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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
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Reviews: 246 | Hads: 331
Photo of superdedooperboy
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Pours a bright, hazy orangish-amber hue with a small off-white head that fades quickly and shows hardly any cling.

Nose is rather floral and fruity with citrusy hop notes playing a huge role in combination with some light, sweet malt notes. A hint of alcohol hides in the background.

Full-bodied and rather slick on the tongue, with very little carbonation present. Big, bold hop flavors dominate the palate, with citrus notes of grapefruit, orange, and orange peel, with an underlying body of sweet caramel malt and a touch of alcohol, both of which are mostly hidden by the hop character. Finishes mostly dry with a lingering hop bitterness.

Tasty and rather drinkable for such a hefty brew, but way over-the-top for a barleywine, with more of the hop-forward character of an imperial IPA than the malt-centric character of most barleywines. This one needs to be put down for at least a year to allow the hops to mellow; as it is, fresh, it is too much of a hop bomb and not a good representation of the style.

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Photo of FleeVT
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bomber into a snifter.

A: Beautiful copper with touches of amber edges that just glows. The head is hearty and off white that dissipates with time to a thin layer that clings to the glass. On initial pour this is one of the finest looking brews I've ever laid eyes on.

S: Lots of alcohol on up front, this is extremely tight and could use some cellar time. Continuing on, there is a nice crisp dose of hops, faintly reminiscent of a citrusy IPA. Sweet malts come out with a hint of dark berries.

T: A lot of hops on the palate. In my opinion, they are a bit much for the style. The hops have that nice balance of citrus and pine. The alcohol does not come through nearly as strong as it did on the nose and it actually is a pleasant surprise after the mouth puckering doled out from the hops. Only the faintest hint of sweet malts come through during that split second the hops give way to the alcohol. A nice taste that should age well.

M: Chewy and substantial with a nice balance of carbonation. Nothing wrong here.

D: Another great offering from Stone. I may pick up a few of these and cellar.

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Photo of KBoudreau66
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 22 oz. bomber after work, and poured it in to my trusty Samuel Adam's pint glass.

Pours a nice copper color with carbonation coming from the middle of the glass. It has two fingers of rough looking off white head that will dissipate into a thin layer over time. I noticed that it left some frothy off white lacing at the top of the glass, but after the first few sips it stopped.

Definitely needs to age for a couple of years because the alcohol smell gets right into your nose. It also has a sweet smell from the malts. Hops in the undertone. A little bit of citrus in there, but it's hard to tell through the alcohol smell.

This brew surprised me. I thought it was going to be all alcohol taste, and although that flavor is strong it is actually alot more balanced then I expected with sweet malts, and a little bit of hops, I wish it was hoppier, but then I remembered I'm drinking a Barleywine not an IPA or a DIPA. Citrusy undertones. There is also an earthy almost dirt like flavor to it, but it is by no means offensive in taste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonated. A little bit rough as well from the high ABV.

This brew will be better with age then it is for the time being, but it's still an excellent Barleywine. I'm going to pick another one up and let it age for a couple of years and re-review this. I have an Old Guardian from 2008 that I can't wait to open up a couple of years down the road.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle served in a snifter. The beer was a pretty dark orange color with a medium-sized tan head. There was some fleeting lacing. Sweet, toffee aroma. Alcohol detectable. Taste was toffee, a little bit of fruit, then a big lingering bitterness. Couldn't really taste the alcohol that I smelled. The hops were quite pleasing. I really enjoyed this barleywine.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
4.46/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a beautiful clear red color. A massive 3-4cm head sits on top and doesn't fade quickly, leaving sticky lacing down the side. I just watched the bubbles rise up through the beer while I was waiting to taste and I was in love. The smell has a faint whiff of hops, cascade/centennial pungent citrus smell, and you can smell the hugely sweet malt backbone in there, hints of bready, nutty, biscuity malts. The taste is really great. Exactly what I want in a barleywine. It doesn't smash you over the head with bitterness, and is actually brilliantly well-balanced. There's a whole load of sweetness, raisiny, caramelly sweetness. The hops are buried in there with a nice lemony kick in the end and a slight hoppy bitterness. There's also a bit of burn from the alcohol, but it really is enhancing my enjoyment of this one. I'm usually not a huge fan of American Barleywines, but this one may have changed my mind. I could imagine this one filling out a bit more, whether by age or adding a bit more lingering sweetness or biscuity maltiness. And of course, it will beat you up a bit, making you work hard to finish it (though I never took a sip I didn't enjoy). But I would recommend this to all.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours with little head and beer is a light coppery reddish color.

Smell- Faintly bitter due to hops, yet still very malty in character.

Taste- Very bitter, lots of hops here, alcohol is well hidden. Bitterness really lingers a great deal on the palate. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel- Surprisingly light for a barleywine, tasty but not nearly as heavy as I would have suspected.

Drinkabilty- One of the most drinkable barleywines Ive ever had. Very good.

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

22oz bomber poured into my snifter at around 50 degrees.

A dark amber, toward the darker end of the Barley Wine spectrum, light head with nice lacing.

A hop and alcohol assault on the nose. This beer will age beautifully, it's way too fresh. At this age it's more like a HUGE ipa.

Taste is strong barley and alcohol with a huge hoppy bite. Extemely strong flavors that will surely blend well over time, but are even enjoyable now.

Good overall mouth feel, very chewy beer.

Due to the premature trial of this brew I cannot score it's drinkability too high. Not to say it isn't great young, it's just a sipper.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange/amber with a fairly nice initial head, particularly considering the abv of this one. Lots of sweet malt, boozy aromas, and big citrusy/piney hops in the nose. The taste is similar. Boozy and sweet with some nice hop bitterness with the pine being more evident this time, and quite a alcohol heat in the finish. For all its burn and hops, this is actually quite smooth. It needs some time to tame the heat, and there should still be enough hops left to add something. Pretty solid.

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Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into an oversized wine glass (the remaining 6 or so ounces will be enjoyed later).

A - toasted brown/ruby/copper color. it's hard to describe. a white 2cm head formed, but disappeared pretty quickly into nothing.

S - grapefruit, pineapple, citrus hops, caramel malt, fruit. a slightly vinous quality to it. it's not that strong though.

T - caramel malt, more fruitiness and the citrusy hops present in the nose. the hops are pretty weak for a fresh brew and it seems to be pretty balanced compared to other American Barleywines I know of that are hop-heavy.

M - nice, thick and undercarbonated. how i like my barleywines.

D - i didn't find this beer particularly spectacular. i have another bottle that i'm hoping will be better next year.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.49/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2009 bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A slow-forming, foamy, 2-finger, peachy-khaki-colored head sits atop a gritty, copper-colored body. Great retention and tremendous lacing given the ABV. Very inviting.

Smell: Resinous hops, doughy malts, pine, and some alcohol. Surprisingly faint, though it does seem to pick up strength as it warms. Smells sweeter and stickier toward the end of the session.

Taste: Doughy malts, caramel, loads of oily hops, and maybe some berries. Earth, pine, and spicy notes are also detected. Finishes full and dry. This is one MASSIVE beer!

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, creamy, warm, and a little sticky. Carbonation is medium in strength and suits the beer well.

Drinkability: This one needs a little time to mature. I'll lay the next bottle down for a couple years before tasting. It's good fresh, but definitely beasty.

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

I found this bottle at a small grocery on my way to work, $4.99, unbelievable. I have yet to sample a Old Guardian, so my impressions will not be swayed by any previous year's offerings.
Pours out a golden malted tone of amber brown, a suprisingly effervescent head appears. This appears to be a rather highly carbonated brew for a 11.3% beast. I predict dangerous drinkablity.
Initial aromas are a tad bit watery than hoped...yet a big malty backgroundbegins to emerge. Citric hops add lightness, the alcohol definatley comes through by the means of a nice spicy peppery touch. After coming to temperature, more citrus i.e. grapefruits, mango, a touch of banana peel is found, sunflower,chickpeas in a abstractly light nutty touch. Seems harmless enough,can' wait to dig in.
The lightness is found. A spicy malted mix of peppery citric fruits, pure alcoholic hoppy(happy) warmness in true form.Candied orange peel,tangerine, rummy peaches, smokiness from the toasted barleys, grainy breads are found in digging deeper in this brew. This is definatley a young, hot brew that would gain amazing complexity in a year or so of aging. Hot burbony oakiness now would gradually give way to a nice vanilla compexity.
Drinkablity is great now in that it's so damn light and warm on the palate. Imagine a Strong Brown Ale, and this is what you have. A great young Barleywine. I will have to hide a bottle or two from myself to age.

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

Appearance: It's a very attractive amber color with strong orange highlights. There's a good bit of haze clouding the view. On top is a vanilla colored head that reaches maybe a finger deep. It dissipated very quickly and left only light lace on the glass. Not too surprising given the high abv.

Smell: The nose is a little weak. It's very brown sugary and sweet smelling up front. Smells like there's a good malt presence. Mostly caramel. There's some citrus grapefruit and pineapple lingering throughout. Light plum and raisin complement the citrus scents very well. Hops are pretty strong and smell mostly piney with some citrus characteristics blended in. All in all, nice smelling beer, but just a tad weak.

Taste: The nose is very representative of the flavor profile. It's very sweet and sugary. Brown sugar is noted. Caramel malts are noted, but they're not quite as prevalent as they should be. Hops are very aggressive and bitter. They mostly taste like pine sap, but do have some good citric qualities. There's grapefruit and pineapple in the mix. Light plum and perhaps some other dark fruit flavors are noted. They're clearly secondary, but add a nice flavor to it. Surprisingly, very little alcohol is noted for such a strong beer. It finishes piney and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has body on the lighter side of thick and a pretty smooth feel. Carbonation isn't too invasive, but it doesn't really help the cause much either. It's still smooth and goes down easy. Drinkability is pretty limited. It's very strong at 11.3% and is definitely a sipping beer. I'll handle the bomber, but it will take a while.

This year's Old Guardian is overall a good beer. I can't say that it's materially different from last year's. Surpisingly, it seems like it could use a little more malt to add some flavor and assistance with the feel. Small gripe. Otherwise, it's very solid and still worth picking up.

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

Poured from a growler procured at the Charleston Beer Exchange into a pint glass.

A - Pours reddish amber with a thin, quickly dissipating white head.

S - Floral, piny hops with a sweet tinge. There's a very subtle essence of spices, almost peppery.

T - The frontend is spicy, hoppy, flavorful, with a sweet alcohol finish.

M - Slightly thinner than medium bodied, lots of carbonation, not as viscous as some other hoppy brews.

Notes - I was told by Rich at the CBX that the dry hopped quality of the beer would give it a very interesting, floral, spicy sort of essence, and he was spot on.

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Photo of Overlord
3.21/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My least favorite year of Old Guardian. Frankly, an offputting brew in many respects.

Poured a familiar amber with white foam. Smelled like medicinal herbs and pine. None of the rich caramel aroma I recall from years past.

Taste was more muted as well. Where's the rich toffee/brown sugar/roasted caramel? Where's the pine/grapefruit hop undercurrent? This was primarily somewhat weak sweet malt and a bit of resiny pine/herbal hop content.

Just very disappointing. Mouthfeel felt thinner than years past, too.

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

pours a clear amber with reddish brown hues, crispy off-white head

aromas of candied sugar, piney hops, caramel malt, slight gingerbread, faint raisin notes

caramel malt upfront with a solid piney hop backbone, layers of candied sugars, slight marmalade, molasses, slight lemon hops, faint green notes, almost bourbony notes on the finish

starts medium but then gets bigger with time, solid malty body with good caramel slight sugary notes, leading to a balanced, sturdy finish, with a slight alcohol hotness

a tasty, medium bodied barleywine. not as big on the hops as per usual Stone Brews, but that works well with the malt body for a balanced, layered, tasty barleywine with good layers and a great finish. Yet again, a great stone brew

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

Poured a ruddy amber with a bubbly white head that dissipated into an oily ring. Spotty lacing. Wooden, hop-syrup aroma blended with boozy caramel malt. Light carbonation gave this a solid mouthfeel that complimented the high ABV. Speaking of which, the high ABV was not completely masked, giving off a sugary alcohol warmth. The caramel was heavy, nearly candy-like. Balanced well with the resiny hops. Some apricot and kumquat flavors versus citrus tastes. Well done.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomer from Oak Knoll Liquor in SM.
Poured a nice burnt orange color with a foamy dirty white head. Nose was hops, hops and oh..hops with some grapefruit, orange peel. Taste is ok. Mine had an oxidized taste to it. While still good not as good as previos years.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Early 2009 release in 22 oz. bombers, and it's in Georgia already, man how the times have changed. The pour was quite good to look at, as the body was deep reddish amber, and clear, and the head atop was somewhat small but durable. The smell was quite malty, with fruity aromas like fig, apricot, and pomegranate, but the hops were lurking right beneath when I inhaled deeper revealing pine and more pine. The taste was sweet at first as the malts seemed dominant, but mid sip it switched to a dry, hoppy, and boozy affair. The finish was bitter and chalky with hops driving the point across. Quite creamy in the mouth and satisfyingly dense. Glad to see an old favorite of mine locally, without having to put up with confiscatory shipping charges from the west coast.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
2.56/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

22 oz./ fresh '09

P: Shiny gold from the bottle, sits a deep orange-tinted amber in the glass. 2 fingered off-white head is thick & creamy with good retention. The sinking crown leaves the glass coated with lace.

A: Big whiffs of fresh hops; citrusy with a hint of floral along with caramel, rubbing alcohol, and some earth. Judging from the raw alcohol presence here, I think you could get drunk from smelling it!

T: This is quite malty sweet out of the gate with gobs of caramel, slight toffee, and booze with an earthy undertone. Hops arrive late but come with a vengeance as grapefruit, lemon rind, & pineapple swing the balance back to the bitter side for good. The result, the alcohol teams up with the alpha acids and scorches the tongue like the hills of Yorba Linda. Which any good BW should do. But in this case, the alcohol flavor is just too present, and invades on the task at hand.

M & D: Full-bodied, thick & chewy, rich & creamy, just what I expect from a Stone BW. The drinkability of this one is described pretty accurately by the score I've given: awful! If I wasn't such a cheapskate, I would have dumped it. Like drinking a glass of vodka with a beer accidentally spilled into it.

Notes: This is just way too young, in my opinion. I don't want to lose those precious hops. But I do, however, want that alcohol to sit back and relax. Right in the middle should be perfect. This is one beer that I won't be drinking fresh anymore!

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Photo of scottoale
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The limited Early 2009 Release, of course. Poured into a Duvel tulip, a chill-hazed, apricot amber-gold with a thick and creamy finger of off-white head. The head settles to the surface leaving a thick sheet of lace clinging to the glass. Great looking brew.

Caramalty and fruity sweet, with an overdose of hops lurking beneath. A slight roast and earthiness to the nose as well.

Big malty brew with a nice big hop balance. Quite tasty fresh this year, but still a bit raw and will smooth out very nicely with a year or two on it. I really like Old G thats been aged, compared to it fresh. Too much prune and fig when fresh, citrus flavor from the hops keep it in check. Needs to meld.

Big body and plenty of carbonation that's right for the style, as it holds up for ageing. It's more noticed in the mouth than visually and the mouthfeel is slightly astringent at this point. The alcohol is very well masked for a whopping 11.3% ABV.

Definetly worth trying this fresh and popping a few in the cellar for improvement. Big, bad Stone gnarleywine!

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