1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.73%
Wants: 6
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 02-06-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 247 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of elniko
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from Bomber into snifter. Early 2009 Release marked on bottle.

A: Rich amber coloring with oily head. Nice lacing apparent. Good looking brew.

S: Typical Stone citrus nose with heavy hops apparent but not to the same extent as the IPA or Ruination. The high alcohol does not come across with I found surprising.

T & M: I get a strange musty tone in the taste that I have not encountered in the bottles of Old Guardian that I have had. Pretty well balanced for an American Barleywine, especially from Stone. Finish definitely has some bitter hop qualities.

D: For a barleywine this is quite drinkable but the high ABV would keep me from a drinking more than one bottle.

elniko, May 19, 2009
Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Red copper color with a touch of amber. The head is very thin, yet stays a good while.

S- The hop smell is very gin/juniper like, with great herbal spices. A nice candy caramel smell.

T- That gin hop taste carried over to the taste. The beer has more hop taste then aged. Very tasty and edgy, not quite as refined and mellowed as an aged one.

M- The mouthfeel is good, nice carbination to the thick beer.

D- Easy to drink for sure. Goes down smooth but can be a slight bit harsh.

Wetpaperbag, May 17, 2009
Photo of TheMistler
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bit thick, sticky. A clear, rather light caramel brown with orange. A creamy, just off-white head produced by an initially roiling carbonation. Pretty solid lacing.

Sticky-sweet malt is up front in the aroma. Caramel, dough. Initially it seemed to be an all-malt nose, but as I let it sit I detected a bevy of different hop notes. Mint. Spicy citrus.

Malt up front, but then lots of sticky hops. Light caramel, but mostly indistinct sweet malt serves to prepare the palate for the hop onslaught. Herbal and grassy, made spicy and dry by significant alcohol drying. Medicinal note.

Creamy, but not without some restrained CO2 prickliness. Medium bodied, with some chewiness, as well. Definitely a sipper, but an enjoyable one. I guess I wish the malt was as developed and nuanced as the hops, but this is quite nice.

TheMistler, May 17, 2009
Photo of merryjoulton
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a fantastic deep gold that tiptoes the edge of being red... maybe an orange-red? this beer is exceptional looking. a beautiful 1/4 inch tan head showed no signs of dissipating until the last sip.

S: sticky, piny, lemony hops. a big malt aroma present, along with booze.

T: I can find two components to this: bitter and booze. I'm looking for malt, but its not there. a hop forward taste, seemingly attempting to mask the 11.3%... a tall task.

M: slightly creamy with a pleasant and lingering aftertaste at the back of the tongue.

D: surprisingly high for a brew this enormous! even though I mentioned that the alcohol is evident, it in no way makes it a harsh drinker.

merryjoulton, May 13, 2009
Photo of AChamberlain
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All around solid American barleywine. Poured into a snifter at the Ginger Man in Austin. Amber, honey color. Thin head, that left some sticky lacing on the glass. Hop, hop, hoppy aroma. Sticky flavor and aroma. A nice sweet tea flavor in the middle of the tongue, really tasty. Bitter finish. A tad thin. Boozy. I have enjoyed other barleywines much more. This may need some time, actually, I am prety sure this needs some time to chill and age.

AChamberlain, May 13, 2009
Photo of soupyman10
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wife got me a bottle of this, first one I've gotten my hands on in a couple of years. Look is solid - amber color, fairly light, with a smallish head that dissolves quickly down to a fairly fine film. Huge nose: strong on fruity hops, spice, and caramel malt. Really perfect, well-balanced aromas here. Definitely a hoppy nose, but not unnervingly so. Body is fruity sweet up front, then rolling into a more caramel malt before finishing with a strong, drying, syrupy hop conclusion. A really good example of a solid barley-wine, although this one obviously focuses on the hops side of the fence, leaning into DIPA range (but who's counting, really). Fruitiness, looking at some dried fruit - raisins and apricots. Don't get any alcohol out of this sucker, despite the 11% ABV. Body is fine, with a really busy carbonation that works with that strong hop presence. Overall, this is a really solid brew, much like I remember it.

soupyman10, May 10, 2009
Photo of benjathelion
4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Crystal clear bright mahogany. Moderate head that fades fairly quickly but never completely vanishes. Delicate, resilient lacing.

Aroma: floral, hints of pineapple and dry summer grass, gently piney hops.

Taste: Commanding hop presence with robust malt body to match. Lots of fresh and dried fruit- especially strawberry, apricot, and some citrus. Mayan cocoa (dark chocolate with chili), hot jalapeno, and pipe tobacco, especially as the taste finishes and lingers. Finish also contains grassy/floral/vegetal notes which correspond with the aroma. Herbal suggestions of Benedictine, peat smoke, and heather. There's a bit of alcohol presence, but it's not nearly as boozy-tasting as one would expect for this style.

This ale is robust, bold, complex and articulate without being too heavy handed or lopsided. As the name suggests, it's both mighty and dignified.

In short- AMAZING. I buy as many of these as I can carry whenever I find them.

benjathelion, May 10, 2009
Photo of Drew966
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale is a very interesting beer, I can't really say it's not an American Barleywine, but it sure seems like a double IPA on steroids to me. The flavor is intensely hoppy, there is some caramel flavored malt that balances it out and the alcohol is hidden pretty well considering, however it is part of the flavor and I sure as heck could feel it's effects. Absolutely one of the best beers I've ever had. It makes me want to hoard as much as I can find.

Drew966, May 09, 2009
Photo of allengarvin
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Old Guardian, poured into a nonik glass, is a cloudy golden color, with a large head of thick, creamy, dense foam. The nose is sweet, lightly fruity, with a great aromatic hop presence. Exceptionally bitter citrus-flavored hops. The sweet malt takes a step to the background with bitterness front and center from start to finish, but it does make a light balance if you look for it. The finish lingers forever, very dry. A surprisingly light bodied beer for such strength, creamy and sumptuous.

Very good America barley wine.

allengarvin, May 08, 2009
Photo of jwinship83
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- this one pours a murky dark orange/amber that has a finger of off white colored head. the head last a very long time and leaves a wall of lacing behind.

S- lots of caramel and toffee malts right off the bat. then comes some hops. mostly fruity and citrus. smells more balanced than i have come to expect from stone.

T- the caramel malt comes through pretty strong. the hops are much stronger than the nose would indicate. very resiny and full of citrus and to a lesser extent, tropical fruits. a touch of alcohol at the end, but its still pretty well hidden for something this big.

M- full bodied and thick. very mouth coating. a nice warming from the alcohol as it makes its way down my throat.

D- this comes off as a classic example of the american barley wine. nice and malty with a healthy dose of hops at the end. the bottle was easy enough to finish, but i dont think i could see myself reaching for another one. a great beer to split with someone on a colder night.

jwinship83, May 08, 2009
Photo of atsprings
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

atsprings, May 07, 2009
Photo of yemenmocha
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours slightly hazed off-amber color with off-white head. Nose is rich with peach pit, overripe grapefruit, and caramel. Palate offers more caramel and toffee, with soft "chalky" hop bitterness towards the end. Slow drinking, and perhaps could benefit enormously with more age.

yemenmocha, May 03, 2009
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

jwc215, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of seand
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

seand, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of champ103
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy dark reddish/orange color. A two finger white head gently rises. Some sticky lace is left on the glass.
S: Lots of floral, medicinal, and fruity hops. Apples, pears, and grapefruit jump out at me. A medicinal tea like aroma. A very light malty sweetness as the aroma lingers.
T: Bitter, oily, and resiny hops. Grapefruit dominates the flavor. Not much else, no real malty sweetness to balance the flavor out. Lots of hot alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. A crisp snap of carbonation. This is very hot from the alcohol, and a bitter beer makes this hard to drink for me.

I am always willing to revisit a style that I am not crazy about. This is what I have come to expect from an American Barleywine though. Lots of hops and no balance with the malt. If that is your thing, then pick some up because you will not be disappointed.

champ103, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of Dalem
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

Dalem, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of Tdizzle
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Tdizzle, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of Seanibus
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

Seanibus, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of swizzlenuts
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

swizzlenuts, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of atpben
3.63/5  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.

atpben, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

lonestar4lunch, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Duhast500
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

Duhast500, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

cvstrickland, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of Jtschupp04
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Jtschupp04, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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%.

LordAdmNelson, Apr 14, 2009
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2009 from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.