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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 331
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 12.29%
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:
Beer added by: scottoale on 02-06-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 246 | Hads: 331
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose is full of rich malt and strong hops. Deep roast. Juicy, almost-pungent resins. Smells quite good.

Pours a rich golden red color, good clarity, moderate head. Looks good.

All kinds of spicy herbalness. I'm hit early on with pepper, mint, and lots of thyme/sage/parsley freshness. It feels like a bouquet garni bomb went off in my mouth. Also working with this is the alcohol which I may be mistaking for sharp, pungent herbal oils. I'm trying to find the malt, no luck yet.

My senses are quite numbed by the wondrous hops and still no real malt. Stone would have done better labeling this an Imperial IPA because it's a very good one. Not the best Barleywine. Still, tastes good. Feels good. Good drinkability. It just needs a bigger malt presence.

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Photo of scottoale
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The limited Early 2009 Release, of course. Poured into a Duvel tulip, a chill-hazed, apricot amber-gold with a thick and creamy finger of off-white head. The head settles to the surface leaving a thick sheet of lace clinging to the glass. Great looking brew.

Caramalty and fruity sweet, with an overdose of hops lurking beneath. A slight roast and earthiness to the nose as well.

Big malty brew with a nice big hop balance. Quite tasty fresh this year, but still a bit raw and will smooth out very nicely with a year or two on it. I really like Old G thats been aged, compared to it fresh. Too much prune and fig when fresh, citrus flavor from the hops keep it in check. Needs to meld.

Big body and plenty of carbonation that's right for the style, as it holds up for ageing. It's more noticed in the mouth than visually and the mouthfeel is slightly astringent at this point. The alcohol is very well masked for a whopping 11.3% ABV.

Definetly worth trying this fresh and popping a few in the cellar for improvement. Big, bad Stone gnarleywine!

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

Beautiful bottle with the gargoyle daring the brave to drink. I brave it.

Poured into a pint glass and view a caramel color and a massive eggnog colored foamy head which is present throughout the session.

A sweet, sticky, hoppy (almost peppery) aroma.

The taste is very hoppy for a Barleywine. It does have a major malt kick which evens out the bitterness. The bitterness stays on the tastebuds though but it is a pleasant stay.

Drinkability is high even with the 11% though it will sneak up on you.

One of my favorites from Stone though this beer is best consumed at a warmer temperature which enables the drinker to appreciate all it has to offer. Aging it is even better.

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

Pours a clear orange with good head and good lacing.

Citrus hops forward in the smell, along with barley.

Barley, malt, caramel, tea, anise, and hops in the flavor. Strong flavors, and hops dominate, but alcohol well hidden.

Mouthfeel viscous.

A solid American Barleywine. Nothing about it really grabbed me, but it was pretty good.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a Vintage Stone Tasting as part of an Old Guardian vertical (07,08,09).

A- Poured a beautiful deep amber color with a large white foam that leaves lots of lacing.

S- Huge grapefruit and piney hop scents make up the nose with floral and other citrus smells apparent as well. Tons of hops in the nose compared to the 07 and 08 that I tasted just before it. Alcohol is present in the aroma but not overbearing. There is some piney apricot and light malt sweetness with brown sugar/caramel scents.

T- Big and bold grapefruit and piney hop bitterness initially. There is a noticeable malty sweet bread flavor in the finish. The hops dominate the flavor though with lots of bitterness and citrus flavors. Spice and dark fruit flavors are present with a caramel sweetness in the finish.

M- Big and full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- A nice surprise from the other vintages that shows a much bolder hop profile.

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Photo of bobhits
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a large snifter. Very light copper, a DIPA-ish appearance but with a skinny head that nevertheless rouses itself with a few swirls.

S - Upon cracking the bottle, my first thought was that it smelled as though I'd just opened a pinot grigio; it had a vinous aroma. When poured into the snifter, though, it gives a more typical American barleywine nose. Tropical fruit esters, mostly pineapple, passion fruit, guava. Some acetone. It doesn't smell as blatantly hoppy and one-dimensional as it did on tap.

T - Wow, nor does it taste as one-dimensional as it did on tap. On draft, it tasted like a glorified IPA. Not to minimize the still-considerable hop presence, but this is very rich and more balanced, not quite as dry hoppiness in the finish. Fruity alcohol much more notable here, better cookie malt backbone.

F - Has a good typical sticky-barleywine feel.

D - I don't know why this feels so much more full and alcoholic out of the bottle, but I find it much more complex, more aromatic, and more like what I expect from a barleywine. That said, I had 3 chalices of this from the tap, and I don't think I can match that here. Very good, but will be a struggle to finish the bomber.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.44/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very hazy, medium brown with orange hints in the body. Small, yet very strong and lasting, off-white colored head. Lacing is awesome, especially considering the age of this beer.

S- Strong and bitter, but not so much in the hops bitterness genre on the nose. Starts with strong brown sugar and molasses sweetness that quickly mixes in with a strong, malty bitterness. Tons of caramel malt scents provide the base and strong alcohol presence is also a primary flavor in the smell.

T- Starts off with a big display of the caramel malts and just a touch of the brown sugar sweetness. A small amount of hops bitterness joins forces with the stronger malt and alcohol bitterness to really pack a punch in the middle of the drink. Sweetness mixes back in to mellow out some of the bitterness before the drink ends.

M- This beer is on the thicker and smoother end with lower carbonation. The alcohol and moderately strong bitterness cuts down on the drinkability, but the alcohol is fairly well hidden.

Overall, I'm really impressed with how well this has held up for 4+ years. I think these Old Guardians are really underrated, but they do take a little development in the bottle to take on a certain level of complexity.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I can't decide if this looks like caramel water, or dirty river water. Head around the edges, overall, not a normal looking beer.

Smells like my kitchen when the wort is boiling in the pot. I can't get past that smell, it is unique.

Thick taste. Presence of hops early and late. Has a very bready barley taste and I can also taste grass, honey, and pine.

Like I said above definitely thick. Very full and sweet.

It will be tough to finish this bomber.

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Photo of fmccormi
3.61/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Straight pour from 22oz pry-off bomber bottle to a Duvel apèro tulip; no bottling date evident, though I suppose it’s not overly necessary.

Appearance (4.5): Beautiful light tan, almost custard-colored head, starting at a full three fingers and fading to a one-finger cap; moderate lacing. Body is a deep, glowing reddish amber, and quite hazy.

Smell (3.5): Caramel and booze, with rich, sweet malts dominating here. Bit of a candy scent, like those little Valentine’s Day hearts.

Taste (3.5): Following the nose, starts off with caramel and moves toward a deeper, kind of roasty, husky malt feel, like the barley was only half de-husked before it was malted. If that’s a thing. Bit of a boozy dry red wine finish, with just a hint of grassy-herbal hops coming in at the very end. Think I’m getting the flavor of distinctly British Isles (Scottish?) yeast happening here, which I like! All in all it’s decently balanced. Could use more bombast, but I appreciate the low-key balance here. Smooth.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Thick but not syrupy, a little oily, very little carbonation left in spite of the head. That’s okay, it’s aged two and a half years, shouldn’t expect a ton of carb. Still, has an effervescent feel going down, so mark it up a notch.

Overall (3.5): This is nice. I think I want to try this beer fresh, though. Definite sipper, but that’s okay. I like sippers, especially as it cools down. This beer is good, but it’s not blowing me away. Not the rich beauty I was expecting from Stone. Definitely enjoying it, but I’ll opt for it fresh next time.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip. I've been hanging on to this for a year. I had it when it came out, but didn't review it until now.

Darker amber/ruby/orange in color. One finger white head. Quickly dies down to a collar and wispy head. Nice spider web like lacing.

Smells deeply of caramel, toffee and sweet barley. There is some leaf, pine, and dank hops. An undertone of grapefruit hops.

Taste is rich caramel, toffee, vague dark fruits, and sweet barely. Hop flavor is still kicking as pine, grapfruit, dank and resin. Quite pleasing.

Light carbonation. Full bodied. Semi assertive small bubbles.

Good drinkability for such high abv.

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Photo of Lunch
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber (10/21/09). Served in a Stone Old Guardian goblet at around 50 degrees.

Appearance: Pours a rich and hazy golden toffee color with a one finger off-white head.

Smell: Sweet malts, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, with a wave of alcohol coming through on the backend. A rich intense smell that leaves no doubt that this is going to be a powerful beer.

Taste: Starts with an intense syrupy caramel malt lightly coated in alcohol, but in a pleasant way, with a hint of toffee followed by a distinct hop flavor seemingly only Stone can produce. An alcohol note resonates after each completed sip and one is never confused as to how big this beer is.

Mouthfeel: Rather heavy and full-bodied with a slight cloying characteristic brought on by the rich malts and higher abv.

Drinkabilty: Moderate based on the richness and alcohol content, but better than average for its style.

Overall I find this to be a welcomed treat when looking for a rich malt-bomb with a nice hop profile to balance out the sweetness. Recommended.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.67/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber, the last of my Stone bombers from my little trip to Indiana and Three Floyds.

A: Stained cherry wood, head settles into a decent sized cap and some lacing, very nice considering the amount of alcohol and the glass used.

S: Candied peaches, ripe mango, guava, melon type fruits if you understand me, I heavier, sweeter kind of fruit aroma, seperate from the crisper, more bitter orange, apricot, pineapple, etc. an almost cotton candy like sweetness still a piny hop scent lingers strongly. Loads and loads of bready caramel sweetness.

T/MF: A big boozy hammer, burns the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is at first smooth and slick then becomes constricting, almost abbrasive on the back of the tongue and throat. Hot, hot, hot alcohol over powers, peppery, pine is still here, very prevalent. Pine moves into earth, moves into medicinal bitterness. This is a whale of a beer and it just might get the best of me. Candied fruits prevail near the end but really borderlines on cough syrup .

D: This beer is rough, rough in feel and rough around the edges in taste. The aroma is something spectacular, really was enjoying that aspect of the beer, smelled like cake batter and pie filling mixed with hops coming out of the bottle. Time in the cellar would do this beer good I believe, but as it stands it could use some softening.

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Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.62/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprised after 6+ years, I have yet to have an Old Guardian. Maybe it needs a few months or couple of years on it, but this one was just too hardsh for my palate. Nice aroma and right on with appearance for the style, just not as impressed as I thought I'd be. Oh well, Stone is still one of the tops.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 22 oz bomber in to a goblet

pours a hazy orange with a thin white head

very big smell of citrus and pine

taste is like a malty sweety hop bomb triple ipa. sweet sticky bitter taste that is very persuading.

mouthfeel is very full.

for what it is, the abv is barely present. i can't wait to try my other bottle in a couple of years to see how this hop bomb transfigures.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Pours a bright, hazy orangish-amber hue with a small off-white head that fades quickly and shows hardly any cling.

Nose is rather floral and fruity with citrusy hop notes playing a huge role in combination with some light, sweet malt notes. A hint of alcohol hides in the background.

Full-bodied and rather slick on the tongue, with very little carbonation present. Big, bold hop flavors dominate the palate, with citrus notes of grapefruit, orange, and orange peel, with an underlying body of sweet caramel malt and a touch of alcohol, both of which are mostly hidden by the hop character. Finishes mostly dry with a lingering hop bitterness.

Tasty and rather drinkable for such a hefty brew, but way over-the-top for a barleywine, with more of the hop-forward character of an imperial IPA than the malt-centric character of most barleywines. This one needs to be put down for at least a year to allow the hops to mellow; as it is, fresh, it is too much of a hop bomb and not a good representation of the style.

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Photo of Andreji
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

so i'm having a bottle that says "limited early 2009 release" so i guess this is the right one.

Oh god. spontaneous purchase @ a d'agostino on the upper east side. not planning on buying beer but, what the heck.

dark, orange pour. oh it seems transluscent, but hold it up against a light and you'll feel the straightforward, matte orange. I mean, if you were a synesthesic, this would sound like a tv when there's only blue and no transmission. shocking. kinda scary indeed.

smell is aggressive right off. sure there's malt, and a citrusy feel like you're venturing on a pop named orange-something. but folks, below lies a considerable hoppy feel. it hides nothing from the nose, this one's go'n bite hard, so you might as well ball-up.


taste no.1: overwhelmed.
taste no.2: drawing closer, still too much.
tatste no.3: call me corny, but this one nailed it. a hop surprise to the bone, very suspiciously charged malts right off the bat. the burnt caramel sort of tries to lure you but it's second head brings a scotch flavour in while a spit of undeniable hops rides your tongue till its death. this beer's all contrasts and definetly hard to define. alcohol's nowhere to hide, it's too obvious but still the beer's so bizarre it might as well not hide but try to shine. this is a monster, indeed friends, one worthy of an old guardian and a young robust one as well, this could kill a man if only he'd dare not sample it but binge it instead.


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Photo of nick76
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma is very hoppy with pine and citrus as well as butter and caramel malt. The appearance is deep amber with a large head. The flavor is like the aroma with a very bitter finish. The palate is thick and smooth. Overall a very well made beer that is just too bitter.

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

A- Red copper color with a touch of amber. The head is very thin, yet stays a good while.

S- The hop smell is very gin/juniper like, with great herbal spices. A nice candy caramel smell.

T- That gin hop taste carried over to the taste. The beer has more hop taste then aged. Very tasty and edgy, not quite as refined and mellowed as an aged one.

M- The mouthfeel is good, nice carbination to the thick beer.

D- Easy to drink for sure. Goes down smooth but can be a slight bit harsh.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this bottle at a small grocery on my way to work, $4.99, unbelievable. I have yet to sample a Old Guardian, so my impressions will not be swayed by any previous year's offerings.
Pours out a golden malted tone of amber brown, a suprisingly effervescent head appears. This appears to be a rather highly carbonated brew for a 11.3% beast. I predict dangerous drinkablity.
Initial aromas are a tad bit watery than hoped...yet a big malty backgroundbegins to emerge. Citric hops add lightness, the alcohol definatley comes through by the means of a nice spicy peppery touch. After coming to temperature, more citrus i.e. grapefruits, mango, a touch of banana peel is found, sunflower,chickpeas in a abstractly light nutty touch. Seems harmless enough,can' wait to dig in.
The lightness is found. A spicy malted mix of peppery citric fruits, pure alcoholic hoppy(happy) warmness in true form.Candied orange peel,tangerine, rummy peaches, smokiness from the toasted barleys, grainy breads are found in digging deeper in this brew. This is definatley a young, hot brew that would gain amazing complexity in a year or so of aging. Hot burbony oakiness now would gradually give way to a nice vanilla compexity.
Drinkablity is great now in that it's so damn light and warm on the palate. Imagine a Strong Brown Ale, and this is what you have. A great young Barleywine. I will have to hide a bottle or two from myself to age.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rainy Saturday with nothing much to do but watch a couple movies.... And drink some beer from the cellar.
Poured out a ruby mahogany with only some spotting of lacing on the top. The nose has a tingle of booze but is mainly a lot of darker fruits like raisins and dates with some caramel notes. A citrus hop character is blended well with the boozy smell. The body is very smooth and full. Some sweetness right upfront with the a bold middle. A lot of malty sweetness and the dark fruit notes from the nose. Finishes with a solid amount of fruity hops and a dry bitterness.

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Photo of kegger22
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 release (just had a bomber of 2008 a few days ago).

Poured a hazy, dark orange with a one finger head that slowly faded to a thick skin. The aroma was rather more hoppy than malt. The taste was much more bitter than the 2008. I like hops (though not quite yet a hophead, I'm getting there), but I preferred the malted balance of '08. Yes sweet was there, and more so as it warmed, but I still favor last year's release. This one is good though. The feel was medium bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability was good for a high ABV.

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

A- Pours a deep golden-amber color with about an inch of thick tan head. Nice head, retention, and lacing for 10+% ABV.

S- Biting hops up front, followed by strong sweet malt. Hints of caramel, roasty notes, but not as strong as I would like.

T- Nice fruity, citrus hops up front. A nice bite followed by a strong roasted malt character. A little more caramel too. Little or no alcohol taste. Finishes slightly dry, with the hops coming back into play. Some herbal notes at the end too. Very balanced in my opinion. I really like it. Alcohol becomes more evident as it warms.

M- A bit prickly, medium bodied, creamy.

D- Surprisingly drinkable. Like a balanced DIPA. This one's dangerous at 11%.

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