Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010 | Stone Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
203 Reviews
THE BROS
81
good
Read the review
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by northaustin on 02-13-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
203
Ratings:
335
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
9.71%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
85
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 335
Photo of angrybabboon
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review adapted from notes taken 6/4/11

Appearance: Hazy orange brown/amber color with an off-white head and some lacing - the head is especially nice considering that this beer is about a year old

Smell: Cooked, caramelized malts - smells kind of sweet, but also smells really hoppy - citrus and pine - kind of spicy, unfortunately kind of has that "old hops" smell

Taste: Somewhat sweet, but mostly just a remarkable amount of balance - caramel malts, some dark fruits, sugar - on the earthy side, with some leafy hop flavors - really good, and it gets better and better as it warms

Mouthfeel: Medium body - not as heavy as I would have anticipated, maybe this is partially due to the great level of carbonation - this really works for me

Overall: Great, I need to get this yearly

This is a solid American Barleywine. I'm curious if the hops would have been over-the-top a year ago. It aged well, but it could definitely be better. Next I will review the 2011 BELGO...

 975 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 1,106 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A clear deep ruby red with a two finger off-white head.

S- Dark fruits, cherries, figs, syrup, caramel malts, some alcohol, faded hops, sweet.

T- Piney hops are big and bitter, brunt aftertaste, syrup and dark fruits up front, very little alcohol. The burnt aftertaste is less off putting the more I drink this.

M- Medium body, little syrupy.

O- I did not try this fresh, but I still feel this is a solid beer at two years old. I am surprised how much hop bitterness is still in this beer. 11.1% ABV is not noticeable.

 561 characters

Photo of garuda
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazed deep amber that gets a one finger thick off white head that recedes to a thin ring of bubbles that cling to the edges of the glass. Little lacing.

S/T - Similar with big sweetness of dark fruits and caramelized malts. Pine hops finish off both the aroma and finish. Lingering mouthfeel is both warm from the alcohol, and bitter from pine resin like hops.

M - Full body, medium carbonation with warming alcohol.

D - Given the abv and style, the alcohol was well hidden and enhanced the drink. Everything seemed nicely balanced, but I would like to compare it against a fresh bottle. I would buy this again.

 618 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

 1,414 characters

Photo of grittybrews
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottled, opened 02/2011.

Poured a murky cider-amber color with a finger of quick-receding eggshell head. Aroma of toffee, boozy heat, biscuit, and orange-dominated citrus.

Carbonation just shy of average and a creamy mouthfeel with just a touch of thinness on the finish. Flavor isn't overly sweet up front with lots of citrusy hops balanced by toast, brown sugar, mild spice. Agressive, hot finish with lots of bitter pine hop presence.

Enjoyable, but I thought this brew was a little two-dimensional compared with some of the other fresher barleywines I've sampled lately. Very malty, very hoppy, but not too much complexity emerging beyond that.

 656 characters

Photo of gopens44
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 518 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy glowing burnt orange color. A bubbly off-white head melts into wispy islands.

S - Rich caramelized brown sugar, fresh cut pine wood, grapefruit, pineapple, cinnamon, strawberries. Notes of oak comes out as it warms.

T - Warm and spicy up front before blankets of malt brings in sweet toasted toffee, and rich caramel. The grapefruit rind hops start invading the castle and turn from citrus to pine resin on the finish diminishing any and all sweetness from the malt. The aftertaste is dry with flavors of malt, herbs, and bittering hops.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation.

I had high hopes for this beer and it didn't let me down. The nose is heavenly. The different stages of this beer from start to finish is like a Willy Wonka beer. With an 11.10ABV the alcohol shows up a bit, but is not off-putting. It's hidden well. An excellent and very complex Barleywine.

 889 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours into my Perfect Pint an auburn reddish color with a quickly growing and persistent off white head... Almost a burgundy color really... Sort of like AB....

Interesting aromas of sweet caramel toffee malts and resiny piney hops... The malts wind out in the end as they seem more assertive but there is definitely some pungency left to the green stuff as well... A touch of booze here and there but nothing like I would expect in a brew of this ABV...

A big dose of sweet toffee and caramel malts mingled with a hint of booze followed quickly by a rough-around-the-edges hoppiness of the piney variety... There's a battle between the two elements of the beer without a clear cut winner... There is a long bitter finish here that leaves me waiting for the next sip so that's a good thing.. No booze to speak of which is scary... This one could down you in a hurry...

I like my barleywines nice and hoppy and although the hops have faded a bit in this, its still a very nice sipper for a cool early autumn evening....

 1,026 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: Reddish-caramel with a pretty substantial off white head.
smell: i drank one a year ago and put this one back. Smells promising. Actually some malt in there. Last year i thought i had a DIPA.
taste: Yikes, the hops just slapped the barleywine out of my mouth. Thought a year might tame it. Even for a DIPA, this would be unbalanced for my taste. Fully understand these hop monsters are just what the Doc ordered for some (many from the reviews). Either my palate is not refined enough or Stone just ain't for me.
And yea, it fits the style of American Barleywine. It is indeed "insanely hopped". Am not getting the complexity though, just the "insanely hopped". Still i do love beer and don't get me wrong...still a fine experience

 744 characters

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 1,130 characters

Photo of deadliest
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A foggy copper-amber pour with a nice 2 finger light khaki head leaving a map of lacing down the sides of my Duvel tulip. All Stone products look awesome.
S: Caramel malts, a surprising amount of citrus hops. Brown sugar.
T: Caramel, hops and alcohol battle it out. I'm sure there are other flavors in there somewhere but my palate too busy with these 3 to find out.
M: Full with light carbonation, syrupy more than creamy.
D: It tastes good enough to want to keep drinking, but its a bruiser for sure. Not sure I could handle much more than this bomber.

Wish I could spare the room in my tiny collection to age some.

 623 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 616 characters

Photo of jdense
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Early 2010 vintage shared, poured into wine tumblers 10.13.11.

Nary any head, white, quick dissipation with minimal lacing. Nose features a bit of burnt sugar and noticeable alcohol aroma with citrus hops. Taste mirrors nose, caramel up front, decent hop punch but despite the year and a half aging still significant alcohol heat on back end. Mouthfeel is light for style, marginal effervescence, no stickiness. I'm guessing this wasn't the best of vintages, not a lot of depth in the taste department.

 503 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear burnt-orange color with a small 1/8" head of off-white bubbles after a pretty aggressive pour. There are quite a few bubbles slowly making their way to the top of this obviously viscous liquid. They don't maintain the head, though there are quite a few rising. Just from swirling and the head falling, there is a decent amount of lace on the glass already. There is some pretty significant lacing left after drinking the beer and the head never completely disappears, so this is nice for a Barley Wine.

Aroma: I initially got a healthy dose of clean and slightly toasty malts to go along with the generous citrusy hops. The hops are the predominant force in the aroma, but the malt and some mild peppery spice from the alcohol are definitely a player. As the beer warms, the alcohol and spice are coming out a bit more, but really the volume is just getting turned up on the overall aroma profile.

Taste: The flavor is full of hops, so much that they are leaving a bit of a chalky impression on the top of my palate all the way to the belly. The alcohol is definitely big in this one, and this is my first beer of the night, so it is quite noticeably warming. Though the hops are such a huge player in the flavor, they don't completely dominate the finish. There is some malt and warming to notice in the finish as well as a substantial bitterness. The balance is definitely toward the bitter, but it isn't tipped so hard that this beer is hard to drink. The mouthfeel is actually quite pleasant for a Barley Wine. It is well carbonated, so this keeps the slightly high TG from saturating your palate. Big surprise, as I am about half-way through the beer, it is getting MUCH easier to drink.

Opinion: I typically like to let a Barley Wine sit for at least two years before drinking it as I am more fond of the malt than the hops and I like to let them settle down a bit...but I didn't do that with this beer so I could try it as Stone intended it. I must say that I am impressed. This is a well-crafted Barley Wine. I don't find that this is the easiest style to drink when you first open it up, but this one never gets too sweet, or bitter, or hot from the alcohol. I would definitely try this beer again and I would recommend it if you are in pursuit of the ultimate Barley Wine (as I know MANY that are)...this just may be the one for you.

 2,379 characters

Photo of JDizzle
3.91/5  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.

 316 characters

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Semi opaque orange brown body with nice ring of head along with med. lacing

Smell: Brown sugar and caramel, complex alcohols and esters lending themselves to fruit notes of dried and fresh apricot, raisin and dried cherry.

Taste: Balanced bitterness supports sweet caramel and massive notes of dried cherry. Alcohol warmth with a lingering bitterness on the back leaves you wanting another sip.

Overall: 5 years has always seemed to be the sweet spot for Old Guardian and even at this point there are only faint signs of oxidation.

 548 characters

Photo of thain709
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served with an orange-amber body...a very thin head to begin and spotty retention...not much lacing

S - The nose was nice...sweet aromas with a syrupy texture to it...the hops, as in most Stone beers, were very pronounced and had citrus and pine aromas going on

T - This barleywine was very well balanced...the sweetness dominated in the beginning with lots of caramel malts...the hops show up at the end for a long, bitter finish...but the two of them join in the middle and play off of each other nicely...alcohol provides a warming finish when swallowed

M - Medium bodied...syrupy, smooth, nice push from the nitro

D - This was a decent barleywine...the alcohol was very evident which hinders a little but I think the balance of the flavors make up for it

 766 characters

Photo of AdamBear
2.64/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A-murky dark amber with a light tan head. good lacing.

S-smells very malty with a lot of barley. it smells a lot like syrup. it smells a bit boozy as well. the smell is very strong.

T-comes in with a very malty blast of caramel and barley. its very striking. it then transforms in to a boozy bitterness that i don't find too desirable. the only part of this barley wine that i enjoy is the after-taste. it has good caramelized sugars that slightly remind me of belgian sugars. they're a bit bitter as well. this beer has a lot of heat to it. i'm not sure i'm a fan

M-has a creamy medium carbonation that is also bitter. the finish is bitter and fairly dry.

D-well i wish i would've saved this bomber for a tasting or something. it sure is a lot of beer. i could've split this four ways. its just not the type of beer i can drink a lot of.

 843 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a snifter.

Appearance: Deep amber / burgundy color with a small white head around the edge. No lace.

Smell: A strong malt nose, with caramel, some spices. A hop presence is mostly citrus, with some floral notes as well.

Taste: The toffee and caramel malt barely appears before the hops sink their teeth in. A strong grapefruit and apricot flavor, with a resonating bitterness in the aftertaste. I think I would like this a little better if it aged a bit, fading out some of the hop presence to give it more depth and balance.

Mouthfeel: Slightly coarse in my mouth with a bubbly carbonation.

Drinkability: The ABV is clearly present throughout each sip. Combined with a strong aftertaste, I am less than inclined to really get into these regularly. Still impressive for 11%.

 789 characters

Photo of daledeee
3.88/5  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.

 551 characters

Photo of azdback
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
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?

 520 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 2,586 characters

Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Consumed 2/27/10
A) Pours with a finger thick head then settles quickly to a thin lacing. Hazy body. Amber in color.
S) Floral and caramel sweet nose. Hints of alcohol.
T) Caramel sweet. Notes of cedar / oak / woodsy. Finishes with bright floral flavors. Hints of black pepper.
M) Full body. Slightly syrupy. Dry and pucker inducing in the finish.
D) A great brew. Slow drinker. I'd definitely have another!

 420 characters

Photo of dasenebler
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

 891 characters

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2010 from Stone Brewing
4.12 out of 5 based on 335 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe