Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale | Stone Brewing

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
276 Reviews
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style AleOld Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States | website

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:
276
Ratings:
1,971
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
30.27%
 
 
Wants:
83
Gots:
526
For Trade:
31
User Reviews
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Reviews: 276 | Ratings: 1,971
Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. This is a 2012.

Pours somewhat cloudy, reddish brown color, very little head. The head that is there is light beige. Smell is sweet and musty, very fruity. Lots of alcohol in the aroma.

Taste is muted, alcohol, some fruityness. Some hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick and still. Overall, it's pretty god. Not as good as I remember, but pretty good.

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Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer out of a growler in a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a light copper hue with a thin white head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet malty aroma with a decent hop background..

T: Malty barley wine flavor with a caramel and hop background.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Solid barley wine – good flavors and aroma.

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Photo of richj1970
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Today I was able to compare a 2012 release bottle. No date, but by definition should be at least one year older than my previous review. The main difference in this bottle is that the alcohol heat has dissipated quite nicely, and perhaps the sweetness is a bit more prominent. Both bottles are amount my favorite barley wines.

Original review:

Poured from 22 oz bottle into tulip glass. 2013 classic release bottled on 1/16/2013.

A: Pours a golden orange almost brown color with nice 2 finger off white head with nice lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and malts mixed with some citrus and dark fruits.

T: Big on malts and caramels. Nice sweetness mixed with some spiciness. Nice roasty flavors. Oak and other earthy tones present. A little bit boozy, but I suspect this will tame some with time.

M: Nicely carbonated for an 11% brew. Nice body. Not overly thick.

O: A very nice barley wine. Surprisingly easy to drink and the alcohol sneaks up on you. I need to pick up another bottle and let it age some...

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

Chilled bottle into a glass. I don't buy a lot of Stone products anymore besides the 3 main seasonals (Double Bastard, Old Guardian, and IRS). Last year's Old Guardian was not very tasty, so I was hoping this year would have a return to form.

A: This is a rose-tinged maroon body capped with a fluffy, off-white head that leaves streaky lace webbing around the sides of the snifter. It's nice to look at.

S: Caramel malt, rose petals, grass, plum, toffee, and grapefruit. This is a welcome change from the over-malted recipe that 2011 presented; the hops are bright and hint at both flavor and bitterness in the taste.

T: Yep, I was right. This is incredibly, powerfully bitter; grassy hops lead the way, packed with tons of IBUs. Thankfully, the beer also uses some hop flavor instead of just bitterness. It has a floral presence of rose petals that works very well with Stone's signature citrus-driven profile. The malt backbone is firm, giving the beer plenty of caramel and toffee character throughout the taste.

M: The mouthfeel is quite hefty, as you'd expect from a beer of this gravity. It suppresses the booze and provides a firm grounding point for the bitterness and hoppy flavors to do their work. The booze is lightly noticeable, but pretty restrained overall.

O: This is substantially better than last year's recipe, which I found oddly malty. But it is also bruisingly bitter, so the pendulum has swung too far in the corrective direction. The price point in my area ($6) is very reasonable, so I'll probably buy one or two more, calorie budget permitting, before the hops drop off.

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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 Furlinator
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy copper. The 1/2 inch khaki head fades to a thin cap on top and leaves very faint lace. There is visible floating sediment.

The smell is of toasted bread, caramel, toffee and faint booze.

The taste roasted malt, biscuit bread, toffee and a hint of booze.

The texture is heavy bodied with low carbonation.

A solid caramel malt heavy barleywine.

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Photo of hardy008
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a two finger off white head with very good retention and lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, caramel malt, and pine. I am very happy that Stone chose to use Cascade hops for this year's Old Guardian.

The taste has grapefruit, pine, and caramel malt. Has a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness. The alcohol is not noticeable, which is surprising for an 11.00 % abv beer.

Full bodied with average carbonation. Has a bitter sweet aftertaste with a bit of a sticky feeling, and finishes somewhat dry. A nice beer to sip and enjoy. This would be a nice beer to age for a while.

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Photo of brandon911
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer chalice

It poured a tan, one-fingered fairly dense head that dissipated quite quickly. The beer itself is reddish amber and quite opaque. On the noise it's got barley, some faint roast malts, some grassiness,cotton candy, hops, a little booze, and some citrus. It tastes fairly similar to the nose, less so on the malts, but with addition of caramel, raisins and bread. The mouth is quite nice, bitter with some bite-y carbonation, just enough to keep one from drinking it too quickly. It's also pretty smooth going down. Overall it's a great beer, not as good as the other barleywines I've had, but still very good. I'd suggest getting it, but not going out of your way for it.

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Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Beautiful mahogany which glows nicely in the light. Decent sized light tan cap with good lacing.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, plum, booze and some citrusy hops.

Taste: Malty core of toffee, caramel and plum. Pretty spicy, and somewhat bitter, hops at the finish with some citrus. Some alcohol taste.

Feel: Thick, full body with moderately low carbonation. Smooth, but some definite alcohol burn.

Overall: Surprisingly standard Barleywine from Stone. Hoppy, but not as much as expected. Ultimately, this is nicely balanced, but too boozy.

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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 rangerred
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber. 2011 vintage.

Pours a clear dark copper with just a fleeting white head that fades to a thin ring around the top of the beer.

The aroma really disappoints me. It is lacking nearly entirely giving off just a slight metallic note with some caramel and pine very distant in the background. Not sure if this is a product of the age but the aroma has really fallen off.

Thankfully, the taste is more substantial than the aroma. Sweet, bready grain along with a strong bitterness from piny hops. Strong wood notes along with some hints of sherry from what i presume to be some oxidation. Alcohol makes an appearance towards the finish but it is only fleeting leaving a pleasant warmth. Mouthfeel is silky and a bit sticky but not too sweet.

Overall, this barleywine has aged really well apart from the nose. The bitterness is still there but the aroma is lacking. Not my favorite barleywine but really good.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

2012 version.

Pours a gorgeous dark copper light amber color with some awesome ruby hints and hues. The head is nice and at about 0.5 inch recedes at a moderate pace to a nice thing film and then to a nice sticky ring.

Sweet malty notes to start off with some intense molasses, nice caramel notes. Some slight brown sugary notes are present as well. There is also some nice resiny hop notes with some pine and slight sweetness in there as well. The nose is definitely more in the malt and caramel realm. Nice boozyness is also perceived.

Now the hops definitely speak up in the taste. Starts off with some intense citrus notes and some real piney notes as well. There is definitely a big booze note to the beer and some heat. However the hops help to offset this a bit. There is also tons of caramel and sweet malt notes in the flavor as the nose indicates. Pretty intense flavors overall but well done. The mouthfeel is silk and oily with some lower carbonation that helps to accentuate some of the intense malt and hop notes.

Good brew by Stone. I think the hop heavy recipe is a step in the right direction for this years release.

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

One of the most badass beers I’ve ever had was Stone’s Double Bastard: 22 ounces of 10.5%, mega-hopped brew. If this barleywine is even half the beer that was, I’ll be smiling from ear to ear by the time the bottle’s empty. Cheers!

“2012 Release” is emblazoned on the front of the painted label; according to the website, that means a release date of February 2012, or eight months before the date of this tasting.

A: Pours a hazy rust color, or whatever you’d call a dirty red. Decent head for a big beer, a creamy tan that gets as high as an inch or so before slowly fading. Stringy lacing.

S: The main thing I’m getting here is an earthy, diminished toffee tone, like a big malty IPA that’s been sitting on the shelf for too long. Whenever a beer has that aroma anywhere in the nose, it jumps out at me instantly; this barleywine has a complex character beneath it, though, and it serves well to distract. There’s a load of pungent cherry and tropical sweetness below, for instance, with a good blend of raw, grassy grain (like alfalfa), spiced rum, and wheat bread on the back end. Smells quite malty.

T: Pretty damn bready, pretty damn hoppy – that’s what I was looking for when Double Bastard came to mind. Granted, it’s not as powerful as the Bastard, but it has those oily Stone hops I know and love (in force). Starting deep and grainy with pumpernickel and near-blackened toast, it quickens to a foray of bitter, briny pine and grapefruit. I’m not surprised by the booze that’s present, too, and it definitely doesn’t go over without notice; actually, its lip-smacking syrupiness is a little much at times. Aftertaste is a little cough-syrupy from the aforementioned alcohol, but with an oily, sustained hop dryness. Overall, this is a smooth palate with a lot of nice transitions, though it’s all wrapped up in a package of medium-dark malt and syrup.

M: Syrupy – one or two bubbles pop on the tongue only once every second or so, it seems. It’s a big beer, and I guess I was prepared for that; still, the syrups are emphasized, it seems.

O: Another big, bad Stone creation. This one I didn’t like as much, but that’s only because I had the perfection that is Double Bastard in mind; still, no matter what I did, I wasn’t able to escape that old toffee character behind it all. In the end, I’ll finish the bottle, but I won’t be seeking another.

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

2012 edition, poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass
A: Reddish brown with a 1/2-finger head that settles very quickly
S: Nice, fairly typical barleywine nose full of roasted malts along with some caramel, toffee and a touch of hops
T: Fruit esters, rich malt, toffee and caramel. Like the nose, typical for the style but well done
M: Full-bodied, a bit sweet/viscous but again that's the norm for this type of brew
O: Solid as are most Stone brews. Nothing extraordinary here but a nice beer try if you're looking for a good example of the barleywine style. I have to give a nod in that respect to the SN Bigfoot though, mostly because it comes in a 12oz bottle which given the high abv is much easier to consume solo than the 22oz here

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy medium amber color. 1 finger light tan colored head seems fairly dense. Head dissipates to a small layer of cream. Good lacing left behind.

Aroma is caramel and toffee malt. Piney, earthy hops. Toasted coconut.

Hop flavors come through first. A bit earthy and a bit spicy.. Piney and resinous. Smooth malt flavors abound. Caramel, toffee, biscuit, molasses, and toasted coconut.

Rich, semi-thick mouth feel. Moderate carbonation. Creamy and oily on the tongue. Lingering bitterness fading to a malty sweetness.

A solid American Barleywine with really good balance/blending of flavors between malt and hop. Aroma seems a little dull but mouth feel is great.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 4/6/13

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this beer

Note: I've already reviewed the 2010 version of this. I'm inclined to guess that review may me merged with this review. But I'm going to review the 2013 version regardless.

Appearance: Clear amber color - nice, off-white head - keeps a solid cap - leaves a nice streak of lacing

Smell: Cooked, caramelized malts - sweet and hoppy - citrus and pine - kind of spicy, reminiscent of the earthiness found in some other Stone beers (e.g., Arrogant Bastard)

Taste: Sweet, earthy, and somewhat balanced - grassy, herbal, with some serious earthiness - caramel malts, some dark fruits, sugar - some alcohol flavor, remarkably more than the last time I had this

Mouthfeel: Medium body - nicely carbonated, smooth, with some alcohol heat in the finish

Overall: Honestly? This is better aged

I'm genuinely surprised how different this beer is from how I remember it. The bottle I had was aged a year. This tastes intentionally harsh, almost as if it demands to be aged. It's overly hoppy and earthy. It needs some time to mellow out.

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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.

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

22 oz bomber, 2012 version, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark ruby color with two fingers of thick beige head, leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Smells like a monster, I'm getting a pretty even mix of piney, fruity hops and sweet caramel malt and booze, all in pretty large and aggressive doses.

T- Follows the nose with lots of hop bitterness, citric and very piney, is followed up by loads of sweet caramel malt, nice bready texture, has a bitter finish of herbal hops with a bit of black pepper.

M- Full-bodied, thick but smooth and creamy, dry finish, very pleasant.

O- A very tasty barleywine, manages to keep huge flavors working together very nicely. I also tried pairing this with some Roquefort cheese and Old Guardian seriously rocked it, the beer's sweetness, caramel and some nutty flavors came out really well, while the cheese seemed to balance the hops and booze. I had a great time drinking this beer.

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Photo of mick303
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Release, enjoyed 25/5/13, colour is a dark garnet ruby brown, fairly hazy, with an amazing film and retention, a very pretty beer. 4.75

S – lots of fruity, herbal notes, banana, pecan pie, nutmeg, lots of rich cigar tobacco and syrupy espresso, burnt caramel with a bit of a nice toastiness, leafy forest. Very interesting and complex integration. Steller 4.5

T – slight alcohol spice prickle, with warming wood smoke, burnt caramel linger, hearty campfire smoke, plummy fruitiness, toasty syrupy maltiness, with some restrained caramel honey bourbon sweetness, some spiciness that permeates the flavor, cardamom maybe paprika. 4.5

M – definitely big bodied, a sipper, slight carbonation with restrained sweetness, a bit of a cloying mineral aspect , cigar smoke drying out the side of your mouth, , hop oils come through on the feel, drying and slightly tart. 4

A very nice barleywine, lots of complexity and great flavor. A smooth body with malt and rich caramel fruity notes. A very rich flavour, with biscuit and leafy tropical notes, so full and rather dry and tannic feel to it. Very worthwhile beer.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stella glass aggressively. Pours a clear bright orange red, with a beautiful 3 inch head with a little hint of orange in it. Has some nice lacing and the head takes some time to settle. Smell is hard candy, burnt carmel, pine cones, and alcohol. Taste is better, very aggressive hops on the finish, all the stuff in the nose, but more balanced. Body is on medium large, good a mount of life for its large ABV, a little dry, and fairly drinkable for its large size. This is a nice Barleywine, that prefer with a few years on it for some reason. Its not the aggressive hops, but the beer seems to blend better over time.

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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 Goblinmunkey7
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage. Split with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Clear copper Off*white head drops to a clumpy cap and chunky small collar in short order. some streaks and spots of lacing.

Smell: Crazy malts. Caramel, toffee, and straight up cane sugar. Some nice backing hints of citrus, but it's all about the malts. Some grassy elements. Cooked malts. Very bready. Toasted note. Booze, lots of booze but not boozy or sharp.

Taste: Super caramelized malts. Caramel, toffee, and deeply cooked malts. Some grassy elements. Nice citrus hopping. Some bitter pine needle. Warming alcohol on the back. Gritty and earthy undertones. Vaguely grassy. So very cooked. Biscuity with some underlying spiciness. A good malt complexity, but nothing too crazy.

Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy medium to full body with a carbonation that runs on the lighter side of moderate. A little bit slick. Nice and clean.

Overall: Let it sit and get that age. Then it can guard it all.

A solid example of the style. Not groundbreaking but solid. Age does improve it, but In don't know what the prime age is.

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Photo of stampfler07
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear dark amber with two fingers of creamy, just slightly brown head, light lacing on the glass

S- Sweet, deep malt aroma, dark fruit notes, raisin and plum

T- Slightly sweet malt to begin, deep fruit flavors come in, plum and raisin again, light bitter hoppiness balances as the alcohol warmth comes in

M- Moderate carbonation, very warm mouthfeel, moderate body

O- Finish is bitter and warm, great for a fall or winter night. Great combination of deep flavors covers for the high alcohol and makes this beer very palatable and delicious

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Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale from Stone Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 276 ratings.
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