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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

335 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 335
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 15.1%
Wants: 9
Gots: 109 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: muttyd on 02-14-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 335 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mayorwalda:
Photo of mayorwalda

New York

4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(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!

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 04:15:22 | More by mayorwalda
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Aroma- decomposing meat and fruit, not very appealing. Hardly a head when poured.

Taste- I've found ambrosia. This bottle is a 2011 batch and we tried it mid-year. It starts buttery and semi-sweet with apricot and grapefruit marmalade, in the middle sweetens somewhat then finishes with a lingering citrus hops. A delight!

Poured from 650 ml bomber into wine glasses for tasting.

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Time to open and review one of the first bottles I put in the cellar after turning 21.

A- Pours a very hazy, opaque, toffee brown color. The color is a mix between brown and amber, but with the hazy aspect to it. Head is 1.5 to 2 fingers in thickness and tan. Retention is great, and so is the lacing.

S- Boozey with big malts right up front on the nose. Fairly sweet caramel is the biggest tone here, with some more, peat-like scents also mixing in. Alcohol in the smell is somewhat stinging in the nostrils.

T- Smooth, fairly one dimensional and stronger. This drink starts with a bang of caramel malts and a fair amount of bitterness. Sweetness and bitterness offset each other to provide some balance to the flavor. Toffee flavor is prominent in the middle of the drink, and towards the end the bitterness is heightened due to an alcohol bite.

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Overall, nothing spectacular, but also not bad at all. Two years in the bottle has mellowed the flavors and melded them into a semi-sweet, yet bitter, boozey beer.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 335 ratings.