1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

330 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 330
Reviews: 201
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 11
Gots: 85 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: northaustin on 02-13-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 330 | Reviews: 201
Photo of Foxtrot
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've held off on reviewing this one, letting the bomber gain a little age on it. Paired it with some Stilton.

Pours a decadent ruby/orange body with an abundance of foam, tight bubbles slowly recedes into a beautiful lacing that is none other than world class.

Aroma is of sticky pine resin, a dash of floral hops to round it out. Its not the hops that stand out, but the sweet barley malts that really take the cake here. Perhaps even some orange peel or tangerine on the back end.

Stone continues to impress me time and time again. Slight bitterness and carbonation hit the front and sides of the tongue, floral hops take center stage mid palate with a dazzling array of pine, bitterness, and all things hops. Then to round all things off is the impressive malt balance. Modest sweetness to balance out the hop bitterness, and adds a big sticky feeling on the teeth and tongue. Finish was also exceptionally smooth but with linger aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thick, of course. Anything less would be unworthy. Thick and viscous to a high degree, not IRS thick but just a tad under.

Drinkability is good, other than the liver loving 11.1% ABV, it is a pleasure to enjoy during the cooler season. Heck it even does well in warmer weather as well

Photo of crossovert
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Early 2010 release. 650ml bottle.

It pours a murky, dark orangeish-red with a thick, foamy off-white leaves that leaves ornate, speckled, camouflage-like lacing.

The smell is big and sweet with some interesting hop and yeast notes. It has rip banana, raisin, and citrus fruit notes. There is plenty of caramel in there as well.

The flavor is big and sweet, super sweet. It has a nice hoppy bitterness though. The hops have a herbal, piney, earthy note that blends nice with the thick caramel sweetness. It isn't overly alcohol but certainly the alcohol is not fully cloaked.

The hop bill in this one is intriguing, it comes off as one of the ore bitter barleywines and I like that.

Photo of dagubna
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of whoneeds8
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2010 Release poured into a tulip glass. Deep transluscent amber in color with a nice two and a half finger white head. Great retention and lacing. The scent is strong of carmeled malt. The alcohol scent that accompanies fresh bottles is very faint. The taste shows great aging. Flavors of carmeled fruits like figs. Very high in candied flavors. But there is still a piney bitterness from the hops present. For it's age, the mouthfeel is great: medium bodied, syrupy, and well carbonated.

Photo of ocelot2500
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that leaves enough lacing on the glass.

Smells of pine hops with some caramel sweetness.

Tastes of a big caramel malt flavor up front followed by that west coast hop flavors of pine and citrus. Some fruit makes an appearance to add depth to the sweetness. Alcohol is very well hidden. Compared to the 2009, I would say it is more balanced and less raw. My complaint about 2009 was that there was too much alcohol character, but that has been resolved and this is more to my liking.

Mouthfeel is on the full side of medium with a good creamy amount of carbonation.

Photo of Tdizzle
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on February 9th, 2010. 11.1% ABV.

A- Poured into a Bruery tulip, Old Guardian pours a clear orangish-amber color with a sticky head of tan-colored foam that settles to a fine cap over the beer. Not a lot of lacing remains on the glass, but a silky layer is encased by a thick ring that sticks around for an hour or two.

S- Candied fruits, hoppy and floral notes of citrus fruit and herbal pine, and sticky malt sweetness are kicked up by a strong alcohol presence that actually adds to the character of the aroma -- there's no burn to the smell.

T- The big malt body and its dripping, fruity sweetness hits the palate first, but it's quickly brushed aside by a moderate hop bitterness that lasts through the lightly dry and warming finish. The booze lends a good amount of brashness to the end flavor, but it's not cloying.

M- The feel is surprisingly on the medium side of full-bodied with low carbonation. Rather than being a detriment, the lighter-than-expected texture adds to the drinkability.

D- This year's edition is my favorite thus far. This is probably Stone's biggest beer, but it just works for me.

Photo of womencantsail
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap on Stone

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a fluffy cream colored head.

S: The nose is full of bitter, piney, and grapefruit hops. There's plenty of sweet caramel and brown sugar behind that.

T: The flavor features more of the traditional barleywine qualities. The caramel, toffee, and brown sugar provide the usual sweetness and they are balanced nicely by the bitter hoppiness.

M: The body is quite full with a fairly abundant carbonation, eliminating the potential syrupy feel of many big beers.

D: This is quite drinkable, even for its young age. I enjoy the bitterness that Old Guardian has when it's fresh, but look forward to aging a few of these.

Photo of rootbeerman
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrived in a tulip. With a half finger of tan head. Body is medium brown. Smell is very sweet malt a light fruitiness along with toasted nuts and burnt sugar. Taste backs up the aroma, with the sweet barley malt, toasted nuts and a hint of alcohol. This sticks and lingers in the mouth and is a bit syrupy with low carbonation. This is more a sipping brew.

Photo of homebrew311
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear deep red with a foamy 1 finger head, sticky lacing, good retention

S: huge sweet malts with notes of caramel, pine, molasses, and bread followed by a very earthy hop character. Very in your face and aromatic. Lots of alcohol on the end.

T: the malts are spicy, a bit of sweetness which is nicely balanced by earthy hops, every things seems to be in sync, nice long finish with notes of caramel

MF: thick body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky

D: this is a well put together barley wine, huge maltiness with a nice earthy and spicy hop profile, the alcohol is well hidden and overall everything is balanced

Photo of BretSikkink
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another winner for Old Guardian. Great copper-brown look with a nice tanned head served about an inch high. Great stick and legs. The nose is strong, even through the foam. Caramelly sweet malt with a ton of citric hops backed up by a wall of alcohol. No surprises, and no punches pulled.

The flavor is in your face, with a huge amount of hops doing battle with fiercely sticky malts. Sweet, with notes of caramel, toffee, slightly roasted barley, toast, and bubblegum. The hops are fruity, especially grapefruit pith, with a hint of pine. Will age like a champion, no doubt. Firm, thick mouthfeel that plays nicely with the high hopping and spot-on carbonation. Superb.

Photo of bagpiper2005
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Dark, hazy orange-amber color with streaks of red. Three fingers of light tan head that sticks around for awhile and leaves patches of lacing.

Smell: Hoppy aroma of grapefruit and pine needles up front. Hints of Scotch whiskey, caramel, and molasses. Some alcohol presence.

Taste: A hint of pine underneath a big sweet caramel and toffee taste kick things off here. A small hint of yeast and fruit come through in the middle. Finishes with bold pine and citrus hoppy goodness. Alcohol starts off somewhat noticeable but it fades as the beer nears room temp.

Mouthfeel: Thick and rich. Fairly high carbonation for the style. Smooth. Comforting.

Drinkability: Pretty much a wine substitute, as the style suggests. A nice sipping experience that will last all night. Very warming.

Final Notes: A real taste treat that will only get better with age. I plan to buy another bottle and cellar it for a couple of years. It's good now, but I bet it'll be great later. Drink this one nice and warm on a cold night.

Photo of Haybeerman
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Purple color with a copper hue; color changed drastically in varied light - it was kinda cool. Poured a light yellowish head that dissipated qujickly to a ring around the edge of the glass. Lace washed in streaks.

S: Very sweet and musty. Sharp alcohol and hop aroma.

T: Really sweet boozy flavor up front with the taste of alcohol lingering. Crisp, hoppy finish.

M: Light body. Low carbonation. Resiny, hot and dry.

D: This is a sipper, but a big barleywine. Glad I had a Ommegang cork stopper to save some.

Photo of joecast
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Hollingsheads deli.

Fairly light color. Clear deep amber / mahogany. Thin frothy tan head. Actually impressed it has such a stable head considering the age and abv.

Seriously complex stone fruit and heavy malt aroma. The type of beer you could easily sit back and sniff for a good while before drinking. Alcohol weighs in a bit as a warning of it's strength.

Big, no, huge malt bomb. Amazing how this beer, and obviously a good example of the style, can be so forthright in it's robustness. It seems to push everything else out of it's way. Don't let it fool you, hop bitterness, even after a year, creeps up on you in the finish.

Not something I would look to sip everyday, but this makes a fantastic night cap on those special occasions. More than a glass and you better phone a friend.

Photo of PicoPapa
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with "Limited Early 2010 Release" on the front. Pours a hazy reddish amber color with a thin head. Some lacing. Aroma is boozey. Also picking up on some apple and malts. Taste has a nice malty, boozey sweetness to it. Some hop bitterness as well. This barleywine has a lot going on and is really good. Nice alcohol burn to it but is still surprisingly drinkable. One of the best barleywines out there.

Photo of dasenebler
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark amber with a dense head that reduces to a thin layer, lacing fairly well.

Nose is packed with woody, spicy hops along with a bit of fruity, juicy hop notes.

This is a big barleywine with a a hefty hop dose; typical Stone. Not too sweet, but definitely rich and malty, with lightly roasted notes and a dense bready character. Plenty of dark caramel and brown sugar, too. The finish is somewhat bitter, but actually very manageable for this style. Unlike others, I think the alcohol is well integrated here, especially for this high of an ABV, and it will only get smoother with age. The mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated, resinous and weighty.

I feel like the rich flavor rather than the alcohol would hold back drinkability with Old Guardian, which speaks to the well-crafted nature of this brew. Tasty and dangerously drinkable. Kind of like a bigger, badder Bigfoot.

Photo of WickedSluggy
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The "early 2010 release" of this ale is a beatiful beer, ruby colored with half inch of foam - some parabolic retention and streaky lace.

There seems to be plenty of beauquet and aroma but unfortunately this tasting is with a mild head-cold. I can't pull out specifics so I'll just give it a 4.

Flavour is luscious. This ale seems to have significant age on it already - all those swirly ripe flavors are present and this release is ready to drink, aged yes but not extremely complex. The caramel sweetness is well balanced by plenty of hops. Satisfies need for intensity.

Mouthfeel is a thick swimmy bath for the tongue. Plenty of body. Dive in.

The drinkability of this ale is superb - good cold; better as it warmed. Dangerous, could take one to oblivion.

Photo of Mora2000
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into a Stone Old Guardian glass.

The beer pours a hazy tannish-brown color with a small white head. The aroma is a mix of caramel, brown sugar, pine and some orange. The beer smells very sweet and syrupy, with no detectable alcohol.

The flavor is heavy on the toffee with a nice amount of orange citrus and pine notes. There is also a lot of sweetness from the brown sugar. The orange notes really come through and increase as the beer warms. The alcohol is detectable but the beer is still easy to drink.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A classic American beer that never disappoints.

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice dark copper color, nice carbonation, nice creamy one-finger tan head, with some nice small islands and sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a good dose of hops, slight citrus, and some spice notes. The taste is sweet malts, hoppy, slight caramel, citrusy. Medium body, this is a pretty complex barleywine. Very drinkable, glad to get this one. Thanks Wayne.

Photo of DrJay
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep copper colour with a wisp of fine beige bubbles that formed a thin collar and coated the top of the beer. The foam stuck around for a long time and left a little bit of spotty lacing on the glass. Tons of malt in the aroma, toasted and caramel for the most part, a little biscuity too. Mild alcohol and fruity hops rounded things out with hints of citrus and pine. I really like the flavour of this beer. Alcohol was present, but restrained, and gave a pleasant warming at the end. Bitterness was solid and was backed up by lots of toasted malt, a little caramel sweetness, and citrusy hops that had admittedly faded somewhat. I found it really well rounded and balanced though, compared to its fresher brethren. Full bodied, medium to low carbonation, pleasant texture. What can I say, this is a beer that I really enjoy and I wasn't let down by this year's batch.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Early 2010 release, figured I'd review this one fresh.

A: Very interesting head, small and large bubbles mingling to form a very thin and white layer. Small bubbles are gone now, head is retaining quite like a barleywine should. A murky copper color with some orange highlights. Looks very traditional.

S: Nice malt profile for how hoppy this beer is supposed to be. It has a firm malt backbone for the hops to rest on. The hops are quite nice, citrusy and aromatic. Some apricot and peach in here. Also get a banana aroma, sweet fruits for sure. Very nice smell. No alcohol burn or hop bitterness.

T: Big butterscotch/caramel/vanilla hits the tongue right away. A bit of oakiness or burnt wood character. Has a flavor of sugar that has been just barely over caramelized. Nice subtle fruitiness, apricots and peaches. Really doesn't strike me as a barleywine type of flavor. Almost like a well made DIPA with a big malt bill. I am very impressed.

M: Not thick and syrupy, not thin and wispy. Very well balanced and feels like it has been aged. If I can grab another I'll put it away for a bit.

D: Very, very drinkable BW. Very well crafted, cheers to Greg on a fantastic brew!

Photo of Pahn
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Obviously, early 2010 release.

Appearance: Rather aggressive pour yields a half inch, fluffy white head that dissipates very slowly leaving little lacing. Pours a hazy reddish amber, has good legs, and leaves occasional swoops of thin lacing that usually disappear after a minute or so.

Smell: From the bottle: piny hops, some sugary malt in the background. In the glass: Citrus, floral, and piny hops, and a really deep caramel note (in general, when I smell or taste an American barleywine, I want some form of a caramel note like this to be there). Lots going on; raisin, cherry, a hint of fig. Hard to pin down sweet notes that could be several different, unexpected fruits, or types of fresh bread or cake.

As the beer warms, a vodka-like alcohol smell swallows up almost everything in the aroma. It still smells decent, but that alcohol note is huge (significantly bigger than in the taste). The pre-vodka nose is pretty much a 5, and the post-vodka nose somewhere between a 3 and a 4.

Taste: First sip: wow, lots going on; more than I can keep track of. At first there's a thick, chewy caramel flavor that quickly (but smoothly) develops into other sweet malty notes, then a big hit of piny hop bitterness, then a very warming finish.

In subsequent sips, a very interesting mix of solvent-like, pine, and sugary pastry flavor pops up in the middle (it tastes like it's high in my mouth, up to my nose). Deeper into the bottle, the flavor really fills up with various fruit notes, and the finish takes on a spiciness along with the alcohol. The malt stays very deep and strong up front, tasting like toffee and other sweet, usually chocolaty flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and medium bodied. Finishes very hot, but the bitterness is not as influential on the feel as with, say, a strong (D)IPA.

Drinkability: I love barleywines, and I love this barleywine. More than one bomber would surely put me in a place beyond the ability to type beer reviews (or do much besides embarrass myself), but it's a great sipper. I want an American barleywine to be aggressive and full-flavored, with each sip giving me something different than the last. As long as I keep receiving that, its drinkability is high, and Old Guardian doesn't stop delivering.

As expected, another stellar "big beer" from Stone. Old Guardian provides delicious, complex, diverse, but still stylistically consistent American barleywine flavors, in abundance. Further, I'd be shocked if two to three years in the cellar don't bump the smell and taste score of this beer up to 5.

Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reddened copper, Mandarin edges. Big foamy beige head, good retention. Prehistoric amoeba lacing.

Citrus, grapefruit, floral, resins, spicy. Sweet, toasty, vanilla, booze. Some yeast esters.

Rush of citrus, floral, and grapefruit. Followed by sweet toasty vanilla and booze. resins, spicy hops, grapefruit, bitter rush. Some dark fruit and appley yeast esters.

thick, sticky, and drying. med heavy body. slow carb.

big hoppy, bitter, and boozey. very tasty. A little more age might take the edge off the booze, but lose out on some of the hop flavors.
This bottle was an early 2010 batch consumed in August 2010.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This always has a nice color year after year. Burnt orange color with a quarter finger of white head. Quite a bit of lacing on this guy as well.

S: Super bready and the hops smell like faded hops at this point as this bottle is just about a year old at this point. The malt has a nice balance to it right now and the hops are certainly not dead yet.

T: Little bit of tobacco. Faded hops. Bready malt. The malt is really nice and tossing around some interesting complexity. A little bit of smoke as well. Toffee, Caramel. It does not have the rip your throat out hops it does fresh but they are there but slowly mellowing out.

M: Really nice soft carbonation. Little bit heavy bodied but never overwhelming.

D: Really drinking nicely right now. The tobacco smoke element was really enjoyable and not something I have ever picked up out of Old Guardian before. This beer never disappoints.

Photo of nkersten
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy reddish orange with a small off white head, small bubbles near the edges. Smell is very hop forward - spicy herbal and floral. Malt sweetness is there but not as in your face as most American Barleywines. Taste is spicy hops up front balanced by malt, but definitley heavy on the malt. Finish is an earthy hop profile. Mouthfeel is medium body and light carbonation, not as coating as most in the style. While it might not fall perfectly into style, i prefer my barleywines extra hoppy and when i saw this one was fresh i had to pick one up. For me, this is a great example of the style.

Photo of beyah
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Somewhere between amber and red, starts off witha bout 1/2 finger of head,some lacing.

Nice full malty flavor, with a bitter hops finish. Touch of alcohol to finish.

Any enjoyable barely wine, a 11% beer, hard to belive. It didn't have that wine like flavor that many Barley wines have, you can tell that it's a relative of Arrogant Bastard, but that's ok since Arogant Bastard is my go to beer, when I want a pleasent bomber of a fine ale.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 330 ratings.