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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

327 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 327
Reviews: 201
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.9%
Wants: 11
Gots: 84 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: northaustin on 02-13-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 327 | Reviews: 201 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BostonHops
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber (22oz) served in a snifter glass.

pours a murky amber tone with slightly less than a finger of a creamy beige head; not much retention, lacing in spots.

aroma is great: smacks of heavy, sweet maltiness... brown sugar, caramel, maybe a hint of dark fruits... some hops evident.

the malty introduction of the flavor is quickly followed by a surge of hops, much more than i would have guessed judging by the nose. lends the beer a decided bitterness lasting through the finish, which also packs some heat from the alcohol. solid representation of an american barleywine, if maybe a little too hoppy/boozy for my taste.

smooth, medium-bodied mouthfeel; drinking pretty well for a north of 11% ABV beer. will have to experiment with some more age on this one.

originally reviewed: 12-10-2010

Photo of RaulMatisse
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up (2) bottles--one for the cellar and one for tonight. Poured slightly chilled into a Chimay goblet. Bottling date is unknown, but assumed to be recent due to "Early 2010 Release" on bottle.

A :: Pours a rich cognac color, with hints of ruby, copper, and tanned leather. A minimal head cascades to a thin collar with swirls of tiny bubbles forming a film across the surface of the brew. The transparency surprises me.

S :: Spiced apples, earthy hops, and oily citrus dance in an alcoholic dream. Deep, rich molasses lurks in the background with occasional herbaceous and medicinal notes. Surprisingly reminiscent of some overly-alcoholic Imperial IPAs, but the fact that this is a Barley Wine overrides any complaints.

T :: Sharp pine, searing alcohol, abundant malt...and I like it. Big, bright hops provide great balance to truckloads of boozy richness. Woody, citrus notes are a bonus, too.

M :: I am pleased with the healthy carbonation that counters the beer's richness. A smoldering burn from the 11.1% ABV and Stone-grade hop bill remind you that this is a brew to be reckoned with.

D :: This beer surprised me. From my limited experience in the Barley Wine genre, I was expecting raisins, syrup, and face-melting alcohol. Instead, I was greeted with subtlety, structure, and nuance. Well, and a solid dose of alcohol, too. But, after all, this is Stone, and the fact that they produced a product that is so distinctly their own is to be appreciated unto itself. I'm excited to see what a couple months of aging does to Old Guardian.

Photo of Flashsp2
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian 2010 into snifter

Pours deeply blood red with perfect clarity, golden and orange highlights, and a dense foamy beige head with caramel tinting. Looks classic barleywine. Even manages some beautiful little lacing, something that Stone and only a small handful of other brewers could pull off with an 11.1% beer.

Nose is powerfully boozy, sweet malty, dessert breads, caramel, herbs and piney hops, yeasty fruitiness. Smells balanced and inviting, surprisingly mellow for such a hefty beer at a young age.

The palette is a little less refined than the nose. Herbs, pine, grainy caramel, booze, bready malt, chewy toffee. Fades from herbal to sweet with a prickly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is heavy and soft with residual sugars with a low carbonation.

Pretty drinkable when it warms a bit. Not my favorite barleywine, but I do really enjoy the nose. Another bottle is in order for a much later date.

Photo of Blanco
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with tan head. head fizzes out rather quickly. smell is of caramel and a surprising amount of hop presence, though not nearly as much as a fresh bottle. taste is less caramel and bitter upfront. also getting some dark fruit notes. bit of an alcohol burn coming through as well. thicker mouthfeel. overall, decent, though not great American Barleywine. I have another bottle of this vintage that I will let sit for a while and revisit if necessary.

Photo of beerdrifter
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a great beer store, Tops Liquor, while at a conference in Phoenix. Clear copper pour with a big caramel colored head and nice lacing. Malty caramel, toffee and brown sugar in the nose with a bit of orange and hints of dark fruit. Nice spicy, bitter hop bite right off the bat. Sweet candy, dark fruit and some tangerine add to the balance. I'm also getting a touch of soap aftertaste. The alcolhol is pretty well hidden for a barleywine. Chewy mouthfeel is nice which adds to its drinkability, if there's such a thing as drinkability for a barleywine. One bomber is more than enough for me. A bit disappointing seeing that I'm such a huge Stone fan. But still a nice barleywine.

Photo of dionisio
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"This is gonna be hard to drink, isn't it?"
*takes a sip*
"Oh, no it's not." :)

On first sniff, I was a little overwhelmed. On first taste... mmm. Mouthfeel is a little bit sticky, though.

Good beer. Probably one of the better American barleywines I've had. But I can't say I recall what the other ones tasted like, as it's been awhile. This one tastes rather similar to a lot of APAs, as it has that typical super-hoppy taste.

Photo of Zaplt
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - beautiful redish color with little tan head and not much lacing.

Aroma - sweet dark fruit, cherries, tart, some toastyness and and strong alcohol is present with some resinous like smells as well.

Taste - Woah! Ohhhh demon alcohol! This definitely needs to age to mellow out a little bit. Raisin, kind of vinous, dark fruit, can tell it's complex but alcohol is a little overwhelming - seems more apparent than in the Russian Imperial with the same alcohol content...hop resin comes through I think it's hopped generously for what it is. Caramel??

Overall it needs to be aged and should not be consumed this fresh in my opinion. Will buy another and open in a year +.

Photo of prototypic
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The 2010 release of Old Guardian is an attractive copper color. It's a little hazy, and looks somewhat crimson when held to light. A light, off-white head covers it. It only rises to about a finger and falls quickly. Lacing was very sticky, and moderate in volume.

The nose is fairly standard for an Old Guardian release. It's good. There's some caramel malt at the center, adding plenty of sweetness to the mix. A hint of dark fruit resonates throughout. Smells like raisin and fig to me. Hops are quite prominent. The smell predominantly piney, with a touch of floral/earthy qualities. Alcohol is definitely in the mix. Smells a tad boozy if you ask me. No huge surprises.

The flavor is good. The caramel malt base is a little sweet, and is notable early on. However, it seems to fade once the hops attack. They're definitely piney, and have an earthy quality. It's very bitter. Not much balance here. I'm a fan of hoppy Barleywines, so that works for me. Dark fruit flavors of raisin and fig are subtle and secondary. They add some nice depth. Alcohol is aggressive and warm. I wouldn't say it's hot, but it's not far off. Finishes bitter and earthy.

Old Guardian has a medium body that seems to grow a little more chewy with warming. Carbonation is light, and it is fairly smooth. Drinkability is above average. This is an aggressive American Barleywine that' s big, badass, and takes no prisoners. It's a sipper to be sure. Nonetheless, I am enjoying it.

I think I've gotten past the point of expecting a surprise from Old Guardian. For an annual release that warrants a new profile each year, there's a surprising consistency to the brand. It's a good American Barleywine that I enjoy every year. Having said that, it is quite aggressive in its youth. The 2010 release is no different. Eh. Check it out and see for yourself.

Photo of EthersTragic
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber color with a 1/2 head that dissipates quickly, but leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S - malty & hoppy goodness with a bit of grassy extracts.

T - Piney, woodsy with a nice alcohol bite at the end. Some hoppy bitterness. I was pretty scared because this was my first time trying the style, but it was not at all what I expected.

M - Has a lingering bitter aftertaste, but not too bad. Carbonation is ok, not too much.

D - Not sure I'd drink more than one of these, but at 11% abv, pretty darn drinkable!

Photo of daledeee
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle while in Wisconsin.

Pours a dark walnut brown and off white head. Thin head stayed for a while.

Nose is not real strong but nice. Mild citrus and roasted malt with hints of caramel

Taste is IPA-like. Good dose of hops is predominant. Quite a bit of malt and a slightly sweet undertone. Finish is also pretty hoppy with lots of carbonation, mostly foamy feel in the mouth. Overall, except for the hops, taste is not over the top like other barley wine I have had.

Not hard to drink, alcohol is hidden. A pretty good barleywine.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip. 11.1% ABV, Age at Cellar temp. 55°F or below.

A - The moderate pour unleashes a dense bone head with good retention for the alcohol percent. Sheet after sheet of lace is left on the glass. The beer is a hazy, rusty apricot orange. A beautiful color to boot!

S - Malty aroma rich with bread and caramel accents. Lots of earthy hops backing it up well. Not a hop blast but there is a good spicy herbal, floral note to it. Warm alcohol hides in the back without being too hot.

T - Well-balanced between the large American floral and citrusy, pine-laden hops and the lightly sweet amber malt backbone. Good flavor, not over-the-top.

M - Lightly bitter on the finish, this medium-full-bodied barleywine has a round, supple entry to the palate with a nice finish.

D - Not only is this a beer to sip, it's most definitely a beer to share. Very good American barleywine though.

Photo of JDizzle
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was aged for a year.

Looks really nice with a frothy off white head and deep ruby color. Smells OK, with dark fruits but a little too much alcohol bite. Pretty hoppy with a bit of booze in the finish. Some nice dark fruits mix with a malty backbone. Good barleywine that I will continue to try year after year.

Photo of taigor
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 8oz glass.

A - Poured cloudy orange color with big head that slowly dissipated leaving lots of lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly citrus, hops and slight scent of malts.

T - Sweet start, very fruity with citrus and brown sugar with slightly bitter hoppy finish.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

D - High abv is noticeable so be warned. Otherwise, very enjoyable and highly recommended barleywine.

Photo of aval89
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

consumed on 04-18-2010 12:55am

Poured into pint glass....copper/dark caramel color with a fluffy off white head that stuck around for a while.. settled in at a thin nice looking film..

when i first cracked it open it smelled of sweet dark cherrys. I got this again once it was poured into glass. very sweet boozy smell..piney/hoppy with a malt backbone.. a little caramel, grapefruit..wood, really a lot going on in the nose..

First sip was whoa!..as it enters my mouth I get sweetness right away. I keep sipping because I cant really get any other flavors except for the aftertaste. so I let it warm up a bit by letting it sit.. minutes later I retaste and get sharp grapefruit...also that taste you get when you bite into the skin of an orange, very strong hop presence but yet still get that dark cherry sweetness, almost medicinal...aftertaste is a burn, hoppy tone with wood (cedar? oak?)

mouthfeel is thick and very warm...def a slow sipper..
you also get a burning down your chest after every sip..

my first barley wine, didnt expect that much hop presence...thought these were hop bombs..def gonna give big foot a try...

overall not bad, i'd try this again..

cheers!

Photo of augustgarage
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter. Long-winded blurbs excerpted from a journal entry written during a trip to India on the back - seemingly little to no connection to the contents within.

Glassy raspberry and alizarin body with a large array of tiny bubbles rushing to the surface. Heavy isabelline head recedes to a large collar and a thin peninsula leading to a quarter sized hill of bubbles in the center of the glass. A swirl reactivates the crown while leaving a stippling of lace around the sides. Viscous legs drag down the sandy lacing when you take a sip.

Punishing malt aromatics with an unconcealed dose of alcohol. Stewed nectarines, leather, lanolin, dark cherry, and maple syrup with a hint of blueberries. Hops are grassy and earthy, but can't cut through the rest of the aromatics.

Malt base delivers a tsunami of carmel-dipped bread, which becomes crustier as it approaches the finish. The hops assert themselves mid-palate, with a biting pine bitterness and a touch of grapefruit. The finish shovels on licorice, more earth, and a hint of pepper. Low dried fruit notes throughout as well. Actually has much in common with Arrogant Bastard, though this dials up the malt and alcohol quite a bit.

Medium, almost medium-heavy bodied, with good carbonation. A bit slick, and a little hot.

Distinctively Stone - and a pretty good example of the style. Curious to try an older vintage.

Photo of atsprings
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer during an '07-'10 vertical served in a Stone Old Guardian glass that was mine to keep. Served a crisp copper with a thin diminishing head that left slight lacing on the glass. Aroma was sweet malts and a trace of alcohol. The taste was loads of very sweet malts that clearly need some age to tone them down. The beer is also a bit heavy on the alcohol presence, but it is still a smooth sipper. This is still an enjoyable beer this young, but I can tell it will only get better with age.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An earlier vintage of this was my first Barleywine. I havent had thins since I started reviewing, but nows the time.

A- A ruddy red color that is moderately clear. The head is a brassy color. I love when the labels on the bottle use colors that match the colors of the beer inside. This one does that nicely. The body is nearly the color of the red ink and the head is very close to the color of the gold ink.

S- Lots of malts and hops. It is pretty strong on hops. Alcohol is also abundant. Lots of fruity ale characteristics. Raisins, toffee, wood, pine, citrus and a hairspray smelling astringency.

T- This is a real hoppy barleywine but that is to be expected. The taste follows the nose but with much much more strength in the hops. The beer starts off nice and malty rich and full of fruits and toffee. The hops break up that party with A LOT of pine and very bitter grapefruit rind and a touch of sweeter pineapple. Alcohol comes around at the end with the hops. This beer finishes very very bitter.

M- Very resinous and palate coating. It will easily ruin your mouth for the day. I need a glass of water with this one.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thought I had gotten lucky and grabbed a brand new 2011 bottle...unfortunately I was getting a year old 2010. We shall see how well it has kept.

Appearance:
Light brown with hues of orange and red. A thin white head blankets the beer and doesn't leave much lacing. The beer may have lost some carbonation sitting for a year, but that's speculation only. The high %abv may also contribute to this beer's lacking head. Everything seems fine so far, I have no major complaints.

Smell:
Caramel maltiness with notes of vanilla and cherries. The alcohol is also quite pungent, almost burns the nostrils. Thankfully the beer doesn't smell infected, so this may actually be a pleasant surprise!

Taste:
I'm very selective for which barley wines I like and this one is pretty damn flavorful. The beer is sweet and smooth, almost reminds me of a beer that spent time in a barrel. A beverage that is good for sipping and easily pleases the palate. I enjoyed this beer with some sausage and pepperoni pizza, but it could easily be paired with a more complex dish.

Mouthfeel:
Sticky sweetness with a noticeable bitterness in its finish. The alcohol works to improve this beer's sweet-bitter balance. Likewise there is a subtle bitterness that works to improve the beer's spice factor and contributes some additional bitterness. Describing this beer's mouthfeel in a few words: resiny, thick, strong, and smooth.

Overall:
Although I thought I had a brand new 2011 in my hands, this wasn't a bad purchase. The beer was fairly priced and lived up to my expectations. Rich sweetness with a little spice, there is a place for a beer like this, but I was unfortunately in the mood for an IPA.
I am looking forward to the 2011, but I may not wait a year just to buy it!

Cheers.

Photo of vickersspitfire
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a beautiful semi dark amber color with copper tone when help up the light. It had some good carbonation and was topped with a thick and bubbly light tan head. This is one beautiful ale to look at! I t has that awesome hops aroma, some malts, sweet fruity aromas mixed in a good alcohol smell. There are hints of malts, grapefruit (as you swallow), a slight pepper flavor and herbs as well. It's mildly bitter toward the back of the mouth, but very pleasing when you first get it on your tongue and full of carbonation, it has a semi-dry aftertaste with a mild caramel presence.

Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled in August 2011

A - Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled malty and sweet with caramel notes. There was a mild raisin aroma.

T - Lots of boozy alcohol notes up front. Very sweet caramel flavor with a spicy hop bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied barleywine with a warm alcohol heat.

O - This is good, but I've found older versions to be more smooth and balanced.

Photo of RyanLigeia
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Love it. Looks like a glass of auburn/brownish/reddish muddy water. Surprising head for such high abv that dissipates to froth. Excellent lacing. It almost looks like the foam at the top of a mug of cocoa.

Smell- Oaky booziness. Sort of sweet.

Taste- Delicious. VERY boozy. Some may not care for that but I personally love that. Tastes like its been aged in oak barrels, not sure if it actually has though. Excellent winter beer, has a little spice to it as well. Not a ton, not like a winter warmer or anything but its got some strong flavors. Maybe a dash of nutmeg or ginger.

Mouthfeel- Incredible. Very full and smooth. Good carbination but not at all "bubbly" somehow.

Overall- Would DEFINITELY buy this one again. Could be priced way way higher and still be worth it. I highly reccomend it if you like strong beers in general.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a nice relatively clear amber, with a soft white head, fair lace.

S: The difference in hop character is clearly from the 1 year old '09, grapefruit, orange and pine - classic San Diego.

T: Similar hop character to the nose, with that big biscuity hop note I always find in Old Guardian, another well made effort.

M: Solid again, medium/full mouthfeel with a nice creamy carbonation.

D: The '10 really brings this back to where it is suppossed to be. I wasn't a huge fan of the '09 fresh and aged, but this is really good, I'll love to see where this goes.

Photo of ChadQuest
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

very grateful to Townhag for this surprise gift. I had honestly wanted this BW for quite a time.

This beer reminds me that a barley wine is really basically a pale ale but twice the...everything. the hops,malt, and alcohol are all balanced very well and this doesn't get so thick and syrupy that drinking it becomes a chore, which is even surprising considering the 11%. This is a nice change from all the Resin hop bomb american barley wines i have had recently, and this bomber was just as enjoyable to the end as it was at first pour. once stone comes to chicago in the future i can see myself having a bomber of this storing at all times.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't drank this one in awhile and decided to crack it pretty fresh. Pours into my glass a lovely deep ruby red with good clarity and a quarter inch of khaki foam on the top. Aromas start off with a dense mix of sweet caramel, molasses, brown sugar and a good dose of fruitiness as well. Hops kick in a resinous piney undertone with some earthy floral accents as well. Great depth in the aroma. A little lighter on the hops than previous years if I recall.

First sip brings sweet dense caramel malts upfront intertwining with an array of fruit, toffee and brown sugar. Piney, slightly floral hops kick in with some nice resinous accents and a solid bitterness that helps to counteract the malt sweetness. Alcohol is there on the finish to let you know it's not playing around.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a great viscosity and carbonation. Quite easy to drink given the fact that this packs quite an ABV punch. On the sweeter side but not overly so and the bitterness does a good job of working out some of the sweetness. Overall, a tasty barleywine and I'll look forward to seeing how it ages.

Photo of valkyre65
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010 from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 327 ratings.