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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 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.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed Nov 2011, vintage 2007

2007 vintage enjoyed at Bevridge Place in West Seattle.

Aroma was amazing! Sweet yet balanced, malt and hops, aggressive yet friendly.

Appearance was dark amber with about a finger of foam. Obviously at four years old, there’s very little carbonation on it.

Taste was decent. Warming feeling and a bit of citrus. Lot’s of malt. There was a bit of an alcohol bite, and I sort of expected a bit more complexity at four years old.

Palate was full and strong all over and remains for a while.

Overall, as far as they go, this one was pretty good. It’s very Stone brewing; up front and aggressive, and it knows it.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.39/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured entire bomber into 34oz mug. Dark orange, almost ruby with a thick white foamy head. Smell could almost be from an IPA from the floral and hop notes, but more sweetness is noticeable. Taste is sweet and malty, with a bitter hoppy finish. Alcohol isn't really noticeable, quite sinister for 11%. Mouthfeel is fizzy at first, then slick but heavy. Seems to be missing the middle or something; overall it's a great beer though. Big in flavor and alcohol.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage

Appearance : a beautiful dark amber color. The head formed up to about two and a half fingers worth. The head slowly subsided but was present throughout.

Smell: the barley is present here which mixed nicely with the boozy aroma. The aroma was more subtle with the aging which made it very pleasant.

Taste: it is perfect here. Strong caramel sweetness really dominates this brew. The aging of this bottle allowed the boozy flavor to be nicely hidden. 11% abv is noticeable but does not interfere. Alcohol provides a warmth instead of an offensive bite which makes this an elite barley wine.

Mouthfeel: sweet. Smooth. There is a creamy texture to this but a slight sting keeps you on your toes.

Overall: probably my favorite barley wine. Simply awesome, no doubt another amazing product from stone. The sweetness mixed with the alcohol sting sets this one aside for me. I anxiously await the 2013 release

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Photo of Beric
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served: 12 March 2015

Appearance: Pours a dank yellow/brown color with a very minimal head that quickly dissipates under the effect from the high ABV.

Smell: Bright and sweet from the heavy malts, but with a distinct fresh hoppiness.

Taste: Really pleased with this one- it's nice and sweet on the palate, but not cloying. Assertive herbal hoppiness keeps the sweetness in check. Very refreshing for a Barleywine. ABV masked well.

Mouthfeel: Big body with low carbonation. Feels full on the palate.

Overall: One of the best barleywines I've had- the alcohol is masked nicely behind the herbal hoppiness and the beer isn't a sugar bomb. A nice sipper for sure.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours out a slightly hazy,maroon/crimson body that supported one and a half inches of off white
foam that showed moderate dissipation and left full sheets of sudsy lacing on the glass.

S-The nose here is muted with some scents of toffee,tobacco,a slight Kirsch quality and mild, citrusy hops,which along with the Kirsch,gave off something similar to the smell of Cherry-limeade.Some fruity alcohol notes were present as well.

T-More citrus here with dried cherry, caramel,blonde tobacco,toffee glazed almonds and raw,leafy hop bitterness.

M-Medium bodied with a lasting bitterness that helps to downplay the natural baked sugar sweetness of this beer.

O-A good Barleywine that I'm looking forward to trying with some age on it.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 release.

Appearance: Super hazy orange amber color with a resilient off-white one finger head.

Aroma: Sweet barley and an orangey hoppy character. A tinge of alcohol. Not all that aromatic.

Taste: A big beer by any account. There is a lot of subtle malt flavors that sort of blend and come across as an amber and caramel flavor. No toffee or toasted qualities just unaltered malt flavor. Counteracting the sweet blend of barley is an understated bitterness. It's understated because it never feels more intense than moderate but definitely sticks with you long after the finish. The hop character is mostly orange with a touch of pine. As with most Barleywines, Old Guardian has a serious amount of hops and malt to it but a definite balance between the two extremes. At 11% ABV it's shocking how very little alcohol is present. In fact, there is really only a slight alcohol flavor right at the start that is quickly hidden by the robustness of the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Thick like a milkshake. Average carbonation but I'd recommend an aggressive pour. A full bodied as it is, Old Guardian has good drinkability. Although perhaps not when paired with a meal.

Final Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of Stone Brewing and for the most part Old Guardian completely met my expectations. However, I'm not a fan of orange hop flavor especially in Barleywines as it tends to accentuate the malt sweetness in a bit of a cloying manner. Personal preference that only affected my scoring very slightly. Aside from that note, another excellent beer from one of my favorite and most respected breweries. Would I drink it again? Yes, I expect on-tap would be fantastic.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Stone IRS snifter. Lets hope its better the the Belgo IRS I had earlier

A 2 finger white-ish head with a tint of red and the body is clear amber/red. After the head recedes some lacing is left in a ring above the beer.

S Gigantic sweet bready dough malts and sweetness. A little bit of dark fruits and a little yeast in the nose. Doesnt smell too American

T lots of big malty tastes here. Doughy bread yeast and some sweet malts take over in the front. Slight hint of booze in the middle along with the tiny bitterness toward the end.

M Thicker mouthfeel is accompanied by lighter carbonation. My mouth is left feeling slightly syrupy after a sip. Big beer with big presence

O

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Photo of Apellonious
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt 9 fl oz bottled 1/11/13. Yeah, I know, you are supposed to wait. I can't. I made an effort. I'll pick up another and hide it better next time.

A - ruby red pour with cloudy brown interwoven. One finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - brown sugar, grapefruit, berries.

T - grapefruit and hop forward. Some back end malt sweetness dark fruit style and a slight tinge of alcohol. Tart finish. Picking up some raisin and a hint of toffee.

M - moderate to low carbonation. Decent amount of heft but not thick or sticky. I take that back. Things get sticky.

O - Solid offering, this one will warm you up and hit you. A good beer to share with a friend and a discussion. Would like to try one that is properly cellared. Based on my willpower, it may need to be off site.

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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 Gobearswalter34
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had the 2013 just last Wed, and came crawling back to,catch a bit of the remaining keg on Saturday. Thought about it those few days and couldn't wait to see if any left. This stuff was absolutely amazing. Taste, smell, mouthfeel is rarely matched. On the level of Bourbon County for me. Would like to compare to fresh now.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber dated 2/12/14 into a goblet (side by side with 2015 Extra Hoppy).

Look: light amber, with a dense head that fades quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

Smell: amazing brandy aromas—jam, alcohol heat, mild dark chocolate.

Taste: much the same. A hint of harsh bitterness keeps this from being phenomenal.

Feel: pretty thick, but good carb keeps it very drinkable.

Overall: this is a really good beer. I'd have no problem believing it was brandy barrel aged. I will definitely be stocking up on this going forward, and drinking with 2 (or more) years on it.

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Photo of gr0g
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Notes taken on 3/6/2012. 22oz bottle, 2012 vintage (unaged bottle).

Beautiful clear copper in color, about one pinky finger of head when poured in my 9oz Double Bastard glass. Aroma is sadly very muted, with some malty sweetness and all too much ethanol coming through if you sniff hard enough.

On the palate, huge malt flavor is quickly met by huge hoppiness. Flavor profile is quite different from DB, although not as enjoyable IMHO. Malt character is intense toffee and is overtaken by a huge floral hop note and equally huge bitterness that lasts well past the finish. Alcohol heat is prevalent.

This is definitely a sipping brew, as I'm having trouble polishing off the 9 or so ounces at hand. An intensely flavorful ale, but I'll take a Double Bastard any day.

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Photo of acevenom
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 Release.

Poured into a large brandy snifter. Pours dark caramel brown with a tall, biege head that dissipates very slowly. A moderate quantity of tiny bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. Some lacing is left on the side of the glass as the head dissipates. Plenty of lacing is left on the side of the glass during consumption.

The aroma is sweet and malty with some citrus hop aromas. There is a dark fruit smell as well. There smell is mostly sweet and bready. The big, sweet malts are very forward in this beer. The sweetness is akin to caramel. The hops provide a nice balancing bitterness for this malt bomb, also adding to the bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is also detectable in the taste.

The body is medium with adequate carbonation. The beer is smooth with excellent drinkability for a sipper. You definitely want to sip this beer and savor it. This is an excellent barleywine and a fine example of the American take on this style.

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Photo of obrike
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a bomber at Round Rock Specs just a few days ago.

Pours a deep ruby with a some dark honey/brown. Pour leaves a one finger off white head that dissapates fairly quickly. Lovely looking brew...only thing keeping it from a 5 for me is the lack of significant lacing.

Getting a ton of sticky sweet malts, some pine and citrus...and a booze burn. Big booze burn.

Nice mix of bitter, sweet carmel covered hops and sugary malt. The sweetness is there, but mix of hops and alcohol make for an interesting, bold take on the style. Certainly a sipper as the 11% will sneak up on you quick.

Another Stone beauty here...not one for the masses, but certainly a brew for people looking to enjoy a very well crafted Big Bad-ass American Barleywine
.

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

APPEARANCE: Poured into an oversize snifter at Freshcraft in Denver. The head was huge on my 8 oz. pour and it stuck around for a while. The color was a little on the lighter side than the typical Barleywine, but it was still mahogany. Some spotty lacing clung to the backside of the glass.

SMELL: Tons of banana and some sweet maltiness. A little sugar cane and some breadiness come through as well.

TASTE: Bread, banana and dark fruit up front with a warming estery heat at the finish. A little pine and some lemon and grassy bitterness tie everything together.

MOUTHFEEL: Rich and bold up front, but thinning towards the end. Creamy and without much sparkle.

OVERALL: The Old Guardian is a solid beer fresh, but it seems designed to age. The bitterness and heat is a bit strong, but in two, three years this is going to be spectacular.

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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 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 obywan59
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear orange/amber with a 4 finger, thick and chunky, light tan head.

Rich sweet malt, alcohol, and tart to over-ripe citrus in the aroma. A bit of pineyness as well.

Sweet malts and alcohol dominate the taste. Tart citrus contributes in a big way. Bitter hops finish it off. The flavor seems to be in much better balance after the beer warms.

Fairly heavilly-bodied with a light prickle of catbonation and the sting of alcohol. Creamy and syrupy.

I sampled this with some Hersheys Bliss rich and creamy dark chocolate. I'd say that the chocolate moderated the sweetness of the beer, bringing out the beers tart citric character, but the beer moderated the bitterness of the chocalate. This beer is well balanced, especialloy after it warms. Not as good as as I rememvber the previous versions to be, but still worthy.

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Photo of BWED
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler pint at Savage's Ale House, Muncie IN.

Appearance - 3.5

Hazy amber with a creamy off-white head, 1/4" fizzles out after a couple minutes. Tiny bit of lacing at top of glass from the previous head.

Smell - 4.0

Citrusy, piney hoppiness with a sweet tangy sting finish.

Taste - 4.0

Rich pine, resin taste. Not so much of any maltiness. A little less balanced than a lot of barleywines.

Mouthfeel - 3.5

Thick, heavy. Not a very drinkable beer, but that's how an 11% Barleywine should be.

Overall - 4.0

Great flavorful barleywine. A little less balanced than a normal, but still a very impressive beer. You can definitely feel the effects at the end of this drink. Two or three of these babies would knock me down. Can't wait to taste next year's batch.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a beautiful, clear copper orange into my Ithaca Excelsior tulip. Two fingers of creamy off white head that floats and sticks around for a while. Tons of sticky lacing left all over the glass even after 10 minutes.

S- Really nice sweet caramel right up front! Decent punch of pineapple and CA citrus! HUGE alcohol presence. Some dark dried fruits... raisins, plums, figs. Some nice spicy notes of caraway and black pepper that blend seemlessly with the fresh caramel notes.

T- Burnt brown sugar, sweet cream caramel, ALCOHOL! Wow! The booze is huge this year! I hope it settles down with some time. I do like the way the alcohol brings out the dried fruit and sweet citrus nuances though. Picking up some spicy basil, peppercorns, rye bread w/ caraway, and mission figs.

M- Really hot! Huge alcohol presence that hopefully will die down with some time and cellaring. It enhances some flavors, covering and detering others. Not as sticky as past OG's.

O- Definately think this one has some potential after 6months-1yr in the cellar. Right now its really boozey. Has really nice sweet caramel and dried fruit notes that will get much bigger as the alcohol fades.

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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 sacrelicio
1.56/5  rDev -61.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Big disappointment from Stone. I eagerly awaited this since it was new to the Twin Cities market. It looks fine, but the smell is just fumey with booze and a few hops thrown in. I even get a weird rubber smell in there. The taste is harsh and bitter with an alcohol burn. The mouthfeel is fine, but that's not enough to save this brew. I know Stone likes their hops but this is too much. Maybe some age could save this. This is like the Thunderbird of barleywine.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This brew is a dark amber in color, a bit transparent and a dark redish almost, a tiny off white head at the top that leaves a bit of lacing around the glass.

S: Very hoppy nose, lots of caramel and brown sugar with slight hints of dark fruit.

T: Up front is almost all of the nose, lots of brown sugar sweetness with caramel and dark fruits present, the hops are all over the tail end with the bitterness.

M: Medium bodied, mid carbonation, nice and smooth.

O: Not a bad barley wine but I have had better, this was pretty subtle nothing crazy, but a good beer.

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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.

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