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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 BuckeyeNation
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer sereved side by side with a 2004, wine and bourbon barrel aged versions. This was a close second behind the 2004.

Beer is reddish and clear with a tight head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Beer smells malty but unlike the 2004, this one is pretty hoppy too. Nice.

Beer is strong and big. Mildly hot but its hoppy bitter with good hop character that matches the malt sweetness in the front mouth quite well. Its a very drinkable and nice beer. Stone makes good barleywines, that's for sure.

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Photo of wcintula
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wowo. Strong beer. Strong flavors. Poured into a Duvel glass, the beer is beautiful. Deep dark honey color with a very creamy head of complimentary color, about 1 and a half fingers deep with a high pour. Very well retained, throughout. Smells verrry malty with your trademark Stone hops and a strong alcohol smell. Some fruits involved. The taste matches all of this which is good, you taste what you smell. But it's bad, sometimes that alcohol taste is just too much. Nice barleywine with a viscouse body with enough carbonation to make it not feel like your drinking malt syrup. I can drink about as many of these as I can any other barleywine. Enough to get happy. ;-)

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

2009 Old Guardian drank on 9/6/2010

I cracked this baby open after work today as part of my personal Labor Day celebration.

The beer pours a burnt orange and has a nice hazy appearance. The head is minimal put does leave a tiny amount of lacing.

Ok the nose is of caramel covered pine hops, and a touch of straight alcohol.

Ok the taste is loads of caramel malt, some buttery notes, and while the hops have faded they still pack a decent piney punch.

The feel is slick and creamy a bit sticky but has enough carbonation to not be cloying. The alcohol is well hidden and this beer can be dangerous.

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Photo of bobhits
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of evilkalla
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 2009 vintage bomber into a big ale glass.

A: Cloudy copper color. About a half inch of head which receded pretty quick. Lots of bubbles. Decent lacing on the glass.

S: Definitely hoppy but it has an unmistakable barley wine smell to it.

T: Huge barleywine malt sweetness with a sharp, citrusy hop backbone. Fruity with burnt molasses and coffee undertones to it. Really good. Supposedly there's some alcohol in there but I can't detect it.

M: Not a huge level of carbonation, feels just right in the mouth. A little on the filmier side, which is understandable given the hugeness of this beer.

D: Not something you're going to chug, but highly drinkable. The alcohol is hidden so well that I could probably keep drinking this one till I fell off my chair. In light of this, I'll stick with the one bottle. Very, very good.

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

Picked up this lovely from Freethyhops.

Poured into an oversized snifter. To say its hazey would be an understatement. about an inch of bubbly froth is formed from a rigerous pour. Retention of assorted (mostly large) bubble islands and a ring around the collar.
Color is a marmelade orange.

Aroma is sweet and nectar like with loads of caramel malt goodness and just a hint of alcohol at the nose.
Some mild fruity hops and pine.

Feel is slick and creamy with a full bodied feel and smooth carbonation.
Taste upfront is sweet and filled with caramel, malt, buttery bread and plenty of cereal grains.
Hops start to smash me up midway throw and dominate through the swallow with plenty of pine and citric peel. Through the hop bruising, malt still shines through with sweet caramel.
Finishing almost wood like with bitters and a little aspirin.
Very mild warming feel and for 11% it is way too mild. Dangerous really. :)

Very delicious brew. I didnt think I'd ever get a chance to try this and then this trade fell into my lap.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A testament to aging quality ales, only to be served in a red wine glass or tulip.

A: Hazy shade of bronze, a smallish off-white head with tears of hops and malts abounding.

S: Wonderful balance as the hops have mellowed out enough to let the malts shine through the forest for all the trees. Aromas of pine, caramel, grapefruit, pineapple and charred walnuts.

T: As it warms up, the flavors suggested by the scents begin to emerge. Another year may merge the two perfectly.

M: Medium to full-bodied, a Old Guardian aged some 1.5 years is viscous and luscious.

D: Some claim to be able to drink more than one of these 22oz bombers. OK, but if you're willing to split the second one among three or four, I'd be happy to savor this night cap. Otherwise...

A case of this is well worth procuring. A few during the infant years, a few right about now and the rest over time. To my mind, a beer cellar needs Old Guardian keeping the treasure safe.

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Photo of Pittsburgh
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let me start by saying I love Stone beer. This place rocks, my favorite brewery, and this beer just reminded me of why.

Lovely pour, smells fruity.

Taste is amazing, this is my first barleywine, but if this is the standard, I am trying more. Tastes similar to one of the malty/fruity IPAs I've had, nice and sticky, but you get a huge hop hit as well, and a nice after taste as well. Good from beginning to end, high ABV, doesn't really factor into the taste in my opinion. This was aged a little bit and I think this is a good time to crack it, but I'd also like to keep one another year or 2 and see what happens. Next time, I am buying 2 for that purpose exactly. Very interesting and complex beer...well done!

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Photo of ryanonline
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice orangey coppery color with a whitish tan head.

Piney and malty. A slightly biscuity scent.

Taste is the same, slightly boozy. Biscuity still. Very tea like flavor as well.

Slightly thin bodied and a mellow carbonation. A bit dry and hot on the way down.

Pretty easy on the stomach, uncommon for the style. I could handle more than one of these.

Good beer, okay for the style.

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

this will be neat. A barleywine from Caly besides a bigfoot. Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass

Here we go....

A- hazy orange with that slow receding head. Bulky lacing remains on the side of the brew. Strangely, it almost looks like a blue moon with a lack of a head

S- whoa! Malty alcohol! So sweet with citrus and syrupy hops though. Butterscottch and caramel. Some watery raisins as well

T- sweet barley wine taste with alcohol and dried fruit. A tad crisp hopped flavor with light smoked malt even. Some earthy flavor is twisted with some citrus too. The malt does finish the brew with a sweet tone

M- crabonated and thick with a heck of a mouthfull

D- great west coast barley wine! Stone is wicked. You have to be careful with the alcohol. Sit back and enjoy one

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Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of this at The Main Stree Gourmet in Oxford, OH -- kind of a lucky find so if you're ever in that area, be sure to stop by and check it out. What was even better was that it was a bottle of '09 and kept pretty well in this store. I had a bottle of '09 when it was fresh and it was too big for me to get through too much, so with a year of age on it, it had definitely mellowed out and the hops had mellowed a bit, but were still really potent so I'd love to get a hold of another bottle of the '09 and let it set. Review is from notes taken on 6/1/2010 and poured from the bottle to a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a rich and deep honey color and starts with a 1/2 finger white head that fades immediately to a thin and uneven spotty skim on the surface; body shows tremendous clarity and minimal carbonation -- just one thin strand of bubbles trickling up; only a couple of spots of lacing are left behind on the sides of the glass.

Smell: A lot of honey sweet malts and a faint whiff of grapefruit bitter hop presence; a faint presence of alcohol is detectable in the nose as well -- nose is ultimately quite potent and makes its presence known.

Taste: Tons of the honey sweet malts are up front, but as kind of expected in most anything from Stone, the hops are still very present and are grapefruit bitter -- these hops have not really faded much at all over the extra year in the bottle, but have managed to mellow just a bit and ultimately this has become much more drinkable; the aftertaste is initially like pure honey, but the sticky coating holds some of the bitter hop resins and end up rounding out the palate.

Mouthfeel: Body is a little thick and heavy, even starts a little slick and oily; carbonation is a little more potent than it looks, but really smooth; a thick dry coating is left all over the mouth and as mentioned above, it really holds the bitter aftertaste quite well.

Drinkability: It's big, but I'm digging on the flavors and balance for such a big beer from a real hop-forward brewery; the ABV is high and that decreases the score a bit, and I would love to get ahold of another bottle to give it another year and see where it's at. Perhaps a road trip is in order.

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Photo of joshstevens87
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a red orange brown kind of color with a half inch light tan head
S-some sweet malt with notes of bread,carmel and molasses and some good dose of citrus hops
T-a sweet bready malt with a hint of caramel and molasses with an assertive citrus hop profile and a very present alcohol
M-a very full body with a dull carbonation making it smooth yet bitter from the hops and alcohol
D-overall a very good beer and one that would do very well with some age on it

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Photo of zebco
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 22oz bomber poured an amber-orange color. Kind of a cloudy look to it. It had an ivory colored head. I kept smelling a roasty, almost chocolatey aroma. Some hops in there also. During the first sip, the heady was creamy feeling. The malt flavor was pretty strong. The hops seemed to hit later on and balance very nicely. I'm not sure the IBU rating of this brew but the bitterness seems moderate. A slight alcohol warming mouthfeel. This beer seemed to get better the further I went along. At 11.3% abv maybe that's why. But I enjoyed this very much. Would like to find a 2010 in the future...

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Photo of AgentZero
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Orangish mber color with a nice colored off-white head that rose about half a finger on the pour.

S - Sweetl malts, mostly, some sort of nicely muted sugar smell. A nice touch of hops, which I was not entirely expecting, little bit citrusy.

T - Citrusy and sugary, just like I expect from a barleywine, it's an interesting style I need more exposure to. Somewhat yeasty, dry finish on it.

M - A little creamy, heavier side of medium bodied, nice carbonation burn.

D - Doing the bottle was a bit difficult, average drinkability as best, something of a sharp taste and the high alcohol make one bomber enough.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not a bad barley wine from Stone. Orange-copper, very light and clear with a very thin off-white head.

Sweet, slightly vinous scent. Malts, brown sugar, raisins and hints of blackberry.

Somewhat bitter taste - hops, berries and raisin and wine hints. Suggestions of brown sugar, caramel, bread and even bananas. Rich flavour, but sometimes the complexity is lost.

Good carbonation though at times it seems a little too heavy on the fizz. Very enjoyable, but a dessert beer at 11.3%

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

Bottle from Crown Liquors #6 - Hazy, opague amber with a thin white head and sparce white lacing. Aroma is subtle resin hops, caramel, toffee, and sweet bready malt. Sweet bready malt dominates the flavor with subtle resin on the front. Mouthfeel is both oily and creamy.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great looking Stone, oozes out the bottle, its a thick syrupy one. Minimal head, big alcohol notes come out the nose, surprisingly little hops.

Taste wise again, was expecting something comparable to Bigfoot or the signature Stone hopping, but this one is immensely sweet. Still a big beer. Mouthfeel remained consistent, yet unadventurous yielding no nuances. Decent price for a Stone bomber of something so big, but many better Stone options for my $.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of BatDaddy
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of danielharper
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark orange, slightly red, with a tiny bit of haze, but with a very thick cream-colored head that sticks around and leaves some amazing lacing. Smells strongly of dry American West Coast hops, but with a sweet caramel malt balance underneath. Intriguing, interesting.

Flavor-wise, I was expecting a strong crisp hoppiness up front, and that's basically what you get. What I wasn't necessarily anticipating was the sugary sweetness that follows in the malt, along with a lot more caramel and hints of bready yeastiness. Finishes dry. No alcohol astringency on the nose or in the flavor, amazing for a beer that clocks in above eleven percent. Overall impression is of the strong hops and the residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamier than expected, otherwise predictably hoppy and with a high level of carbonation. Dry aftertaste.

I was expecting to like this beer, but I wasn't necessarily expecting to love it this much. The caramel and sweetness make an almost perfect match for the hops, and the alcohol is so well-hidden it's scary. Is Stone the best brewery in America? Maybe.

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

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

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus a good amount of hops and a touch of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out with a strong burst of hops bitterness that is followed by a significant alcohol bite. Then there's some citrus and caramel sweetness that comes in. The malt character is hearty and provides some balance, which improves as the beer warms. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, very good representation of style, even though it doesn't seem as good as previous releases this is still a good beer to sip on for a long time.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. (2009)

A: Pours a lightly hazy (chill, I'd guess) amber body with ruby and orange inflection to it. Quite inviting. Unlike the 2010, the head dies pretty quickly and leaves only a few trails of bubbles on top of the brew.

S: Hops are fading a bit compared to the fresh 2010 version, as one would expect. The pine is still prominent, even weed-like; it blends well with caramel, toffee, and crystal malt. Some butterscotch too.

T: I'm a little less enthused about this aged version than I was about the 2010. It's very toasty, lots of butterscotch and caramel. These are very dominant, almost making me miss chocolate (which I did not find in the fresh one). The pine hop character is still there, with an undercurrent of citrus flavors. This lacks the hoppy aggressiveness of the fresh version, and it fails to have developed a nice complexity to compensate for the faded hops. On top of that, it's a bit boozy (solventy, not just warm).

M: Chewy; finish is a little harsh and boozy. Low-medium carbonation.

D: In my opinion, one year isn't the sweet spot for this beer. It's still better than average, and I had no trouble putting down a bomber of it, but in the future I'd drink these fresh.

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

Reviewed from my notes. A year old Keg was tapped as part of Novare Res' strong beer week. I consumed it on 3.20.10. The beer is opaque, with an orange/red coloration. It has a foamy, tan colored head and visible carbonation rising within the glass. It has good, even lacing. it smells of spent grain and citrus hops. I can make out some alcohol as well. There are dry, bitter hops up front in the taste. The hops also linger in the aftertaste. Up until swallowing, I can pick up some alcohol and some sticky sweetness. It has a heavy body and stick mouth coating. It really feels like a 11% ABV beer. There isn't much alcohol burn though. It's pretty drinkable considering the strength. There is a strong hop presence, but that is the only limiting factor that I could detect.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oh, how blessed I was to find a bottle of this at my local grocer!

Appearance> Hazy, ruby red. Lacy. Medium liveliness. Small vanilla head dissipates quickly.

Smell> Sweet and sour, alcoholic.

Taste> Tangy start. Very nice. Complex. Bitterness smoothes into an ultra long resiny hang with heaps of alcohol heat.

Mouf> thin. Decent carbonation. Average barley wine.

Drinkability> Pretty good

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