Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

139 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 139
Hads: 348
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 15.51%
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:
Beer added by: muttyd on 02-14-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 Alström Bros
Reviews: 139 | Hads: 348
Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 1,252 characters

Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't picked up a bottle of this one yet this year, but seeing it as the beer of the day at the Rackhouse tonight I had to have a glass. Poured a medium reddish brown color with a finger or so of ecru head. Good earthy hops on the nose, along with dark fruits and caramel. On the palate, this one was medium bodied, with flavors of earthy hops, caramel and booze.

 367 characters

Photo of mikeg67
4.34/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fresh 2011 bomber. Pours amber with a white, long lasting head. Intoxicating aroma of sweet malt, cherry fruit and herbal hops. Full, very sharp body. Delicious taste of caramel, cherries, herbal hops.
Huge, dry, hoppy finish. I shared this bottle with my friends, who had never heard about Barley wines. They were amazed.

 325 characters

Photo of Vierenner
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting departure from a typical ale. Worthy of trying, but wouldn't purchase a second time. Has sort of a hoppy, bitter, almost sour taste up front ... but beyond that is a nice sweetness. Vanilla flavor comes out after the palette gets accustomed to the bitterness. Alcohol packs a punch!

 294 characters

Photo of gregshead
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted on 4/14/11. Reviewed from notes:

A: Pours a reddish/copper with a finger+ of head

S: Lots of malt sweetness toffee smells

T: Lots of malt toffee tastes with more boozy flavors

M: Very thick syrupy feel. Light on carb feel. Lots of heat feel.

O: Think arrogant bastard on steroids/alcohol. Okay, maybe it has a lot less hops but it reminded me of arrogant bastard in many ways. The alcohol on this one was not at all hidden. You knew it was 12%.

 456 characters

Photo of rootbeerman
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: thin sheet of head, body is brown, yet ruby when held to a light.
S: ton of sweet malt, floral and lightly piny hops.
T: sweet and malty up front, a mix between caramel and dark bread. Hops are a mix between pine grapefruit and a touch of grass. Hop bitterness lasts a long time. Alcohol has a light amount of burn as the brew warms up
M: a little thick, hops give a coating feeling, carbonation is a little low due to my dropping half the bottle.
O: needs a year to mellow out, but I think I prefere past years.

 517 characters

Photo of david18
3.17/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought a bottle of this, along with the Belgo version, at my local beer store. In the case of both, they were a little hot and unbalanced.

The appearance was a dark yellow to brown, very cloudy with a good amount of carbonation that stuck around for a long time.

Aroma was strong, there was a lot of malt but not a lot of anything else. No hops to speak of and a lot of alcohol.

Flavor was also very strong and the mouthfeel was thick.

Overall this is not my favorite barleywine although I will give it another chance and revise my review if it changes.

 561 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 504 characters

Photo of alexhahn82
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours full with chasing carbonation that dissipates at a medium rate, 1.5 finger head light semi cloudy non filtered amber.

S. Smell is of barley wine, as it should. Nothing too impressive scent wise.

Taste. This is where I say call me crazy, but after the poor I tasted a semi sour (good sour) flavor for about 30 seconds, then it dissipated into a mild semi sweet caramely flavor.

M. Semi syrup feel but not a thick chewy viscosity. Semi peppery bite from the alcohol with a nice dry crisp carbonation bite.

Overall. On a whim purchased this beer at The Nugget, was the last one and usually the customers there have a good palette. Definitely worth a try, gonna have to try to scrounge up another bottle for the cellar.

 728 characters

Photo of bballmj2k
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A few years ago when I began drinking craft beers I dug everything Stone did. It was badass and bold. As I've gained more experience with craft beer I find most of their stuff is just unrefined.

A - Good barleywine look - amber, minimal head, heavy lacing.

S - Alcohol. Bready/caramel malts. Alcohol. Dose of hoppiness in there too.

T - Burn. It just burns and is a hot a mess of a beer. First taste is bitterness, followed by heat from the alcohol. Theres malty flavors continued with more bitterness on the tongue and finishes with more alcohol on the throat.

M - Creamy, full-bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall the past few Stone beers I've had just seem over the top, alcoholic or hoppy just for the sake of it. Give me something with some balance anyday. Meh.

 775 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been fortunate to have tried the Old Guardian for the last five years. 2010 was my favorite year. It seemed to get better or change with a different complexity each year. This year the recipe seems to have gotten somewhat worse.

I think they may have put their greater effort in the Belgo style. I have that on the shelf as a future review, but I recommend that as a purchase over this bottle. That is to say, if it is available any more at your store.

On it's own, this is a classic Barleywine style. The flavors are standard, without much additional fanfare. The alcohol flavors stand out, as well as the strong barley and malts.

I would recommend the Avery version over this one, or if you live in San Diego pick up a growler of the Ballast Point version (my first and favorite). Just be careful, the ABV will set you up for the night.

 850 characters

Photo of Cylinsier
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

large bottle

Pours a cloudy cidery apple gold color. Bit of off white lacing.

Smells of apple sweetness and piney hops. Bit of tartness as well.

Tastes of rich apple and caramel malts along with piney hops that are potent but not too bitter, a the slightest hint of alcohol.

Feels full and chewy with coarse but mild carbonation.

Delicious beer, good American Barelywine hop flavor balanced by malty flavors more characteristic of the English style. Too potent to drink a lot of but an enjoyable sipper.

 511 characters

Photo of ineva
4.73/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 414 characters

Photo of vkv822
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours a clear amber orange with a thick light-toffee colored head.

The aroma seems a bit a subdued, but I did pick up caramel malts followed quickly by citric hop notes.

It has a bready malt base taste, though the only other real flavors are a quite strong bitter hop bite followed by heat from the alcohol.

The mouthfeel has a medium to full body, with light carbonation.

A decent barleywine, but I just couldn't find anything that stood out to me besides the alcohol and bitterness becoming a bit over whelming.

 550 characters

Photo of Dlish
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A- a Redish brow color, little head that is a rich tan color but disappears quickly.

S- I get a malty chocolate, just a hint of vanilla, a light floral hops in the background. And thats about it.. But kind of normal for barley wines in my opinion.

T- Big malt and alcohol profile, no hiding the the alcohol. Then merges straight into very bitter hops, like horizon lots of grapefruit, or stomach acid its really harsh. This taste could def use some aging in oak or just chilling in the bottle for a while. Although I guess that is what stone is all about In your face beerm and this barely wine def hits that on the mark.

M-Lot of alcohol burn, big bold malt and hops that stay on your tongue long after your taste.

O- This is stone barely wine, if your a stone fan you will love it, if your are not you might now. My recommendation is get a little more creative, or let this 12% booze hound age in some oak or wine barrels for a while.

 940 characters

Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bomber into a snifter, light red pour with a medium white head. The aroma is hot and sweet. There are notes of pine. The first sip is kinda hot. It mellows out a bit with lots of pine, lingering piney finish. The beer is sticky, creamy, and full bodied. I liked this one, but I like over the top beers, and this is over the top.

 344 characters

Photo of megahurts4
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 Classic Release

Appearance: red, medium head, and some good lacing.

Smell: yeast and flowery hops.

Taste: banana peel, flowery hops, malts, and a faint yeast.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This is very smooth and malty. The flavors are interesting.

 312 characters

Photo of Snow81
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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

 350 characters

Photo of jpro
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at CBX a couple of weeks ago...

A: Poured into a snifter... tea-like amber with some cloudiness that eventually clears up; no lace or much of a head to speak of

S: Caramel cake; some fruity-slightly estery-booze tinged aroma; earthy hops

T: Brown sugar sweetness; rummy spice cake; a little alcohol and lasting hemp hop aftertaste

M: Medium-light and a touch zingy; nothing too crazy

D/O: Not the most exciting; surprisingly malt forward for Stone... its OK

 477 characters

Photo of nrbw23
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a clear red color with a nice tan colored head. Head has pretty good retention and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- Smell is bready malts, caramel, toffee, some bitterness from the loads of hops. Also can pick up some alcohol here.

T- Taste seems like a mess. Quite a bit of hops here, tea like, piney, and a medicine like taste. Quite a bit of alcohol here too.

M- Fuller side of medium in body and carbonation was ok.

O- Not really impressed just a mess and nothing really goes well. Struggled with this one.

 530 characters

Photo of misinformed
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 oz, reviewed 3/17/11. Tulip glass.

A- Poured with 1/2" of light tan head that faded really quickly. Beer itself is a nice, clear inviting mahogany. Some light carbonation bubbles are present as well.

S- Caramel/burnt sugar malt sweetness is the dominating scent with just a hint of the sweet citrus hop. Definite alcohol notes.

T- Bitter hops upfront with notes of bitter citrus pith and faint pine/grassy notes. The citrus blends right into the sweet caramel malt which eventually gives way to a mild pithy finish. Huge malt presence here that overshadows the hops.

M- Smooth and light bodied.

O- Way more malt than I remember from last year. The citrus hop flavors do work well with the rich maltiness, but it never quite feels like everything jives. Different flavors are constantly vying for your attention. Even so, I like this beer a lot.

 852 characters

Photo of Lerxst
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 ;)

 1,703 characters

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

Pours an almost-clear, ruby-amber color with a very small, off-white head. Scent is malty wit tons of dark fruits and a hint of booze. Taste is very dark fruit forward with some nice caramel malt flavors and hoppy characteristics. Very sweet with a bitter finish. Some warming booze at the end as well. Mouthfeel is syrupy and full-bodied. Drinkability is far...couldn't drink too much of this. Overall, this is a decent beer, but it turns into an awesome beer after a couple years.

 482 characters

Photo of YouSkeete
2.6/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Partly cloudy honey brown. small white head with bubbly lacing

S: Candied fruits like apples, pears, oranges. Lemon zest and mild kitchen spices. Big hop aroma. Smooth malts.

T: Bitter bite of alcohol and rotten fruits on the initial sip. Smooth malts, and fresh dry hops. Definitely on the complex side of flavor, but it's masked by the taste of alcohol.

M: Boozy, fruity. Not much else to say. Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation.

D: I've had plenty of Barleywines with upwards of 12%, but not like this one. Sad to say, one of my least favorite Stone brews.

 577 characters

Photo of obrike
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Liked the look...a nice dark amber. Some lace, but not too sticky.

I could get a few traces of sweet malt...some hops...not very much of anything else.

Wow...the first sip was strange...a weird, almost tinny aftertaste...certainly not like any good american barlewine i've had recently. Very hot, boozy finish as well...of course, it tasted better when i got to the end, after i was buzzed. Hard to discern the hops/malt as it was mostly boozy.

Good mouthfeel though...moderately carbonated. Again, as this beast warmed, I really seemed to like it a bit more.

I can't give this a good overall rating strictly based on how hot it was and how the initial taste threw me off. However, it's one of those beers that certainly gets a bit better as it warms and you become more buzzed by the brew. A strange, intriguing release by Stone to say the least.

 851 characters

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.