Combining the intriguing optical properties of gold nanoparticles with the inherent physical and dynamic properties of polymers can give rise to interesting hybrid nanomaterials. In this study, we report the synthesis of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA)-capped gold nanoparticles. The polyelectrolyte-wrapped gold nanoparticles were fully characterized and studied via a combination of techniques, i.e. UV-vis and infrared spectroscopy, dark field optical microscopy, SEM imaging, dynamic light scattering and zeta potential measurements. Although PAA-capped nanoparticles have been previously reported, this study revealed some interesting aspects of the colloidal stability and morphological change of the polymer coating on the nanoparticle surface in an electrolytic environment, at various pH values and at different temperatures.