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.

246 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 330
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 246 | Hads: 330
Photo of BDTyre
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not a bad barley wine from Stone. Orange-copper, very light and clear with a very thin off-white head.

Sweet, slightly vinous scent. Malts, brown sugar, raisins and hints of blackberry.

Somewhat bitter taste - hops, berries and raisin and wine hints. Suggestions of brown sugar, caramel, bread and even bananas. Rich flavour, but sometimes the complexity is lost.

Good carbonation though at times it seems a little too heavy on the fizz. Very enjoyable, but a dessert beer at 11.3%

 484 characters

Photo of tmgiddings
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Crown Liquors #6 - Hazy, opague amber with a thin white head and sparce white lacing. Aroma is subtle resin hops, caramel, toffee, and sweet bready malt. Sweet bready malt dominates the flavor with subtle resin on the front. Mouthfeel is both oily and creamy.

 271 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great looking Stone, oozes out the bottle, its a thick syrupy one. Minimal head, big alcohol notes come out the nose, surprisingly little hops.

Taste wise again, was expecting something comparable to Bigfoot or the signature Stone hopping, but this one is immensely sweet. Still a big beer. Mouthfeel remained consistent, yet unadventurous yielding no nuances. Decent price for a Stone bomber of something so big, but many better Stone options for my $.

 454 characters

Photo of Chico1985
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, so this is a little over a year old now. Opened with a nice little pop and smoke, very reminiscent of my first '08 Double Bastard a while back. Poured this into an oversized wine glass. Pours a very nice translucent red with a small but nice creamy off-white head, leaves nice lacing. Looks great in this glass. Sediment in the 2nd pour makes it a bit hazier. I'm trying hard to pick up scents but they seem quite faded, maybe because of the age. I pick up barleywine characteristics such as dark fruit, caramel and booze but they are slight. The taste, although very good, is quite muted as well. It seems at first that it's turned into a total malt bomb, but about halfway through the hops are just about even with the malts. Underneath a huge blanket of caramel malt lies some nice citrus tastes and sugary dark fruits, and a bit of chocolate and baked goods, which seems to come into play alot with Stone's strong ales, I always enjoy that part especially. Booze is very nicely hidden. It's hard to say whether age has done this beer good or not, I love the malty sweetness and hidden booze, but the flavors themselves aren't as "in your face" as I like in a barleywine. Mouthfeel is nice and very malty. The hops seem to come out of nowhere. As with pretty much any barleywine a bomber is quite sufficient. Paired nicely with some spicy Chinese food. Definitely encouraged me to pick up a fresh 2010 bottle, I may pick up another 2009 if I see one floating around.

 1,483 characters

Photo of BatDaddy
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a snifter. Pours a slightly cloudy tea-like color with a fluffy cream colored head that settles down to a wispy lace and some nice bubbles around the edges.

S - Hops are present, but the caramel malty sweetness seems to dominate the nose. Maybe just some faint floral notes from the hops.

T - First taste seems very well balanced between the hops and sweet malts. Hop bitterness is more pronounced as I hold it on my tongue. Small alcohol bite on a crisp, dry finish. Some citrus notes from the hops.

M - Medium bodied, slightly sticky.

D - Very good for an abv this high. While the alcohol is definitely present, it's hidden fairly well. Overall is well balanced enough for good drinkability, though the abv might get to you before you pour another glass.

 776 characters

Photo of danielharper
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 1,092 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus a good amount of hops and a touch of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out with a strong burst of hops bitterness that is followed by a significant alcohol bite. Then there's some citrus and caramel sweetness that comes in. The malt character is hearty and provides some balance, which improves as the beer warms. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, very good representation of style, even though it doesn't seem as good as previous releases this is still a good beer to sip on for a long time.

 887 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. (2009)

A: Pours a lightly hazy (chill, I'd guess) amber body with ruby and orange inflection to it. Quite inviting. Unlike the 2010, the head dies pretty quickly and leaves only a few trails of bubbles on top of the brew.

S: Hops are fading a bit compared to the fresh 2010 version, as one would expect. The pine is still prominent, even weed-like; it blends well with caramel, toffee, and crystal malt. Some butterscotch too.

T: I'm a little less enthused about this aged version than I was about the 2010. It's very toasty, lots of butterscotch and caramel. These are very dominant, almost making me miss chocolate (which I did not find in the fresh one). The pine hop character is still there, with an undercurrent of citrus flavors. This lacks the hoppy aggressiveness of the fresh version, and it fails to have developed a nice complexity to compensate for the faded hops. On top of that, it's a bit boozy (solventy, not just warm).

M: Chewy; finish is a little harsh and boozy. Low-medium carbonation.

D: In my opinion, one year isn't the sweet spot for this beer. It's still better than average, and I had no trouble putting down a bomber of it, but in the future I'd drink these fresh.

 1,232 characters

Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes. A year old Keg was tapped as part of Novare Res' strong beer week. I consumed it on 3.20.10. The beer is opaque, with an orange/red coloration. It has a foamy, tan colored head and visible carbonation rising within the glass. It has good, even lacing. it smells of spent grain and citrus hops. I can make out some alcohol as well. There are dry, bitter hops up front in the taste. The hops also linger in the aftertaste. Up until swallowing, I can pick up some alcohol and some sticky sweetness. It has a heavy body and stick mouth coating. It really feels like a 11% ABV beer. There isn't much alcohol burn though. It's pretty drinkable considering the strength. There is a strong hop presence, but that is the only limiting factor that I could detect.

 777 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oh, how blessed I was to find a bottle of this at my local grocer!

Appearance> Hazy, ruby red. Lacy. Medium liveliness. Small vanilla head dissipates quickly.

Smell> Sweet and sour, alcoholic.

Taste> Tangy start. Very nice. Complex. Bitterness smoothes into an ultra long resiny hang with heaps of alcohol heat.

Mouf> thin. Decent carbonation. Average barley wine.

Drinkability> Pretty good

 410 characters

Photo of billshmeinke
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip. I've been hanging on to this for a year. I had it when it came out, but didn't review it until now.

Darker amber/ruby/orange in color. One finger white head. Quickly dies down to a collar and wispy head. Nice spider web like lacing.

Smells deeply of caramel, toffee and sweet barley. There is some leaf, pine, and dank hops. An undertone of grapefruit hops.

Taste is rich caramel, toffee, vague dark fruits, and sweet barely. Hop flavor is still kicking as pine, grapfruit, dank and resin. Quite pleasing.

Light carbonation. Full bodied. Semi assertive small bubbles.

Good drinkability for such high abv.

 641 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 22 oz. bottle, an interesting beer to try a year out,

A: Pours a hazy amber, light white head, some lace.

S: Still has a good hop character, malt is light, good toffee notes, but not particularly aromatic.

T: Good slightly aged malt character, grapefruit and light pine and other citrus. Good tasting beer, but I was expecting a little more at this point.

M: Smooth feel, easy drinking for its style, light ethanol character.

D: After having a great '06 at 4 years out, I was surprised the '09 wasn't showing me really anything that's going to make it stand out in a few years. Solid, but I think it's reached its peak already.

 639 characters

Photo of backfat
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 849 characters

Photo of TheJollyHop
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber brown, a finger's worth of off white head, sticky, scattered lace.

Floral, toast, butterscotch, and bready sweetness prevalent in the aroma.

Sadly, the taste falls short with too aggressive of a burnt toast flavor. Some cocoa flavor in the taste is noticeable along with some grainy sweetness, but then a torrent of hop bitterness dominates and turns into an excessively harsh burnt, bitter after taste.

Medium bodied and medium carbonated; creamy and tongue coating.

While drinkabilty is fine, the flavor is not very palate enticing.

 545 characters

Photo of JoePat
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a white head that seems to last forever.
Has a pretty strong piney hop aroma considering its a year old.
Smooth malty flavor quicky over powered by the grass like bitterness.
Very thick syrupy mouthfeel but it fits with the bitterness.
Drinkability suffers some but but for a barley wine it goes down great.

 338 characters

Photo of charlzm
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed Feb 7th, 2010 at Stone World Bistro.

Cloudy orange-yellow fluid with copious off-white foamy head. Remarkable amount of lacing.

The nose is sweet, slightly woody and spicy. Hops are present as a sappy, resiny note.

Herbal flavor, approaching tea. Within spitting distance of medicinal, though not quite that far. Bready and caramel malt notes are welcome, though not as strong as I would have anticipated. Aspirin-like bitterness on finish. Flavors are still quite strong; I guess a year isn't enough time to round off any of the edges here.

Finish is somewhat dry and a little on the thin side; odd for an Old Guardian. Alcohol heat felt plainly.

I didn't particularly enjoy this one a year into its life; according to previous tasting notes, the bottle I had a year ago was actually more drinkable.

 814 characters

Photo of Andreji
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

so i'm having a bottle that says "limited early 2009 release" so i guess this is the right one.

Oh god. spontaneous purchase @ a d'agostino on the upper east side. not planning on buying beer but, what the heck.

dark, orange pour. oh it seems transluscent, but hold it up against a light and you'll feel the straightforward, matte orange. I mean, if you were a synesthesic, this would sound like a tv when there's only blue and no transmission. shocking. kinda scary indeed.

smell is aggressive right off. sure there's malt, and a citrusy feel like you're venturing on a pop named orange-something. but folks, below lies a considerable hoppy feel. it hides nothing from the nose, this one's go'n bite hard, so you might as well ball-up.


taste no.1: overwhelmed.
taste no.2: drawing closer, still too much.
tatste no.3: call me corny, but this one nailed it. a hop surprise to the bone, very suspiciously charged malts right off the bat. the burnt caramel sort of tries to lure you but it's second head brings a scotch flavour in while a spit of undeniable hops rides your tongue till its death. this beer's all contrasts and definetly hard to define. alcohol's nowhere to hide, it's too obvious but still the beer's so bizarre it might as well not hide but try to shine. this is a monster, indeed friends, one worthy of an old guardian and a young robust one as well, this could kill a man if only he'd dare not sample it but binge it instead.


 1,466 characters

Photo of jdense
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle 'early 2009' release from Whole Foods Hollywood PDX poured into Delirium Tremens tulip.

One finger white head, relatively quick dissipation with minimal lacing. Amber semi-opaque body, a bit cloudy (not chill haze, served at 50-55 degrees). Nose is sweet and very boozy, molasses, hops hard to decipher. Taste is very, very boozy, sweet, a pretty good bitter hop kick on back end. Mouthfeel is fairly effervescent, not sticky. Not very drinkable at this high ABV, need to find a buddy to share a bottle with, but this was a good bargain at $5.99, will head back for another bottle and cellar, hope that will mellow out the overt booziness of this otherwise fine barleywine.

 687 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.09/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a ligth cloudy brown tea color with a medium tan head that rises about 1 finger but falls quickly. The lacing is pretty good.

The aroma starts off with mostly bourbon, banana, and a little wood. Its sweet, balanced and complex, pretty nice.

The taste is way to strong and not good. Its all woody alcohol with any sweetness to balance its out. Its grain alcohol in a wood barrel.

 456 characters

Photo of whoneeds8
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Early Release been in the fridge for the past year.

Poured into a Westmalle chalice a transparent amber with a very thin white head. Good lacing. Not much noticable carbonation. The scent is rather light. Maybe this is from the aging. But I can find hints of grapefruit and maybe a little banana. The taste is really smooth. None of the harshness that fresh barleywines give, which means my other bottle of '09 is going to age very well. The carmal flavor isn't over powering, and the hop bitterness has died off. There is still the sweet flavor with that same flavor that is kind of banana like. The mouthfeel is low on carbonation, but just perfect in body. There is no evident alcohol burn despite the 11% abv.

These definatly age well.

 746 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I guess this beer is about a year old, which is just how I like my barleywines. Sampled on-tap.

Old Guardian has a body that mixes colors of ruby, orange and brown. A small, off-white head doesn't have a ton of retention and doesn't really leave behind a lot of lacing.

The aroma has some bitter grapefruit notes from the hops, still alive after a year. Some candied dates, toffee, caramel.

Stone Old Guardian is pretty good. A good bite of hops comes through in the beginning, bringing the flavor of grapefruit and some bitterness. A sweet, fruity character is barely noticeable, but reminds me of figs or dates. After that the strongest flavor of the beer comes in the form of caramel and toffee malts that are big and juicy. A touch of tobacco in the background.

The mouthfeel is full with adequate carbonation; it coats the mouth a little bit.

Overall this thing drinks ridiculously well for the ABV. After a year it is tasty, and I'm guessing next year it will be even better.

 986 characters

Photo of bgreg3
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wish my vocab was as good as the guy who writes the back o the bottle. It took me almost 5 or more minutes to read. Anyway...

App- Amber at the top (a dark amber orange to be more precise) becomes lighter near the bottom. Leaves a nice lace on the top. There is also some unfiltered yeast floating around.

Smell - A lot of barley! I smell a bit of hops to balance and the yeast used comes together nicely.

Taste- Amazing barely wine! The barely is very sweet and tickles the tongue as it ventures through the mouth. The presence of yeast is acknowledged but not too noticeable. Hops balance it throughout. They are complementary and do not dominate at anytime. Again comes together nicely and should be drank in small mouthfulls.

MF - Dripping wet finish. Almost as good as a meal.

Drink - Drink with food or water. The alcohol can bother your throat after awhile and is better off being absorbed by food.

I advise only a 12 oz of this. Share a bomber with a friend.

 976 characters

Photo of TCgoalie
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I can't decide if this looks like caramel water, or dirty river water. Head around the edges, overall, not a normal looking beer.

Smells like my kitchen when the wort is boiling in the pot. I can't get past that smell, it is unique.

Thick taste. Presence of hops early and late. Has a very bready barley taste and I can also taste grass, honey, and pine.

Like I said above definitely thick. Very full and sweet.

It will be tough to finish this bomber.

 455 characters

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep amber/copper color. Big light tan head falls to a minimal one. Fairly nice clingy lace.

Yep, has that barleywine smell. Boozy alcohol back by mild malts and noticeable hops.

Yep, has that barleywine taste. Sweet malts followed by a hop flavor and a bitter hop aftertaste.

Rather full mouth and smooth. Slight bite.

Very nice barleywine.

 362 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Guardian 2009, from a 22oz bomber obtained today at Harringtons for $7.49 plus tax and dep.

Color is a clear, rich, deep copper. Carbo is visible rising up, and the topping is a light beige, creamy, fine gathering of bubbles, most of which sit at the edge and add to the lacework. A very-late addition of some bottle sediment added some cloudiness to the mixture. Aroma has some strong, biting, resiny hops, along with a healthy dose of alcohol-related "heat" hitting the nostrils. The feel is very smooth on the tongue, and the body is solidly mid-range.

Flavor has some malt lurking about, contributing caramel and toffee notes to the mix. Hops are plentiful and produce a lupulin-coating on the tongue and oral cavity. There's a good dose of resiny, piney hop action going on here, with a smattering of citrus getting tangled up in blue. The 11.30% ABV is quite evident, right from the get-go, with a noticeable warming in the belly not long after the first few sips. Despite all the hops, some caramel is what actually lingers in the aftertaste. Though not quite as hoppy as I like a BW (give me Bigfoot!!), this is still pretty solid! Had no plans to review, until I saw that these Stone BWs are yearly offerings, so wtf, eh? ;-)


look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4


 1,315 characters

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 246 ratings.