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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.73%
Wants: 6
Gots: 46 | FT: 0
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
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Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 247 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of litheum94
3.08/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Reviewed on 2/7/11.

Nice looking beer, with orange edges and a dark, burnt ochre middle. Fluffy, brownish head that takes awhile to settle down. Nice lacing, and beautiful bubbles.

Carmel sweetness on the nose. Robust malts. Surprising yeasty profile. Musty. Raisin bread. Pine hops. White pepper spices. Citrus twinge. Very complex and shifting nose.

Where does this beer start? Vague flavors immediately give way to a punch of pine hops and phenolic, medicinal flavors. Leads into spicy flavors. As it warms, more flavors try to poke their heads out. Carmel and raisin bread with candied orange appear, but those flavors are quickly beaten into submission by the hops. The finish is extremely bitter and has a giant alcohol punch, almost burning.

I can't believe this beer has 2 years of age on it. Very abrasive, and I feel abused. Wish I would have split this bottle with someone; it was a little too much for me by the end. Needs about 5 more years on it.

litheum94, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of Snow81
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Reddish haze

Head: Very little head that dissipates quickly

Smell: Big citric with a rich heavy sweet malt

Taste: Big dark malty citric that has a little heat on the back of the palate

Weight: Heavy to medium body with medium to low carbonation

Finish: Sweet, hops, and a nice stickiness on the lips

Snow81, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of juhl31
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-orange, auburn, caramel color with a thin white head. thick looking with some sedi up in there

-still has a pretty hoppy nose. solid caramel in there, with maybe some grapefruit and a little nose sting

-wow, still really hoppy. seems the hop flavor died a bit, but there is still a big hop bitterness in the middle that runs through the aftertaste. some definite grapefruit characteristics, while the caramel is in the background

-strong body, but not as thick as it appears. the lingering bitterness on the tongue is crazy

-this is one of the beers in which someone wonders the difference between an american barleywine and a DIPA. this is one hoppy bitch at 2 years old still. needs at least 2 more years for those malty flavors to come out

juhl31, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of ChrisPro
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted blind on 3/12/11 as part of Blind BIF #4

22 oz. bomber poured into a snifter.

Pours a burnt orange with a two finger pillow of cream-colored head. Virtually no lacing as I drink.

One whiff and I'm thinking this must be a barley wine or DIPA. There are huge pine and juniper notes with only the slightest hint of a malt backbone. As it warms, there's a bit more grapefruit coming to the party. As it opens up even more, there's definitely a bit more caramel on the nose.

Interesting first sip. My palate either has something going on with it or this beer has some unique hops. I get sort of a weird bitter maple up front, then a sweet honey, then a long long lingering bitterness that stings the side of the tongue. This bitter finish is incredibly citrusy with lemon and grapefruit all over the place. It's such a weird finish that it's almost a hint of sour. This is sort of a weird finish, but I like it

Pretty thin for the aroma and taste. Definitely doesn't have the body for a barleywine, but I'm definitely digging it as a IIPA. Perfect carbonation and insanely smooth. I can tell there's some heat there, but the wildness has been tamed by the brewer.

Overall, it's going down sickeningly well at cellar temp. Part of it is its complexity driving me to sip and sip, but part of it is that it's just plain good. I don't think I'd go out of my way for this beer, but if it's around, I'd probably try it again.

Still a bit confused on the style. If I had to pick something, I'd say imperial amber. It's got some malt, but not enough to be a barleywine, so it must be a DIPA. As to which one, I'm clueless.

Reveal: 2009 Old Guardian (a Want)
4/4.5/4/4/4

ChrisPro, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Thanks to SuperNova777 for opening this bottle.

A- Poured a semi-hazy amberish brown color. A half figner of tan head shows up and actually dies down rather quickly. Nice streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Caramel malts in the front of the aroma with hints of brown sugar. Orange skins come in hints from the hops. Darker fruits with a high alcohol tingle the nose in the ending. A simple barleywine aroma to me with hints of alcohol.

T- Caramel malts with darker fruits in the front (raisins mostly). Some light alcohol heat in the front which comes back mostly heavy and very hot in the ending. There is some piney hops that still stand out toward the middle to ending that for 2 years shouldn't be there (I feel like it at least). Caramel malts shine in the middle and stay through till the end.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Caramel malts, darker fruits, and higher alcohol left on the palate. Aftertaste is light pine hop, darker fruits, caramel malt lingering, and high medicinal alcohol. Flavors were highly balanced for the style which seems to be a Stone trademark. No off flavors but the alcohol seemed to be a little on the high end at times. High alcohol drying on the palate.

D- This could have laid down in the cellar a little longer I think. A overall above average barleywine that could be tweaked a little. Maybe a little less on the alcohol flavor and a little more indepth fruit flavors could give this one a little more justice.

alleykatking, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass as a reward for a nice workout snowshoeing in Maine. Getting a foot of snow here today and we hiked around in the woods for well over an hour. Sounds like a perfect day to break into my '09 Old Guardian.

Hazy deep amber color with brown/orange highlights. I did have this in a regular fridge here and took it out for 20 minutes to allow it to get to the right temp. Interesting that it's this hazy. A finger of bubbly light tan head forms and settles quickly. Quite interesting that despite a less aggressive head, there is a ton of lacing left everywhere. Literally almost the entire inside of the glass has a thick file left clinging to it.

Sure smells like a barley wine. Deep and inviting malt aroma with a background of fruit. I think more caramel vs. brown sugar here. Certainly a sweet note.

Sure tastes like a barley wine! ;) The depth of the flavor is really nice here. There are layers to the malt flavor and you can just enjoy them as you slowly sip this big beer. A sweet punch immediately, followed by a moment of vanilla cream. More sugar but now a bit more like brown sugar. Some fruit then a punch of pithy bitterness. Lots going on here.

Big in body and big in your mouth. Very mild carbonation. Almost oily

Certainly fits the bill on a day with a foot of snow. I really enjoyed working through the bottle and sharing just a bit of it..

Reagan1984, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of SupaCelt
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought off the shelf last week at my favorite haunt.

The colour is a blushing honey tone with minimal carbonation. Head is small and doesn't stay to visit.

The nose is largely hot and alcoholic. Fusels, baby. There is a grand crusty sweetness underneath. Burnt sugar and caramel with some funky old tones.

The taste is heavy on the burnt sugar and a prominent, but appropriate and welcomed alcohol burn and dryness. Tastes are crude and raw.

The mouthfeel is like warm syrup.

The drinkability is good for the style. This one is a sipper. Watch some Survivor and nurse one.

SupaCelt, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Al's of Hampden served in a nonic. Appears a hazed golden copper color with a finger of creamy yellowish stained head that retains quite well for 11%. Faint patches of lace cling to the glassware with each sip. A light swirl revives the cap to a finger's strength and large bubbles of carbonation continually rise through the body.

The aroma of this brew is sweet with a scent of caramelized sugary malt. Fruity indications with hops that are light rind-like somewhat reminiscent of orange skin. A bit of fusel alcohol tingles the nose and finishes out the aroma.

The taste if this offering has a pleasant contrast of sweet caramel malt verse modestly bitter rindy hops and bold alcohol. For coming up on 2 years old or so this brew can certainly hold out much longer. Hops last inside the mouth long after each sip with a mixture of herbal aspect and rind. As this brew warms it picks up some toasted toffee like flavors that are a pleasant mix to the solid abv and hop character.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Very bold and quite a solid strength sipper. A well rounded brew that could be cellared for a few more years and enjoyed. The hop oils seemingly stick and cling inside the mouth. with each sip.

stakem, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of ritzkiss
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

ritzkiss, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of mtstatebeer
3.98/5  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.

mtstatebeer, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of ShogoKawada
2.7/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz into Newport Storm pint glass. Bought @ Chris Gassbaro's vast wasteland of beer.

A- Pale hazy orange with a bit of amber. Nice cascade in the pint glass.

S- Nose is of a wheatwine, actually. Sweet malts.

T- Taste is cotton candy, sweet sherry and undefined grape sugars and some heat from the alcohol.

M- Hot. Abrasive, not what I was expecting.

D- Moderate. I think this beer may be in a transitional period- I have another bottle and will give it some time and a re-review if needed.

ShogoKawada, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of RankRefugee88
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into weiss glass.

A - Unfiltered body, extremely cloudy, thin whitish head. Plenty of lacing.

S - Strong aroma, smells aged. Fruitiness, I smell grape, nice malt, very hoppy. Very nice fruity scent mostly.

T - Immediate all around alcohol presence, but dresses the fruity and complex malts very nicely. Nothing too overpowering, especially for an 11.3%. Caramel highlights in the middle, tart at the end. Piney from beginning to end, tastes like it has aged well over the past 2 years. Hops are probably less prevalent than they would have been if I drank this beer in 2009. Very well-rounded taste overall, nothing to complain about.

M - Bubbly, nicely carbonated. Super dry, and extremely crisp.

D - Good drinkability. Only picked up a bomber but I can see my self getting lost after having a few glasses.

Very good brew. I finally picked up a bomber of this beer after having it been suggested to me several times. Very satisfying, great barley wine. Nothing to complain about.

RankRefugee88, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of Naugled
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thin tan head, deep copper color with some sediment.

Raisiny nose with deep complex maltiness.

Warm in the mouth with a hoppy raisin flavor, sugar sweetness and late bitterness. A little sticky in the mouth as well, a bit over bitter and dull. Softly carbonated.

However, still a drinkable beer.

Naugled, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of zoolzoo
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage, consumed 11/17/10

A: Rusty copper center, orange highlights. Incredibly hazy. Thick white head, excellent lacing and retention.

S: Zesty hops still present after over a year of age. Booze ans sugary malt also present.

T: Hops have somewhat faded compared to when fresh, although they are still quite apparent. Sharp, biting, bitter, piney still describe the initial sip. Assertive bitterness up front is actually detrimental to the overall taste of this beer.

Malt soon rolls through, grainy but also sweet. Sweetness is a big player here, in fact. I feel like my lips are sugar coated after each sip. The malt gets a little more expressive as the glass warms but we basically have a one trick pony here. Good American barley wine both fresh and with a year on it, but perhaps lacking some depth.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy, even more so as the glass warms.

D: Not bad, however the 11%+ ABV coupled with a high level of sweetness / bitterness may hold you back. Two of these bombers and you'd probably hit the floor anyway.

zoolzoo, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly blurry pumpkin peel orange topped by a thick slice of ecru colored foam that occupies the glass from the nonic bulge to the rim. Is it my imagination or were previous Old Guardians filtered? Foam longevity is impressive and lace is slightly less so.

The aroma is primarily pale with a mid-range malt presence of the toasted-earthy-caramel sort. There's a fair amount of fruitiness and a mere blip of alcohol. Hop(s) in use? Hard to tell... and I got eye strain and a headache reading the miniscule print on the back of the bottle attempting to find out.

2009 Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale tastes pretty similar to every other Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale. It would be great if Stone changed the recipe from time to time, but if it hasn't happened yet, it probably isn't going to happen. Guess they're happy with the basic blueprint.

Although the hops vary every year, they're always in the citrus zesty (orange especially) and spruce-like vein. The malts taste like they smell, with perhaps a little more caramel this time around. For a beer that is now about 22 months of age, alcohol is still on the aggressive side. Having said that, mellowing is occuring as the beer warms.

As always, the mouthfeel is a large and luscious treat. Still rampant alpha acids and the finely honed steel slice of alcohol aren't quite able to cut through the malt sugar crushed velvety plushness that greets each mouthful.

Buying and reviewing each year's Old Guardian BWSA is a ritual that will continue as long as Stone continues to brew beer in this series. Having said that, this will never be a truly great American barleywine unless Greg and the boys choose different malts and do a better job of alcohol masking. Just one BA's opinion.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer sereved side by side with a 2004, wine and bourbon barrel aged versions. This was a close second behind the 2004.

Beer is reddish and clear with a tight head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Beer smells malty but unlike the 2004, this one is pretty hoppy too. Nice.

Beer is strong and big. Mildly hot but its hoppy bitter with good hop character that matches the malt sweetness in the front mouth quite well. Its a very drinkable and nice beer. Stone makes good barleywines, that's for sure.

drabmuh, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of wcintula
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wowo. Strong beer. Strong flavors. Poured into a Duvel glass, the beer is beautiful. Deep dark honey color with a very creamy head of complimentary color, about 1 and a half fingers deep with a high pour. Very well retained, throughout. Smells verrry malty with your trademark Stone hops and a strong alcohol smell. Some fruits involved. The taste matches all of this which is good, you taste what you smell. But it's bad, sometimes that alcohol taste is just too much. Nice barleywine with a viscouse body with enough carbonation to make it not feel like your drinking malt syrup. I can drink about as many of these as I can any other barleywine. Enough to get happy. ;-)

wcintula, Oct 07, 2010
Photo of earthboundagain
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Old Guardian drank on 9/6/2010

I cracked this baby open after work today as part of my personal Labor Day celebration.

The beer pours a burnt orange and has a nice hazy appearance. The head is minimal put does leave a tiny amount of lacing.

Ok the nose is of caramel covered pine hops, and a touch of straight alcohol.

Ok the taste is loads of caramel malt, some buttery notes, and while the hops have faded they still pack a decent piney punch.

The feel is slick and creamy a bit sticky but has enough carbonation to not be cloying. The alcohol is well hidden and this beer can be dangerous.

earthboundagain, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of bobhits
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

bobhits, Aug 21, 2010
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.

evilkalla, Aug 06, 2010
Photo of Buebie
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this lovely from Freethyhops.

Poured into an oversized snifter. To say its hazey would be an understatement. about an inch of bubbly froth is formed from a rigerous pour. Retention of assorted (mostly large) bubble islands and a ring around the collar.
Color is a marmelade orange.

Aroma is sweet and nectar like with loads of caramel malt goodness and just a hint of alcohol at the nose.
Some mild fruity hops and pine.

Feel is slick and creamy with a full bodied feel and smooth carbonation.
Taste upfront is sweet and filled with caramel, malt, buttery bread and plenty of cereal grains.
Hops start to smash me up midway throw and dominate through the swallow with plenty of pine and citric peel. Through the hop bruising, malt still shines through with sweet caramel.
Finishing almost wood like with bitters and a little aspirin.
Very mild warming feel and for 11% it is way too mild. Dangerous really. :)

Very delicious brew. I didnt think I'd ever get a chance to try this and then this trade fell into my lap.

Buebie, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of bundy462
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy copper color with a frothy tan head. Head retention was good.

S: Boozy sweet malt base with a somewhat tamed piny hop. Very good balance of malt and hop. Plum, grapefruit, caramel all shine through.

T: Huge hanging pine hop throughout. The sweet dark fruit-like malt barely fights it's way through. Definite earthy flavors also apparent, but this is mostly about the hops.

M: Prickly, alcohol warming, pretty smooth.

O: Nice brew, very drinkable. Would buy their future yearly releases.

bundy462, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of johnnieoz
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

johnnieoz, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of Pittsburgh
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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!

Pittsburgh, Jul 10, 2010
Photo of ryanonline
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice orangey coppery color with a whitish tan head.

Piney and malty. A slightly biscuity scent.

Taste is the same, slightly boozy. Biscuity still. Very tea like flavor as well.

Slightly thin bodied and a mellow carbonation. A bit dry and hot on the way down.

Pretty easy on the stomach, uncommon for the style. I could handle more than one of these.

Good beer, okay for the style.

ryanonline, Jun 21, 2010
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.