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A Year Ago: Peeking Back At 2007 Stone Old Guardian

2007 Stone's Old Guardian Barley Wine

***We’ve pulled this post out of the vault as part of our 1 year celebration. One year ago today, we were still meandering through our first few posts. Though we were rookies, Timperial’s brief review of Old Guardian sounds pretty good to me.***

Enjoyed on 12/7/2009
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.

Location: Escondido, CA

Beer: Old Guardian (the OG)

Web: http://www.stonebrew.com

Presentation: 22 Fl. Oz. (650.6 ML) – Brown Glass Bottle

Vintage: 2007

Style: Barley Wine Style Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 11.26%

IBU: 95

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees

Notes from the bottle: “Ingredients: A whole buncha Barley, tons o’ Hops, Water & Yeast.” Also, an enormous amount of text from brewer Greg Koch that I’d rather not type. Interestingly, the content is mainly about the current (at the time it was written) building of the Stone Bistro. There is also mention of the “just over a hundred” Stone employees. The current homepage of the brewery states: “Happy Holidays from all 278 of us at Stone!” Yes, Stone is a force.

Bottled on: “Limited Early 2007 Release”

Flavor will continue to develop for some time to come.

Food Pairings: Dessert of any kind

Cheese Pairings: Pungent ones such as Blue, Gorgonzola, Limburger

Beer Advocate: A-

Rate Beer: 99 (3.97)

Timperialstout’s Notes:
I believe this is the last of the very few beers that I brought with me from Philadelphia when I moved here. It’s a bit sad that it will be gone after tonight, but it’s been refrigerated for far too long and I was really beginning to worry about its seal’s integrity. From what I’ve gathered, extended stays in the refrigerator can dry out the rubber on the inside of the bottle cap and cause the seal to be compromised. I’m not exactly sure how long that takes, but I’d rather not toy with the great OG.

No worries after tonight, I now have a real cellar for cellaring. Let’s get into it.

She pours a glowing amber, near tangerine hue. A stunning clarity and a surprisingly plump head for the age. A not entirely strong pour brings about a nice tan cap of varying sized bubbles that leaves a dense lacing on the glass. That’s from all the unfermented sugars. This one is really sticky, and that is just what I love. The scent is of salt water taffy I think. Maybe a bit of cotton candy, slightly metallic in there too… with hops just squeaking through in the end.

Nearly three years of aging and the hops have more presence than natural preservation, yeah… “tons o’ Hops” indeed. The mouthfeel is so smooth and delightful, honey coated. A slight prickle from the carbonation is more present just after the pour and while slightly colder. Hop bitterness is definitely there still. When you age a beer for several years you sort of expect that bitterness to fade, and though I surely love malty sweetness, beer perfection to me is malt and hop extremes coming together on the battlefield and bringing balance where it shouldn’t exist.

This OG’s malt vs. hop square-off is no doubt being won by team barley, but the hops are fighting for their lives. To me, that shows serious class, and brewing skill. It’s Stone, I’m not surprised. Alcohol burn is minimal. No off celery like flavors that I so often get from barley wines, especially the younger ones. It’s a great Monday night!

If you like Old Guardian, you should try…

Hair of the Dog – Doggie Claws
Victory – Old Horizontal
North Coast – Old Stock Ale

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop and aged to perfection all on my own.

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