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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 stakem
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle. It poured a murky orange color with a thin white head barely covering the top of the beer.

The aroma shows a lot of malty flavors to it with some caramel and toffee notes coming through. It's still got a good amount of residual hoppiness left to it as well with some resiny, citrusy, grapefruit like flavors.

The taste shows more of the resiny, bitter, grapefruit flavors to it. The malty sweetness mixes well with it and helps balance it out some. The finish shows a dry, bitter hoppiness to it that lingers.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being moderate. Overall it's a pretty good beer but the bitter, resiny hoppiness is a little overpowering for my tastes in the style. A little more rich, malty, caramel flavors would have gone a long way for me. Still a very enjoyable beer I find myself buying annually.

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Photo of Billolick
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$7.49 for the bomber at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY, feels like a bargain. "Limited Early 2009 Release" printed on the front label. Does anybody read all that blabbering printed onto the rear of these bottles?!? Pours clear, slightly orange hued medium almond amber. The head is slight and none to memorable. Carries a thin film and a slight collar, with just a tad of tiny bubble lace left on the glass. Minor nose of malt and perhaps a wiff of fruit and alcohol. Dense and packed with malty goodness flowing under a biting layer of citric hops. Additional notes of dark, ripe fruit,and then some alcohol, adds to the complexity. Not a bashful or timid brew. I love it right now, wish I had the patience and facilities to put a few bottles away for 2 or so years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pours orange/amber with a fairly nice initial head, particularly considering the abv of this one. Lots of sweet malt, boozy aromas, and big citrusy/piney hops in the nose. The taste is similar. Boozy and sweet with some nice hop bitterness with the pine being more evident this time, and quite a alcohol heat in the finish. For all its burn and hops, this is actually quite smooth. It needs some time to tame the heat, and there should still be enough hops left to add something. Pretty solid.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomer from Oak Knoll Liquor in SM.
Poured a nice burnt orange color with a foamy dirty white head. Nose was hops, hops and oh..hops with some grapefruit, orange peel. Taste is ok. Mine had an oxidized taste to it. While still good not as good as previos years.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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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 JohnGalt1
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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....


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

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

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

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Photo of dgilks
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange colour with a smooth, creamy, off-white head. Good head retention.

Big, sweet malt and toffee. Plenty of fruit as well with a mild hop presence.

Big sweet malt again but with a hefty dose of bitterness. The hop character still manages to shine. Lots of fruit. Complex but easy to comprehend.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.
A seriously tasty beer. Lots of malt and big bitterness combine with enough fruit to keep it interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of barnzy78
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Poured an opaque amber color with a tight off-white head - good lacing on the glass and excellent head retention. Aromas were sweet brown sugary malt, caramel, toffee, some hops and rather boozy. Tastes were very similar to aromas with a pleasantly sweet maltiness up front followed by the familiar finish of bitter Stone hops - all their beers have a very distinctive hop character. Good representation of the style with a nice west coast hop flare.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy, rusty orange in color. Thin white head w/ good lacing and retention.

S - Citrus and piney hops. Some light whiffs of dark fruit.

T - Nice balance of sweet malts and bitter hops. Faint hints of pine and citrus.

M - Heavy body... viscous yet smooth. Good carbonation. Slightly sticky.

D - Excellent Amreican Style Barleywine... alcohol hidden well w/ nice balance of flavor.

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Photo of champ103
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy dark reddish/orange color. A two finger white head gently rises. Some sticky lace is left on the glass.
S: Lots of floral, medicinal, and fruity hops. Apples, pears, and grapefruit jump out at me. A medicinal tea like aroma. A very light malty sweetness as the aroma lingers.
T: Bitter, oily, and resiny hops. Grapefruit dominates the flavor. Not much else, no real malty sweetness to balance the flavor out. Lots of hot alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. A crisp snap of carbonation. This is very hot from the alcohol, and a bitter beer makes this hard to drink for me.

I am always willing to revisit a style that I am not crazy about. This is what I have come to expect from an American Barleywine though. Lots of hops and no balance with the malt. If that is your thing, then pick some up because you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Orangish mber color with a nice colored off-white head that rose about half a finger on the pour.

S - Sweetl malts, mostly, some sort of nicely muted sugar smell. A nice touch of hops, which I was not entirely expecting, little bit citrusy.

T - Citrusy and sugary, just like I expect from a barleywine, it's an interesting style I need more exposure to. Somewhat yeasty, dry finish on it.

M - A little creamy, heavier side of medium bodied, nice carbonation burn.

D - Doing the bottle was a bit difficult, average drinkability as best, something of a sharp taste and the high alcohol make one bomber enough.

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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 KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a cloudy red-orange color. The head is a nice quarter inch cap of foam that lingers around leaving fine lacing around the glass. The aroma of a ton of malt, and a ton of hops. There is a solid caramel, and toffee backbone with vibrant citrus, pine resin, and floral hops. As far as aroma goes this is the best American Barelywine I've had in a long while. The taste is more hop forward than the aroma, which I like due to the interesting hop bill. There is a very nice mix of floral, grapefruit, and pine. There is a nice lingering bitterness, and moderate heat in the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied with lively carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a great beer that I will search out again.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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..

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

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

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

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


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


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Photo of Daniellobo
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A decent US barley wine that starts on a stimulating note and ends confusing hoppiness with bitterness and losing its character.

Presentation: 22 Oz bottle. Iconic Stone demon gargoyle holding a glass of beer in their classic design. Long and typical over the top Stone narrative on the back, somewhat tongue in cheek rambling about its illegibility and a variety of recent topics, some distantly related to the brew. Below a one liner gives a generic description of ingredients. Notes bottling date as "Limited Early 2009 Release". Lacks any other info other than Alc. by Vol (11.3%) and cellaring indications. Poured into a snifter.

A - Pale amber color with a head inch that fades relatively quickly leaving some lacing on its way down.

S - An assertive hoppy range emerges from a sweet malt base. Not too complex or memorable, citrusy whiffs within the grain nose.

T - Consistent with the smell, while the hops are aggressive as they typically are in US version they leave room for a sweet malt counterbalance. There is a distinct Stone taste to it but all things considered it offers a short range or complexities in particular in the caramel, malt, spectrum with heavy hops that are a bit monotonous and are always trying to take a front seat.

M - It's a medium to high body in part due to a generous carbonation for the style.

D - It's average, tending to be a bit dull as one progresses and hopes that it will pick up its richness a bit, but then it really doesn't.

Notes: Not a great barleywine in this incarnation but not an awful one either. Not sure if I had tried it before a few years back, I may give it a try in future year batches and see if it was a matter of a mediocre year. But for now and form me, surrounded with such great variety this is a pass.

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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 prototypic
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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