Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 336 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mayorwalda:
4.68/5 rDev +21.9%
(I'm going to apologize a little for this being so long. But this is honestly one of my favorite beers so, try to understand and hopefully enjoy the review too! If you'd like the short version please check out my ASTMO, towards the bottom! Cheers.)
Hey, now. Look at what we've got here, another offering from Stone's Brewery. It's their Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale, the 2011 classic release.
On the pour, you can tell this brew is big and heavy! Old Guardian is a beautiful dark golden-amber color and is deliciously cloudy. From a gentle pour this beer gathers a really thick head so be careful--this thing could easily runneth over if you get even a little bit ahead of yourself!
From that nice thick head you get two things. The first is of course is that nice bustling bouquet boasting all of the maltiness of this brew. And as a perk you get a nice bit of Belgium lace—a nice aesthetic to please the eyes complimenting your happy nose.
The aroma of this beer is quite something too. What this brew provides should be called nothing short of malt heaven! Honestly, it’s like being in a grain silo. And the best part is, it’s not compromised by any of the piney, resinous hop smells most beers use to balance their malt-heavy brews. I’m pleased to say that this winning recipe follows through just the same with the taste!
On the first sip, well, there it is. This brew is huge! They must use about three pounds of malt per bottle—it’s truly intense.
The taste of this beer is really everything, so, I’m going to spend some time breaking it down as best I can. At the front end of this beer, it has a really sweet taste from all the lighter and medium roasted malts. The brew, after a second of sitting on your palate, levels off though, thanks to the slight—but welcome—hop taste and the hints at some darker roasted malts.
To speak to this brew’s mouthfeel, well, I don’t know if it’s just a bit distracting with the intense taste or if the mouthfeel itself is actually a little lackluster but at very least I can say it is a fitting mouthfeel that goes unnoticed as everything else in this brew is being knocked out of the park—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! I will say that I am proud of Stone for making a 12% ABV brew that doesn’t make my eyes cross on every sip. I didn’t honestly even notice that this brew had such a high ABV until I was finishing off the bottle. You can guess how I noticed…
A: The appearance of this brew is great. You know exactly what you’re getting into from the pour. It’s dark. It’s a bit red. It’s a little gold. You’re getting a load of flavor and an equal amount of booze and each factor perfectly complements the other!
S: The smell of this beer is really spectacular. It smells like you’re in a grain silo, haha. Really, this brew kicks maltiness up to new heights, so, I say that jokingly with a big bit of truth in there too.
T: The taste of this beer is the best part. This brew has an unexpected level of sweetness—all from malt—and Stone has dared to leave it be and not compromise it with unnecessary hoppiness. I give ‘em a pat on the back for that…
M: Mouthfeel is the only underwhelming aspect of this brew. It is good in so far as it does not detract from the beer in any way but it doesn’t have anything necessarily ‘going’ for it in any special way. Again, this isn’t a bad thing but it’s impossible to say one way or another when it doesn’t stand out… It should not be seen as a detracting factor, though.
O: Well, we have another offering from Stone Brewery that really knocks it out of the park. This is a bit daring as they do not muddy up the sweet, sweet malty waters with hops but that’s what they made their Belgo Barley Wine Style Ale for, after all! So I definitely have to say, go for it with this one… you will not be sorry you did. This beer capitalizes on doing what most brewers apparently are too afraid to do—make a big, big brew with a ton of malt that is not necessarily balanced; and, well, I say kudos to them!
03-29-2012 04:15:22 | More by mayorwalda
More User Reviews:
3.2/5 rDev -16.7%
A - Deep amber, thin head that hangs around for a bit, low carbonation, nice looking barleywine.
S - Good bit of hop aroma, along with some sweet caramel malt, the alcohol comes through but in a somewhat astringent way.
T - Big malt backbone, nice hop bitterness, and a big smack in the face of alcohol that does not come on in a smooth way.
M - Moderate body, but actually pretty thin feeling for a barleywine.
D - A 22 oz. bottle is about all I could drink in one sitting and I think all I ever need to drink from the 2011 batch.
Overall...Stone...WTF??? This was way below par.
03-06-2011 23:20:54 | More by steelerguy
3.23/5 rDev -15.9%
22oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2011 on the labeling.
Showcasing a great head right away, sticky lace on the glass as well. Tawny glow in the light. Tobacco, citric rind and tree sap from the hops with a faint beef broth, caramel and rose water mix ... nose is pretty damn complex. Hops are strong to say the least, like a thick wool blanket that keeps you warm but reminds you that it is wool with an occasional itch here and there that only the smacking of the tongue can shake it. Big fat kernel of bready caramel malt is completely surrounded my the hop blanket and a very warming alcohol wants to clean house or at least the malt character. Hoppy alcoholic finish is more than aggressive.
Boozy mess, insane amount of hops that does not even come close to making sense to me and the combo really just detracts from all aspects. With that said ... if you are looking for something that got pushed over the edge this is your bag then. Nothing horrific ... just overboard.
03-06-2011 02:37:47 | More by Jason
3.78/5 rDev -1.6%
Bomber bottle, 2011 edition.
Pours rich darker honey amber, ample loose head, collar, sheeting and rings of scattered lacing.
As it warms, the nose opens up with notes of honey infused malts, some ginned up alcohol also present.
Large, bold, flavorful...Loads of malt-Loads of hops....I'm picking up vanilla, honey, grapefruit, pineapple. Smokey malts smoldering in the rear, fruity hops up front. Alcohol quite present...Love to have the chance to try an aged bottle of this huge beer in a few years.
05-09-2011 01:51:05 | More by Billolick
3.35/5 rDev -12.8%
Poured into a westmalle chalice a deep amber with a 1/4" head that disapated rather quickly. The nose has some carmel with leather hints.
Being a fresh barleywine, this has a supprising hop bite to it. (Is it just me or has there become a new style in barleywines lately with a little too much hops?) The basic barleywine taste I'm accustom to is there, but the hops kick you in the butt and make you forget what you're drinking. The high alcohol burn takes away from the mouthfeel and causes a little pucker. This is one that needs some aging.
03-13-2011 03:40:54 | More by whoneeds8
3.35/5 rDev -12.8%
Golden sherry color with little creamy head. Hints of tropical flavors, orange, pineapple.
The taste was clean and bright, the mouthful was semi-big, but the aftertaste still was very light.
Surprising for a barley wine style of beer.
Would go very well with smoked trout or other smoked lighter foods.
Still not a barley type of person
02-20-2011 02:24:30 | More by rdilauro
3.43/5 rDev -10.7%
Bomber served cold into a pint glass.
Old Guardian is a hazy copper color with thin white head on top. It settles pretty fast but there is some good lacing.
Aroma is strong in both alcohol and hops. The hops aren't the super-fresh citrusy types but more earthy and grassy.
Flavor is also very strong but more balanced than I was expecting. Huge hop bitterness and enormous malt bill colide.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and lower carbonation, which is good. The alcohol is very strong but at least it's not hot.
Drinkability is not very good. Usually I would be able to finish a bottle of barleywine but not tonight.
Overall solid but not exceptional. Old Ruffian and Hog Heaven are far better.
02-20-2011 14:53:22 | More by GilGarp
4/5 rDev +4.2%
bought a couple of bombers... one for now and one for the cellar.
Pours a dark amber color with a dirty white & thin head
Very boozy with a lot of caramel and toffee. Dark fruit notes as well as some bread. I could actually feel a bit of alcohol burn come through the nose after a big wiff.
malts= Bread, caramel, and toffee. Quite boozy with some mild fruits and a touch of pine. the hops aren't that noticeable at first but the bitter aftertaste sits on the back of the throat after a while.
The body is medium to full with ample carbonation.
this was a good barleywine and I am looking forward to tasting some of the Guardians with some age on them (have '08-'11 in the cellar)
06-25-2011 01:53:50 | More by haddon
4.2/5 rDev +9.4%
Appearance: Light orange clean glow
Head: Little tan head that dissipates quickly
Smell: Big dark citric with a nice malty tone and a subtle heat
Taste: Malty rich dark citric with a bit of heat on the backend
Weight: Light to medium body with a medium to low carbonation
Finish: Heavy citric with a little heat and a nice stickiness on the lips
04-06-2011 05:25:06 | More by Snow81
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
Old Guardian pours a copper color. Looks a tad hazy. Backlighting gives it a slight orange look. Not bad. The head is a very light tan color. It rises to nearly a finger, then falls to a surface covering quickly. I suspect the 12% abv might be a little much. Lacing was light and spotty.
The nose is pretty good. It’s a tad weak in the strength department. It kicks off with a nice caramel malt scent. Definitely smells a little sweet. Hops are easily noted, but may have diminished a little. They smell mostly like pine with a touch of citrus grapefruit and pineapple. There’s a little dark fruit in the mix, mostly raisin. It’s secondary, but adds nice depth. Alcohol is there, but isn’t as strong as it usually is fresh. That’s a positive.
The flavor is good. A nice caramel malt base anchors things down. It’s a little sweet, but isn’t too much. Hops are definitely more vibrant in flavor. They are piney and a little citric. Grapefruit and pineapple flavors are strong. It does have a bit of a bitter kick, despite the wealth of malt present. I like it. Raisin and a little fig are in the mix. They’re subtle and a little tangy, but add nice depth. Alcohol is there in flavor, but isn’t warm or hot. At 12% abv, that’s performing pretty well. Finishes malty, hoppy, and bitter.
Old Guardian has a medium body that feels a bit chewy. Carbonation is light and restrained. It is nice and smooth. For a beer of its size, it really does go down easy. A bomber really isn’t that much of a problem.
The 2011 release of Old Guardian is a good one. I don’t if or how much the recipe changes from year to year. The quality seems pretty consistent, if you ask me. Yeah, the nose could use a little more strength, but it performs well otherwise. I do believe the alcohol in Old Guardian is a little better integrated after 6 months or so. I recall it being very strong early on. If you’re a fan, you should like the 2011 release. If not…you probably never will be.
06-11-2011 03:48:15 | More by prototypic
3.23/5 rDev -15.9%
Poured from a 1pint and 6oz bottle to a Cigar City Snifter.
Color: Deep murky amber with a beige head.
Smell: Caramel malts, yeast, fruit and hops.
Taste: Caramel malts, yeast, fruit, hops and an alcohol presence.
Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, smooth with a dry finish.
Overall: For the alcohol presence the drinkability was good. Not one of my favorites though. Don't think I will hunt this one down. Cheers.
12-11-2011 17:12:01 | More by Heatwave33
3.88/5 rDev +1%
Pours nicely into oversized wine glass. Appearance is a sexy deep amber as most of the barleywines I have tried are.
Smells of complex malts with a touch of earthy hop aromas and raisony as well. Taste is sweet malts with a backside of hoppy bitterness, bittersweet indeed. Alot of hoppyness to offset the sweetness of the malt. A touch of toffee picked up, but nothing more from my palate.
Mouthfeel is exceptional with a nice hoptual aftertaste. Hides the 12% abv very nicely.
Overall, I think its a solid barleywine.
06-03-2011 01:12:11 | More by hoptualBrew
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.