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

334 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 334
Reviews: 203
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 11
Gots: 86 | FT: 5
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
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Ratings: 334 | Reviews: 203
Photo of gopens44
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby red and a touch hazy with a nice 1/2" foamy head that didn't hang out with us veyr long

S - Nice pine shaped aromas hit first with a malty finish. Maybe hints of plum as well.

T - Sweet, and a tad boozy. Pine and a little few hints of grapefruit hop characteristics swirl around as well.

M - Low carbonation and smooth. A little on the thick/syrupy side, but otherwise very pleasant on the tongue.

I enjoyed this quite a bit and look forward to a few more. A few to drink now, and maybe age a couple.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a small but fluffy biege head. The lace isn't bad, a few chunks hang onto the side.
Peaty malts and citrus dominate the smell. There is some background pine and caramel with only a hint of alcohol.
Malts and hops cascade into a pretty unique combo, which is both interesting and slightly off-putting. Lots of pine and citrus mix with caramel, pear, smoke, brown sugar... Very complex, might taste more put together with age. Thickness and warmth feels nice going down.
All together I have to say that, though I was appreciative of the complexities of this Barleywine, I wasn't truly sold. Might cellar one since they are changing it up in '11.

Photo of beerdrifter
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
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 yeahnatenelson
2.75/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy amber with one finger of sudsy beige head. Fair amount of lacing for the style.

Smell -- Right off the bat it just *smells* like a Stone beer...what is it, mineral content? Must be the water. Grapefruit, pineapple, apricot, tropical fruity as the day is long. A dash of mint rounds out the hop aroma. Great hops, but the malt base seems a big flat: caramel is all that can be picked out.

Taste -- The hop character is all over the place: citrus pith and pine resin up front, vegetal bitterness toward the back end. Malts are sweet and simple: honey, soft caramels, possibly some brown toast. Finish is bitter herbal/medicinal hops, caramel, and dark toast. Alcohol presence is more than would be desired, but not terribly distracting.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full body with mild carbonation. Moderate alcohol sharpness. Meh.

Drinkability -- I know many (most?) will disagree with me, but I wasn't bowled over by this one, and I'm typically a Stone fan. The hop profile is scattered, overly strong (even for the style), and downright unpleasant in the finish; it tastes like I swallowed a cloud of gnats. Even after the hops fade with time, I'm not convinced I enjoy the malt base enough for that to turn it for me as it is lacking in depth.

Your mileage will likely vary, and feel free to disagree. If it helps, I'm really quite bummed that it didn't meet my seemingly sensible expectations.

Photo of Reaper16
3.57/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz. bomber served into a snifter

Pours a sort of cloudy, muddy-water-looking shade of orange-brown that gets more yellow towards the top of the body. Less than a finger of whitish head that leaves some sparse, dotted-line lacing. Pretty basic looking stuff. The relative lightness of color is the most intriguing aspect to Old Guardian's appearance.

This beer has plenty of assertive aromas vying for attention. There is an abundance of deep malt smells, of course. Caramel, french bread, cinnamon rolls w/o the icing. Then there are the hops. Lots of hops. Floral honeysuckle sweetness along with a tiny flutter of mint. A massive crest of fresh-squeezed orange tries to dominate the nose. Seriously, there is a lot of bright orange flesh aroma to this beer. The herbal/mint quality makes for an enticing combination with the orange hop aromas. It gets to be like a cough drop after a while though. Feel free to interpret that as a positive or a negative, depending on how much you like cough drops.

This might be too young? I don't know. This bottle is one of the more perplexing beers I've had in a long time. Lots of hop resin leave a bitter orange flavor in the start and finish of the drink. Sweet, deep malts bloom in the middle. The aftertaste is equal parts sugary and ashy. Does this ever come together to form a congruent whole? Not for me it doesn't. This is a challenging beer.

This is among the thicker barleywines I've come across in terms of mouthfeel. Its viscosity and sticky nature compliment the orange, resiny flavors. As far as drinkability goes, well, this seems about average for the style. You can feel that 12% ABV and you can feel the heavy flavors accrue on your palate.

Strange barleywine. Too incongruous for me to fall in love with. If I had another bottle I would let it sit in the cellar for a while, hoping that the flavors cohere with age.

Photo of Blanco
3.87/5  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 azdback
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful burnt orange. Head maybe a finger and a half, but after warmed the second half of the bottle had a much larger head but the same great lace retention.
Smell was earthy, with citrus and boozyness.
Outstanding!!!! Hops bitterness with caramel sweetness
Mouthfeel was great. Full bodied and even though I let this warm a bit is stayed carbonated and full.
Drinkability!?!?!? This brew is over 11% abv but without even trying I finished it in less than an hour. Very drunkable!!!
Did I say that out loud?

Photo of BigJim5021
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was a huge fan of the 2009 vintage of Old Guardian, so I was incredibly excited to crack open of the 2010 model.

The beer is identical to the 2009 in appearance. It pours a gorgeous, deep amber with a beige head that leaves copious lacing.

The aroma is heavier on sweet caramel malts this year. I'm not complaining, just pointing it out. That's not to say that you don't get some hops in the nose, just not as much as last year.

The flavor is also sweeter and more malty than last year. The 2009 -- when fresh -- was essentially the hoppiest beer I've ever had. The piny, resinous hops immediately kicked you in the teeth. This year, they've upped the malt and produced a somewhat more balanced barleywine. Again, I'm not gonna sit here and say that this little momma isn't hoppy. She is. She's just added some more malt to the repertoire.

Mouthfeel is just as thick and creamy as last year. It just feels great in your mouth. (That's what she said.)

Drinkability is as high as it comes at 11.1%. This beer is a guaranteed ass kicker. No doubt about it. Treat it with respect and it might just see fit to let you survive.

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 jettjon
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a glass, clear amber with very few tiny bubbles. Pour yields a towering light tan head which fades away slowly leaving heavy clinging lace. Nice looking brew. On the nose is a faint boozy alcohol and sweet floral malt with hints of honey. On the tongue, the honey-sweet flavor asserts itself again, followed by a moderate alcohol burn. Hops are there as well, grapefruit-like sour biting toward the middle and taking over from the sweet malt. It ends on a slightly dry bitter note. Mouthfeel is good; it's slightly thin with low viscosity and quite smooth. Drinkability is good, but of course with all such high ABV brews, moderation is a must. It's deceptively smooth and tasty, and can easily sneak up on you.

Overall: A tasty but not spectacular barley wine. Cellaring would probably help with smoothing out some of the rough edges.

Photo of jondeelee
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Guardian has all of the rich, malty aromas one would expect from a high-quality barleywine--deep brown sugars, caramel, vanilla, molasses, chocolate malts and hints of oak--and combines these with a medium-strength blast of hoppy goodness.

On the tongue, the brew provides an immediate sugary blast, but with far darker tones than the nose would imply. Here, the sugars tend more towards the blackness of molasses than the sweetness of sugarcane, and are tinged with chocolate malts, syrupy vanillas, dark chocolates, hints of tobacco, fig, and roasted nuts. A thick layer of hops and hoppy flavors counterbalances this darkness, bringing grapefruits as well as lychee nuts and light rosewater threads. The aftertaste is largely black sugars, and lingers. Mouthfeel is medium to medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent barleywine, and quite refreshing in its depth and complexity. One of the beer's only weaknesses is a strong alcohol tinge that runs throughout the mouthful, obviously the result of the massive ABV (11.3%). I've encountered few beers of this style that so revel in chocolate malts and roasted nuts, and find myself wishing that more did. Well worth trying.

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes, 7-21-2010

A - somewhat clouded deep copper body, medium taupe head.

S - sweet malts, some hop undertones.

T - full and complex malt sweetness, well balanced with some spicy hops

M - full bodied and creamy

O (D) - goes down easy and smooth, but its pretty strong.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my stone barleywine glass. (From notes)

A: Ruby/copper in color. One finger slightly off white head. Slightly opaque. Real nice lacing.

S: Intense aroma. Dominated by hops. Tropical fruits (grapefruit/pineapple). Caramel malt background. Smells almost like a DIPA.

T: Honey, caramel, and a bit of toffee malt profile up front. Real bitter hop profile comes through as resin, pine and grapefruit. Some alcohol up in there too.

M: Full bodied. Bubbly, quite dry. Crisp clean finish.

D: Well masked alcohol makes for an incredibly drinkable barelywine.

I was a little caught off guard due to the somewhat DIPA characteristics of this beer, but I feel it was a very interesting twist on the style.

Photo of Lunch
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, MD into a 12oz.snifter at the appropriate temperature (03/26/10).

A: Pours a brilliant shade of dark copper, with a rich ruby hue capped with one finger of an almost white head. Decent retention and some patchy lace.

S: Strong and powerful aroma of pine, caramel malt, along with quite a bit of alcohol. Notes of citrus and hints of toffee and burnt malt are there as well.

T: The flavor profile mirrors the aroma with layers of pine, caramel malt, alcohol, burnt malt, and some citrus. Not as complex as I remember, but I could be wrong.

M: Medium to full-bodied with smooth carbonation and a pleasant tinge of alcohol.

D: For a 11% American Barleywine, this one has good drinkability.

Overall this was nice American Barleywine, but I was less impressed with this year's version compared to last year's.

Photo of bobhits
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Maybe stone does change this beer yearly.

Deep amber/red, in finger off white head, a LOT of bubbles, and some lacing.

Fruity, amber malt, finished with sweet citrus hops. Touch of alcohol to finish.

The first taste is honestly of a pale ale/amber, but then the rush of malt comes kicking down the door. Now 9 or so months old the hops are lacking more than expected. I didn't have the 2010 fresh but most years this beer packs a hell of a hop kick for a long time. They still bite at the end but the opening is a touch watery where there should be a powerful hop start.
3.5

One of the most drinkable barely wines I've had and for some reason I like that about this beer. It doesn't have that "sip me" feel so this all works. The 11+% is pretty subdued as well...I expected more given it's under a year old.
5

It's a bit thin and the carbonation works to emphasize that. I want a touch more body, this is medium heavy vs heavy and far form the syrupy body many barely wines take on.
3

The best "pizza" barely wine I've had in ages. I recall stone doing a better job in the past, but a fully worthy effort.

Photo of dtivp
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy reddish brown with a very nice one finger off white head with good retention, moderate lacing on the glass.

Aroma of malt, citrus and some pine.

The hop bitterness hits your taste buds hard at first then the malt smooths the taste. There is also hints of grapefruit and caramel.

Mouthfeel is a smooth medium to full body with moderate carbonation. It is very surprising that this is a 11.1 % ABV beer, the alcohol is very well masked.

This is a nice barley wine beer, it may even get better with a little age.

Photo of magine
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic glass.

Pours a cloudy dark tea like colored amber, with an off white pillow like fluffy head. Head retention is excellent and the lacing is excellent. Head stays thick and fluffy throughout; rings the glass beautifully.

Brew smells of big sweet barley malts, and multiple hops and yeast. Huge barley malt nose, with an excellent hop presence in there as well; floral, citrus. Very tasty smell.

Brew is very smooth, creamy and velvety, has a massive barley malt flavor. Has the hops in the aftertaste. Slightly sweet, finishes slightly dry and a little bitter. A huge flavorful brew. Brew has multiple hop flavors, fruits, floral and then the yeast and barley. Mmmmm...Tremendous stuff.

Wow - this is top shelf stuff; big, bold and flavorful. As me and my real "bro" would say this is a brew that hits you in the jaw and makes you notice. At 11% alcohol, sip and enjoy. A very easy drinking excellent looking brew. Only a slight presence of alcohol is detected. Stone is world class.

Photo of tewaris
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged 2 years in a CLOSET. It worked.

Looks great albeit a little hazy... smells great... strongly malty: caramel, old hops (it's Stone alright!), toasty, awesome.

Great and robust malt character minus the sweetness... an excellent fruit and nut character with a finish to die for. Excellent feel if not quite as silky as I'd like. Great overall.

Photo of Gushue3
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm pretty new to barleywines so i dont have too much to compare to but here it is.

A- pours deep amber/red/orange. gigantic head that leaves good amount of lacing.

S- strong on the sweetness with a rush of hops and fruit toward the middle and end. medium booze taste at the end. pretty tasty

T- very sweet upfront that turns bitter in the middle that ends with a bitter lingering.

M- small carbonation bubbles feel nice, sweetness/bitterness make me pucker a tiny bit. medium/heavy feel on the tongue.

D- definately drinkable, flavors are good, decent mouthfeel.

Photo of kzoobrew
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Moderately strong pour into Duvel Tulip. Two and a half finger head is produced. White sand colored head recedes quickly only to stop leaving a 1/4 finger cap. Sticky lacing left surrounding the glass. Body is a coppery orange color, clear no cloudiness or haze.

Liquid caramel and citric hops dominate the aroma. Caramel malt comes through strong up front. Sweet liquid candy with an underlying breadiness. The hops, while very apparent, come to the surface a bit after the malt. Big citrus and light floral hop aroma

Flavor is much like the aroma but with a couple key differences. The malt and hops play an interesting back and forth game on the tongue making it difficult to describe what hits first. The hops are a bit more abrasive than the nose would indicate. While the citrus flavors are there a more assertive piny bitterness shines through. The floral component is not lost though is much more subtle than the citrus and pine flavors. The malt delivers the caramel flavors as you may expect. The caramel is not the liquid candy as it was in the nose however. The caramel in a bit darker in flavor, think heavily caramelized sugars. Certainly this is a big and assertive beer, and you can be assured it is down right enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is full and thick as any self respecting Barley wine should be. Viscosity is there but stops short of a syrupy body. Carbonation is low while still managing to hold up this rather large body. Smooth and just shy of creamy. Finish is long as the sweetness and resinous hops dig in.

While one bomber is certainly the limit (possibly too much on certain occasions) Old Guardian is a heck of a beer. For such a big beer the booziness is well masked and drinks quite smoothly. Great beer all around and certainly worth picking up.

Photo of matty
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is caramel and dark fruits.Taste is pine,sugar cane,alcohol,dark fruits and caramel malts.Heavy bitter aftertaste.Overall a decent beer that isn't hopped to death like some of their other beers.I enjoyed it and would recommend and purchase again.

Photo of Bfarr
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear red amber with full tan head. Aromas of floral, tea and barley aroma with a little alcohol note. A whole range of flavors from tea and brown sugar to sweet barley, hazlenuts and chocolate. A nice scotch-like finish with a good mouth coating that doesn't build up the more you drink.

Stone is able to make their barleywine smooth and drinkable but still have the bite and feel of a good barleywine. The flavors blend together so well and leave with just a hint of alcohol which is quite good considering the ABV. A very fine sipping beer.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love me some Old Guardian. This is a fave of mine for a long time.

A- Nice dark copper color, the head was thick and full when the beer was poured. After a spell it has simmered down to a thin layer over the beer itself. not much in terms of lacing.

S- Very fragrant, with a nice caramel smell with some definite boozyness. A fruityness that comes from the hops which are strong but not overpowering. I'm getting some bubblegum and other flavors I'm just not putting my finger on.

T- Caramel is good and strong, some great sweetness and the hops taste are fruity and cut the thicker malt presence. This one is tasty right now, almost seems like it has been sitting around for a good few months as it is. I bet this years batch will be a great candidate to age. Glad I have a few more for this.

M- Thicker body, but the hops and the carbination do help this one in the mouth.

D- Easy to drink, but best to just sip and enjoy.

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in an Ommegang Tumbler
22oz Stone Old Guardian Bomber

A: Pours a beautiful cloudy reddish amber color with very little head

S: Honestly one of the most distinct smelling brews ive ever come across. Has heavy alcohol scent but also a deep woody smell that is also very sweet

T: Deep flavors of woody with a very strong alcohol presence but also has a very sweet wine like finish that stays right on the taste buds

M: Immediately burns the tongue on contacts, really awakens the mouth all around. Flavors linger on the back of the tongue

D: Really a great taste that has intense depth but is surprisingly not too heavy, definitely cant be drank too fast but if taken slowly it gets better as it warms up (i drank mine outta the fridge) and is actually a really enjoy able brew

Photo of ChadQuest
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010 from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 334 ratings.