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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

246 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 330
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.17%
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 BirdFlu
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly deep amberish/copper/red hue.. certainly deeper and darker than an IPA so gives a good indicator of whats to come. Aroma is certainly awesome. A very balanced yet very strong mix of hop and sweet maltiness. Both are present in a very robust way, the ho is quite fruity with grapefruit and citrus while still having a bit of floral quality. Also a fairly present alcohol aroma. The sweet is sort of malty but overall also very sugary and tart. Flavor also has a good balance of hop and malt, the malt is surprisingly a bit raisiny/plum-like the way you see in a doppelbock or so. Mouth is fairly viscous for the stlye, full-bodied and very nice. Overall its definitely very good. Its not quite perfect and certainly can be a bit in-your-face for some, but still overall very good. (794 characters)

Photo of Ralphus
4/5  rDev -1%
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. (1,165 characters)

Photo of juhl31
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
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 (747 characters)

Photo of SirSketch
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Huge, luscious white head that leaves a thick, beautiful lace on the sides. Between a deep amber to copper in color. Just a great looking beer!

S - Loads of grassy, earthy hops but a big malt character as well. Alcohol adds a pleasant zest.

T - Enormous bitterness hits first followed by caramel and slightly nutty malts. Acidic fruit flavors come through at the end and you are left with a lingering, dry, floral aftertaste. The alcohol is covered up pretty well, too. Awesome barleywine!

M/D - Its pretty carbonated for the style, but otherwise there is nothing I can complain about. Nothing else could have been more enjoyable on the night I proposed to my future wife!!! (681 characters)

Photo of Voonder
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber color with big off-white head which stayed for a while. Great looking beer. Lots of lacing. Smell - very hoppy, yeasty, a bit spicy. Taste - hops at first, followed by yeast, some plum-like fruitiness finishes with some warming alcohol. Full bodied, rich, creamy, great big beer. I usually have a hard times with barley wines, but this one I really like. It is bold and strong, but it's a pretty good drinker for an ABV. Very solid brew, one of the best I've had this year. (490 characters)

Photo of Tdizzle
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (1,041 characters)

Photo of lhaqq
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (321 characters)

Photo of sweetbrew82
2.56/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

22 oz./ fresh '09

P: Shiny gold from the bottle, sits a deep orange-tinted amber in the glass. 2 fingered off-white head is thick & creamy with good retention. The sinking crown leaves the glass coated with lace.

A: Big whiffs of fresh hops; citrusy with a hint of floral along with caramel, rubbing alcohol, and some earth. Judging from the raw alcohol presence here, I think you could get drunk from smelling it!

T: This is quite malty sweet out of the gate with gobs of caramel, slight toffee, and booze with an earthy undertone. Hops arrive late but come with a vengeance as grapefruit, lemon rind, & pineapple swing the balance back to the bitter side for good. The result, the alcohol teams up with the alpha acids and scorches the tongue like the hills of Yorba Linda. Which any good BW should do. But in this case, the alcohol flavor is just too present, and invades on the task at hand.

M & D: Full-bodied, thick & chewy, rich & creamy, just what I expect from a Stone BW. The drinkability of this one is described pretty accurately by the score I've given: awful! If I wasn't such a cheapskate, I would have dumped it. Like drinking a glass of vodka with a beer accidentally spilled into it.

Notes: This is just way too young, in my opinion. I don't want to lose those precious hops. But I do, however, want that alcohol to sit back and relax. Right in the middle should be perfect. This is one beer that I won't be drinking fresh anymore! (1,456 characters)

Photo of joefuzz
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours redish gold with a small quickly fading white head beautiful looking beer

Smells of candied fruit and malted barley with a slight alcohol afterburn

Tastes of butterscotch and caramel with some dark fruit aftertaste very slight alcohol presence

Mouthfeel is pretty right for the style if anything a little on the thin side

Overall a exceptional sipper probably could have used another 6 months in the cellar but way better than a fresh one. This is a beer you sit on. (476 characters)

Photo of rodney45
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark shade of crimson. The head is white and ominous. I think it sticks around only to say " im gonna watch you drink this"

S: Smells overtly hopped. Imagine getting punched in the face with a silky fist full of hops. That is what this smells like, and you really aren't angry because its from stone brewery.

T: Well its more malted than the Arrogant line, and at first sip you get only a taste of it. Then you're sodomized by hops. Its a good thing, and you eventually start to like it. Then its dry, and you feel guilty and slightly offended. BUT... you're happy... its hard to explain

M: It tastes alot like razor blades made of hops... with a lot of alcohol. Hidden. To trick you.

D: I can drink this till the cows come home, which they have. Its more than double the strength of a normal brew and you should keep that in mind. But, for a barley wine style ale made by stone, its more drinkable than you'd imagine.

This is a good brew... its the 2009 early release if anyone cares... I heard from the guy at the distributor that it was better in past years, but i dont believe him. This beer is profane. Thank god (1,128 characters)

Photo of Rhynes2
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first barley wine ever. I was very impressed by it. Honey is the best word i have to describe the taste of this brew. For such a high alcohol content i have to say that it blends in perfectly. I have been a fan of stone brews for a while now and this is just another excellent example of great stone beers. Head retention was great but no lacing on the way down the glass. Color was a darker honey gold. Great buy on this one, I'll definitely buy this one again. (465 characters)

Photo of ReDave
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love this stuff!
Pours a rather cloudy orange with a rather thin head and practically no lace.

First sip was sorta malty and i at first thought mellow...
Whew what happens! the bite comes on!
Its great! but it's a build up.
It's like the bitterness layers on your tongue and sticks around or something

one of the best barley wines around! Bitter style! (355 characters)

Photo of aristeros
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. I've had barleywines before, and Stone brews, so I'm pretty excited about this one.

Pours a honey-amber color, has a big, creamy, off-white head with decent lacing. I smell grapefruit up front, sweet caramel malts, alcohol, and some hops.

Tastes like brown sugar layered over citrus and bitter hops. Piney resins and the tingle of hops on the tongue eventually overpower the sweet malts for a dry, prickly finish.

The high alcohol content and big hop presence is well-balanced against the beer's other characteristics, but if I were to crack the second bomber I think -I'd- be bombed. This, and assertive hops and carbonation impact drinkability, even for the style.

Excellent brew. (712 characters)

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

Always look forward to Old Guardian. With all these excellent reviews its hard to think of something to add other than to say this beer begs to be cellared. Its great fresh but to me, this beer could seriously go the distance in a cellar. I recently took a trip o San Diego and while there my friend broke out the 06 Guardian he saved that I sent him long ago, it was fantastic. A word of caution though, this beer is one of those beers that seriously will catch up on me, maybe you too, so enjoy all that it is and don't over indulge. (535 characters)

Photo of merryjoulton
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a fantastic deep gold that tiptoes the edge of being red... maybe an orange-red? this beer is exceptional looking. a beautiful 1/4 inch tan head showed no signs of dissipating until the last sip.

S: sticky, piny, lemony hops. a big malt aroma present, along with booze.

T: I can find two components to this: bitter and booze. I'm looking for malt, but its not there. a hop forward taste, seemingly attempting to mask the 11.3%... a tall task.

M: slightly creamy with a pleasant and lingering aftertaste at the back of the tongue.

D: surprisingly high for a brew this enormous! even though I mentioned that the alcohol is evident, it in no way makes it a harsh drinker. (681 characters)

Photo of JoePat
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a white head that seems to last forever.
Has a pretty strong piney hop aroma considering its a year old.
Smooth malty flavor quicky over powered by the grass like bitterness.
Very thick syrupy mouthfeel but it fits with the bitterness.
Drinkability suffers some but but for a barley wine it goes down great. (338 characters)

Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.66/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to try this one for a long time and was stoked to see it on the shelf at Grapevine. Poured this one into my Maudite snifter. I love a good Barleywine and this one doesn't dissapoint. The aroma is faint but is sour and hoppy. I love the reddish hue to this beer, looks yummy. Nice lacing in the glass and there is a constant foamy top to this beer. Taste, this is good. The hops smack you right in the face and you can feel them coming out of the glass. There is a little sweetness in the beginning and then the hops punch back. You get just a tiny bit of sweetness then comes the 180 into a bitternes that is hard to descripe. Did I just lick a pine cone? Did my mouth just go completely dry? Why can't I stop taking sips of this? All valid question about this great barleywine. It finishes dry and is way to easy to drink for 11.3. There is a nice little alcohol heat esp. once it warms up. Thank you Stone. (921 characters)

Photo of Misfit138
2.82/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured from the bomber into my pint glass.

A- Very nice burnt orange with a very nice head.

S- Soft hints of fruit and mildly floral.

T- Taste like an extremely bitter grapefruit, made me cringe. There is a mild malt flavor that you will notice the more you drink.
- The taste does improve however while you consume more, but there is the taste of alcohol that remains very strong.

M- The mouthfeel is actually very good, soft and smooth.

D- I cannot rate this very high for drinkability. I like IPA's but this kicks their ass for bitterness. The high alcohol is also something that means it has to be drank with some care.

I don't think I will be trying anymore barleywines. (681 characters)

Photo of backfat
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a brilliant shining copper with highlights of amber. perfect lacing with a two finger off white head. just beautiful. the smell packs a punch. fresh and fragrant. granny smith apples, citrus, sweet malt, and pineapple. i want to make this into a perfume and make my girlfriend wear it. perfect. the taste is bold and ferocious. huge caramel malt and bitter all engulfed in citrus and piney hops hops hops! very strong and fresh hop character and milky mouthfeel. very thick. the balance puts me in a state of Qi. it is difficult to find flaws in this beer. it was made for me. dangerously drinkable, but the ABV will remind you that this is a creature to be reckoned with. thanks stone. This beer is perfect with about one year on it. It takes away any harsh astringency, but still packs a hop punch that I enjoy in american style barelywines. (849 characters)

Photo of porterwoobie
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: two finger light tan head that dissipates slowly and laces well. orangish/light brown color. cloudy.

S: some good citrusy aromas, mild sweetness and malt aroma, and some alcohol aromatics.

T: some malt sweetness initially, followed by the hop bitterness and bite from the alcohol. the bitterness tends to linger on the tongue while the alcohol warms the mouth and throat. finishes slightly dry, which is tempting to drink more, but at 11%+, much more for sipping, not pounding.

MF: full bodied, low carbonation. alcohol warmth is present.

Drinkability: whoah. tasty, bold, bitter i need to buy another and let it age a bit to see how it mellows out. hop bitterness lingers forever. very drinkable. (760 characters)

Photo of Pittsburgh
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
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! (715 characters)

Photo of RunDWP
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this last night, and it's a bit young, but this looks likes it might be a great barleywine some day. It's good now.

It poured a burnt orange color into my tulip glass, with think, light orange foam floating on the brew. The head never completely went away, and lots of heavy sheeting action on the glass. A pugent piney, resin-like smell greated me when I opened the bottle, and I detected it standing three or four feet away from it. I have a weak nose, so that's one powerful aroma.

Surprise, surprise, something from Stone Brewing is hops dominated. Lots of piney, resin hops dominating the fresh, chewey malt. The malt had a little sweetness to it, a little toffee like character. Wasn't really getting a lot of fruity-like character, here, but that's OK. Mouth feel a little astringent, and a little harshness to the brew hurt the overall drinkability. There's a lot of alcohol in there, and I could taste some of it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it hurts the drinkability department too, at least for me.

I enjoyed this fresh tasting, unique barleywine, and the good news is that I have another bottle in my fridge. I'm going to give it a few months before I open it, to let it mellow out some. I expect that this one will improve with age. (1,266 characters)

Photo of FleeVT
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (1,108 characters)

Photo of bowersdm
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into an oversized wine glass (the remaining 6 or so ounces will be enjoyed later).

A - toasted brown/ruby/copper color. it's hard to describe. a white 2cm head formed, but disappeared pretty quickly into nothing.

S - grapefruit, pineapple, citrus hops, caramel malt, fruit. a slightly vinous quality to it. it's not that strong though.

T - caramel malt, more fruitiness and the citrusy hops present in the nose. the hops are pretty weak for a fresh brew and it seems to be pretty balanced compared to other American Barleywines I know of that are hop-heavy.

M - nice, thick and undercarbonated. how i like my barleywines.

D - i didn't find this beer particularly spectacular. i have another bottle that i'm hoping will be better next year. (763 characters)

Photo of evilkalla
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (840 characters)

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