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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

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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
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Reviews: 246 | Hads: 330
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.

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

Pours redish gold with a small quickly fading white head beautiful looking beer

Smells of candied fruit and malted barley with a slight alcohol afterburn

Tastes of butterscotch and caramel with some dark fruit aftertaste very slight alcohol presence

Mouthfeel is pretty right for the style if anything a little on the thin side

Overall a exceptional sipper probably could have used another 6 months in the cellar but way better than a fresh one. This is a beer you sit on.

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Photo of Florida9
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light brown with an orange hue. There is a slight haze to the beer. Thin, creamy layer of small, bubbly head with surprisingly good retention. A little lacing, but not much.

S: Orange. Floral hops. Orange blossom. Some light alcohol.

T: Fruity and bright. Tropical fruits. There is a fusel burn on the swallow, but after a few swigs, the alcohol burn fades away.

M: Medium thick in body with enough carbonation to keep this beer lively. Alcohol is pleasantly noticeable and not over-powering.

D: An excellent BW. For such a strong beer, the alcohol is well hidden and the flavors are bright and clean.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a deep, murky amber in color, nice size head erupts out of this one, leaving with it good retention and excellent lacing on my glass.

Smell: A nicely done hop aroma really stands out upon first whiff, bits of sweet malt are balanced nicely, smells a bit boozy in the back end, with darker esters peeking there head through. A very bold beer in the nose.

Taste: Citrus hops explode off the bat, a nice undertone of some crystalized malt leaves an earthy yet toasteed flavor on the tongue. A bit of darker esters, light plum and some sweetness from the malt make this beer balance out perfectly. A nice touch of alcohol in the finish is just what this beer needed to become complete.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, syrupy on the tongue and bitter from the extra hops in here. Not too much carbonation so this one can be a little viscous on the tongue. Lot's of extra bitterness lying around here.

Drinkability: Overall I was impressed with how good Old Guardian is. I like the occasional barleywine but this one captures all the elements of what the style should be defined as. It's boozy, big, and hoppy, and right on the money! I'll have another..

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Photo of akorsak
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009, the freshest of my lot and the last stop (Belgo doesn't count).

A: The barleywine harvesty red-orange color, bright especially when light shines through. Still translucent, the barleywine doesn't have the murky suspiciousness.

S: The nose is rich, malty and thick. The caramel and toffee malts go to the extreme, syrupy in consistency. Lots of hops here, though, balancing and then some with an oily citrusy grapefruit finish.

T: Thick and oily, the fullness of the malts wants to clog up my throat; the only thing saving my life is the oiliness of the hops. Hell, the beer is like cheating death. The hops are still hot, burning in each sip. Sweet caramel follows immediately after the hops, filling the void when the bite drops off. Bold richness permeates.

M: The mouthfeel, in all its syrupy glory, is wickedly thick. I think I like this one, the freshest, best of all.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, Limited Early 2009 Release. Pours a gorgeous burnt caramel with some golden orange highlights, big chunks at the bottom. Two fingers of cascading head which leaves sticky lacing down the glass.

Whoa, after two years this is just reaching drinkable levels. Loads of resiny pine hops, loads of citrus, more leafy in the nose. Caramel base with hints of earth, but still overwhelmed by the hops. Booze in the finish, light burn. Creamy mouthfeel, a little thin in the malt base but otherwise spot on. This will be many years from balanced but damn is it tasty for what it is, a hopped up American barleywine - could drink this a lot, especially for the ABV.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.
Pours a ruby brown in color. No head forms on the pour, but there is a bit of froth that appears. Smell is huge malts, some alcohol and just a hint of hops.
The flavor is big. The hops are more toned down in this years offering than in last years. Last years was too hoppy for me. This one is much more drinkable early on. Huge malts, and just a hint of alcohol. There are some hops in this beer, but they are very balanced and complimentary. I prefer this beer a lot more to last years bottling. Might have to pick up some of these bottles to put down for awhile.

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Photo of johnkale
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - nice deep amber color, meager head left a little lacing

S - more subdued than I expected, lemon and orange, a little bit of caramel, hints of clove, berry, and booze

T - caramel and burnt sugars, orange zest bitterness, hops are very resinous initially. the finish is slightly boozy and this helps to accentuate some spicier notes (clove and anise) along with raisin-like flavors. Lots of bitterness at the end.

M - surprisingly light, just slightly oily. dances across the front of the tongue. Alcohol presence reveals the size of this beer more than body, remarkably quaffable for its style (though still a beer that becomes a chore to get through if served too much).

Excellent beer, aroma and flavor are super inviting. Goes well with pork, would compliment a loaf of limpa perfectly. Best enjoyed with a couple of friends, especially if they've just returned from a long stay in a foreign country.

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Photo of Wildman
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear red amber color and formed a small foamy light tan head that left latticed lace as it quickly subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, pine, grapefruit and caramel. The flavor was of malt, hops, caramel and citrus. The body is medium light and slightly creamy and the finish bittersweet.

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Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Tyler's in Apex, NC.

A - Amber with a reddish tinge and good clarity. A small beige head that dissipates quickly.

S - Rich malt and floral hops. Very nice.

T - A firm burst of malt and alcohol followed by a nice hop aroma and flavor. The flavors are all so distinct but work together nicely. A lingering hop bitterness and warming alcohol effect.

M - Thick with an almost oily consistency. Low carbonation.

D - A very big, strong beer that still has plenty of subtlety. I'm not a big barley wine drinker but this one definitely left me ready for more.

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Photo of Pittsburgh
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let me start by saying I love Stone beer. This place rocks, my favorite brewery, and this beer just reminded me of why.

Lovely pour, smells fruity.

Taste is amazing, this is my first barleywine, but if this is the standard, I am trying more. Tastes similar to one of the malty/fruity IPAs I've had, nice and sticky, but you get a huge hop hit as well, and a nice after taste as well. Good from beginning to end, high ABV, doesn't really factor into the taste in my opinion. This was aged a little bit and I think this is a good time to crack it, but I'd also like to keep one another year or 2 and see what happens. Next time, I am buying 2 for that purpose exactly. Very interesting and complex beer...well done!

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Photo of wheatyweiss
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, room temperature.

Pours a medium amber with a nice ample head that laces and sticks quite well.

Aroma is of estery alcohol with an intense bitter, earthy hop aroma. Sweet caramel and light vanilla notes are present. The aromas of alcohol and resinous hops make the aroma overall, quite estery and slightly phenolic.

Flavor opens with a perfect melding of sweet and caramel malts with a wonderful bitter hop presence. Hops become more fierce and assertive in the middle completely washing away the sticky sweetness of the malt. Finishes quite dry, with a nice bittering aftertaste to the tongue and throat.

Mouthfeel is lush and sticky. Carbonation is good, attenuation working in the hops favor to cut the sweetness.

A big Barley wine that melds the hop and strong malt characters well. Alcohol is well hidden and only detectable on the exhale. The balance is better than I have had in other Barley wines that are over hopped in my opinion.

Well done Stone!

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Photo of merryjoulton
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a fantastic deep gold that tiptoes the edge of being red... maybe an orange-red? this beer is exceptional looking. a beautiful 1/4 inch tan head showed no signs of dissipating until the last sip.

S: sticky, piny, lemony hops. a big malt aroma present, along with booze.

T: I can find two components to this: bitter and booze. I'm looking for malt, but its not there. a hop forward taste, seemingly attempting to mask the 11.3%... a tall task.

M: slightly creamy with a pleasant and lingering aftertaste at the back of the tongue.

D: surprisingly high for a brew this enormous! even though I mentioned that the alcohol is evident, it in no way makes it a harsh drinker.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A testament to aging quality ales, only to be served in a red wine glass or tulip.

A: Hazy shade of bronze, a smallish off-white head with tears of hops and malts abounding.

S: Wonderful balance as the hops have mellowed out enough to let the malts shine through the forest for all the trees. Aromas of pine, caramel, grapefruit, pineapple and charred walnuts.

T: As it warms up, the flavors suggested by the scents begin to emerge. Another year may merge the two perfectly.

M: Medium to full-bodied, a Old Guardian aged some 1.5 years is viscous and luscious.

D: Some claim to be able to drink more than one of these 22oz bombers. OK, but if you're willing to split the second one among three or four, I'd be happy to savor this night cap. Otherwise...

A case of this is well worth procuring. A few during the infant years, a few right about now and the rest over time. To my mind, a beer cellar needs Old Guardian keeping the treasure safe.

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

My first review...here it goes.

A: Old Guardian pours a reddish orange with more orange than red. Upon close examination you can see a little yeast sediment when held to the light. The head is a little disappointing, would have liked to see a little thicker head with better lacing.

S: You know the nose on a beer is spectacular when you crack open the bottle and you're salivating before the beer hits the glass. The nose is defiantly well balanced. Malt is present more then hops, and the alcohol is there to tingle the nose when inhaling deep.

T: With the first sip comes the malty background. More caramel then anything, sweet at first, then the hoppy bitterness stings the tongue. The alcohol is well hidden, but it is ever present to remind you that this is a big beer.

MF: Lightly carbonated full mouth without being too full.

D: Considering the ABV and the hoppyness of this beer the drinkability is great. I can more then sip this beer and not feel like I'm overwhelming my pallet.

Overall Old Guardian will not disappoint. The barley wine style IMO covers a wide range of beers. Old Gaurdian is somewhere between great and a definitive beer of this style. I personally would have liked to have a little more flavor complexity, but there is no doubt that OG is a MONSTER of a barley wine.

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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.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark, rich brown color with burnt orange tint. Small head but great lacing.

S: You definitely notice the booze on this one, but very sweet (caramel), and lots of hops (especially when fresh).

T: Quite hoppy for a barleywine, but still tons of malty sweetness. A rum-like taste is present as well.

M: Huge body on this one, kind of syrupy.

D: It's a delicious beer, but one that you can't enjoy too many of in a sitting.

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

Stone Brewery make some of my favorite beers yet. I was about to grab Double Bastard Ale when I noticed an intriguing barley wine sitting right next to it. I checked out the bottle and realized that I had to give this one a try. Being a limited brew, I put down the Double Bastard and snagged this massive 11.3% barley wine style ale... and I am so glad I did. I have been trying a lot of barley wines lately, but this is definitely the best one I have had recently. I poured it into a pint glass and noted the very dark orange, amber like appearance with a small, fluffy, off-white head. I then gave my nose a taste before my mouth. Huge hop and malt aroma, very typical of Stone. I then let my tongue join in on the fun and it was nothing short of spectacular. Obviously being a barley wine you probably wont want to drink gallon of this so I would say the 22oz bottle is plenty. If you're looking to session, grab a six pack of the Stone IPA to wash this down. Anyways, if you like barley wine style ales, or huge hop taste, or are looking to grow some chest hair and not look like a vagina with your miller lights, then I would highly recommend giving this a try.
Oh yeah, did I mention BITTER?

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Photo of MunchkinDrinker
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing after the fact from notes.

A - Hazy amber red with a thick rocky slightly orange-tan head. Plenty of lacing.

S - Like any good stone brew, plenty of malt and hops. Citrusy, grapefruit and lemony, but large sweet malt backbone. A real pleasant punch to the nose.

T/M - Ahh, now this is a barleywine. Good solid malt, slightly chalky quad-like feel. Sweet, but balanced by heavy citrusy hops.

D - Very tasty, but high alcohol. MIGHT have 2 on a night.

I will definately be picking up another one of these to review more thoroughly.

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

Enjoyed on 6/10/2011 in a Stone Old Guardian glass.
This beer certainly isn't fresh, but it's held up wonderfully.
The top part of my bomber poured a bit hazy, but had a nice orange hue and a darker reddish cast through the middle of the glass. A modest cap of fine, whitish bubbles lingered for quite a while and formed a bit of transient, spotty lacing. Tons of caramel and toasted malts in the aroma, some cereal grains as well. The hops have mellowed, but there are still notes of earthy, citrusy hops mingling with the alcohol. Bitterness was still powerful, softer up front while the caramel was present, but sharper in the finish. Cereal husks and toasted malts, mild citrusy and fruity flavours, plus alcohol flavour and warmth in the finish rounded things out. Really nice texture at this point in its maturation. Full bodied with lowish carbonation, just enough to keep it lively, that was integrated nicely with the malty mouthfeel. I'm glad I have more in the cellar and look forward to how they'll continue to change.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle served in a snifter. The beer was a pretty dark orange color with a medium-sized tan head. There was some fleeting lacing. Sweet, toffee aroma. Alcohol detectable. Taste was toffee, a little bit of fruit, then a big lingering bitterness. Couldn't really taste the alcohol that I smelled. The hops were quite pleasing. I really enjoyed this barleywine.

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Photo of mjgarrett2
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep gold with amber tints, quite transparent with a modest beige head.

S-Not agressive, hints of hops and strong barley and a touch of oats.

T-Mellow with sweet malts. Surprising taste of caramel amongst the obvious barley and subtler hops.

M-Maltier and sweeter as the flavor progresses with some bitter tones lingering through the barley.

D-Wasn't sure what to expect from this Barleywine, but it seems to balance well between the more common styles. Great for sipping and enjoying, or pairing with some fine foods.

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Photo of wampahoofus
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber brown with a small amount of cream colored head. The head recedes quickly with about a 1/4 inch of retention. Some carbonation is present.

The smell is hoppy with carmel and vanilla.

Ah, this barlywine in the real thing! The taste is sweet with a deep smokey carmel-vanilla flavor. The alcohol is not overpowering but is present. This is a nice balanced barlywine!

This beer is a real sipper. It is very drinkable and I will be back for more!

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Photo of JamesP123
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A. Much lighter than I was expceting. Pours a golden/dark orange with a big one inch of off white head. The lacing trickles nicely down the glass as you drink.

S. Citrusy hops dominate with some sweet & bready malts followed by a hint of alcohol as the beer begins to warm up.

T. Wow this is one of the hoppiest barlwywines I've had. Grapefruit, honey with slight caramel notes. Alcohol not very noticable.

M. Medium to thick mouthfeel, a little resiny like an IPA. Medium carbination with a slightly dry finish.

D. Wonderful Barleywine, can win over a hop head for sure. By nature barlywines are intense, but this is a very drinkable.

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Photo of n00tz
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep red apple cider-like (translucent) body, medium height silver-queen colored head that laces down the glass.

S - Piney with a fruity sweetness that I can only distinguish particularly as apple. Somewhat woody, mossy natural smell seems to peer out.

T/M - Smooth fruity grape, melon, berry onset, followed by a malty punch (almost porter-like) followed with a sharp pine hops that hammers it's way into your palate. The initial mouthful(s) carry the barley through until the hops burn in, though 5 minutes after your last sip you'll be tasting the barley and grain more than the hops - unique! The more it warms the less hops you taste and the more of the fruit, malt, and grain you taste.. the most temperature diversity I've tasted in a brew to date.

D - It really takes an open mind for newbies (those that don't know half of the diversity of brews). But wow, this really kicks up and drives home my desire for a beer cellar. Such a lucky find!

I drank this after much internal debate, this was my first barleywine and I was somewhat scared of it for lack of a better term. It will certainly be where I set the bar for good barleywines from now on.

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