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 hardy008
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange color with an off white two finger head. The head has nice retention and leaves a nice lace. The smell is mostly grapefruit from the citrus hops. It smells like this will be a very hoppy bitter beer, but the taste is sweeter than I expected from the aroma. Yes, the flavor is mostly grapefruit and hops, but there is also a malt backbone which adds balance. This beer becomes sweeter as it warms.

The mouthfeel on this beer is between medium and full bodied and is sticky and oily. The carbonation is somewhat low, which is good, and this is a nice drinkable beer. I have not always liked Barleywines, but I do like this one. It would be nice if this beer was maltier, but it is still good as it is. I would buy this again if available.

Photo of mtstatebeer
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a snifter glass. Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, frothy, off-white head, lacing throughout. Aroma is sweet malts, caramel, light citrus, earthy, and a hint of must. Flavor is caramel malts, citrus and resin hops, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, chewy, and bitter. Good beer, the hops have obviously subsided slightly in more than a year, but still fairly pronounced.

Photo of froghop
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is a cloudy brown-orange with a medium size beige head, and excellent lacing.

smell of sweet fruit (pear, apple) some roasted nuts, some caramel, spice, and grain in the back.

taste is thick, semi-tart, burnt caramel, roasted nuts, malt, some fruit, and a touch of citrus, ends a little dry and a little bitter, gets sweeter as it warms.

Photo of BatDaddy
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of bobhits
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Early 2009 release. Odd I just bought this and didn't check. I think this is a better beer fresh, but it holds up well at least the first year. Around 2 years it gets a bit too mellow for my tastes.

A. Thick white head, still doing well a year and a half old. Reddish straw, thick, and cloudy appearance.

S. Deep strong malt and hops. Opens with a sugary sweet beginning then a flowery and finishing piney hops.

T. Wow...I've had this beer 5-6 times at least but every time...wow that's all I can say. Toffee and caramel malt. Piney and strong hop finish. The finish ends with a nice alcohol bite.

M. Thick syrupy, plenty of carbonation, just what you'd expect.

D. Easy to have a nice drink or sip all night. Can't lie, the alcohol is a touch strong at times.

This is the standard I judge all american barley wines by, which is truly unfair to others. I'm not sure what real changes happen year to year with this, but solid stuff.

Photo of jwinship83
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- this one pours a murky dark orange/amber that has a finger of off white colored head. the head last a very long time and leaves a wall of lacing behind.

S- lots of caramel and toffee malts right off the bat. then comes some hops. mostly fruity and citrus. smells more balanced than i have come to expect from stone.

T- the caramel malt comes through pretty strong. the hops are much stronger than the nose would indicate. very resiny and full of citrus and to a lesser extent, tropical fruits. a touch of alcohol at the end, but its still pretty well hidden for something this big.

M- full bodied and thick. very mouth coating. a nice warming from the alcohol as it makes its way down my throat.

D- this comes off as a classic example of the american barley wine. nice and malty with a healthy dose of hops at the end. the bottle was easy enough to finish, but i dont think i could see myself reaching for another one. a great beer to split with someone on a colder night.

Photo of lhaqq
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber body with a creamy head that retains at about 2mm.
S: Good dose of malts--really grainy and earthy.
T: Similar to the smell. The malts almost remind me of fiber or oats. Spicy alcohol at the end.
M: Somewhat smooth throughout with the alcohol kick at the end.
D: One of the better barleywines I've had in awhile.

Photo of jjanega08
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= pours a nice orangish brown color with a thick creamy one finger head that has really nice retention. The lacing on the glass is pretty nice as well. The beer is super hazy not sure if its due to chill haze or not though. Really a pretty decent looking barleywine.
S= The first thing that comes to mind is pineapple. I think the pineapple smell is just a nice combo of the malts and hops. Really great toffee and caramel smell to it as well.
T= This was released in Feb. I believe and the hops are still holding strong in this one. The pineapple is still there but its well covered by blanket of intense flavors. Really bitter in the back but still really nice and malty. Alcohol isn't present in the taste too much its well covered by lots of sweet caramel malts. There is a ton of warmth going down the back of my throat though. There is some alcohol warmth as it was really really cold though and the malts come in more as it warms.
M= Pretty good but not great. Nothing too great here. Nice amount of carbonation and a good lasting finish.
D= Pretty good. I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. Really well done. Was perfect for what I needed tonight. Bad day at work and a nice little bit of hotness to it.

Photo of FleeVT
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bomber into a snifter.

A: Beautiful copper with touches of amber edges that just glows. The head is hearty and off white that dissipates with time to a thin layer that clings to the glass. On initial pour this is one of the finest looking brews I've ever laid eyes on.

S: Lots of alcohol on up front, this is extremely tight and could use some cellar time. Continuing on, there is a nice crisp dose of hops, faintly reminiscent of a citrusy IPA. Sweet malts come out with a hint of dark berries.

T: A lot of hops on the palate. In my opinion, they are a bit much for the style. The hops have that nice balance of citrus and pine. The alcohol does not come through nearly as strong as it did on the nose and it actually is a pleasant surprise after the mouth puckering doled out from the hops. Only the faintest hint of sweet malts come through during that split second the hops give way to the alcohol. A nice taste that should age well.

M: Chewy and substantial with a nice balance of carbonation. Nothing wrong here.

D: Another great offering from Stone. I may pick up a few of these and cellar.

Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It's a very attractive amber color with strong orange highlights. There's a good bit of haze clouding the view. On top is a vanilla colored head that reaches maybe a finger deep. It dissipated very quickly and left only light lace on the glass. Not too surprising given the high abv.

Smell: The nose is a little weak. It's very brown sugary and sweet smelling up front. Smells like there's a good malt presence. Mostly caramel. There's some citrus grapefruit and pineapple lingering throughout. Light plum and raisin complement the citrus scents very well. Hops are pretty strong and smell mostly piney with some citrus characteristics blended in. All in all, nice smelling beer, but just a tad weak.

Taste: The nose is very representative of the flavor profile. It's very sweet and sugary. Brown sugar is noted. Caramel malts are noted, but they're not quite as prevalent as they should be. Hops are very aggressive and bitter. They mostly taste like pine sap, but do have some good citric qualities. There's grapefruit and pineapple in the mix. Light plum and perhaps some other dark fruit flavors are noted. They're clearly secondary, but add a nice flavor to it. Surprisingly, very little alcohol is noted for such a strong beer. It finishes piney and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has body on the lighter side of thick and a pretty smooth feel. Carbonation isn't too invasive, but it doesn't really help the cause much either. It's still smooth and goes down easy. Drinkability is pretty limited. It's very strong at 11.3% and is definitely a sipping beer. I'll handle the bomber, but it will take a while.

This year's Old Guardian is overall a good beer. I can't say that it's materially different from last year's. Surpisingly, it seems like it could use a little more malt to add some flavor and assistance with the feel. Small gripe. Otherwise, it's very solid and still worth picking up.

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of this at The Main Stree Gourmet in Oxford, OH -- kind of a lucky find so if you're ever in that area, be sure to stop by and check it out. What was even better was that it was a bottle of '09 and kept pretty well in this store. I had a bottle of '09 when it was fresh and it was too big for me to get through too much, so with a year of age on it, it had definitely mellowed out and the hops had mellowed a bit, but were still really potent so I'd love to get a hold of another bottle of the '09 and let it set. Review is from notes taken on 6/1/2010 and poured from the bottle to a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a rich and deep honey color and starts with a 1/2 finger white head that fades immediately to a thin and uneven spotty skim on the surface; body shows tremendous clarity and minimal carbonation -- just one thin strand of bubbles trickling up; only a couple of spots of lacing are left behind on the sides of the glass.

Smell: A lot of honey sweet malts and a faint whiff of grapefruit bitter hop presence; a faint presence of alcohol is detectable in the nose as well -- nose is ultimately quite potent and makes its presence known.

Taste: Tons of the honey sweet malts are up front, but as kind of expected in most anything from Stone, the hops are still very present and are grapefruit bitter -- these hops have not really faded much at all over the extra year in the bottle, but have managed to mellow just a bit and ultimately this has become much more drinkable; the aftertaste is initially like pure honey, but the sticky coating holds some of the bitter hop resins and end up rounding out the palate.

Mouthfeel: Body is a little thick and heavy, even starts a little slick and oily; carbonation is a little more potent than it looks, but really smooth; a thick dry coating is left all over the mouth and as mentioned above, it really holds the bitter aftertaste quite well.

Drinkability: It's big, but I'm digging on the flavors and balance for such a big beer from a real hop-forward brewery; the ABV is high and that decreases the score a bit, and I would love to get ahold of another bottle to give it another year and see where it's at. Perhaps a road trip is in order.

Photo of emmasdad
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consistently one of the better bomber values out there, this one hasn't disappointed yet. Poured a clear, dark, reddish-brown color with a little tan head on top. On the nose, aromas of earthy hops, dark fruits and caramel. On the palate, this one was medium bodied, with flavors of earthy hops, caramel and booze.

Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of elniko
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from Bomber into snifter. Early 2009 Release marked on bottle.

A: Rich amber coloring with oily head. Nice lacing apparent. Good looking brew.

S: Typical Stone citrus nose with heavy hops apparent but not to the same extent as the IPA or Ruination. The high alcohol does not come across with I found surprising.

T & M: I get a strange musty tone in the taste that I have not encountered in the bottles of Old Guardian that I have had. Pretty well balanced for an American Barleywine, especially from Stone. Finish definitely has some bitter hop qualities.

D: For a barleywine this is quite drinkable but the high ABV would keep me from a drinking more than one bottle.

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to pokesbeerdude for this one.

Poured into a tulip a slightly hazy golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some honey notes, caramel. The taste is hoppy, with some malts, sweet, slight spice. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, maybe more hoppy that past years, recommended.

Photo of lovindahops
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this will be neat. A barleywine from Caly besides a bigfoot. Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass

Here we go....

A- hazy orange with that slow receding head. Bulky lacing remains on the side of the brew. Strangely, it almost looks like a blue moon with a lack of a head

S- whoa! Malty alcohol! So sweet with citrus and syrupy hops though. Butterscottch and caramel. Some watery raisins as well

T- sweet barley wine taste with alcohol and dried fruit. A tad crisp hopped flavor with light smoked malt even. Some earthy flavor is twisted with some citrus too. The malt does finish the brew with a sweet tone

M- crabonated and thick with a heck of a mouthfull

D- great west coast barley wine! Stone is wicked. You have to be careful with the alcohol. Sit back and enjoy one

Photo of Ralphus
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't even know there was an old Guardian until I saw it in a liquor store in Annapolis on a recent trip to Chesapeake Bay. But it was Stone and that was good enough for me.

Pours with a nice fluffy head that recedes to a cap of foam that leaves plenty of lacing. The color is good.. a cloudy orangey amber that I enjoy looking at.

The smell is also good. Soft notes of vanilla, sweet fruit and hops are present in the beginning. It's unfortunate that the strength of the beer is so high that after a quarter of a glass you can barely smell anything though. Well, it was nice while it lasted.

The taste is a typically Stone well done balance of sweet malts, fruity yeasts and hoppy finish. In this case the volume is bumped up by at least 30% and despite not tasting the alcohol too much - you can definitely feel it! It warms the stomach and leaves a slight burning sensation.

Mouthfeel is really well done for a beer of this strength. Smooth and refreshing with very little stickiness that I would expect.

Drinkability is also good. More than a bottle is out of the question for me given it's strength - but it does go down very quickly. Nice work Stone.

Photo of eslemarc
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber in a medium sized tulip.

Medium amber color, looks very thick, cloudy, and hazier I would have imagined. Nice cloudy cream colored head just a couple millimeters tall, stays pretty strong too. Very full thick lacing begins as the head falls. Half way down the glass the lace is still staying fairly strong.

Smells very fragrant, notes of honey, lemon, mild hints of some sweetness behind the wonderfully floral-esque hop character. Also possibly some darker fruits like cherries.

The taste starts off fairly sweet and fruity with an early onset of hop bitterness, washes over the palate with smooth texture and finishes long and bitter, very quickly warming without over powering.

With age I'd imagine this beer will become amazing as the hop bitterness subsides slightly and allows the fruit complexity to shine through. I have another bottle in the cellar that I will revisit down the road. Wonderful barley wine style ale.

Photo of PatronWizard
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wantet my 300th review to be something special. Don't know why, guess I'm stupid, since my 300th review matters to no one. Well, screw no one, I'm happy anyway. As Stone is my favorite brewery, I decided on the '09 Barleywine.

Pours completely opaque caramel. Tan creamy head. Sheets of lacing. All as expected.

Smell is of some fresh hops; moderately strong. Did I accidentally grab a Stone IPA? Some underlying scent that reminds me of ... smoking? Not really picking up any other scents, even though I'm expecting caramel.

Taste is big time bitter yum. Hops up front. Actually reminds me of the three bombers of Arrogant Bastard I had Saturday. The '07 and '08 Old Guardians I drank awhile ago had a little age on them (2 and 1 years respectively), and I think the '07 is the best of the three vintages. I'm still much enjoying the '09 right now. It just doesn't seem like barleywine. Seems more like a thick IPA.

This thing is smooth and harsh at the same time. Cool. Thick full, produces fresh lawn hop burps.

A huge advantage to drinking Old Guardian is 11+% bitches!!! Man I love Stone. Not afraid to use some hops, not afraid to pump up the ABV fo real lushes likes I, and not afraid to call you a pussy if you can't handle their brews.

Overall: would have anytime

Photo of Tdizzle
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to drinking this thing.

A- Poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, Old Guardian pours a brilliant orangish-amber color that I can almost see through. A nice head slips away into a thin layer. Not a whole lot of lacing though.

S- Bright notes of citrusy hops and tropical fruits on top of a rich malt backing that smells bready and sweet. The 11.3% ABV is very noticeable and imparts a slight chemical burn to the aroma. A tad cloying if you ask me, which you didn't, but there it is.

T- An intense hop bitterness is sort of balanced out by the big malt base. I can feel a mild alcohol burn in my belly as I sip on this viscous brew. The dry finish yields a hard, lasting bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M- Thick and kinda chewy with small carbonation bubbles that graciously prick the tongue.

D- Ok, so this beer has a really high alcohol content that makes it really "hot" in all categories. However, there's something about the taste that enabled me to basically plow through an entire bottle. Good stuff here.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage... 22 from the Coop .. great 2 finger head.. nice cap and alot of leopard spot lacing.. the brew is crystal clear orange/lite amber...

alot of pithy grapefruit in the nose.. lite pine with some warm caramel notes.. the hops are more than citric as it warms... sorta tropical fruits.. with a good slam of pale malts..

Flavor is great american BW .. triple C hops are abundant from front to back.. as it warms the bitterness is a great push with the pale malt.. a little bit of vanilla sugar cookie.. caramel essence ... The body is great and the carbonation pushes lite/medium with a less than plush mouthfeel..

I am not too sure what to make about this years Guardian... much better than last years.. This American barleywine is very very American.. I would have preferred a bit more maltiness .. right now the hops are first fiddle.. and I am wishing for some complexity other than hops...

It is still a pretty remarkable BW....

4/3.5/4.5/3.5/4

Photo of djeucalyptus
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a slightly murky golden copper hue with bright gold highlights. a solid and thick one-finger head sits atop, slowly receding to leave some impressive crumpet-esque lacing.

aroma of bready malt, caramel and honey, grapefruit hops and a hint of pine. more sweet malty raisin, a bit of alcohol, and more honey.

bitterly hoppy potency hits up front, then recedes to a fairly pleasantly complex malt profile with some nice honey, caramel and toffee. A bit of resinous pine sap and spice finish it up. Almost a strong and malty extreme-ipa. A definite alcohol hotness too.

Mouth is full, a bit sticky, carbonation doesn't quite cut through, although if it did, it would probably be overload. A lasting pine bitterness lingers for a seemingly endless amount of time. astringent, resinous, viscous, and fairly hot at this point... I'd imagine it would be perfect with some age.

All in all, deliciously strong and piney. Reminds me, as I said, of a strong IPA, more than in years past. The brown sugar notes and carmelized malt are a bit hidden... maybe with a bit of age they'd develop a bit further. Enjoyable, although a bit hot at the moment, definitely drinkable. Worth trying, and definitely worth grabbing one or two to lay down for a bit.

Photo of Psilo707
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Excited to hear the new 2009 release of Old Guardian was out, I immediately went down to my liquor store and picked up a 22 oz bottle. Pouring it into a mug, I noticed how orange (not amber... orange!) and opaque this one looked right away. I don't know if I've ever seen a beer this brightly colored in my life. Awesome.

Smells very hoppy, a *slight* citrus tinge, and a very earthy aroma surrounds the entire mug. Taking a big sip, I feel the force of this brew. It starts somewhat subtle when taken into the mouth, but once swallowed and sat upon, a strong hoppy overwhelming feeling rises. Organic tasting yet not being easy on the senses, in a good way. A lot of barley/hops and a good after taste that lingers.

The mouthfeel is one of the best I've ever had. It sits in your mouth almost like a cream, but with a lot of cleanliness and fluidity. The drinkability for me began high and eventually became lower, but still above-average.

Another awesome release from Stone!

Photo of djaeon
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy amber/reddish color with a moderate head. Little retention and decent lacing. Poured into a tulip glass.

S - This one smells pretty light compared to previous years. There's hints of orange citrus and malt.

T - A good amount of bitterness and acidity. Definite maltiness and citrus. But not grapefruit citrus. More of a orange/lemon zest kind of citrus.

M - It feels velvety wit ha sharp bitter aftertaste that dissipates quickly.

D - Very drinkable for an Old Guardian. This years is very drinkable and mellower than previous years. The 11+% ABV is hidden well. No burn at all.

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