Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

246 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 330
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.17%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 246 | Hads: 330
Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Al's of Hampden served in a nonic. Appears a hazed golden copper color with a finger of creamy yellowish stained head that retains quite well for 11%. Faint patches of lace cling to the glassware with each sip. A light swirl revives the cap to a finger's strength and large bubbles of carbonation continually rise through the body.

The aroma of this brew is sweet with a scent of caramelized sugary malt. Fruity indications with hops that are light rind-like somewhat reminiscent of orange skin. A bit of fusel alcohol tingles the nose and finishes out the aroma.

The taste if this offering has a pleasant contrast of sweet caramel malt verse modestly bitter rindy hops and bold alcohol. For coming up on 2 years old or so this brew can certainly hold out much longer. Hops last inside the mouth long after each sip with a mixture of herbal aspect and rind. As this brew warms it picks up some toasted toffee like flavors that are a pleasant mix to the solid abv and hop character.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Very bold and quite a solid strength sipper. A well rounded brew that could be cellared for a few more years and enjoyed. The hop oils seemingly stick and cling inside the mouth. with each sip. (1,263 characters)

Photo of darklordlager
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 22 oz. snifter a hazy sunset orange with a small film of tan head which recedes to a mere coating. Great fall colour.

Smell is of candied fruit. Fruit cake, layered caramel, with hops molding together the layers.

Taste is a spectrum of interesting flavours. Floral Hops with loads of caramel malt helping to prop up said hops.
Interesting finish consisting of a strong seemingly everlasting bitterness with a mild (compared to the hops) malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, on par with what you would expect with a barleywine.

D-For a fresh barleywine, it is ridiculously drinkable. On par with Bigfoot.

Will revisit in a year or so. (657 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Guardian 2009, from a 22oz bomber obtained today at Harringtons for $7.49 plus tax and dep.

Color is a clear, rich, deep copper. Carbo is visible rising up, and the topping is a light beige, creamy, fine gathering of bubbles, most of which sit at the edge and add to the lacework. A very-late addition of some bottle sediment added some cloudiness to the mixture. Aroma has some strong, biting, resiny hops, along with a healthy dose of alcohol-related "heat" hitting the nostrils. The feel is very smooth on the tongue, and the body is solidly mid-range.

Flavor has some malt lurking about, contributing caramel and toffee notes to the mix. Hops are plentiful and produce a lupulin-coating on the tongue and oral cavity. There's a good dose of resiny, piney hop action going on here, with a smattering of citrus getting tangled up in blue. The 11.30% ABV is quite evident, right from the get-go, with a noticeable warming in the belly not long after the first few sips. Despite all the hops, some caramel is what actually lingers in the aftertaste. Though not quite as hoppy as I like a BW (give me Bigfoot!!), this is still pretty solid! Had no plans to review, until I saw that these Stone BWs are yearly offerings, so wtf, eh? ;-)

Prosit!!

4.1
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

1222 (1,315 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Poured an opaque amber color with a tight off-white head - good lacing on the glass and excellent head retention. Aromas were sweet brown sugary malt, caramel, toffee, some hops and rather boozy. Tastes were very similar to aromas with a pleasantly sweet maltiness up front followed by the familiar finish of bitter Stone hops - all their beers have a very distinctive hop character. Good representation of the style with a nice west coast hop flare. (456 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Released as part of the 2011 Cleveland Beer Week.
A: Orangish red color, thin head that quickly dissipates.
S: All sorts of fruit: stone fruit, citrus, dried fruit; caramel & toffee rounds it out.
T: Caramel, toffee, orange peel. Straightforward but intense.
M: A bit thick and the alcohol does come through, but typical of the style.
O: Another solid offering from Stone. Drink this one slowly. (433 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This is a rich golden copper color that looks like gold bars melted into a viscous liquid. The beer is a deeper copper tone in the glass, and quite cloudy. The head stands at a respectable two fingers of completely solid foam. Gigantic sheets of caramel hued foam slide slowly down the edges of my snifter, melding seamlessly back into that solid, dense pillow of beautiful foam. The beer starts to clear up after a few seconds of settling in the glass, and head retention is outstanding for a beer of this stature.

S - Sweet vanilla bean, banana Laffy Taffy, gooey caramel ice cream topping, Belgian waffles, and if this is starting to sound too malty... its topped of with a glorious west coast hop note redolent of fresh flowers and citrus fruit. Nice!

T - Hoppy as all hell. This is WAY hoppier than it smells... should have expected that from Stone! This wonderfully hoppy brew is like caramelized sugar poured over bushel of fresh hops. Pine and grapefruit are the major components here, along with flourishes of gin and tonic "botanical" bitterness. This is outstanding, but I gotta say that its more of a double IPA than a barleywine isn't it?

M - Medium bodied and muscular. This has some apparent alcohol burn that comes across in a bitter and refined way.... like good gin. Starts with the tiniest hint of sweetness and finishes super-bitter and dry.

D - What is the IBU rating for this one? Its honestly one of the hoppiest and most bitter bees that I've ever had... ever. This is a well made and memorable beer, and it smells outstanding. However, at the risk of sounding like a weenie, its honestly just too bitter to really quaff with any enthusiasm or regularity. This is a beer that could stand up to the spiciest fare.... Indian, Thai, or Cajun this would give a super-spicy or peppery dish a run for its money. (1,838 characters)

Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured a slightly hazy amber w/creamy off-white head. Respectable retention.
S-Hops are dominant, w/a bouquet of citrus, pine, floral, and fresh vegetal tones. There is also a sweet honey-like fruit character.
T-Attack is harmonious blend of sweet and bitter, and the alcohol emerges right away if you hold it. The malt come out nicely midway, and the finish is of strong hops that cleanse the palate nicely. The first two seconds of aftertaste brings out the alcohol, but this is ephemeral, and the resiny hops come back on, leaving a pleasing bitterness.
M-Medium-bodied w/light carbonation. Good balance.
D-Very good. Picked this up at SeaSide Market in Encinidas. We're hitting the brewery tonight. (704 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy, rusty orange in color. Thin white head w/ good lacing and retention.

S - Citrus and piney hops. Some light whiffs of dark fruit.

T - Nice balance of sweet malts and bitter hops. Faint hints of pine and citrus.

M - Heavy body... viscous yet smooth. Good carbonation. Slightly sticky.

D - Excellent Amreican Style Barleywine... alcohol hidden well w/ nice balance of flavor. (389 characters)

Photo of dhd1491
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lots of different flavors going on and not as over-the-top as some barleywines. Still, a powerful "sippin" brew; not one that you're going to want to pound down. Of the few barleywines I've tried so far, this is one of the better ones.

Lots of ripe fruit and berries in the flavor. Butter and toffee, too. A nicely complex brew. My expectations have been met or exceeded by Stone with every one of their beers that I have sampled. (431 characters)

Photo of SupaCelt
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought off the shelf last week at my favorite haunt.

The colour is a blushing honey tone with minimal carbonation. Head is small and doesn't stay to visit.

The nose is largely hot and alcoholic. Fusels, baby. There is a grand crusty sweetness underneath. Burnt sugar and caramel with some funky old tones.

The taste is heavy on the burnt sugar and a prominent, but appropriate and welcomed alcohol burn and dryness. Tastes are crude and raw.

The mouthfeel is like warm syrup.

The drinkability is good for the style. This one is a sipper. Watch some Survivor and nurse one. (578 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (1,521 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky orange honey with a 1 inch head that leaves fast to disk.
Tons of cascading bubbles as you tilt the glass. Lots of filmy small bubbled lace.

S - Holy Crap. It SMELLS like thick, gooey caramel. Tons of sweet malt in this aroma.

T - Big ass caramel, gets kind of harshly bittered in tandem with pretty significant alcohol presence.

M - Thick, coating, good carb. Big flavors and balances heave and ho.

D - Big, mean, lots of booze and ruin of palate. Good stuff, but not meant for a night, for sure. (511 characters)

Photo of kegger22
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 release (just had a bomber of 2008 a few days ago).

Poured a hazy, dark orange with a one finger head that slowly faded to a thick skin. The aroma was rather more hoppy than malt. The taste was much more bitter than the 2008. I like hops (though not quite yet a hophead, I'm getting there), but I preferred the malted balance of '08. Yes sweet was there, and more so as it warmed, but I still favor last year's release. This one is good though. The feel was medium bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability was good for a high ABV. (541 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of seand
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large red wine glass. Early 2009 release, so it's not had a long time to age.

A: Pours a fairly light translucent amber red, with about a finger of off white head that dissipates quickly leaving some foam on the surface. Some lacing.

S: Caramel malt with hints of fruity hops.

T: Lots of flavor. The sweetness on the front of the tongue gives way to grapefruit flavors and a big hop finish which lingers on the aftertaste. The alcohol is present but mostly covered by the hops.

M: Nice, crisp carbonation. Full bodied, somewhat sticky mouthfeel.

D: Drinks quite easily considering the 11.3% ABV. (630 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass as a reward for a nice workout snowshoeing in Maine. Getting a foot of snow here today and we hiked around in the woods for well over an hour. Sounds like a perfect day to break into my '09 Old Guardian.

Hazy deep amber color with brown/orange highlights. I did have this in a regular fridge here and took it out for 20 minutes to allow it to get to the right temp. Interesting that it's this hazy. A finger of bubbly light tan head forms and settles quickly. Quite interesting that despite a less aggressive head, there is a ton of lacing left everywhere. Literally almost the entire inside of the glass has a thick file left clinging to it.

Sure smells like a barley wine. Deep and inviting malt aroma with a background of fruit. I think more caramel vs. brown sugar here. Certainly a sweet note.

Sure tastes like a barley wine! ;) The depth of the flavor is really nice here. There are layers to the malt flavor and you can just enjoy them as you slowly sip this big beer. A sweet punch immediately, followed by a moment of vanilla cream. More sugar but now a bit more like brown sugar. Some fruit then a punch of pithy bitterness. Lots going on here.

Big in body and big in your mouth. Very mild carbonation. Almost oily

Certainly fits the bill on a day with a foot of snow. I really enjoyed working through the bottle and sharing just a bit of it.. (1,385 characters)

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy cider color that becomes more opaque as it settles down. A small head with a thin but persistent lacing.

Smell: Fruity hops dominate the smell. It's pretty boozy, too.

Taste: Those fruity hops, in true Stone fashion, have their way with your taste buds. The hops overwhelmed my first couple of sips. As I had a few more, a very pleasant undercurrent of toasted caramel or butterscotch made its presence felt. The hops and the caramel both linger nicely, making for a terrific finish. All in all a delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a bit low for my taste. It doesn't take away from the taste, but doesn't compliment it, either.

Drinkability/Overall: This is one sneaky beer.The alcohol is fairly present in the smell, but not so much in the taste. The 11 and change ABV kind of hides and then wallops you.

That being said, this beer is something of a tweener. It's a delicious beer, but it's almost more like an excellent double IPA than a barleywine, at least the way I think of the style. I think I'm going to go buy another bottle and age it for a spell and see what that does to the balance. Definitely pick it up, though, as long as you're not a barleywine purist. (1,259 characters)

Photo of jsapunor
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured this into an Old Guardian glass. It's a great looking cloudy orange-red with three fingers of tan creamy head that just hangs on and on.

Since this is from Stone, you have to expect hops and that's what you get in the aroma but malt and alcohol are there as well.

I was expecting this to be hop heavy but it wasn't. The hops are there all right but there is a bias toward caramel malt. The taste is mostly sweet malt and alcohol along with the hops. Nicely carbonated.

This is not as smooth as Bigfoot but very enjoyable as a maltier, more muscular barleywine. It's also very drinkable, at least until halfway down the bottle when the gargoyle jumps off and kicks you in the head. (690 characters)

Photo of 1759Girl
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
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 (410 characters)

Photo of dannydetox
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

had the pleasure of tasting this vintage keg at the stone outpost in pasadena. poured into a short stem glass, the ale has a hazy amber tone, with a thin, off white head. smell was less intense than i would have expected; there is a subtle smoked quality accompanying the malt-driven nose, perhaps some toffee as well. taste is excellent; loads of rich caramel and dried fruit flavors lead into a bitter, yet balanced finish. alcohol is present, but not overpowering. this four year old beast held up nicely. (508 characters)

Photo of cvstrickland
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (1,275 characters)

Photo of earthboundagain
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of jacobseyb
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice caramel/amber color with a light tan head and good retention. Laced pretty well, with the head dissipating to a nice crown and a bubbly island in the middle. Sweet malts on the nose, with some fruity hop presence. Tasty sweet maltiness gives way to some alcohol spiciness. Feels well with light carbonation tickling the palate, and some oiliness on the finish. Drinkable for the style though the ABV prevents mass consumption. (440 characters)

Photo of Docer
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle at The Beer Mongers on 12th and Division in SE Portland the other day... and just now read that it was an early release.. and the bastard is 11.3% Alc. WOW...

- Light caramel hazy brew with luscious lacing and subtle white head... looks like a nice bitter cream ale of sorts...

- Nice roasty caramel malt presence... light, with some brown sugar, maple... zesty spicy bitter hop balance... really nice.

- Zesty and spicy nostral opening liquor barley madness. What a complex and wonderful barleywine.. and yet so strong, and just right! My head shook after I took a small chug from a mug, that like a missing lug, made thee wanna hug! Great spice, hop forward bitter balance, with a perfect malt/burn combination... Stone is fantastic.

- Little sticky and oily... the burn is almost synthetic...

- Hugely drinkable if you like strong ales... and like trying to pick out all the flavors Stone puts in their brews. Shocked. (942 characters)

Photo of tmgiddings
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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. (271 characters)

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