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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

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
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Ratings: 329 | Reviews: 246 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of saintwarrick
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a burnt orange with a foamy and constant white head that reminds me a lot of a DIPA. Very hoppy aroma; dark grapefruit and candied sugar, lots of citrusy hops; one of the hoppier barley wines I've come across, even more so than a fresh Bigfoot. Taste is big and bitter like a DIPA, but with enough malt to keep it from being stringent. Harsh on the palate in a good way with a nice but bracing bitter aftertaste. Alcohol is apparent but not distracting.

Another winner from Stone.

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

This beer is huge. A treat for American barley wine fans. A good introduction brew for hop heads interested in kicking it up a notch.

A = Orange amber. I managed to tease a faint head which quickly disappeared. The orangeness made my mouth water in anticipation of the hoppy goodness ahead.

S = Sweet hops. Not a hint of alcohol, which scares me at 11%.

T = Sort of a hop bomb out of the fridge, but complex flavors come through as it warms and the palate adjusts to the shock. A nice malty finish all the way. Malting takes some edge off the insane hops. Hops rule but don't bite.

M = Clean and slightly bubbly. Some stickiness at the end but less than expected. A warm feeling in the mouth and belly is the only indication of the high ABV.

D = Scary.

Drink it now or cellar it. Past years have aged very well. My experience with aged beers is mixed but my winged friend will never let me down.

Photo of Voonder
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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

A- light amber golden color body with a light tan-white head that leaves a thick lacing. not as dark as i would like the body to be for a barleywine.

S- smell is fantastic. a perfect blend of hops and sweet fruits.

T- Taste is hoppy up front and malty in the finish. the lingering aftertaste is of hops and fruit. grapefruit bitterness. a nice mix of hops and malts, but overall, the hops are more pronounced, which doesn't work too well with a barleywine. last years was much better in my opinion.

M- full bodied and well carbonated. nothing special from a barleywine standpoint though.

D- drinkability is what it is.

i was disappointed this year. last year's was much better, although this one is still pretty good.

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

One of my favs, Old Guardian does not disappoint this year. Pours amber but appears ruby when held to light. Thick and creamy off-white head with good retention and moderate lacing. Smell is strong of pineapple, grapefruit and overall citrus. A caramel hops and hops presence of course. Taste is of caramel malt, some biscuit, sweet fruit, and of course hops. Nice, fresh citrus hops. A warming sensation as it goes down with its silky and full body. Overall a great beer. I cant believe I'm saying this but my only complaint is the high ABV. I wish this was just slightly lower so that it could be enjoyed longer.

Photo of nick76
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

Photo of roadhouse
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a snifter after reading a really lame ass label that I regret wasting 5 minutes of my life on.

Appears a nearly clear red-orange color with a one inch off-white head. It falls to a cap and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is pretty much all hops. Lots of pine, grapefruity citrus, and a somewhat nutty tone. Something about it is almost metallic or medicinal that isn't good.

Taste is again mostly straight up hops. Is there a difference between Imperial IPA and American Barleywine besides a slightly darker color? Lots of pine and grapefruit hops once again. There's actually a small hint at some malt in there, a caramelly sweetness that appears for a split second at the beginning of the finish. Ultimately the hops end up dominating and leaving a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, it has a good creamy consistency. Not exactly the easiest to drink.

Overall I found this to be pretty tasty, but I'm really starting to just get annoyed by American Barleywines. I will take an English style one any day over the American counterpart. At least those have some complexity other than insane hops. Not everything has to have the hops of an Imperial IPA.

Photo of jgap
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber with more orange than prior years. Little head that fades to a lace. Smell is a strong grassy pine and... What is this... Soap? That's not from other years... What is that? I have no idea. Anyways, taste is grassy with pine hops. More malt than prior years that fades into a strong alcohol. This is different from prior as well. Not that previous years didn't have a strong alcohol, they did... Just not this strong. The taste then fades into a lingering peppery centenial/cascade aftertaste. Not stone's strongest showing but a solid barleywine.

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Photo of FleeVT
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of KBoudreau66
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 22 oz. bomber after work, and poured it in to my trusty Samuel Adam's pint glass.

Pours a nice copper color with carbonation coming from the middle of the glass. It has two fingers of rough looking off white head that will dissipate into a thin layer over time. I noticed that it left some frothy off white lacing at the top of the glass, but after the first few sips it stopped.

Definitely needs to age for a couple of years because the alcohol smell gets right into your nose. It also has a sweet smell from the malts. Hops in the undertone. A little bit of citrus in there, but it's hard to tell through the alcohol smell.

This brew surprised me. I thought it was going to be all alcohol taste, and although that flavor is strong it is actually alot more balanced then I expected with sweet malts, and a little bit of hops, I wish it was hoppier, but then I remembered I'm drinking a Barleywine not an IPA or a DIPA. Citrusy undertones. There is also an earthy almost dirt like flavor to it, but it is by no means offensive in taste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonated. A little bit rough as well from the high ABV.

This brew will be better with age then it is for the time being, but it's still an excellent Barleywine. I'm going to pick another one up and let it age for a couple of years and re-review this. I have an Old Guardian from 2008 that I can't wait to open up a couple of years down the road.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle served in a snifter. The beer was a pretty dark orange color with a medium-sized tan head. There was some fleeting lacing. Sweet, toffee aroma. Alcohol detectable. Taste was toffee, a little bit of fruit, then a big lingering bitterness. Couldn't really taste the alcohol that I smelled. The hops were quite pleasing. I really enjoyed this barleywine.

Photo of taylorhamrick
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a beautiful clear red color. A massive 3-4cm head sits on top and doesn't fade quickly, leaving sticky lacing down the side. I just watched the bubbles rise up through the beer while I was waiting to taste and I was in love. The smell has a faint whiff of hops, cascade/centennial pungent citrus smell, and you can smell the hugely sweet malt backbone in there, hints of bready, nutty, biscuity malts. The taste is really great. Exactly what I want in a barleywine. It doesn't smash you over the head with bitterness, and is actually brilliantly well-balanced. There's a whole load of sweetness, raisiny, caramelly sweetness. The hops are buried in there with a nice lemony kick in the end and a slight hoppy bitterness. There's also a bit of burn from the alcohol, but it really is enhancing my enjoyment of this one. I'm usually not a huge fan of American Barleywines, but this one may have changed my mind. I could imagine this one filling out a bit more, whether by age or adding a bit more lingering sweetness or biscuity maltiness. And of course, it will beat you up a bit, making you work hard to finish it (though I never took a sip I didn't enjoy). But I would recommend this to all.

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours with little head and beer is a light coppery reddish color.

Smell- Faintly bitter due to hops, yet still very malty in character.

Taste- Very bitter, lots of hops here, alcohol is well hidden. Bitterness really lingers a great deal on the palate. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel- Surprisingly light for a barleywine, tasty but not nearly as heavy as I would have suspected.

Drinkabilty- One of the most drinkable barleywines Ive ever had. Very good.

Photo of grayburn
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into my snifter at around 50 degrees.

A dark amber, toward the darker end of the Barley Wine spectrum, light head with nice lacing.

A hop and alcohol assault on the nose. This beer will age beautifully, it's way too fresh. At this age it's more like a HUGE ipa.

Taste is strong barley and alcohol with a huge hoppy bite. Extemely strong flavors that will surely blend well over time, but are even enjoyable now.

Good overall mouth feel, very chewy beer.

Due to the premature trial of this brew I cannot score it's drinkability too high. Not to say it isn't great young, it's just a sipper.

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

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

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

A-Poured a slightly hazy amber w/creamy off-white head. Respectable retention.
S-Hops are dominant, w/a bouquet of citrus, pine, floral, and fresh vegetal tones. There is also a sweet honey-like fruit character.
T-Attack is harmonious blend of sweet and bitter, and the alcohol emerges right away if you hold it. The malt come out nicely midway, and the finish is of strong hops that cleanse the palate nicely. The first two seconds of aftertaste brings out the alcohol, but this is ephemeral, and the resiny hops come back on, leaving a pleasing bitterness.
M-Medium-bodied w/light carbonation. Good balance.
D-Very good. Picked this up at SeaSide Market in Encinidas. We're hitting the brewery tonight.

Photo of bowersdm
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2009 bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A slow-forming, foamy, 2-finger, peachy-khaki-colored head sits atop a gritty, copper-colored body. Great retention and tremendous lacing given the ABV. Very inviting.

Smell: Resinous hops, doughy malts, pine, and some alcohol. Surprisingly faint, though it does seem to pick up strength as it warms. Smells sweeter and stickier toward the end of the session.

Taste: Doughy malts, caramel, loads of oily hops, and maybe some berries. Earth, pine, and spicy notes are also detected. Finishes full and dry. This is one MASSIVE beer!

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, creamy, warm, and a little sticky. Carbonation is medium in strength and suits the beer well.

Drinkability: This one needs a little time to mature. I'll lay the next bottle down for a couple years before tasting. It's good fresh, but definitely beasty.

Photo of czfreeman
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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.

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

Appearance: It's a very attractive amber color with strong orange highlights. There's a good bit of haze clouding the view. On top is a vanilla colored head that reaches maybe a finger deep. It dissipated very quickly and left only light lace on the glass. Not too surprising given the high abv.

Smell: The nose is a little weak. It's very brown sugary and sweet smelling up front. Smells like there's a good malt presence. Mostly caramel. There's some citrus grapefruit and pineapple lingering throughout. Light plum and raisin complement the citrus scents very well. Hops are pretty strong and smell mostly piney with some citrus characteristics blended in. All in all, nice smelling beer, but just a tad weak.

Taste: The nose is very representative of the flavor profile. It's very sweet and sugary. Brown sugar is noted. Caramel malts are noted, but they're not quite as prevalent as they should be. Hops are very aggressive and bitter. They mostly taste like pine sap, but do have some good citric qualities. There's grapefruit and pineapple in the mix. Light plum and perhaps some other dark fruit flavors are noted. They're clearly secondary, but add a nice flavor to it. Surprisingly, very little alcohol is noted for such a strong beer. It finishes piney and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has body on the lighter side of thick and a pretty smooth feel. Carbonation isn't too invasive, but it doesn't really help the cause much either. It's still smooth and goes down easy. Drinkability is pretty limited. It's very strong at 11.3% and is definitely a sipping beer. I'll handle the bomber, but it will take a while.

This year's Old Guardian is overall a good beer. I can't say that it's materially different from last year's. Surpisingly, it seems like it could use a little more malt to add some flavor and assistance with the feel. Small gripe. Otherwise, it's very solid and still worth picking up.

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

Poured from a growler procured at the Charleston Beer Exchange into a pint glass.

A - Pours reddish amber with a thin, quickly dissipating white head.

S - Floral, piny hops with a sweet tinge. There's a very subtle essence of spices, almost peppery.

T - The frontend is spicy, hoppy, flavorful, with a sweet alcohol finish.

M - Slightly thinner than medium bodied, lots of carbonation, not as viscous as some other hoppy brews.

Notes - I was told by Rich at the CBX that the dry hopped quality of the beer would give it a very interesting, floral, spicy sort of essence, and he was spot on.

Photo of Overlord
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My least favorite year of Old Guardian. Frankly, an offputting brew in many respects.

Poured a familiar amber with white foam. Smelled like medicinal herbs and pine. None of the rich caramel aroma I recall from years past.

Taste was more muted as well. Where's the rich toffee/brown sugar/roasted caramel? Where's the pine/grapefruit hop undercurrent? This was primarily somewhat weak sweet malt and a bit of resiny pine/herbal hop content.

Just very disappointing. Mouthfeel felt thinner than years past, too.

Photo of bitterthebetter
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a clear amber with reddish brown hues, crispy off-white head

aromas of candied sugar, piney hops, caramel malt, slight gingerbread, faint raisin notes

caramel malt upfront with a solid piney hop backbone, layers of candied sugars, slight marmalade, molasses, slight lemon hops, faint green notes, almost bourbony notes on the finish

starts medium but then gets bigger with time, solid malty body with good caramel slight sugary notes, leading to a balanced, sturdy finish, with a slight alcohol hotness

a tasty, medium bodied barleywine. not as big on the hops as per usual Stone Brews, but that works well with the malt body for a balanced, layered, tasty barleywine with good layers and a great finish. Yet again, a great stone brew

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

Poured a ruddy amber with a bubbly white head that dissipated into an oily ring. Spotty lacing. Wooden, hop-syrup aroma blended with boozy caramel malt. Light carbonation gave this a solid mouthfeel that complimented the high ABV. Speaking of which, the high ABV was not completely masked, giving off a sugary alcohol warmth. The caramel was heavy, nearly candy-like. Balanced well with the resiny hops. Some apricot and kumquat flavors versus citrus tastes. Well done.

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