Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Stone – Old Guardian Barleywine

I haven’t had any good Barleywines lately. I’ve tried a few that were a bit lackluster, but none terrible or off putting. So I was craving what I typically think of as a barleywine – thick, sweet, alcoholic. And boy did I get what I was looking for. 

I poured this out of the bottle and was delighted at the color – a rich dark amber. Like most brews that Stone makes, this one is anything but subtle. The smell is one of intoxicating sweetness, just as it should be. I didn’t get a lot of head in the pour, probably because the pour was slow and careful, and when I poured it it was chilled. I let it warm up a little before diving in, because I like the warmth that barleywines can give.

Tasting it, I was not dissapointed. The flavors include the alcohol sting of a barleywine, a wonderful warm soft sweetness, and a spicy note that is a delight. It also has a bit of hop flavoring through it, which is nice, and a nice touch (since I’ve been drinking such malty brews lately). The bottle I tried was also dated, and labeled as an “limited early 2008 release” released in January of last year, so this is about a year of aging. I think that the flavors are just right at this point. Stone’s website says that aging further mellows the alcohol sting and that this one can age with the best. 

Its rare to find a strongly flavored yet not overwhelming barleywine. I think that this is an example of what can be done when a brewery like Stone puts their beer-centric minds towards it. Go get this one, it should be widely distributed.


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  1. The Grand Panjandrum

    Stone Brewery is always a good choice for any style beer. Every beer crafted by these guys is quite good. They’ve never disappointed me and some of their beers like this particular barleywine are excellent.

  2. Mark

    I love the Stone beers, but they have only just come to England and the range is still limited. Hopefully the barleywine will be here soon because that sounds brilliant!

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