Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009

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246 Reviews
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Reviews: 246
Hads: 330
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
Wants: 6
Gots: 47 | 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
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Reviews: 246 | Hads: 330
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 22oz single from Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, CO. Around $6.

A: Dark copper/orange, with an off white head about half an inch or so, excellent lacing all the way around. Hazy. Dense bubbles, not a lot of carbonation moving around in the glass. Pretty nice looking beer.

S: Piney and citrus hops are really present with some huge caramel and doughy flavors too. Smells very sweet, but has some nice bitter hints as well. Almost honey like, smells pretty darn tasty. Faint hints of booze as it warms up.

T: Wow! Bitter hoppiness! If I didn't have any other knowledge of this beer, I would mistake it for a very potent DIPA. Damn. Hops are very citrus like, almost like biting into a grapefruit rind. As it warms, the hops mellow out a little bit, and the malt starts to shine, quite similar to the nose, caramel, and honey. This is a strong beer. No doubt about it. An interesting barley wine that will age nicely, right now, its a bit overbearing on the hop end of the spectrum.

M: Thick, dry, and slightly spicy from all the hops, alcohol is pretty hot as it goes down, not so much in the mouth, but I can really feel it in my gut.

D: It is very intense, but drinkable if hops are your thing. Honestly, its hard for me to see this as a barleywine right now, give it a few more months and I think things will mellow out, but right now, this is a very malty DIPA. Really a tasty beer, I think the next bottle will be a little more mellow in...October? Good beer though, I'd recommend it to a hop head.

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Photo of maskednegator
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Copper. Off-white head deflates in a minute or so, leaving a thick lace on the glass.
Smell: Alcohol, brown sugar. Toasted malts, pine needles.
Taste: Caramel, brandy, little bit of sweet apples. Big, spicy hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, medium carbonation.
Drinkability: A lot of alcohol presence. My buddy's Belgian-drinking girlfriend got mad at me after trying it. I think it's ready to go out of the bottle, but holding onto one for a few years will make this one absolutely tremendous.
Verdict: Solid, likely to be totally transcendent in a few years. Peep the abv, and clear your schedule for the evening. This is like drinking a 40.

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Photo of JimFromVenus
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
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.


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Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to see this annual gem of a beer show up here in NC somewhat early.Poured into a imperial nonic a dull somewhat hazed burnt orange with a tight formed 1/2 finger white head that never really completely subsides, just a creamy mass with broken lace behind.Big pine resin in the nose along with dark fruit and brown sugar.Full on thick mouth coating mouthfeel but not overly so,just lush.Strong flavors on the palate with the alcohol really coming thru,big resiny hop intermingled with sweet alcohol and dark fruit are the big flavor components,as the beer warmed the alcohol became more prevelant.Abeer to hold on to as its big and raw right now,ah but raw is great!

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Photo of Shaw
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An orange-amber in color with a short, off-white head that's not much more than a ring and a thin layer in my glass.

It has that trademark barleywine aroma of alcohol, hops and tons of malt.

The trademark aroma leads to the trademark taste. Lots of malt and big hop bitterness, but not in an over-the-top way. This is a more nuanced barleywine. Big warming notes at the end.

The body is super slick and creamy. Quite nice.

Overall this is a good barleywine. It's a little too strong for me to be packaged in a 22-ounce bottle: I'd prefer a 12-ounce version. But that's because I'm a serious lightweight. I just ate a huge meal and will drink this bottle over several hours. Here's hoping I don't get a hangover.

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Photo of farrago
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big three finger head if you pour too aggressively, very slow to simmer down, more microscopic foam than bigger bubbles, semi-sticky lacing. Murky glow deepens the orange-brown color, fully opaque through to the slightly more orange rims. More hop presence in this than any other barleywine beer consumed before, the nose full of grapefruit, tangerine citrus, pine sap and green grass, sharply angular in texture, the tropicality in the pineapple, nectarine, guava, kumquat fruit scents contributes mightily, little cushioning from the rye bread, mocha, carob or scone notes. Full-bodied unto thick in the mouth, even the foaminess seems to add to its density. Not substantially different from the nose in that pink grapefruit, lemon citrus, pine and herbaceousness dominate. Around the mid-palate you might get some malty biscuit or bread but the malt presence drops a notch here, any chocolate comes only when you breathe out. The pineapple, guava, nectarine, peach fruit met by raisin and fig flavors which keep their distance. Keeps rubbing your palate until it starts to get raw. Selfish steamroller, doesn't consider your feelings at all.

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Photo of patobandito
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice cloudy copper color with a thick off white head. Smells amazing. Very malty with lots of Earthy tones with a great hop scent as well. Taste is indescribable. Malty earth notes with great grain tastes from the start, then the hops bombard my tongue with citrus and grassy notes. The balance is damn near perfect, the only complaint being that it might be a bit hop-sided, but thats not a bad thing at all in my opinion. Very full feeling and easily drinkable. Excellent. Simply excellent.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber body with a creamy head that retains at about 2mm.
S: Good dose of malts--really grainy and earthy.
T: Similar to the smell. The malts almost remind me of fiber or oats. Spicy alcohol at the end.
M: Somewhat smooth throughout with the alcohol kick at the end.
D: One of the better barleywines I've had in awhile.

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Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Tyler's in Apex, NC.

A - Amber with a reddish tinge and good clarity. A small beige head that dissipates quickly.

S - Rich malt and floral hops. Very nice.

T - A firm burst of malt and alcohol followed by a nice hop aroma and flavor. The flavors are all so distinct but work together nicely. A lingering hop bitterness and warming alcohol effect.

M - Thick with an almost oily consistency. Low carbonation.

D - A very big, strong beer that still has plenty of subtlety. I'm not a big barley wine drinker but this one definitely left me ready for more.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a large snifter. Very light copper, a DIPA-ish appearance but with a skinny head that nevertheless rouses itself with a few swirls.

S - Upon cracking the bottle, my first thought was that it smelled as though I'd just opened a pinot grigio; it had a vinous aroma. When poured into the snifter, though, it gives a more typical American barleywine nose. Tropical fruit esters, mostly pineapple, passion fruit, guava. Some acetone. It doesn't smell as blatantly hoppy and one-dimensional as it did on tap.

T - Wow, nor does it taste as one-dimensional as it did on tap. On draft, it tasted like a glorified IPA. Not to minimize the still-considerable hop presence, but this is very rich and more balanced, not quite as dry hoppiness in the finish. Fruity alcohol much more notable here, better cookie malt backbone.

F - Has a good typical sticky-barleywine feel.

D - I don't know why this feels so much more full and alcoholic out of the bottle, but I find it much more complex, more aromatic, and more like what I expect from a barleywine. That said, I had 3 chalices of this from the tap, and I don't think I can match that here. Very good, but will be a struggle to finish the bomber.

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Photo of Psilo707
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Excited to hear the new 2009 release of Old Guardian was out, I immediately went down to my liquor store and picked up a 22 oz bottle. Pouring it into a mug, I noticed how orange (not amber... orange!) and opaque this one looked right away. I don't know if I've ever seen a beer this brightly colored in my life. Awesome.

Smells very hoppy, a *slight* citrus tinge, and a very earthy aroma surrounds the entire mug. Taking a big sip, I feel the force of this brew. It starts somewhat subtle when taken into the mouth, but once swallowed and sat upon, a strong hoppy overwhelming feeling rises. Organic tasting yet not being easy on the senses, in a good way. A lot of barley/hops and a good after taste that lingers.

The mouthfeel is one of the best I've ever had. It sits in your mouth almost like a cream, but with a lot of cleanliness and fluidity. The drinkability for me began high and eventually became lower, but still above-average.

Another awesome release from Stone!

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Photo of Brewnami
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Brewery make some of my favorite beers yet. I was about to grab Double Bastard Ale when I noticed an intriguing barley wine sitting right next to it. I checked out the bottle and realized that I had to give this one a try. Being a limited brew, I put down the Double Bastard and snagged this massive 11.3% barley wine style ale... and I am so glad I did. I have been trying a lot of barley wines lately, but this is definitely the best one I have had recently. I poured it into a pint glass and noted the very dark orange, amber like appearance with a small, fluffy, off-white head. I then gave my nose a taste before my mouth. Huge hop and malt aroma, very typical of Stone. I then let my tongue join in on the fun and it was nothing short of spectacular. Obviously being a barley wine you probably wont want to drink gallon of this so I would say the 22oz bottle is plenty. If you're looking to session, grab a six pack of the Stone IPA to wash this down. Anyways, if you like barley wine style ales, or huge hop taste, or are looking to grow some chest hair and not look like a vagina with your miller lights, then I would highly recommend giving this a try.
Oh yeah, did I mention BITTER?

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Photo of badbassrandy
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smells like hop/malt heaven, with definite spice from the hops and a very Stone-like presence of malt in the nose. My pour revealed an off-white, luxurious and relatively large head for a barleywine. Yum.

Tastes loaded with fine malts and delicious hops with a symphony of earthy and organic notes dancing on the palate. Deceivingly delicious. I can tell this one could spell trouble. It's very drinkable for such strength with a wonderful, chewy mouthfeel that's both silky and rustic.

All said, this is my kind of barleywine brew. One that will keep me coming back to this style after having disliked them for so long.

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Photo of ReDave
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love this stuff!
Pours a rather cloudy orange with a rather thin head and practically no lace.

First sip was sorta malty and i at first thought mellow...
Whew what happens! the bite comes on!
Its great! but it's a build up.
It's like the bitterness layers on your tongue and sticks around or something

one of the best barley wines around! Bitter style!

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Photo of PalatineBrewing
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm in love. Drove all the way to indiana to sample some Stone beers, and found this 22 oz bomber at 3 floyds brewery. Read it was a barleywine @ 11% and had to take it for a try.

A: Light golden brown color with light carbonation. Pours slightly syrupy with definite hops rings on the surface after the head fades.

S: Hops and malt. Times ten.

T: Amazing deep malty flavor backed by a firm bitter hoppiness. Very well balanced for such a huge beer. The hops manage to be bitter without destroying your palate; i enjoyed this beer until the very end. The sweetness is not cloying.

M: Slightly syrupy, but not overwhelming. Goes down very easy for a barleywine.

D: When you order a barleywine you expect to get punched in the face with sweetness and/or bitterness. This one is right at the threshold for both.

Overall: Honestly - this is one of the most beautiful beers i have ever tried. I went directly to a liquor store and bought a case.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this last night, and it's a bit young, but this looks likes it might be a great barleywine some day. It's good now.

It poured a burnt orange color into my tulip glass, with think, light orange foam floating on the brew. The head never completely went away, and lots of heavy sheeting action on the glass. A pugent piney, resin-like smell greated me when I opened the bottle, and I detected it standing three or four feet away from it. I have a weak nose, so that's one powerful aroma.

Surprise, surprise, something from Stone Brewing is hops dominated. Lots of piney, resin hops dominating the fresh, chewey malt. The malt had a little sweetness to it, a little toffee like character. Wasn't really getting a lot of fruity-like character, here, but that's OK. Mouth feel a little astringent, and a little harshness to the brew hurt the overall drinkability. There's a lot of alcohol in there, and I could taste some of it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it hurts the drinkability department too, at least for me.

I enjoyed this fresh tasting, unique barleywine, and the good news is that I have another bottle in my fridge. I'm going to give it a few months before I open it, to let it mellow out some. I expect that this one will improve with age.

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Photo of BarrelO
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, the first installment of which was poured into a pint glass and the second into a goblet.

A: The requisite barleywine dark coppery color. A more vigorous pour into the goblet results in a bigger head. Little lacing.

S: A huge rush of piney, citrusy hops. Glad to see that they went back to American hops after the English hops in the 2008. Caramel malty sweetness is just as prominent.

T: An immediate onslaught of hoppy bitterness. Sweet malt keeps the hops from becoming unbearable. As it warms up, the situation reverses itself as the caramel malt takes over and the hops keep it from become cloying. Aftertaste is dominated by hoppy bitterness. Alcohol burn is noticeable but not overwhelming.

M: Thick and syrupy with good carbonation.

D: Hoo-boy. I took on the whole bomber by myself. Bad idea. By the time I finished, I was down for the count. Old Guardian wins. Flawless victory. Overall, I don't have too much experience with OG, but I definitely prefer this to 2008. It's quite impressive for a beer this big to be so drinkable right off the bat.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of johlendorf
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Voonder
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of jdklks
4.09/5  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.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
4.15/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of nick76
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of roadhouse
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

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Photo of jgap
3.72/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

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