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

329 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 329
Reviews: 246
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.73%
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:
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: 329 | Reviews: 246 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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!

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.

Photo of lovindahops
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Here we go....

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

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

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

M- crabonated and thick with a heck of a mouthfull

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

Photo of bamadog
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of joshstevens87
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a red orange brown kind of color with a half inch light tan head
S-some sweet malt with notes of bread,carmel and molasses and some good dose of citrus hops
T-a sweet bready malt with a hint of caramel and molasses with an assertive citrus hop profile and a very present alcohol
M-a very full body with a dull carbonation making it smooth yet bitter from the hops and alcohol
D-overall a very good beer and one that would do very well with some age on it

Photo of zebco
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 22oz bomber poured an amber-orange color. Kind of a cloudy look to it. It had an ivory colored head. I kept smelling a roasty, almost chocolatey aroma. Some hops in there also. During the first sip, the heady was creamy feeling. The malt flavor was pretty strong. The hops seemed to hit later on and balance very nicely. I'm not sure the IBU rating of this brew but the bitterness seems moderate. A slight alcohol warming mouthfeel. This beer seemed to get better the further I went along. At 11.3% abv maybe that's why. But I enjoyed this very much. Would like to find a 2010 in the future...

Photo of AgentZero
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Photo of BDTyre
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not a bad barley wine from Stone. Orange-copper, very light and clear with a very thin off-white head.

Sweet, slightly vinous scent. Malts, brown sugar, raisins and hints of blackberry.

Somewhat bitter taste - hops, berries and raisin and wine hints. Suggestions of brown sugar, caramel, bread and even bananas. Rich flavour, but sometimes the complexity is lost.

Good carbonation though at times it seems a little too heavy on the fizz. Very enjoyable, but a dessert beer at 11.3%

Photo of tmgiddings
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Crown Liquors #6 - Hazy, opague amber with a thin white head and sparce white lacing. Aroma is subtle resin hops, caramel, toffee, and sweet bready malt. Sweet bready malt dominates the flavor with subtle resin on the front. Mouthfeel is both oily and creamy.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.73/5  rDev -9%
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 $.

Photo of Chico1985
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, so this is a little over a year old now. Opened with a nice little pop and smoke, very reminiscent of my first '08 Double Bastard a while back. Poured this into an oversized wine glass. Pours a very nice translucent red with a small but nice creamy off-white head, leaves nice lacing. Looks great in this glass. Sediment in the 2nd pour makes it a bit hazier. I'm trying hard to pick up scents but they seem quite faded, maybe because of the age. I pick up barleywine characteristics such as dark fruit, caramel and booze but they are slight. The taste, although very good, is quite muted as well. It seems at first that it's turned into a total malt bomb, but about halfway through the hops are just about even with the malts. Underneath a huge blanket of caramel malt lies some nice citrus tastes and sugary dark fruits, and a bit of chocolate and baked goods, which seems to come into play alot with Stone's strong ales, I always enjoy that part especially. Booze is very nicely hidden. It's hard to say whether age has done this beer good or not, I love the malty sweetness and hidden booze, but the flavors themselves aren't as "in your face" as I like in a barleywine. Mouthfeel is nice and very malty. The hops seem to come out of nowhere. As with pretty much any barleywine a bomber is quite sufficient. Paired nicely with some spicy Chinese food. Definitely encouraged me to pick up a fresh 2010 bottle, I may pick up another 2009 if I see one floating around.

Photo of BatDaddy
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a snifter. Pours a slightly cloudy tea-like color with a fluffy cream colored head that settles down to a wispy lace and some nice bubbles around the edges.

S - Hops are present, but the caramel malty sweetness seems to dominate the nose. Maybe just some faint floral notes from the hops.

T - First taste seems very well balanced between the hops and sweet malts. Hop bitterness is more pronounced as I hold it on my tongue. Small alcohol bite on a crisp, dry finish. Some citrus notes from the hops.

M - Medium bodied, slightly sticky.

D - Very good for an abv this high. While the alcohol is definitely present, it's hidden fairly well. Overall is well balanced enough for good drinkability, though the abv might get to you before you pour another glass.

Photo of danielharper
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark orange, slightly red, with a tiny bit of haze, but with a very thick cream-colored head that sticks around and leaves some amazing lacing. Smells strongly of dry American West Coast hops, but with a sweet caramel malt balance underneath. Intriguing, interesting.

Flavor-wise, I was expecting a strong crisp hoppiness up front, and that's basically what you get. What I wasn't necessarily anticipating was the sugary sweetness that follows in the malt, along with a lot more caramel and hints of bready yeastiness. Finishes dry. No alcohol astringency on the nose or in the flavor, amazing for a beer that clocks in above eleven percent. Overall impression is of the strong hops and the residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamier than expected, otherwise predictably hoppy and with a high level of carbonation. Dry aftertaste.

I was expecting to like this beer, but I wasn't necessarily expecting to love it this much. The caramel and sweetness make an almost perfect match for the hops, and the alcohol is so well-hidden it's scary. Is Stone the best brewery in America? Maybe.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus a good amount of hops and a touch of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out with a strong burst of hops bitterness that is followed by a significant alcohol bite. Then there's some citrus and caramel sweetness that comes in. The malt character is hearty and provides some balance, which improves as the beer warms. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, very good representation of style, even though it doesn't seem as good as previous releases this is still a good beer to sip on for a long time.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. (2009)

A: Pours a lightly hazy (chill, I'd guess) amber body with ruby and orange inflection to it. Quite inviting. Unlike the 2010, the head dies pretty quickly and leaves only a few trails of bubbles on top of the brew.

S: Hops are fading a bit compared to the fresh 2010 version, as one would expect. The pine is still prominent, even weed-like; it blends well with caramel, toffee, and crystal malt. Some butterscotch too.

T: I'm a little less enthused about this aged version than I was about the 2010. It's very toasty, lots of butterscotch and caramel. These are very dominant, almost making me miss chocolate (which I did not find in the fresh one). The pine hop character is still there, with an undercurrent of citrus flavors. This lacks the hoppy aggressiveness of the fresh version, and it fails to have developed a nice complexity to compensate for the faded hops. On top of that, it's a bit boozy (solventy, not just warm).

M: Chewy; finish is a little harsh and boozy. Low-medium carbonation.

D: In my opinion, one year isn't the sweet spot for this beer. It's still better than average, and I had no trouble putting down a bomber of it, but in the future I'd drink these fresh.

Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes. A year old Keg was tapped as part of Novare Res' strong beer week. I consumed it on 3.20.10. The beer is opaque, with an orange/red coloration. It has a foamy, tan colored head and visible carbonation rising within the glass. It has good, even lacing. it smells of spent grain and citrus hops. I can make out some alcohol as well. There are dry, bitter hops up front in the taste. The hops also linger in the aftertaste. Up until swallowing, I can pick up some alcohol and some sticky sweetness. It has a heavy body and stick mouth coating. It really feels like a 11% ABV beer. There isn't much alcohol burn though. It's pretty drinkable considering the strength. There is a strong hop presence, but that is the only limiting factor that I could detect.

Photo of 1759Girl
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oh, how blessed I was to find a bottle of this at my local grocer!

Appearance> Hazy, ruby red. Lacy. Medium liveliness. Small vanilla head dissipates quickly.

Smell> Sweet and sour, alcoholic.

Taste> Tangy start. Very nice. Complex. Bitterness smoothes into an ultra long resiny hang with heaps of alcohol heat.

Mouf> thin. Decent carbonation. Average barley wine.

Drinkability> Pretty good

Photo of billshmeinke
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

Photo of backfat
4.47/5  rDev +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.

Photo of TheJollyHop
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber brown, a finger's worth of off white head, sticky, scattered lace.

Floral, toast, butterscotch, and bready sweetness prevalent in the aroma.

Sadly, the taste falls short with too aggressive of a burnt toast flavor. Some cocoa flavor in the taste is noticeable along with some grainy sweetness, but then a torrent of hop bitterness dominates and turns into an excessively harsh burnt, bitter after taste.

Medium bodied and medium carbonated; creamy and tongue coating.

While drinkabilty is fine, the flavor is not very palate enticing.

Photo of JoePat
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of charlzm
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed Feb 7th, 2010 at Stone World Bistro.

Cloudy orange-yellow fluid with copious off-white foamy head. Remarkable amount of lacing.

The nose is sweet, slightly woody and spicy. Hops are present as a sappy, resiny note.

Herbal flavor, approaching tea. Within spitting distance of medicinal, though not quite that far. Bready and caramel malt notes are welcome, though not as strong as I would have anticipated. Aspirin-like bitterness on finish. Flavors are still quite strong; I guess a year isn't enough time to round off any of the edges here.

Finish is somewhat dry and a little on the thin side; odd for an Old Guardian. Alcohol heat felt plainly.

I didn't particularly enjoy this one a year into its life; according to previous tasting notes, the bottle I had a year ago was actually more drinkable.

Photo of Andreji
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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.

indeed.

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.

careful.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.