Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 336 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
4.88/5 rDev +27.1%
Poured brom a 650ml into my Old Guardian glass.
Pours a clear reddish amber with a light tan 3 1/2 finger head that leaves plenty of attractive lacing.
I get over-ripe citrus, sweet caramelly malt and alcohol in the nose. A hint of honey. A bit of Belgian-like barnyard scent.
Very sweet caramel malts, a taste of alcohol and long lasting bitter hops.
Rather thin mouthfeel for the style. A plus in my book. Lightly syrupy with a nice bite from the alcohol.
I didn't realize it at first, but this was a fortuitous pick for my 100th review.
The relatively light body combined with the excellent balance between the rather sweet malts and the bitter hops, along with the unsurpassed buzz, makes the Old Guardian series my all-time favorite brew, along with Firestone 13.
03-05-2011 07:45:44 | More by obywan59
4.75/5 rDev +23.7%
Poured into a Snifter.
A:Candy apple red. With enough light, it embraces the shape of a Candy Apple inside my sniffer glass.
S:If alcohol was a candy it would be a caramel. Melted sublimely into an indefectible liquid that was meant for every labored enthusiast.
T:Caramelized malts, with a piney Pulp Fiction Twist.
M:Barley best savored under cold heat.
O:An experience to be dealt with in a mature manner.
04-18-2011 07:24:17 | More by ineva
4.7/5 rDev +22.4%
Color- apricot nectar.
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.
05-20-2014 19:50:21 | More by utfiero
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
4.6/5 rDev +19.8%
pours a lovely ruby, that is somewhat hazy. a finger of even, light almond head with nice retention and minimal spotty lacing.
smell: super fresh. there is a war going on between the hops, malt and alcohol armies. lets say its the year 1969. the malt flavor is the south vietnamese, the hop flavor is the north vietnamese and the alchohol is like america: once a brute force, that is slowly getting defeated and will soon diminish and leave the others to settle it. or is it more like a yummy world war 3 in my mouth?
taste: big fat honking man meat slaps you in the grill with west coast hops. youre getting dp'ed by flavor, you look up, only to be showered in the juices of brewing success!!
but seriously, this blend of light caramel flavored malts, classic west coast citrus hop varieties and subtle alcohol makes my day, and rivals almost all other barleywines i have tried to date.
03-12-2011 02:40:12 | More by northaustin
4.5/5 rDev +17.2%
Does life get any better... just put the family to bed, on a cold winter's night, and a world-class barleywine in hand? ....and Sportscenter!
Aromas of this magnificent beer hold a complex matrix of deeply caramelized malts, citrus and resiny hops, and a true malted milk bready character that declares a masculine stature but with refinement and grace.
Malty rich flavors give a bold array of caramel, buttered toast, molasass, and brown sugars. Mild bready flavors allow for the reminescent of toast and honey. Hoppy flavors combat with early citrus, turn pine, turn resiny for a clean bitter finish. There's an aura about this beer that commands respect with its boldness and control, but its restraint and deliberacy shows a sense of elegance and regal that's not to be overlooked. When I taste this beer, it's not about picking apart the individual flavors, but rather about describing the magical qualities of the beer that only the great ones exhibit. For this one, it's the balance and richness of malt and hops- all with the yeasty microbiology steering the wheels.
A creamy, malty upstart holds onto that dense textrue until very late. While citrus flavor turns pithy bitter, then grassy/resiny in the finish; it's not until very late where the beer finally turns the corner toward semi-dryness and a medium-toasty finish. Still, remaining savory and succulent 'til the very end. A return of toffee malt and citrus return in aftertaste, inviting the next sip way sooner than it should.
Delicious and challenging from start unitl finish, this beer is way more palatable and digestible than a 12%er should be. Stone hits homeruns, time after time with this beer!
02-23-2011 04:57:35 | More by BEERchitect
4.47/5 rDev +16.4%
My traveling occupation doesn't lend itself well to cellaring beers. Otherwise, perhaps I would have the patience. Nonetheless, I'm still expecting good things fresh from Escondido.
Poured into a SV balloon slightly chilled: It pours a bold reddish copper. The clarity is pretty good, as is the even finger of head which fades to a ring.
The nose is fresh and full of ripe fruit and earthy hop tones. Bubblegum, wine, plum, banana, cherries, and mandarin oranges make up the complex juicy aroma. The sweet brown sugary malt backbone has an admirable presence, but never cloying, which is a plus IMO. The 12% ABV is well hidden and never distracted me as I panned for new flavors. The finish is bitter with citrus pith and toast.
The warmth from the alcohol emerges in the taste and reminds me not to get to rambunctious with this one. The alcohol is at the perfect level to add an edgy feel to the well-balanced flavor. A juicy fruit hodgepodge, caramel, and red wine flavors are discernible until the dry alcoholic finish steals the show.
The carbonation hits the tongue with a blast at first, keeping it sharp long through the finish. The body isn't too full, but very smooth. It's a bit slick and always crisp. Once the crispness subsides, it leaves a very feel only quenched by another sip.
02-25-2011 03:12:44 | More by climax
4.47/5 rDev +16.4%
22oz bottle poured into my Old Guardian goblet. Been waiting for this to hit Florida since February. Saw this years release on the shelf for the first time today and got excited. This is my favorite American Barleywines and I can't wait to try this years vintage.
A-Pours a hazy garnet/ruby color with a 1/2" beige head that has fair retention and leaves wisps of lace.
S-Theres a lot going on here-Sweet, bready malt; somewhat fruity/citrusy, caramel, toffee, floral and piney hops. Very complex and robust.
T-This is a bruiser of a beer, no doubt. One sip and it'll let you know it. Very rich and malty. Caramel, toffee, citrus coming through as well. And since this is an American Barleywine made by Stone, of course we have a nice representation from the hop party. Nice bitter hop bite slightly resiny/piney/citrusy. And yeah, this is a new vintage so its a tad hot (its 12% and fresh-what did ya expect?) but it is a heavenly balm to my taste buds. I love this beer and the booziness it brings. Sure a bit of age will round out the edges here, but for my money this baby is drinking just fine right now. I think I might even prefer it fresh.
M-Just shy of being full bodied, it is lush and smooth with a perfect carbonation level that suits this beer to a T. A slight burn on the finish from the alcohol may be a detriment to some, but I think it suits this beer well and I like it.
O-I enjoyed each and every sip of this beer. I look forward to OG's release each year, and it never disappoints. A great beer from a great brewery. And for all of you that don't like this beer, please feel free to beermail me if you've got any extra bottles around, I'd be happy to take them off your hands ;)
04-04-2011 00:23:58 | More by Lerxst
4.47/5 rDev +16.4%
Enjoyed on tap at The Brilliant Blind Pig.
A fat finger of off-white foam rests atop a murky, burgundy and mahogany body. Good duration and lacing in the tulip. Beautiful nose, packed with malty, sweet aromas--butterscotch, berry, caramel, and some milk chocolate.
The taste certainly confirms the sweet aromas. Old Guardian is surprisingly sweet for a barleywine. Loaded with fruity malt, Old Guardian is a dangerous, seductive concoction. Bold, smooth, sweet, and potent, this is a distinct, innovative beer. Ample berry, sweet apple, grape, and chocolate adorn Old Guardian. Special stuff. Good effervescence, smooth, and sneaky in its strength despite the 12% ABV, this is one beer to beware of.
Stone was a brewery that was certainly on my radar, having enjoyed several of their wares a few years ago in Michigan. Yet, as it arrived with much advanced fanfare in Illinois, I wondered if I would enjoy their vast selection as much as I originally did. This proved to be no worry, for Stone has a magic touch, proving particularly creative and adept at myriad styles such as this, a tremendous barleywine. Old Guardian is simply, and truly, outstanding, and I am thoroughly impressed with it and the brewery, easily one of the ten best in the US.
05-27-2011 01:00:27 | More by Gehrig
4.45/5 rDev +15.9%
I picked up a bomber of Stone's Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale a few weeks ago for $6.49 at The Lager Mill. I have been on a Barleywine kick lately and since I have never had a beer from Stone before I thought I should give this beer a try and see how it goes. 2011 vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.
A- The label is pretty plain but the colors look good on the bottle and the stone logo always looks good. It poured a nice looking amber/copper color with three fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice rings of lacing.
S- The aroma is pretty on a par for a strong American Barleywine. It starts off with loads of sweet caramel malts that impart some nice caramel and toffee aromas, there is also some dark fruits going on too, with a very slight boozy aroma. I also pick up a little bit of floral hop at the end.
T= The taste follows the nose nicely. It starts off with a lot of caramel malts that have a low amount of medium sweetness, I was expecting this to be much sweeter but I really like the lower level of sweetness in this beer. The caramel malts impart some nice caramel and toffee flavors along with some candied sugar and some dark fruits, mainly raisin. There is a slight amount of booze but not nearly as much as I was expecting out of a 12% Barleywine. The hops seem to be on the lighter side of medium and mainly floral with a little bit of earthiness, the finish has a low amount of medium bitterness, just the right amount of bitterness for a Barleywine.
M- Smooth, creamy, on the light side of being full bodied and it had a nice medium amount of carbonation, the mouthfeel was perfect for this beer, no complaints here.
Overall I thought this was an excellent American Barleywine, that was extremely balanced. It seems with Barleywines there is a fine line between to hoppy and too malty, and this beer falls right in the middle just like it should be. The drinkability was really good for an American Barleywine, usually a bomber of a 12% Barleywine would be hard to take out by myself, but I am pretty sure that I could drink the whole thing by myself, the alcohol is hidden really well for a beer this strong, and the flavors keep me coming back for more. The price point was also really good, for $6.49 I thought this was a pretty damn good deal. What I like most about this beer was the flavor and drinkability. it had no off flavors and all the flavors were spot on for an American Barelywine, the mouthfeel was also really good. There wasn't anything that I didn't like about this beer, everything seemed to be on par for it's style. I would for sure by this beer again, so I will be going back and getting a couple more bottles to cellar. I highly recommend this beer, if you are a Barleywine lover you need to try this. This was my first beer from Stone and I have to say that I was really impressed and it made a good first impression, they did a great job with this Barleywine, and I can't wait to see what else they have to offer. I don't know why I waited to so long to try a beer from Stone, I always thought that they were pretty expensive but this beer was a bargain in my opinion. After reading some reviews when it was first released I see how well this beer aged after about a year, it was no were near the boozy and hoppy mess people thought it was when it wad first released, this is for sure a beer to let sit for a while, I can only imagine it will get better in another year. Great job Stone, I will be trying more of your beers very soon.
11-20-2011 05:08:34 | More by StoutHunter
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.