It just felt like a good night for some Stone Old Guardian barleywine. So here is my instant review.
It pours with a nice half inch creamy head on a amber/dark orange beer. (The lacing hangs on the side of the glass, refusing to give up throughout the entire serving.) Smell brings a lot of sweetness (molasses and caramel). Makes me want to get this beer to my mouth. Slight smell of grapefruit hops. This is exactly what I want an 11% beer to smell like. I cannot wait to taste it.
Once the beer is brought to my lips, the hops really kick in. Super hopped. The bitterness cuts the malt in half, almost overpowering it. The alcohol is very prevalent in the mouth, you can tell it is big. As the beer warms, it develops with more flavors coming out. A little more caramel, toffee and dark fruits.
Not as thick as I was expecting, the Old Guardian is smooth going down as the carbonation is just right. Overall, it is a very enjoyable beer. Something that I would like to sip in front of the fire this upcoming winter. I think during time, this beer could firm up and balance out so the hops don't overpower it. Can't wait to try in the future with some age on it.
After (drinking) thoughts:
I didn't put much thought into this beer before I drank it. Now after evaluating it, I realized that this is the first time I can remember having it. Many times, I have had the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Victory Old Horizontal, Lagunitas Olde GnarleyWine and (my new favorite) Troegs Flying Mouflan, but I am surprised I didn't have Old Guardian before. I now look for this to enter my beer box for a bit of age, and for it to be on the rotation of barleywines that I consume.