Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

330 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 330
Reviews: 246
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 6
Gots: 47 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottoale on 02-06-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 330 | Reviews: 246
Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.66/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to try this one for a long time and was stoked to see it on the shelf at Grapevine. Poured this one into my Maudite snifter. I love a good Barleywine and this one doesn't dissapoint. The aroma is faint but is sour and hoppy. I love the reddish hue to this beer, looks yummy. Nice lacing in the glass and there is a constant foamy top to this beer. Taste, this is good. The hops smack you right in the face and you can feel them coming out of the glass. There is a little sweetness in the beginning and then the hops punch back. You get just a tiny bit of sweetness then comes the 180 into a bitternes that is hard to descripe. Did I just lick a pine cone? Did my mouth just go completely dry? Why can't I stop taking sips of this? All valid question about this great barleywine. It finishes dry and is way to easy to drink for 11.3. There is a nice little alcohol heat esp. once it warms up. Thank you Stone.

Photo of benetoh
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on 4/28/12

Absolutely no alcohol taste. Rich caramel and toffee, hops are almost gone which is understandable after 3 years. Slight raisin aftertaste, where hops come through a little more.

If you have one of these, you should drink it soon; I don't know how much better this will get

Photo of AmitC
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A pure bliss of a bottle.

Got this in lieu of 3-12 fl oz Hopslams.

Poured from 22 oz bomber into large snifter glass. Very clear, deep amber color with great ruby hues. Still has a lot of carbonation for a 2009. Some bubbles are seen rising up slowly. Very less, thin layered head from the first half pour. Tan colored and does not stay. Excellent stickiness shown by the side laces with each sip.

Aroma is huge. Smells a lot like old ale. Some very obvious malt-hop presence upfront. A little bit boozy as well. Smells fills the nose from a feet away once you open the bottle. Hops shine along with a lot of malt but do not have a distinct presence of their own.

Taste is all malt and boozy. This one is heck of drink, Alcohol has not mellowed down much i would suppose or it would have been hell boozy when fresh. Bitterness is still there. In fact a lot of it. A little bit of toffee flavor and a lot of caramel flavor dominate the taste. An excellent blend of malts and hops is what barley wines are all about. I like it very much. Finish is bitter to very bitter.

Mouth feel is medium to slightly full. A lot of oily and resiny touch. A very good warmth when drinking this. A lot of booze and might appear astringent to some.

Strong and drinking nice.

I love it.

Photo of danielharper
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark orange, slightly red, with a tiny bit of haze, but with a very thick cream-colored head that sticks around and leaves some amazing lacing. Smells strongly of dry American West Coast hops, but with a sweet caramel malt balance underneath. Intriguing, interesting.

Flavor-wise, I was expecting a strong crisp hoppiness up front, and that's basically what you get. What I wasn't necessarily anticipating was the sugary sweetness that follows in the malt, along with a lot more caramel and hints of bready yeastiness. Finishes dry. No alcohol astringency on the nose or in the flavor, amazing for a beer that clocks in above eleven percent. Overall impression is of the strong hops and the residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamier than expected, otherwise predictably hoppy and with a high level of carbonation. Dry aftertaste.

I was expecting to like this beer, but I wasn't necessarily expecting to love it this much. The caramel and sweetness make an almost perfect match for the hops, and the alcohol is so well-hidden it's scary. Is Stone the best brewery in America? Maybe.

Photo of BeanBone
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hazy golden-orange body--much lighter than I had expected--featuring a few assorted particles in suspension. Up top, a finger of creamy whitish head that features good lacing and retention.

Aroma: Up front, lots of bright and citrusy hops catch me a little off guard. Underneath, there's a sticky toffee malt backbone and some nice tinges of booze to bring things back towards traditional Barleywine territory. Opens up a lot as it warms.

Flavor: Again, the hops start the party--they are balanced nicely in between citrusy and grassy and nicely bitter. The big rum cake and sticky toffee malt backbone holds everything down nicely, substantial enough to keep everything relatively balanced. There's something a little woody floating around, but I can't quite pin it down. Plenty of alcohol character throughout, but it never feels like double-digits. Great lingering bitterness and toffee in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Drinks faster than the ABV suggests, but requires caution like any bomber of double-digit brew.

Verdict: Old Guardian ranks right up there with the best American Barleywines--it's complex, hoppy as hell, and satisfying to the last drop. Absolutely terrific fresh, I only wish I had been able to secure a second bottle for aging.

Photo of IPAcraig
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice reddish orange body with a one finger eggshell white head. Slightly cloudy.

Piney hops, caramel, and bit of alcohol in the nose.

An all around big barleywine. Taste similar to the aroma with a wee bit of leather.

Perfect mouthfeel for a barelywine. Lightly carbonated with a big body that is not too viscous.

Very drinkable for such a big beer. very nice.

Photo of JDizzle
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged a few years. Bought a Martha's Vineyard in Grand Rapids for $3.99 a bomber!!!

This one pours a deep bllod orange red that looks unreal. A little head boils up for a second and retreats quickly. Smells like apricot, plum, caramel, leather, and a wee bit of alcohol. Really sweet and inviting! Can't wait to try this one. WOW, this is one of the best barleywines I have tried-aged. The hops are still there, but have faded perfectly from a fresh one. Still bitter on the finish, but not so abrasive. Really sweet with a carmel, earthy flavor that really shines-so smooth for such a heavy beer. Getting a cherry, peach fruit punch, but it's hard to tell there is so much going on here. Mouthfeel is thick with low carbonation. What a fine beer!-sucks it took this long to get this:) Drank the 10' side by side and it's night and day how much better this is.

Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Old Guardian pours a nice golden pumpkin color, with a fair bit of soapy tan head which thins to a nice lace.

Smell: this is Stone, so hops are on top, with a nice tangerine citrus aroma

Taste: the hops immediately hop onto the palate along with citrus notes and well balanced malty sweetness

Mouthfeel: this is a nice mouthful, full bodied but quite smooth

Drinkability: Entirely interesting brew, Old Guardian is a champ in my book. I am relatively new to barley wines but given Stone´s track record i figured this is a good place to start...and this drink suits me just fine. Thumbs up thrice!

Photo of Lerxst
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Stone Imperial Pint Glass

A-Hazy orange/amber with one inch head that fades fast

S-Hoppy with malts clearly evident. They go good together.

T-Hops are very evident but a toasty, malty flavor compliments it well and surprisingly the 11.3% abv is hardly noticable.

M-Medium body. Smooth with a hoppy afterbite, medium carbonation. Not too much carbonation, but just enough.

D-Surprisingly drinkable. I didn't think more than one in a sitting would be do-able, but it would be. The hops/malt combo here is delicious. Well done!

Stone has done it again. This brewery is simply amazing.

Photo of johlendorf
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is huge. A treat for American barley wine fans. A good introduction brew for hop heads interested in kicking it up a notch.

A = Orange amber. I managed to tease a faint head which quickly disappeared. The orangeness made my mouth water in anticipation of the hoppy goodness ahead.

S = Sweet hops. Not a hint of alcohol, which scares me at 11%.

T = Sort of a hop bomb out of the fridge, but complex flavors come through as it warms and the palate adjusts to the shock. A nice malty finish all the way. Malting takes some edge off the insane hops. Hops rule but don't bite.

M = Clean and slightly bubbly. Some stickiness at the end but less than expected. A warm feeling in the mouth and belly is the only indication of the high ABV.

D = Scary.

Drink it now or cellar it. Past years have aged very well. My experience with aged beers is mixed but my winged friend will never let me down.

Photo of backfat
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a brilliant shining copper with highlights of amber. perfect lacing with a two finger off white head. just beautiful. the smell packs a punch. fresh and fragrant. granny smith apples, citrus, sweet malt, and pineapple. i want to make this into a perfume and make my girlfriend wear it. perfect. the taste is bold and ferocious. huge caramel malt and bitter all engulfed in citrus and piney hops hops hops! very strong and fresh hop character and milky mouthfeel. very thick. the balance puts me in a state of Qi. it is difficult to find flaws in this beer. it was made for me. dangerously drinkable, but the ABV will remind you that this is a creature to be reckoned with. thanks stone. This beer is perfect with about one year on it. It takes away any harsh astringency, but still packs a hop punch that I enjoy in american style barelywines.

Photo of velosuds
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited Early 2009 Release. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass.

A-Pours a cloudy medium amber with a one and one half finger head that quickly receded into an ample, typical Stone type, lace.

S-Malty, with dried fruits, especially figs and raisins. Pleasantly sweet. Nice.

T-Very pleasantly sweet yet balanced. At 11.3%, ABV the alcohol is warming, although masked extremely well. Mildy hoppy up front followed by barley malt sweetness. I am beginning to like this style, a lot.

M-Full bodied, but quite smooth. Very well crafted. One of Stone's better, more affordable brews.

D-Extremely drinkable for an 11.3% ABV though not evident in the taste.

This is quite good, and I will buy again. I love these full bodied beers.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright amber with a nice white head. The aroma is of sweet amber and caramel malt with pin and citrus hops. A slight whiff of alcohol as well. The taste is overwhelmingly hoppy and slightly sweet. Not what I would call balanced, but the malt definitely makes a contribution here. Medium bodied and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of Blitzstyle
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint galsss. Pours a golden toffee color witha good white head.

Smelled caramell notes, brown sugary aramos and some hops with a hint o boozieness.

The alcohol is hidden quite well in this beer, its there but not as overpowering as it is with most barley wines. Hops actually stand out a bit more than the alcohol. There is some good malty sweetness there as well.

Fuller bodied but yet extremly smooth.

Very drinkable the alcohol is not over powering which is surprising considering the abv over over 11%. Really liked the hoppy taste it had.

Photo of taylorhamrick
4.46/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a beautiful clear red color. A massive 3-4cm head sits on top and doesn't fade quickly, leaving sticky lacing down the side. I just watched the bubbles rise up through the beer while I was waiting to taste and I was in love. The smell has a faint whiff of hops, cascade/centennial pungent citrus smell, and you can smell the hugely sweet malt backbone in there, hints of bready, nutty, biscuity malts. The taste is really great. Exactly what I want in a barleywine. It doesn't smash you over the head with bitterness, and is actually brilliantly well-balanced. There's a whole load of sweetness, raisiny, caramelly sweetness. The hops are buried in there with a nice lemony kick in the end and a slight hoppy bitterness. There's also a bit of burn from the alcohol, but it really is enhancing my enjoyment of this one. I'm usually not a huge fan of American Barleywines, but this one may have changed my mind. I could imagine this one filling out a bit more, whether by age or adding a bit more lingering sweetness or biscuity maltiness. And of course, it will beat you up a bit, making you work hard to finish it (though I never took a sip I didn't enjoy). But I would recommend this to all.

Photo of aristeros
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. I've had barleywines before, and Stone brews, so I'm pretty excited about this one.

Pours a honey-amber color, has a big, creamy, off-white head with decent lacing. I smell grapefruit up front, sweet caramel malts, alcohol, and some hops.

Tastes like brown sugar layered over citrus and bitter hops. Piney resins and the tingle of hops on the tongue eventually overpower the sweet malts for a dry, prickly finish.

The high alcohol content and big hop presence is well-balanced against the beer's other characteristics, but if I were to crack the second bomber I think -I'd- be bombed. This, and assertive hops and carbonation impact drinkability, even for the style.

Excellent brew.

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very hazy, medium brown with orange hints in the body. Small, yet very strong and lasting, off-white colored head. Lacing is awesome, especially considering the age of this beer.

S- Strong and bitter, but not so much in the hops bitterness genre on the nose. Starts with strong brown sugar and molasses sweetness that quickly mixes in with a strong, malty bitterness. Tons of caramel malt scents provide the base and strong alcohol presence is also a primary flavor in the smell.

T- Starts off with a big display of the caramel malts and just a touch of the brown sugar sweetness. A small amount of hops bitterness joins forces with the stronger malt and alcohol bitterness to really pack a punch in the middle of the drink. Sweetness mixes back in to mellow out some of the bitterness before the drink ends.

M- This beer is on the thicker and smoother end with lower carbonation. The alcohol and moderately strong bitterness cuts down on the drinkability, but the alcohol is fairly well hidden.

Overall, I'm really impressed with how well this has held up for 4+ years. I think these Old Guardians are really underrated, but they do take a little development in the bottle to take on a certain level of complexity.

Photo of allengarvin
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Old Guardian, poured into a nonik glass, is a cloudy golden color, with a large head of thick, creamy, dense foam. The nose is sweet, lightly fruity, with a great aromatic hop presence. Exceptionally bitter citrus-flavored hops. The sweet malt takes a step to the background with bitterness front and center from start to finish, but it does make a light balance if you look for it. The finish lingers forever, very dry. A surprisingly light bodied beer for such strength, creamy and sumptuous.

Very good America barley wine.

Photo of ironarrow42
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Colour is a hazy orange-amber hue with a short-lived cream-coloured head. No sign of bubbles. Aroma of orangey citrus, sweet, candyish malt, and alcohol. Smells like dessert!

Velvety-smooth texture with full body. Starts out sweet and malty with caramel, toffee, and orange oil, then a bold, resinous bitterness sweeps over the palate, bringing some citrus & piney hop notes and fruity esters. Tangy finish lingers delightfully.

Bold, flavourful and substantial beer. The hops stand out at this young age. I imagine this will evolve over time and cellar quite nicely for many years.

Photo of hustlesworth
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A- beautiful color, a bright reddish orange when back lit, hazy and appealing, with a creamy beige head that possesses remarkable retention abilities for such a big barleywine. rings of lace slide away leaving spots behind and forming a negative silhouette of mountainous peaks rising behind this thick lake of danger.

S- crazy hops, hop on board the mothership, pine and grapefruit, and a big whiff of alcohol, even when it's still rather cold. orange, tangerine, pineapple, passionfruit, and a good amount of brown sugar and honey sweet malt although it is overwhelmed by the monster hops. some caramel and toffee, sandalwood, cognac, milk chocolate, and a creaminess as it warms up some. also as it warms, the malt sweetness opens up and competes with the hops, achieving a sublime balance and at the same time (thankfully) suppressing the alcohol esters.

T- sweet and malty up front with a huge hop explosion on the backside. woodsy and earthy with a caramel sweetness that is overtaken mid way by the hops. tons of pine and grapefruit and the other aforementioned fruits all slathered in a bath of bitterness and vodka like sweet alcohol, almost dank and musty, but in a very good way. flavors of earth and soil, stone, grain husk, grain meat, sherry, pork, and plenty of herbal and burnt fruit flavors from the hops. i couldn't guess what varieties are in here but i would compare the flavor profile to centennial, amarillo, and simcoe. insane bitterness mellows out quickly, allowing for a nice balanced finish of toasted grain, burnt grapefruit, and pine resin.

MF- full and lush, like as good as any single malt scotch i've ever had. warming and luxurious, with the feel of articulation and dignity. carbonation is somewhere between medium and low and i feel that any lower and this thing would be a syrupy mess. being masterfully brewed however, this monstrous potion feels as good as a vegas hooker with a bottle of glenmorangie and a... nevermind. clutch.

D- couldn't hold out on this one more than 6 months, with another in the basement for good measure. a real treat in my silver rimmed stone levitation tulip glass. 1/3 of the bottle has me 'stoned' but the rest will be enjoyed on two more upcoming occasions. for the faint of heart and palate, this is as arrogant as any bastard could ever be.

Photo of rye726
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant stained cedar with a silky tan head.

Nose has herbal hops, fruity malts, peppery alcohol, toffee and caramel.

Well balanced flavor profile. Bitter hops, sweet candy malts and spicy alcohol.

Full body is delicately carbonated. Great lingering finish. Could enjoy this anytime.

I am very impressed by this vintage, has more complexity than the two previous years. Will age very well.

Photo of rodney45
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark shade of crimson. The head is white and ominous. I think it sticks around only to say " im gonna watch you drink this"

S: Smells overtly hopped. Imagine getting punched in the face with a silky fist full of hops. That is what this smells like, and you really aren't angry because its from stone brewery.

T: Well its more malted than the Arrogant line, and at first sip you get only a taste of it. Then you're sodomized by hops. Its a good thing, and you eventually start to like it. Then its dry, and you feel guilty and slightly offended. BUT... you're happy... its hard to explain

M: It tastes alot like razor blades made of hops... with a lot of alcohol. Hidden. To trick you.

D: I can drink this till the cows come home, which they have. Its more than double the strength of a normal brew and you should keep that in mind. But, for a barley wine style ale made by stone, its more drinkable than you'd imagine.

This is a good brew... its the 2009 early release if anyone cares... I heard from the guy at the distributor that it was better in past years, but i dont believe him. This beer is profane. Thank god

Photo of badbassrandy
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smells like hop/malt heaven, with definite spice from the hops and a very Stone-like presence of malt in the nose. My pour revealed an off-white, luxurious and relatively large head for a barleywine. Yum.

Tastes loaded with fine malts and delicious hops with a symphony of earthy and organic notes dancing on the palate. Deceivingly delicious. I can tell this one could spell trouble. It's very drinkable for such strength with a wonderful, chewy mouthfeel that's both silky and rustic.

All said, this is my kind of barleywine brew. One that will keep me coming back to this style after having disliked them for so long.

Photo of BigJim5021
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Figured I would grab something good for my 100th review. This fits the bill.

Pours a deep amber with a light haze and a beige head. Lacing is out of control.

The smell is slightly sweet (caramel) and very hoppy. It's also slightly vinous.

The flavor is light fruitiness, caramel sweetness and huge hops. Just massively hoppy. The hops linger for a long-ass time. Alcohol only rears its head what seems like every other sip.

Mouthfeel is ridiculously creamy and thick without being chewy. Fantastic.

Abv keeps the drinkability low -- because this stuff seriously kicked my ass -- but goddamn this is one tasty beer. Stone has me wanting to try more American barleywines. I also want to pick up a bottle and sit on it for a while. I think it would be interesting to try once the hops have mellowed out a little.

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/06/09- Purchased at Mollie Stones in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle poured into my Old Guardian glass.

Appearance- Brandy-like colored pour. Slight 1/4 inch head upon pour. Fades quickly and leaves behind some various spots and very light lines of lace.

Smell- Strong bitter grapefruit pith nose with a caramel malted sugary nose. A slight detection of alcohol as well.

Taste- Hops are bitter and extreme as always. However, there is a really nice toasty and roasty sweet caramel malt flavor as the background. A bit earthy and leathery as well. Alcohol is hidden well.

Mouthfeel- Slight hop burn in the finish. Pretty damn smooth with a mid to lower carbonation level. Lasting hoppy bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Seems as if they are getting more and more drinkable right off the bat. I think it will age very nicely, but it is drinkable now.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 330 ratings.