Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,997 Ratings
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
Ratings:
1,997
Reviews:
280
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
11.41%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
535
For Trade:
28
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,997 |  Reviews: 280
Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of aasher
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with a friend this weekend. Poured into a wine glass.

Pours a hazy dark orange/amber, with a half inch fizzy head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells like brown sugar, raisins, pine, citrus, booze, and brown sugar.

The taste is similar. A big hop blast up front, sticky pine resin and some citrusy grapefruit zest, followed by a big wave of sweet malt flavor- some brown sugar, caramel, toffee, raisin, and a spicy alcohol burn that is integrated into the flavor profile fairly well. The flavor combinations in the malt profile bring to mind candied plums and cinnamon raisin bread, it's awesome.

Medium bodied, sticky, boozy mouthfeel, drinkable despite the ABV. Low carbonation.

This was awesome, glad I finally got to try it.

 750 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.

 1,601 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass because that's how you are suppose to drink beer? Got it? Now do it.

Beer is dark amber / red and clear with a nice tan head of small bubbles, some lacing on the glass, moderate to low carbonation, nice retention.

Aroma is sweet, a little boozy, some hops too. A nice maltiness with a mild yeasty / biscuity finish.

Beer is big in body and nice on the finish. It is strong and not too boozy but the alcohol is present. The finish is quite bitter, nice yeast breadiness in the mid-palate, strong beer with a nice finish, a little dryer than I expected. These beers are better fresh in case anyone was wondering.

 653 characters

Photo of BEER88
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

 224 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of brandoman63
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Sweffin
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Whiskeydeez
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of outoffocus
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of tommy5
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

 1,705 characters

Photo of eawolff99
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of puboflyons
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 batch, It has been in my cellar for about six months. Sampled on April 9, 2013.

I like the way it pours with its medium reddish to mahogany amber tone and its short, silky white head. The head becomes a ring. Handsome looking beer.

For a barleywine the aroma is more subtle and mellow. Certainly it is malt forward and sweet with a roasted note but the hops are played down. There is also a bit of a dark fruit character mingling in the background.

The body is medium to bold.

The taste is warming. malty, and sweet with the faintest of alcohol. The hop finish lingers briefly but tends to be low to moderate. This is a pleasant barleywine.

 649 characters

Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Latarnik
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing
4.03 out of 5 based on 1,997 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe