1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
92
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 329 | Reviews: 246 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdense
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle 'early 2009' release from Whole Foods Hollywood PDX poured into Delirium Tremens tulip.

One finger white head, relatively quick dissipation with minimal lacing. Amber semi-opaque body, a bit cloudy (not chill haze, served at 50-55 degrees). Nose is sweet and very boozy, molasses, hops hard to decipher. Taste is very, very boozy, sweet, a pretty good bitter hop kick on back end. Mouthfeel is fairly effervescent, not sticky. Not very drinkable at this high ABV, need to find a buddy to share a bottle with, but this was a good bargain at $5.99, will head back for another bottle and cellar, hope that will mellow out the overt booziness of this otherwise fine barleywine.

Photo of jrallen34
3/5  rDev -26.8%
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.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Early Release been in the fridge for the past year.

Poured into a Westmalle chalice a transparent amber with a very thin white head. Good lacing. Not much noticable carbonation. The scent is rather light. Maybe this is from the aging. But I can find hints of grapefruit and maybe a little banana. The taste is really smooth. None of the harshness that fresh barleywines give, which means my other bottle of '09 is going to age very well. The carmal flavor isn't over powering, and the hop bitterness has died off. There is still the sweet flavor with that same flavor that is kind of banana like. The mouthfeel is low on carbonation, but just perfect in body. There is no evident alcohol burn despite the 11% abv.

These definatly age well.

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

I guess this beer is about a year old, which is just how I like my barleywines. Sampled on-tap.

Old Guardian has a body that mixes colors of ruby, orange and brown. A small, off-white head doesn't have a ton of retention and doesn't really leave behind a lot of lacing.

The aroma has some bitter grapefruit notes from the hops, still alive after a year. Some candied dates, toffee, caramel.

Stone Old Guardian is pretty good. A good bite of hops comes through in the beginning, bringing the flavor of grapefruit and some bitterness. A sweet, fruity character is barely noticeable, but reminds me of figs or dates. After that the strongest flavor of the beer comes in the form of caramel and toffee malts that are big and juicy. A touch of tobacco in the background.

The mouthfeel is full with adequate carbonation; it coats the mouth a little bit.

Overall this thing drinks ridiculously well for the ABV. After a year it is tasty, and I'm guessing next year it will be even better.

Photo of bgreg3
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wish my vocab was as good as the guy who writes the back o the bottle. It took me almost 5 or more minutes to read. Anyway...

App- Amber at the top (a dark amber orange to be more precise) becomes lighter near the bottom. Leaves a nice lace on the top. There is also some unfiltered yeast floating around.

Smell - A lot of barley! I smell a bit of hops to balance and the yeast used comes together nicely.

Taste- Amazing barely wine! The barely is very sweet and tickles the tongue as it ventures through the mouth. The presence of yeast is acknowledged but not too noticeable. Hops balance it throughout. They are complementary and do not dominate at anytime. Again comes together nicely and should be drank in small mouthfulls.

MF - Dripping wet finish. Almost as good as a meal.

Drink - Drink with food or water. The alcohol can bother your throat after awhile and is better off being absorbed by food.

I advise only a 12 oz of this. Share a bomber with a friend.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
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? ;-)

Prosit!!

4.1
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

1222

Photo of spointon
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this one from a 22oz brown bomber into a stemmed globe glass.

A= This ale poured a hazed reddish orange color with a 1/4" white head that disappeared super fast. A few streaks of lace down my glass.

S= All of the expected Stone hop character in the aroma (big citrus and pine). Also some light caramel and a boozy alcohol note.

T= About what I would expect from the smell. Light caramel sweetness up front, followed by a fruity, estery, almost syrupy sweet middle. The hops were big and bitter and easily overpowered the sweetness. Probably a bit more piney than I like, but still within reason. Alcohol was all over this beer adding spicy and at times sweet notes. There was unfortunately a fair bit of oxidation in this beer. Finished dry and boozy.

MF= Medium bodied with a feel that leaned toward slick. Carbonation was on the lighter side of medium.

D= A good but not great barleywine. Stone needs to rework this a bit and get that oxidation out of the beer.

Photo of Backer2004
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of boatshoes
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brought over to the apartment by my buddy CharlatanSin. Always love to try a new barleywine and heard good things about this one. The 2009 vintage.

Appearance- Pours a deep amber with pretty lively carbonation and about a finger and a half of off white head that dies back to a ring in short order.

Smell- Actually very hop forward with lots of grapefruit and resin. Almost smells like a DIPA but with a lot of caramel showing through in the background.

Taste- Again a very interesting combination of sweet malt and hops. Very hop forward again wit lots of pine and grapefruit rind but combined with lots and lots of sweet malt. Cuts an interesting mixture and much more hop forward than many barleywines I've tasted.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is thick and slick and very nice but a little too much hot alcohol showing through in the taste to make it overly drinkable at this point. Could use some time to mellow out a bit.

Overall, a good barleywine. Not the best I've had but tasty and an interesting nonetheless. Probably better even with age.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright amber with a nice white head. The aroma is of sweet amber and caramel malt with pin and citrus hops. A slight whiff of alcohol as well. The taste is overwhelmingly hoppy and slightly sweet. Not what I would call balanced, but the malt definitely makes a contribution here. Medium bodied and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of johnkale
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - nice deep amber color, meager head left a little lacing

S - more subdued than I expected, lemon and orange, a little bit of caramel, hints of clove, berry, and booze

T - caramel and burnt sugars, orange zest bitterness, hops are very resinous initially. the finish is slightly boozy and this helps to accentuate some spicier notes (clove and anise) along with raisin-like flavors. Lots of bitterness at the end.

M - surprisingly light, just slightly oily. dances across the front of the tongue. Alcohol presence reveals the size of this beer more than body, remarkably quaffable for its style (though still a beer that becomes a chore to get through if served too much).

Excellent beer, aroma and flavor are super inviting. Goes well with pork, would compliment a loaf of limpa perfectly. Best enjoyed with a couple of friends, especially if they've just returned from a long stay in a foreign country.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A – Amber-orange hue with a good head that settles into nice lacing.

S – Piney hop and caramel malt, a standard but effective combo, with a slight breadiness and vodka smell.

T – The taste is mostly good hoppiness and rich malt backing with a warming alcohol presence, but there is an annoying green tea-like flavor that pops up along the way to the finish. The same unpalatable flavor is also found in Fuller’s Vintage 2008; I don’t know what it is, but I hate it. At any rate, this beer tastes good, and the specific flavor that I have so much disdain for is very scarcely present.

M – A tad thin, yet syrupy and viscous in mouthfeel.

D – Pretty good, but I go for GD’s Old Ruffian over this, and I will take Anchor’s Old Foghorn over either.

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

Poured a nice caramel/amber color with a light tan head and good retention. Laced pretty well, with the head dissipating to a nice crown and a bubbly island in the middle. Sweet malts on the nose, with some fruity hop presence. Tasty sweet maltiness gives way to some alcohol spiciness. Feels well with light carbonation tickling the palate, and some oiliness on the finish. Drinkable for the style though the ABV prevents mass consumption.

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of SShelly
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking str8 out of my stainless growler from stone, i know its criminal but have nothing else to pour it in atm.

Big hop burst in the nose with alot of sweet malt that overwhelms it in a few moments.

Large alcohol, lots of hops and malt blend well, pleasant warming runs down my chest, leaves a sticky hoppy flavor behind.

pretty damn tasty, Ive had this in the past and thought the hops were a bit aggresive but im really enjoying the 09.

Photo of jsh420
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

why is there listing for every year?
in case of merge 2009 edition

pours carmel redish orange with a huge 3+finger head that had great retention and covers the glass in lacing

smell - you know this is a stone brew big grapefruit hops some pine that seems a bit faded - makes me want a stone dipa

taste is well balanced - most BW are heavy malt with no hops - the stone beers i have had are all about the hops but this BW backs it up with the needed malts - grapefruit hops candy malts - the beer is not complex but it tastes great

mouthfeel medium body a bit sticky very creamy and smooth

drinkability - @11%+abv this bomber is a one and done but this one bomber will put a smile on your face

Photo of tattooedtolley
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of BeanBone
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hazy golden-orange body--much lighter than I had expected--featuring a few assorted particles in suspension. Up top, a finger of creamy whitish head that features good lacing and retention.

Aroma: Up front, lots of bright and citrusy hops catch me a little off guard. Underneath, there's a sticky toffee malt backbone and some nice tinges of booze to bring things back towards traditional Barleywine territory. Opens up a lot as it warms.

Flavor: Again, the hops start the party--they are balanced nicely in between citrusy and grassy and nicely bitter. The big rum cake and sticky toffee malt backbone holds everything down nicely, substantial enough to keep everything relatively balanced. There's something a little woody floating around, but I can't quite pin it down. Plenty of alcohol character throughout, but it never feels like double-digits. Great lingering bitterness and toffee in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Drinks faster than the ABV suggests, but requires caution like any bomber of double-digit brew.

Verdict: Old Guardian ranks right up there with the best American Barleywines--it's complex, hoppy as hell, and satisfying to the last drop. Absolutely terrific fresh, I only wish I had been able to secure a second bottle for aging.

Photo of xanok
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle.

A-Pours a orange/amber color that is quite cloudy. The beer is right out of the fridge, so any head that was there was gone quickly. It left some nice lacing.

S-Hints of vanilla and citrus fruit. Grapefruit perhaps? A little bit of hops and malt.

T-Citrus flavor on the palate immediately, and gone almost as fast. Caramel and toasted undertones. There's a bit of booziness to it.

M-Fairly heavy overall with the carb and the body. Could have a bit more chewiness to it.

D- A bit of boosiness like I mentioned, but overall a great brew. Not my favorite of this style, but great nonetheless.

Photo of Ralphus
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy cider color that becomes more opaque as it settles down. A small head with a thin but persistent lacing.

Smell: Fruity hops dominate the smell. It's pretty boozy, too.

Taste: Those fruity hops, in true Stone fashion, have their way with your taste buds. The hops overwhelmed my first couple of sips. As I had a few more, a very pleasant undercurrent of toasted caramel or butterscotch made its presence felt. The hops and the caramel both linger nicely, making for a terrific finish. All in all a delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a bit low for my taste. It doesn't take away from the taste, but doesn't compliment it, either.

Drinkability/Overall: This is one sneaky beer.The alcohol is fairly present in the smell, but not so much in the taste. The 11 and change ABV kind of hides and then wallops you.

That being said, this beer is something of a tweener. It's a delicious beer, but it's almost more like an excellent double IPA than a barleywine, at least the way I think of the style. I think I'm going to go buy another bottle and age it for a spell and see what that does to the balance. Definitely pick it up, though, as long as you're not a barleywine purist.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- This beer poured a nice reddish amber color with little head which disappated quickly. Lacing present throughout.

Smell- Nice hoppy aroma. Perhaps a grapefruit aroma with a sweet maltiness.

Taste- Interesting taste. Has the hoppiness of most Stone but finishes with an interesting hint of peppermint. Very cool. Nice maltiness as well which gives it a nice balance.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with low carbonation.

Overall- A fantastic barleywine.

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