hidden the high gravity of the brew, yet it's oxidation pulls forth some favorable characteristics. Sherry notes I like, yet the wet cardboard and bleach in the aroma is a bit of a let down, not by much though. The rest of the flavor of the brew is a win for me! So I guess its not a total loss at all to age one of these buggers. Now I have to see how a fresh one tastes. Blah, blah, blah! This brew is Recommended!

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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 Marius
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Pours a cloudy reddish and orange color. Very little head but what does come out is kind of a creamy white. Leaves some nice lacing.

Smell:
A strong mix of hops and malts. the malt smells sweet bordering on caramel while the hops seem to be citrus bordering on orange. Other smells include dark fruit.

Taste:
Tastes like it smells but that the hops are stronger.

Mouthfeel:
Lite carbonation and fairly heavy bodied.

Overall:
A fairly nice barley wine and this beer really brought me into the style so I might try some other ones.

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Photo of davey101
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass.

A - Dark red clear body. One finger light khaki head. Moderate amount of lacing and retention.

S - Great balance between rich toffee malts and grapefruit hops. Caramel, pine, and some dark candied fruits.

T - Super smooth and sweet. Grapefruit and piney hops, vanilla, dark fruits, and rich toffee. Finish is a tad boozy with some faint bitterness. Chewy and smooth mouth feel.

O - Perfect example of an American barley wine. Loads of rich toffee and malt sweetness with just the right amount of citrus hops which lends a nice piney bite. Delicious and well priced.

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Photo of mt24turner
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Aroma- Dried Apricot, pineapple, Heavy Malt sweetness.
Taste- Sweet upfront with heavy fruit flavor apricot, pineapple, raisin, plenty of caramel sweetness backed up with a nice balance of bitter hop resins, very spicy hop oils and warming alcohol finish.
Huge mouthfeel on this one, carbonation helps balance the heavy malt. Great barleywine definitely recommended

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Photo of santomark
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured this caramel, orange, redish, colored body. Less than 1" finger head. Nice lacing though.

S - Upfront there's this smell of molasses, caramel sugar sweetness, malty, big malt presence, bready, little to no hops, a bit of a pine.

T - A bit of bit from the abv which is the malt, there's no hiding this. Followed with this sweet spiciness. It is very unique, can't really describe.

M - Very heavy body, I stay away from using syrupy or thick, this is just a heavy body. Carbonation is up there, to the point of spiciness.

O - I like this, but I prefer the Oaked Smoked version of this. The oak mellows it out, this is it's out of control sister. It's still a great beer, and I will have it again. This beer is Beer Gone Wild.

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Photo of davewlfpckfan29
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Guardian 2012!

This is the second Old Guardian that I have tried. I had an aged 2010 Old Guardian on tap a couple weeks ago.

This seems to be a great example of a barley wine. Stone does it very well (as they do with any beer they make).

Barley wine really has a unique taste that is hard for me to describe. The tastes I can identify are fruits, lots of them:
Raisins, citrus too. And a brown sugar kind of taste.

My cousin and I agree that this is very comparable to Bigfoot.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 version poured from the bomber into a snifter.

I like the healthy glug-glug sound as this pours into the snifter. I'm impressed by the heavy carbonation this beer shows and the finger-thick, fluffy white head that forms. The beer's got a light amber color and some transparency to it. As I take the time to write some notes, the head shows some excellent persistence.

Taking a whiff, I was expecting a blast of hop, being that it's Stone, but I instead got a pungent sweetness. Caramel and toffee notes are very pronounced. There is a hint of some piney hops, but they're playing second fiddle here.

Sweetness continues on the tongue. I get a lot of caramel up front, followed by a piney hop finish. There's a good malt presence and it gives the beer a creamy quality that helps dumb down the mild heat of the booze. At the finish, the beer is remarkably bitter and dry.

I'm pretty impressed by how this is drinking fresh. Most folks cite Bigfoot as a drink fresh barleywine and I agree, but this one deserves more mention. I'll have to buy another to age and see how it changes from this review. Looking forward to it.

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Photo of Thelonious_Mahler_Crate
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Amber hue with a beige head that surprisingly dissipates somewhat quickly. Very bubbly.

Smell: Tons of malts, as is to be expected.

Taste: Malty, biscuity, earthy richness. As it warms up, more flavors come out, though I can't identify them all... They just taste good. Booze comes out and lights up your nasal cavity a bit at the end of a sip.

Mouthfeel: Nice level of viscosity and carbonation.

Overall: My second barleywine after SN Bigfoot, and I think I like it better. It's a very pleasant beer that I may get another one of, and see what aging does to it.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz.

Pours a hazy amber, inch of yellowish white head is pillowy and retains well. Eventually dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of buttered bread, apples, fresh piney hops, and maple.

Flavor is of maple and honey malts, buttered toast, apple, and a piney floral hop finish. Some woody and nutty undertones.

Body is medium to full, viscous, with a stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Very good Barleywine, not as hoppy as a lot of American styles, but hoppy enough to balance out the heavy malt. Overall very balanced, very good flavor and aroma. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of brewski09
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Release aged in a combination of a cool dark closet and a beer fridge. Poured into a red wine glass (a nice serving substitute for a goblet or tulip style glass).

A - Pours a ruddy brownish red with a small head that doesn't stick around too long. The beer is nice and clear.

S - The smell is now dominated by a big sherry note as expected by the original booze note when this was fresh. I feel like there is a non-distinct hop aroma in the background here too. Overall, a really nice progression of the malt profile and alcohol, but still balanced enough by the other beer characteristics.

T - The beer still has a mild hop bite to it up front that hangs around the taste profile. The sherry hits you up front as well, but then fades into the background and allows the booze to mellow and then allows the malts and hops to return.

M - The mouth feel is thinner than expected, somehow less viscous than the fresh beer was. The carbonation seems a little finer as well. The mouth feel falls just a little short for me.

O - A really nice progression of a high quality barleywine. Happy I hid this one instead of just drinking it right away.

If you have one of these from 2011 still, I would probably drink it now.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 22 oz bomber 2012 release

A - A cloudy amber red, with 1 finger of head and sticky lace left all over the glass. Zero clarity and particle floating throughout. Unfiltered. Beautiful

S - Brown sugar, piny, and caramel. Lots of brown sugar. Not as quite as strong in the nose as some other Barleywines

T - Oh my. Brown sugar, sweet, malty, boozy. Delicious!

M - Full bodied and well carbonated. This one is a sipper

O - Another amazing offering from Stone. All hopped out and full of flavor. Would not expect any less from Stone. Well done, and I will be purchasing this one again...and soon!

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A copper%2Famber pour with a finger of white head%2C great retention. Smells fantastic - tons of caramel%2C honey%2C brown sugar%2C barley%2C and a touch of grassy hops.%0AThe flavor is a sweet barley %22juice%22 with brown sugar%2C roasted notes%2C burnt caramel. Just delicious.%0A%0AFull body with modest carbonation. Thick and creamy on the lips.%0A%0AThis is a fantastic beer at a ridiculously low price. Don't pass on it.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer Review # 100! Old Guardian 2012 release

Appearance - Pours a deep, semi-clear reddish copper with a thick, creamy light tan 3-finger head. Excellent retention. Leaves behind a thick, sticky lace.

Smell - Dark fruity ester, citrus hop, brown sugar and a bit of alcohol to boot.

Taste - A complex array of flavors... it's gonna take a bit of time to break it all down. Starts off with a bit of citrus hop, then fades into a caramel malt which then turns dark quickly for a coffee / mocha finish, with a lingering bitterness behind this. Heat is subtle throughout. At 11%, that's not so bad.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied. Somewhat syrupy. As a barleywine, it comes with the territory.

Overall - An excellent barleywine. Not my favorite, but certainly up there. A fine choice for beer review # 100!

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Photo of GilGarp
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a pint glass.

Redish amber color with great clarity. The head is thick and slow to settle. Great lacing left behind.

Aroma is malty sweet and slightly boozy. Mild fruity quality with cherry and apple.

Flavor is intense with huge hop bitterness. The malts are big enough to support the hops but just barely. This is one giant barleywine.

Mouthfeel is medium plus bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall a really great version of the style and about as big as they get.

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Photo of duracell
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter. 2012 release.

A - Pours an amber/reddish color with an off-white, rocky head which has a very good retention considering the ABV. Moderate lacing left on the glass. 4.5/5

S - Tons of malt as expected. I pick out caramel, apricots, honey, raisins and plums. Floral notes from the hop, slightly piney. 4/5

T - Malt as in the nose in addition to a good hoppy character (relatively grassy). The blend reminds me of some orange peels. Very little residual sugar. 4/5

M - Full body. Very smooth, quite chewy up front. Bitterness on the high side at the end. Moderate alcohol. 5/5

O - Definitely a classic Barleywine with a strong American influence. Drinkability is very good and the beer is well balance. Overall, very enjoyable and highly recommended! 4.5/5

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Photo of herman77
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark clear amber/dark copper with a fairly large off white head that dies down after a bit. Awesome lacing.

S: Lots of bready malt. Toffee and a bit of carmel malt too. Pine hops and a bit of grapefruit in the mix as well.

T: Tons and tons of deep carmel malt and toffee. Caramelized sugar. There is a good dose of pine hops. It's got that classic stone hop profile taste that's intense and in your face, but the malt is stronger than the hops in this one. Some lingering hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium body. Smooth and moderate carbonation.

O: Nice. I thought it would be a lot hoppier having had a decent amount of Stone's stuff, but the malt is center stage here. I like it, but if remember, it seems a lot like Double Bastard.

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Photo of biegaman
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite a papaya-like colour, Old Guardian looks as rigid as the marble gargoyle on its label. My LED desk lamp may light up the beer but there's no way it's getting through it; turns out even pale amber beers can be opaque. There's not much head but I suppose that's to be expected.

This 2008 vintage smells every bit as sweet (figuratively, though also a little bit literally) than ever. Nearly 7 years in the cellar has only turned this into more of a honey pot of rich, nutty, buttery fruit. Loads of fresh mango, dried apricot, as well as pine resins abound.

Barleywines are something of an anomaly insofar as they can be ultra-malty and simultaneously rich and resiny with hops. This is full of both sticky and tropical flavours; it tastes like caramel coated pineapple or toffee-laced grapefruit. Neither sweepingly bitter nor sweet, this blends the two in a perfect marriage with an abundance of delicious nuances and just a pinch of spice.

Most seductive as always is the texture of Old Guardian. Dried and honeyed orchard fruits promptly excuse themselves on the finish, parting way for leafy-bitter, herbal notes of pine, spruce, and strongly-steeped chamomile that mingle with lasting impressions of toffee, marmalade, and wildflower honey. It has the components to be a powerhouse but is not.

Old Guardian is seemingly immortal - if not the beer itself then certainly my enjoyment of it (not to mention the fond nostalgia of vintages past). If my cellar consisted of just one brand it'd probably be this one. To my knowledge there is no liquid better suited to moments of quiet reflection. This was an early favourite of mine and one that I continue to return to year after year.

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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.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a 16 ounce snifter glass. 2012 release bottle.

Appearance:A very cloudy deep amber. Almost opaque, yes that cloudy bubbles are strong and moving all over the bottom. Head comes off orange to white just about a notch under a finger's length.

Smell: Has a light rum scent, as if this brew was barrel aged. This is great and all but definitely a lighter smell than I was expecting.

Taste: Absolutely rich, you taste the strength of this beast and absolutely no reason not to like. It is complex, robust in flavor. You feel the rum that i smelled earlier but magnified. A littler bitter almost to the point you think you are chewing tobacco but it's sweet at the same time.

Mouth: Medium, but very sticking. Crisp and toasty after taste.

Overall: I will put it this way, I am going to have it again and again. I am not saying this will be the best barleywine you have ever but it will be a memorable one (in a good way). While in season grab yourself a bottle and drink up, Salud!

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Photo of 4thmedbn
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 out of an Old Guardian specialty glass. Picked up at Tully's Beer and Wine in Wells, ME

A - Beautiful deep red amber color with a hint of an almost strawberry blush. Really gorgeous stuff in the glass, head dissipates fairly quickly, little retention and no lacing.

S - Despite the high hopping of this beer, mostly the nose says malt. Nice chocolate, some dark fruit, leading into some nice fruity hop aroma. Not as huge of a nose as you might expect with this beer, but what is there is all good.

T - Huge malt character up front. Lots of nutty and mild chocolate notes. By mild chocolate I just mean not an overly sweet chocolate character, but also not wicked dark and bitter. Just like a toasty, nutty chocolate. Finishes with a pretty solid bitterness. Mostly piney and resiny hop character. I don't get a huge amount of citrus, but that may be due to the fact that it's sitting next to such a strong malt body. A long, lingering hop finish.

M - Full bodied, no way around it. Carbonation is fairly smooth, but definitely present. Doesn't seem to be as much residual sugar as you would find with some of the Barley Wine out there. That contributes to how dry this beer is, but also it's not wicked thick or syrupy, and that works to accentuate the hop character.

O - A great beer. Definitely going to be laying some of this down. A nice dry, well attenuated example of the style. As much as I love big boozey and sweet barley wine, this makes me excited that there is so much diversity within the style. Another absolutely fantastic beer from Stone.

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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.

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Photo of 9InchNails
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper body color with a lot of noticeable carbonation. Off white head that leaves some lacing on the snifter glass.

Dark fruits, smells very sweet, candy sugar, caramel and some hints of alcohol.

The taste is where its at! Dark fruits, toasted bread, caramel, some bitterness and alcohol at the very end.

Medium body, smooth, light but slightly noticeable carbonation, dry, it doesn't leave the lips feeling sticky surprisingly. Some alcohol warmth going down.

Not quite pungent as the aroma but very smooth and to the point with the taste - the balance of flavors are near perfection.

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