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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

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
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Reviews: 139 | Hads: 348
Photo of Arbitrator
1.39/5  rDev -62.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

2011 vintage, lightly chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a dark amber body with great clarity. It is capped with a beige-colored head that vanishes quickly into a big-bubbled collar and beads of film on top of the beer.

S: Whoa. This is surprisingly, and off-puttingly, malty. I enjoyed fresh Old Guardian last year, so I picked this up right when it was released, hoping to capture the same vibrant hop freshness in this year's version. Alas, no. Up-front aromas of toffee, molasses, and caramel. Hops are *secondary* (I never thought I'd say this about a Stone beer in a non-hop-shortage year), producing a floral, roselike aroma with citric qualities.

T: Multi-grain bread, caramel, molasses, toffee. Some dark fruit notes that are intertwined with floral hop flavors. The citrus I picked up in the nose is absolutely buried here. An incredibly simplistic, imbalanced flavor that delivers none of the delicious hop freshness I expected from this beer.

M: Boozy, syrupy, and thick. The carbonation seems to be similar to years past, and the booziness is sort of what I'd expect from a big beer this fresh, but the syrupiness detracts a lot, here.

D: I drainpoured about 17oz. Looks like I'll be waiting until 2012 to buy more of the "classic" recipe. Between this, 14th Anniversary, and 101010, Stone has been having a lot of misses lately.

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Photo of Trilogy31
1.56/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Maybe one of the the worst beers i have ever had. I cant knock it on the appearance but on the nose it is very muted with nothing coming through. The taste is some malts and hops as well, but it is ridiculously hot with a pronounced well vodka taste. Not a good trait in alcohol much less a beer. Love double bastard and stone in general and will even give this beer a chance 2-3 years down the road hoping it mellows a bit. All in all a complete atrocity.

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Photo of zachary80
1.91/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

2011 bottle, bought the day of release. Split the bomber with a friend side-by-side with the Belgo. Poured into a tulip glass

L: Dark amber body, nice light head. Left good lacing down the glass

S: Lots of sweetness, sharp alcohol aroma. Underlying the expected aromas is something horrid that I've never smelled or tasted before, and it completely ruined the aroma and most of the flavor as well.

T: Decent until the atrocious foul flavor came through. Alcohol is too hot as well

M: Pretty good for a big barleywine. Moderate carbonation

D: This was almost drinkable.

What a waste. This was easily one of the worst beers I've ever had. Considering how much I enjoyed the Belgo, I wonder whether this was a bad bottle

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Photo of diamondc
2.38/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2011 Vintage.

A: Looks decent. A bronze/copper shade. Not much head here. A small wisp of foam.

S: Pine, caramel, charcoal, hot nuts, nail polish.

T: Insanely boozy. Reminds me of prescription cough medicine. Sticky, syrupy sugary malts. Over the top bitter hops. I'm scared of going for another sip.

M: Gets a little bit more palatable when warming up. Still way too hot to drink now. If you're brave, buy one now and drink it in 2-3 years.

O: A rare letdown from Stone, who's beers I usually love for going to extremes, but here its just a mess.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Very brash beer. Sweet simple malts with an over abundance of hops and lots of detectable alcohol. Everything battles for dominance. Earthy, malty, caramel, piney, with citric peel notes. Drinkable but not enough focus, and for a beer with so much strength it's not too complex. I wouldn't buy it again and the simplicity of the malt body seems to me make it not a great candidate for ageing. Drinking this beer with pickles on the side makes the process a lot easier.

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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.

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Photo of SirRuss
2.61/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Hazy honeyed ruby brown body, with a respectably sized beige-stained head. Good retention and lacing.

S: The intensity is satisfactory, but the content is uninteresting - a crude expression of barley, and very light background hops.

T: Irritated inbred yokels spring to mind as something so simple spirals into a crass creation. Simplicity alone is by no means detrimental, and the soft caramel of the forepalate is indeed a pleasant example of this. Even the transition into the midpalate isn't bad, and the heavier malt notes begin to appear in an interesting approach. Unfortunately they just don't know when to stop, and from here it's all downhill. The malts seem to regress into an almost wort-like state, with a pungent wet breadiness burying the potential with which the forepalate had flirted just moments earlier. The pungency descends into a sticky mess, which is then accompanied by a brutishly bitter hop profile reminiscent of childhood dares to eat each others earwax (try not to judge).

M: A bit hot to say the least. On the up side, it does present some pretty good carbonation, although no amount of carbonation could seriously tackle the sickly sweet wet breadiness - then again, let's not dwell.

O - It seems that this one needs a few years to settle down into something more sophisticated. A few years in solitary will never produce mind blowing complexity, but it may well create a solid specimen of barley expression. Here's to looking forward to Older Guardian.

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Photo of thatsfine
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: A nice looking brew. A deep amber color with a decent one-finger head that didn't need much coaxing. Dissipated pretty quickly to a ring around the beer. Left some spotty lacing.

S: The smell is predominantly hoppy. Behind the hops are carmelized malts and quite a bit alcohol heat. Not much to write about here.

T: A decent amount of hops and bready, caramel malts. The finish is quite bitter and the alcohol is very present. I understand this is a fresh barleywine and will be hot, but this is too much.

M: The body of Old Guardian is almost thin. I would describe it as medium-thin. Disappointing.

D: Not as drinkable as many other barleywines I have had this winter, but definitely not undrinkable. This was the most disappointing beer I've had from Stone.

I have more of these in the cellar and am glad I do. Time will do nothing but good for this brew. Not a great effort.

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Photo of harrymel
2.76/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to NB globe.

A: Pours a hazel brown ale with single finger of head which dissipates in a couple minutes leaving a fine, medium sheet of creamy tan foam. Excellent clarity. Visible ribbons from the bottom.

S: So, um, there's barely any nose here. Unusual for Stone...Really unusual. Nose is of bittering hops, slight pine, alcohol. Moderate malt nose, but poorly exhibited. Hints of Apple skins, astringency. Just the slightest, slightest hint of vanilla.

T: Malts, caramels. Both sweet and bitter. Finish is still a bit sweet, hints of tea. Bitter sticks around on the hind-tongue. The beer breathes back hot.

M: Medium body and lower to moderate carbonation. Dries my palate.

D: Too hot. Although if I already had a few in me, this beer would be easier to drink, the beer as is struggles to meet the quality Stone strives for with every beer.

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Photo of tbern007
2.76/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear copper. Very thick head, remains for a while.
S - hops, pine, orange citrus, smells like I'm about to have an IPA but you can smell the alcohol on top of it.
T - Starts like sweet orange, moves directly and quickly into bitterness, hops, finishes dry. Very bitter and extreme west coast hops.
M & D - not well balanced. I've had barleywines before and this is taken to an extreme with the hops. Alcohol is noticeable in the flavor. Feels syrupy.

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Photo of TheTot
2.85/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a Pint glass.

Before I rate this I will say that I have never had a Stone beer that I have liked but I do enjoy barley wine styles. Having said that here is what I think of this beer.

As I pour, it pours a dark reddish brown with a small but nice off white head. The smell is of dominant pineapple juice with a hint of other fruits. The first taste has a blast of strength from the high alcohol content, will see if this mellows out as i continue. Not a bad beer as I take a couple more sips. The initial taste of this beer is almost unbearable raw alcohol taste but as it lingers you start to taste the flavors of pineapple and other fruits that is rather enjoyable. The mouthfeel is very good, just enough thickness to make it taste like you are drinking something substantial. Overall I think this beer is very drinkable, definitely not one of my favorite beers or even barley wines but and I would not buy it again but still is better than the other Stone beers that I have had.

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Photo of crusian
2.99/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this bottle to do a side by side with a 2010... and man, I was disappointed...
Pours a nice copper color with a tiny bit of head. Looks great.
The nose is nothing like last year, I was excited to get one, I have been jonesing for a nice hoppy barleywine. No such luck. Heavy malt character on the nose, and booze booze booze. No hops.
Taste is booze also. Man I wish this was hoppy like it used to be. The alcohol burn on this is a bit much. medium bodied, but man the alcohol is too in your face.

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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!

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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%.

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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.

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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.

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

2011 edition, poured from a bomber into a tulip.

Cloudy burnt umber with a late-arriving one-finger head of medium tan that appears foamy, sticky and dense but disappears rather quickly. Some thick streaks of lace remain. 4

In the nose: caramel, toast, oven-roasted oranges. Nicely citrusy, but balanced by a hefty breadiness. It's pretty rich, with some alcohol and fermenting fruits noticeable. 4

Hmm. I can't taste much except alcohol here. There may be some aged citrus, a hint of caramel and bread but mostly it's booze, almost like orange-peel infused vodka. Caramel sweetness emerges more as it warms, but there's still that undeniable ethanol burn.

Redemption in the mouthfeel. The liquid's nicely velvety, smooth as it moves about. Body between medium and medium-heavy. Very light fizziness. Alcohol is mostly in flavor, as I don't feel it much on the way down. Kind of backwards.

Overall, too much booze in the flavor. I would've liked a little more barley and a little less wine. Hopefully a year in a dark corner will tone down my second bottle.

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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.

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Photo of Brez07
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 bottle. Poured into a snifter

A: Translucent cherry red color. Roughly 1 finger white head, of which a thin layer is retained. No lacing, but leaves an oily presence

S: Weird hop aroma. Reminds me of Pine-sol spray and orange PEZ. Some caramel malt helps balance this out. Boozy finish

T: Starts with a fairly prominent booze presence. Moves on to some sharp, piney hops before finishing with caramel malt and citrus syrup. Not a smooth transition of flavors at first, but it gets better once it warms up. Has all the characteristics of a barleywine, they are just not put together well

M: Medium bodied. Good carbonation, hopefully some will fade with time though. Dry, piney finish that lasts for a while

D: This is a very fresh barleywine. Some are good at this stage (ex. Bigfoot), but not this one. It definitely needs some time to sit and allow the flavors to develop. Stashing at least one to see if I'm right

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Photo of steelerguy
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of champ103
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear ruby red color. At first a two finger white head with good retention initially. The foam recedes to a ring that sticks throughout. Light lace is left behind.
S: Sweet candied malts up front. Light toasted grains. Lots of yeast as well.
T: Surprisingly sweet considering what other years have been like. Sugary and grainy. Lots of candy like sweetness as well. Like boiled hard candy. Some alcohol as well.
M/D: A medium body that is a little thin. The alcohol is not over powering at all. Though it is there, and the sweetness makes this a very slow sipper.

Almost a complete turnaround from some of the previous years. The resiny hop bitterness is way down, but the boiled candy like sweetness is a the other end of the spectrum for me.

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Photo of Heatwave33
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber of the 2011 regular version poured into my Dogfish Head snifter/specialty glass (with nucleation engraving on the bottom).

Appearance - Medium aggressive pour brings about 2 fingers worth of slightly off white creamy looking head. Color is a deep copper red / orange that isn't exactly clear, but hazy (there's a bit of sediment in it). Head sticks around pretty well actually and leaves some lace, not much though.

Smell - Can't help but get the smell just after pouring. It's a nice sweet caramel, toffee, and biscuit with some dark fruit in there as well. Those are the dominant smells here but there's also some nice hops in there more like earthy and piney. Definitely not as hoppy as I remember the 2010 being, and not really like Stone's signature hop aroma, but I still like it and think it smells good, but not great.

Taste - Sweet, dark fruit, caramel, a bit of a nutty taste, some toffee, along with noticeable alcohol, and herbal, earthy hops more towards the finish. This seems less boozy than last years as well, which is nice in my opinion. Trying my hardest to compare this to the style overall and not just to last years version. I feel that even if I hadn't had the 2010, I would think this was really just average in taste for an American Barleywine. I thought good and hard about this and it really is more average in taste than above average.

Mouthfeel - This has kind of a velvety texture/consistency to me. Not thick and chewy but velvety and rich. Carbonation is there but somewhat lacking, I think. Contributes to the very smooth, full consistency and medium-high body. Finish is pretty lengthy, wet, coats the mouth, and leaves you with a some decent burn in the throat on the way down. DEFINITELY A SLOW SIPPER! I think this is just slightly above average in the mouthfeel, so I'm going with a 3.0. Closer to average than above average.

Overall - Not bad at all, but not amazing either. Seems to me like a very middle of the road barleywine (and I've actually been a big fan of most of Stone's beers for a long time now). Maybe it just needs some age on it. But frankly when I find a beer that is just average or above average near fresh, I don't have much want or patience to age any (let alone the cellar space). Glad to have tried this years, but I'll be holding out hope that next years is better. This all is, of course, just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. You can easily see some people below me love the beer. Some people feel the same way. I would say this beer is worth trying. You could easily go either way on it.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Hazy orange with light tan 1 finger head. Some lacing that resides immediately.

S- Caramel and amber malts, toffee, alcohol.

T- Amber and toasted malts. Slightly astringent flavor with big hop bitterness at finish.

M- Full body with alcohol very present. Finish is on the dry side.

O- Remembered this as being better. Actually a fairly middle of the row barleywine. Needs some more sweetness and more complexity in flavor and aromas.

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Photo of blincoln
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into an Imperial ping glass. Thin head that didn’t last long – completely dissipated. Left no lacing. Light rusted copper color.

Aroma: Sweet bitterness, hoppy with a hint of alcohol. Slight smokiness.

Taste: Hoppiness combines with a sticky malty sweetness. Bitterness that subsides towards the finish leaving a bread alcohol taste.

Palette: Medium body with a sticky dry finish.

Overall: Not a great blend of flavors. Almost like there is a little too much of everything. Too much bitter, too much hops, and too much of the bready caramel flavor.

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