1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

329 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 329
Reviews: 246
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.73%
Wants: 6
Gots: 46 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 02-06-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 329 | Reviews: 246 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of maskednegator
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Copper. Off-white head deflates in a minute or so, leaving a thick lace on the glass.
Smell: Alcohol, brown sugar. Toasted malts, pine needles.
Taste: Caramel, brandy, little bit of sweet apples. Big, spicy hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, medium carbonation.
Drinkability: A lot of alcohol presence. My buddy's Belgian-drinking girlfriend got mad at me after trying it. I think it's ready to go out of the bottle, but holding onto one for a few years will make this one absolutely tremendous.
Verdict: Solid, likely to be totally transcendent in a few years. Peep the abv, and clear your schedule for the evening. This is like drinking a 40.

Photo of Wildman
4.28/5  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.

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of GJ40
4.28/5  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.

Photo of wheatyweiss
4.28/5  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!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of johnkale
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of far333
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed and murky deep orangey copper with a thick head of beige foam that rises up to a chunky head.

Big aroma of pine sap, overripe apple, citrus hops, honey, toffee and brown sugar.

Rich and complex flavor that fairly matches the nose, a little sharper on the tongue, probably from the ABV. Good balance of hops and malt, grapefruit pith and pine lingers.

Rich and full mouthfeel, tingly carbonation, definite warming on the tip of the tongue and the cheeks.

Very tasty and drinkable beer, but I'm gonna sip this one slowly for sure.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It looks like a glass of honey with a 1/4" of soft and smooth head that's a light caramel tint. There's a good amount of carbonation rising through the translucent body. No lacing.

Having had more than a handful of different Stone brews this is exactly what I expected in both smell and taste. There's a very strong hop profile to this, even for a barleywine. The smell is sweet like syrup and the hops show up as pine trees. It's a very well balanced smell. The taste has a nice bitterness to it and is hop-forward with pine and citrus. There's a strong malt backbone that has a caramel or brown sugar like sweetness to it. The aftertaste is a slight alcholic burn and fruity esters.

It has a nice creamy mouthfeel that is cut with crisp carbonation. Finish is slightly bitter, but not as bitter as I expected with such a nice hop profile.

The alcohol taste and burn is there, but well played with the rest of the beer and contributes to the overall flavor as opposed to detracting from it. For and 11.3% barleywine, no problem.

Stone in general is my personal favorite when it comes to the use of hops in all of their styles and this is what I imagined it'd be. Another very strong offering from a top notch brewer.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- This beer poured a nice reddish amber color with little head which disappated quickly. Lacing present throughout.

Smell- Nice hoppy aroma. Perhaps a grapefruit aroma with a sweet maltiness.

Taste- Interesting taste. Has the hoppiness of most Stone but finishes with an interesting hint of peppermint. Very cool. Nice maltiness as well which gives it a nice balance.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with low carbonation.

Overall- A fantastic barleywine.

Photo of wampahoofus
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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!

Photo of JamesP123
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter; bottled in 2/2009, 5 years old. Pours very hazy ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of huge caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, raisin, prune, pear, apple, floral, grass, herbal, light pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate hop notes; with big strength. Taste of big caramel, raisin, prune, pear, apple, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, toast, toffee, floral, grass, herbal, light pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, raisin, prune, brown sugar, toast, brown bread, toffee, floral, grass, herbal, light pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy/fruity hop/yeast flavors; with an awesome hop/malt balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth, and moderately slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with a minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding barleywine at 5 years old. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of n00tz
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of mjgarrett2
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of soupyman10
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wife got me a bottle of this, first one I've gotten my hands on in a couple of years. Look is solid - amber color, fairly light, with a smallish head that dissolves quickly down to a fairly fine film. Huge nose: strong on fruity hops, spice, and caramel malt. Really perfect, well-balanced aromas here. Definitely a hoppy nose, but not unnervingly so. Body is fruity sweet up front, then rolling into a more caramel malt before finishing with a strong, drying, syrupy hop conclusion. A really good example of a solid barley-wine, although this one obviously focuses on the hops side of the fence, leaning into DIPA range (but who's counting, really). Fruitiness, looking at some dried fruit - raisins and apricots. Don't get any alcohol out of this sucker, despite the 11% ABV. Body is fine, with a really busy carbonation that works with that strong hop presence. Overall, this is a really solid brew, much like I remember it.

Photo of evilkalla
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 2009 vintage bomber into a big ale glass.

A: Cloudy copper color. About a half inch of head which receded pretty quick. Lots of bubbles. Decent lacing on the glass.

S: Definitely hoppy but it has an unmistakable barley wine smell to it.

T: Huge barleywine malt sweetness with a sharp, citrusy hop backbone. Fruity with burnt molasses and coffee undertones to it. Really good. Supposedly there's some alcohol in there but I can't detect it.

M: Not a huge level of carbonation, feels just right in the mouth. A little on the filmier side, which is understandable given the hugeness of this beer.

D: Not something you're going to chug, but highly drinkable. The alcohol is hidden so well that I could probably keep drinking this one till I fell off my chair. In light of this, I'll stick with the one bottle. Very, very good.

Photo of strengthdoc
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass to reveal a nice reddish copper color. The aroma was not overpowering and consisted of raisin, licorice and pear. The mouthfeel was very nice and not syrupy like some of the style, pretty much perfect. The taste at first is milder than I had expected, there is a touch of raisin at first then the hop character charges in. The mid taste is of grapefruit hop and the finsih is a nice earthy pine hop bitterness. There is a nice alcohol warmth in the bitter aftertaste. This one could really sneak up on you. The 11.3% abv is hidden well.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: reddish dark brown

smell: large hop presence, very plesant for a hop fans. more than I expected and much more than bigfoot

taste: strong hops aroma, rich malty flavor

mouthfeel: high carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: smooth large beer. I was impressed. Never had a Barleywine other than Bigfoot. I liked both and they are completly different.

Photo of rajendra82
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Early 2009 release in 22 oz. bombers, and it's in Georgia already, man how the times have changed. The pour was quite good to look at, as the body was deep reddish amber, and clear, and the head atop was somewhat small but durable. The smell was quite malty, with fruity aromas like fig, apricot, and pomegranate, but the hops were lurking right beneath when I inhaled deeper revealing pine and more pine. The taste was sweet at first as the malts seemed dominant, but mid sip it switched to a dry, hoppy, and boozy affair. The finish was bitter and chalky with hops driving the point across. Quite creamy in the mouth and satisfyingly dense. Glad to see an old favorite of mine locally, without having to put up with confiscatory shipping charges from the west coast.

Photo of hustlesworth
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
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 rodney45
4.38/5  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 GClarkage
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of badbassrandy
4.38/5  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 bitterthebetter
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a clear amber with reddish brown hues, crispy off-white head

aromas of candied sugar, piney hops, caramel malt, slight gingerbread, faint raisin notes

caramel malt upfront with a solid piney hop backbone, layers of candied sugars, slight marmalade, molasses, slight lemon hops, faint green notes, almost bourbony notes on the finish

starts medium but then gets bigger with time, solid malty body with good caramel slight sugary notes, leading to a balanced, sturdy finish, with a slight alcohol hotness

a tasty, medium bodied barleywine. not as big on the hops as per usual Stone Brews, but that works well with the malt body for a balanced, layered, tasty barleywine with good layers and a great finish. Yet again, a great stone brew

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.