1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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
91
outstanding

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.73%
Wants: 6
Gots: 46 | FT: 0
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 247 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of baybassboy
4/5  rDev -2.4%

baybassboy, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.4%

djrn2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.4%

t0rin0, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev -2.4%

afsdan, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of dudeabides76
4/5  rDev -2.4%

dudeabides76, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of PatronWizard
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wantet my 300th review to be something special. Don't know why, guess I'm stupid, since my 300th review matters to no one. Well, screw no one, I'm happy anyway. As Stone is my favorite brewery, I decided on the '09 Barleywine.

Pours completely opaque caramel. Tan creamy head. Sheets of lacing. All as expected.

Smell is of some fresh hops; moderately strong. Did I accidentally grab a Stone IPA? Some underlying scent that reminds me of ... smoking? Not really picking up any other scents, even though I'm expecting caramel.

Taste is big time bitter yum. Hops up front. Actually reminds me of the three bombers of Arrogant Bastard I had Saturday. The '07 and '08 Old Guardians I drank awhile ago had a little age on them (2 and 1 years respectively), and I think the '07 is the best of the three vintages. I'm still much enjoying the '09 right now. It just doesn't seem like barleywine. Seems more like a thick IPA.

This thing is smooth and harsh at the same time. Cool. Thick full, produces fresh lawn hop burps.

A huge advantage to drinking Old Guardian is 11+% bitches!!! Man I love Stone. Not afraid to use some hops, not afraid to pump up the ABV fo real lushes likes I, and not afraid to call you a pussy if you can't handle their brews.

Overall: would have anytime

PatronWizard, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of brheuer
4/5  rDev -2.4%

brheuer, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of mtstatebeer
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a snifter glass. Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, frothy, off-white head, lacing throughout. Aroma is sweet malts, caramel, light citrus, earthy, and a hint of must. Flavor is caramel malts, citrus and resin hops, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, chewy, and bitter. Good beer, the hops have obviously subsided slightly in more than a year, but still fairly pronounced.

mtstatebeer, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of froghop
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is a cloudy brown-orange with a medium size beige head, and excellent lacing.

smell of sweet fruit (pear, apple) some roasted nuts, some caramel, spice, and grain in the back.

taste is thick, semi-tart, burnt caramel, roasted nuts, malt, some fruit, and a touch of citrus, ends a little dry and a little bitter, gets sweeter as it warms.

froghop, May 23, 2009
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.

Chico1985, May 01, 2010
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.

Hojaminbag, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of JimFromVenus
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian - Limited Early 2009 Release
22oz bottle - $8 in Buford, GA 3/19
served in all-purpose 10oz stemless tulip tasting glass

A - Simply gorgeous! Prettiest beer I've had in a long time. In my glass it ranges from a dark orange-yellow at the edges through caramel to almost blood-orange at the center. A gentle center pour yielded a 4+ finger head at first, with amazing persistence. After a minute, I topped it off to a 3 finger head half in and half out of the glass - it retained great definition and body for a few minutes. Rarely does it get this good.

S - Hops. Hops. Hops. Maybe a hint of cherry pit, possibly something woodsy, perhaps an exotic spice like cardamon or even a bit of orange peel, but probably just hops - several kinds and lots of 'em. Not studied enough to tell them apart or identify them in the wild... but it's a good lesson.

T - Personally, I am almost always more tongue than nose. While my schnoz may not understand, or be over-whelmed, my tongue is in heaven with the spicy-floral-citrus-caramel flavors and the dry finish.

M - Rich, frothy, and bit creamy with a black pepper edge. The finish is clean, yet full of complex flavors... or maybe it's just searingly hoppy. I drank this bottle as a meal in itself, but I would quite enjoy it with catfish or a peppered Tilapia. I keep waiting for the finish to stop lingering. I'm more of a wine guy than beer drinker these days, so finding a beer with this depth and length of finish is pretty exceptional.

D - Really hoppy beers make me forget to breathe. The Old Guardian warns me not to breathe, lest I suffer his wrath... even more hops. Like great music, a large part of my enjoyment of Old Guardian is the silences between the notes. When I can make a 22oz beer last 3+ hours of fairly involved enjoyment, it has to have a lot to offer.

O - I loved this beer. My ideal barleywine is less hoppy and a bit maltier, but then it wouldn't be a Stone, would it? I will certainly be purchasing more for my collection. There are times when this will be the best beer match with my dinner menu. The Old Guardian works well with spicy and sweet foods that I have a hard time pairing wine with.

Cheers!
Jim

JimFromVenus, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of jjanega08
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= pours a nice orangish brown color with a thick creamy one finger head that has really nice retention. The lacing on the glass is pretty nice as well. The beer is super hazy not sure if its due to chill haze or not though. Really a pretty decent looking barleywine.
S= The first thing that comes to mind is pineapple. I think the pineapple smell is just a nice combo of the malts and hops. Really great toffee and caramel smell to it as well.
T= This was released in Feb. I believe and the hops are still holding strong in this one. The pineapple is still there but its well covered by blanket of intense flavors. Really bitter in the back but still really nice and malty. Alcohol isn't present in the taste too much its well covered by lots of sweet caramel malts. There is a ton of warmth going down the back of my throat though. There is some alcohol warmth as it was really really cold though and the malts come in more as it warms.
M= Pretty good but not great. Nothing too great here. Nice amount of carbonation and a good lasting finish.
D= Pretty good. I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. Really well done. Was perfect for what I needed tonight. Bad day at work and a nice little bit of hotness to it.

jjanega08, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of hardy008
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange color with an off white two finger head. The head has nice retention and leaves a nice lace. The smell is mostly grapefruit from the citrus hops. It smells like this will be a very hoppy bitter beer, but the taste is sweeter than I expected from the aroma. Yes, the flavor is mostly grapefruit and hops, but there is also a malt backbone which adds balance. This beer becomes sweeter as it warms.

The mouthfeel on this beer is between medium and full bodied and is sticky and oily. The carbonation is somewhat low, which is good, and this is a nice drinkable beer. I have not always liked Barleywines, but I do like this one. It would be nice if this beer was maltier, but it is still good as it is. I would buy this again if available.

hardy008, Oct 10, 2009
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.

BatDaddy, Apr 22, 2010
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.

Bowdoinbeerboy, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of atsprings
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a tulip glass a crisp bubbly dark orange with a decent off-white head. Aroma is a bit of burnt caramel and Earthy hops. The taste is a nice balance of burnt caramel and sharp hops with a touch of syrupy alcohol, this one definitely shows that it needs some serious aging. The beer is heavy bodied and is certainly a sipper, its going to need some time to mellow out. This one is somewhat enjoyable, but I'd prefer to wait a year and try it again.

atsprings, May 07, 2009
Photo of bobhits
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Early 2009 release. Odd I just bought this and didn't check. I think this is a better beer fresh, but it holds up well at least the first year. Around 2 years it gets a bit too mellow for my tastes.

A. Thick white head, still doing well a year and a half old. Reddish straw, thick, and cloudy appearance.

S. Deep strong malt and hops. Opens with a sugary sweet beginning then a flowery and finishing piney hops.

T. Wow...I've had this beer 5-6 times at least but every time...wow that's all I can say. Toffee and caramel malt. Piney and strong hop finish. The finish ends with a nice alcohol bite.

M. Thick syrupy, plenty of carbonation, just what you'd expect.

D. Easy to have a nice drink or sip all night. Can't lie, the alcohol is a touch strong at times.

This is the standard I judge all american barley wines by, which is truly unfair to others. I'm not sure what real changes happen year to year with this, but solid stuff.

bobhits, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly blurry pumpkin peel orange topped by a thick slice of ecru colored foam that occupies the glass from the nonic bulge to the rim. Is it my imagination or were previous Old Guardians filtered? Foam longevity is impressive and lace is slightly less so.

The aroma is primarily pale with a mid-range malt presence of the toasted-earthy-caramel sort. There's a fair amount of fruitiness and a mere blip of alcohol. Hop(s) in use? Hard to tell... and I got eye strain and a headache reading the miniscule print on the back of the bottle attempting to find out.

2009 Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale tastes pretty similar to every other Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale. It would be great if Stone changed the recipe from time to time, but if it hasn't happened yet, it probably isn't going to happen. Guess they're happy with the basic blueprint.

Although the hops vary every year, they're always in the citrus zesty (orange especially) and spruce-like vein. The malts taste like they smell, with perhaps a little more caramel this time around. For a beer that is now about 22 months of age, alcohol is still on the aggressive side. Having said that, mellowing is occuring as the beer warms.

As always, the mouthfeel is a large and luscious treat. Still rampant alpha acids and the finely honed steel slice of alcohol aren't quite able to cut through the malt sugar crushed velvety plushness that greets each mouthful.

Buying and reviewing each year's Old Guardian BWSA is a ritual that will continue as long as Stone continues to brew beer in this series. Having said that, this will never be a truly great American barleywine unless Greg and the boys choose different malts and do a better job of alcohol masking. Just one BA's opinion.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of Lunch
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lunch, Oct 22, 2009
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.

magictrokini, Feb 09, 2009
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.

boatshoes, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of kbuzz
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into my trusty snifter..."Early 2009 Release".

A: Surprised to see a decent bit of carbonation for a 2009 vintage. Poured a murky orange/rusted red color with a thin slightly off-white head. Color somewhat matches the color of the graphics of the bottle. Alcohol legs everywhere.

S: Confectionary sweetness. Raisins, plums, figs. Brown sugar, molasses, slight cinnamon and vanilla...caramel, toffee and some faint roasted malts...sweet smelling beer overall. A hint of the booze, stinging the nostrils...

T: A wee trace of oxidation. Still get a lot of the nose, but muted. Rum-soaked raisins, caramel, burnt brown sugar. Cotton candy sweetness. The booziness is not nearly as apparent in the taste as in the aroma. Palate finishes slightly bitter, with a bit of the oxidation...but not terrible.

M: This is pretty perfect for a Barleywine. Chewy, thick . There's a lingering stickiness. Finishes dry. Carbonation is solid considering...

O: The alcohol here has dissipated gracefully and left a solid beer behind. Still get a good bit of carbonation...along with some oxidation. The nose is slightly misleading - better than the taste, but overall, a well blended Barleywine. Not the most prefectly aged example, but a good 2 year old Barleywine. I would trade for this again.

kbuzz, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazed orange-amber with a well-formed, lasting tan head. Spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel, orange, with herbal and citrus bitterness. It has a solid "American Barleywine" aroma.

The taste is of caramel/toffee with some rum-like booze. Citric/herbal bitterness grows as it progresses.

As with previous years, I think it a very good barleywine, certainly with a house "Stone" character that I like...It is balanced, and drinks well for the high abv. It lacks that certain "something" to push it into greatness, but still is something to look forward to each year!

jwc215, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of Strix
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange with good head and good lacing.

Citrus hops forward in the smell, along with barley.

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

Mouthfeel viscous.

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

Strix, Apr 13, 2009
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.