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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.

246 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 331
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 12.29%
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:
Beer added by: scottoale on 02-06-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 246 | Hads: 331
Photo of Dalem
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark orange amber in color. Dashes of strawberry, molasses and dints of medicinal alcohol in the aromas. Brown sugar malts are right up front in the flavor along with a bit of with a bit of strawberry jam and plums. The body seems a little lighter than some barley wines I tried in the past but creamy and a little sticky too. An oily pine & peppery hop bite kicks in the end contrasting the sweetness.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Seanibus
4.74/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy orangy with a slow rising, lazy burst of carbonation and a modest head that falls quickly. Smell is deep, sweet malt, with rich floral hops. Flavor is sweet and bitter, like a zingy orange rind. Floral hops, sweet, tangy malt and an absorbing bitterness on the end. Mouthfeel is rich and viscous.

The only block to drinkability is its intense alcohol content, which will set you back fairly quickly, particularly given how smooth and well balanced it is.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nose on the beer is quite caramelly with a few hints of citrus; the citrus is probably more of the esters or something coming through though. Overall it's kind of bland on the nose, but it has just enough to make it pleasing. When pouring the beer you can see it's thickness and it's brilliantly clear ruby/dark copper colour with a nice centimeter of thick white head. Pretty good looking head, but it leaves a bit too quickly for my licking. When drinking Old Guardian, I feel that I'm sipping on a barley wine that is so balanced, that I drink it way too fast. Usually with a barley wine, I sip it every once in a while, but this one makes me drink it quite frequently. It reminds me of Bigfoot and Old Ruffian, but less hop flavour. All around this is a might tasty barley wine.

The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, which is exactly how I want it, and I could have a few of these, over a long period of time obviously, because of its great balance.

There is something about the beer that make me not want to rate any higher than I am now. I think it's that it doesn't do anything spectacular in my taste buds or nose buds. It's just an overall solid barley wine with a great balance. I kind of expect something creative to happen in a barley wine; for example Old Horizontal has a huge chocolate nose mixed with a fair amount of hops or even Hog Heaven with its huge citrus notes that dominate the malts. These qualities make the beers unique, and I'd probably choose them over this beer, even though this one is easier to drink.

I love Stone's beers, but I find this one good, but it just falls into the pack of all the barley wines I've had.

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Photo of atpben
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the Houston Flying Saucer. Poured into a tulig glass. Appears amber in color with a thick dense head. Lots caramel and some citrus int he aroma. More caramel in the taste with lots of hop bitterness with lots of graperuit and light lemon taste. This beer feels like a maltier version of arrogant bastard, which is not a bad thing by the way. Good beer but not one of my favorite American style barley wines.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.66/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The color is a deep amber/gold with a off white head with a nice amount of lacing.

The smell is a nice hop flavoring in the first few seconds. Is also surprisingly sweet, a small hint of cinnamon.

The taste has a strong hop flavor. Like all Stone beers the first taste has a punch to it. Somewhat bastard in taste there are also some dry flavor and is pretty malty. FULL of flavor.

The mouth feel is quite easy after getting over that first hump of the first sip. This also easy to drink. The next sip seems to lead into the next.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The double-deuce bomber bottle adorned with the customary gargoyle is presented chilled and served in a snifter. The pouring unleashes a bright, richly copper-colored beer topped with a finger's thickness of creamy, semisolid ivory foam atop. The cap recedes very slowly and scatters a field of speckled lacing onto the sides of my glass.

The smell is loaded with citrusy, grassy hops and spicy, fruity alcohol. Brown sugary notes accent essences of leafy green grass, white grapefruit and orange zest, the dark sugars adding depth, warmth, and stickiness to the profile.

The taste is fruity and richly malty with a savory dark caramel backbone. Oily citrus rind bitterness accents the mellow dark toasted malt-sugariness, only to be rinsed clean by a splash of alcohol masquerading as dilute golden apple juice. A lingering earthy bitterness dawdles around in the aftertaste, wandering about upon an increasingly punch-drunk palate pummeled by Old Guardian's deadly one-two combination of flagrant West Coast-style hopping and blatant high gravity. The finish is grassier and drier as the drink progresses.

The drink is creamy and heavy-medium in body with perfect carbonation, but at 11.3% ABV, I'm not going to pretend that this excellent brew is anything but a sipper.

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Photo of Jtschupp04
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Poured into a trappist glass, amber colour with off white head that settles to a remnant lingering on the surface. Smells like a sour bitter grapefruit left in the fruit bowl for some time. Sourness and bitterness reigns in this brew. Grapefruit again comes to mind on taste. Very creamy and smooth. It bites and feel its journey stomping down the throat into the stomach.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep golden-amber color with about an inch of thick tan head. Nice head, retention, and lacing for 10+% ABV.

S- Biting hops up front, followed by strong sweet malt. Hints of caramel, roasty notes, but not as strong as I would like.

T- Nice fruity, citrus hops up front. A nice bite followed by a strong roasted malt character. A little more caramel too. Little or no alcohol taste. Finishes slightly dry, with the hops coming back into play. Some herbal notes at the end too. Very balanced in my opinion. I really like it. Alcohol becomes more evident as it warms.

M- A bit prickly, medium bodied, creamy.

D- Surprisingly drinkable. Like a balanced DIPA. This one's dangerous at 11%.

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Photo of Strix
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of Lerxst
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Stone Imperial Pint Glass

A-Hazy orange/amber with one inch head that fades fast

S-Hoppy with malts clearly evident. They go good together.

T-Hops are very evident but a toasty, malty flavor compliments it well and surprisingly the 11.3% abv is hardly noticable.

M-Medium body. Smooth with a hoppy afterbite, medium carbonation. Not too much carbonation, but just enough.

D-Surprisingly drinkable. I didn't think more than one in a sitting would be do-able, but it would be. The hops/malt combo here is delicious. Well done!

Stone has done it again. This brewery is simply amazing.

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Photo of Yesac
3.52/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Almost solid orange/amber color. Thin layer of off-white head. Head eventually fades to nothing. No lacing etc.

S- Sweet yeast. Green apple florals. Some citrus. The 11.3% is not even noticeable.

T- Boozy sting from the alcohol overall. Along with the smell.. strong malty yeasty taste up front. The boozyness presence just kills the flavor and experience though. Strong bitterness finish.

M/D- Medium bodied. Slightly sticky. Palate is left boozed with the 11.3%. Not the easiest drinker however a good sipper.

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Photo of Misfit138
2.82/5  rDev -30.7%
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.

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Photo of djaeon
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy amber/reddish color with a moderate head. Little retention and decent lacing. Poured into a tulip glass.

S - This one smells pretty light compared to previous years. There's hints of orange citrus and malt.

T - A good amount of bitterness and acidity. Definite maltiness and citrus. But not grapefruit citrus. More of a orange/lemon zest kind of citrus.

M - It feels velvety wit ha sharp bitter aftertaste that dissipates quickly.

D - Very drinkable for an Old Guardian. This years is very drinkable and mellower than previous years. The 11+% ABV is hidden well. No burn at all.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage... 22 from the Coop .. great 2 finger head.. nice cap and alot of leopard spot lacing.. the brew is crystal clear orange/lite amber...

alot of pithy grapefruit in the nose.. lite pine with some warm caramel notes.. the hops are more than citric as it warms... sorta tropical fruits.. with a good slam of pale malts..

Flavor is great american BW .. triple C hops are abundant from front to back.. as it warms the bitterness is a great push with the pale malt.. a little bit of vanilla sugar cookie.. caramel essence ... The body is great and the carbonation pushes lite/medium with a less than plush mouthfeel..

I am not too sure what to make about this years Guardian... much better than last years.. This American barleywine is very very American.. I would have preferred a bit more maltiness .. right now the hops are first fiddle.. and I am wishing for some complexity other than hops...

It is still a pretty remarkable BW....


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Photo of SirSketch
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
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!!!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/06/09- Purchased at Mollie Stones in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle poured into my Old Guardian glass.

Appearance- Brandy-like colored pour. Slight 1/4 inch head upon pour. Fades quickly and leaves behind some various spots and very light lines of lace.

Smell- Strong bitter grapefruit pith nose with a caramel malted sugary nose. A slight detection of alcohol as well.

Taste- Hops are bitter and extreme as always. However, there is a really nice toasty and roasty sweet caramel malt flavor as the background. A bit earthy and leathery as well. Alcohol is hidden well.

Mouthfeel- Slight hop burn in the finish. Pretty damn smooth with a mid to lower carbonation level. Lasting hoppy bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Seems as if they are getting more and more drinkable right off the bat. I think it will age very nicely, but it is drinkable now.

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Photo of PatronWizard
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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

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Photo of JamesP123
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A. Much lighter than I was expceting. Pours a golden/dark orange with a big one inch of off white head. The lacing trickles nicely down the glass as you drink.

S. Citrusy hops dominate with some sweet & bready malts followed by a hint of alcohol as the beer begins to warm up.

T. Wow this is one of the hoppiest barlwywines I've had. Grapefruit, honey with slight caramel notes. Alcohol not very noticable.

M. Medium to thick mouthfeel, a little resiny like an IPA. Medium carbination with a slightly dry finish.

D. Wonderful Barleywine, can win over a hop head for sure. By nature barlywines are intense, but this is a very drinkable.

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Photo of ironarrow42
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Colour is a hazy orange-amber hue with a short-lived cream-coloured head. No sign of bubbles. Aroma of orangey citrus, sweet, candyish malt, and alcohol. Smells like dessert!

Velvety-smooth texture with full body. Starts out sweet and malty with caramel, toffee, and orange oil, then a bold, resinous bitterness sweeps over the palate, bringing some citrus & piney hop notes and fruity esters. Tangy finish lingers delightfully.

Bold, flavourful and substantial beer. The hops stand out at this young age. I imagine this will evolve over time and cellar quite nicely for many years.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 22 oz bomber in to a goblet

pours a hazy orange with a thin white head

very big smell of citrus and pine

taste is like a malty sweety hop bomb triple ipa. sweet sticky bitter taste that is very persuading.

mouthfeel is very full.

for what it is, the abv is barely present. i can't wait to try my other bottle in a couple of years to see how this hop bomb transfigures.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a slightly murky golden copper hue with bright gold highlights. a solid and thick one-finger head sits atop, slowly receding to leave some impressive crumpet-esque lacing.

aroma of bready malt, caramel and honey, grapefruit hops and a hint of pine. more sweet malty raisin, a bit of alcohol, and more honey.

bitterly hoppy potency hits up front, then recedes to a fairly pleasantly complex malt profile with some nice honey, caramel and toffee. A bit of resinous pine sap and spice finish it up. Almost a strong and malty extreme-ipa. A definite alcohol hotness too.

Mouth is full, a bit sticky, carbonation doesn't quite cut through, although if it did, it would probably be overload. A lasting pine bitterness lingers for a seemingly endless amount of time. astringent, resinous, viscous, and fairly hot at this point... I'd imagine it would be perfect with some age.

All in all, deliciously strong and piney. Reminds me, as I said, of a strong IPA, more than in years past. The brown sugar notes and carmelized malt are a bit hidden... maybe with a bit of age they'd develop a bit further. Enjoyable, although a bit hot at the moment, definitely drinkable. Worth trying, and definitely worth grabbing one or two to lay down for a bit.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to pokesbeerdude for this one.

Poured into a tulip a slightly hazy golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some honey notes, caramel. The taste is hoppy, with some malts, sweet, slight spice. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, maybe more hoppy that past years, recommended.

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Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark copper-amber body with a two finger white head. The foam settles quickly and leaves decent lace.

S - Perfumey hop aroma with some tobacco, raisins, and slight grapefruit. Lots of malt with dark caramel and bread notes and a hint of mustard seed.

T - Rich and bready malt character with toasted notes and some spicy hops. Dark caramel and raisin flavors in the middle. The finish is bitter with notes of tobacco and a slight astringent charred flavor.

M - A thick, slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A nice, robust barleywine. Well balanced with a distinct spiciness and a great, mustard quality that reminds me of Brooklyn Monster.

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