1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

337 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 337
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | 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
Ratings: 337 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sloelco
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

sloelco, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

zestar, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of beertunes
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear orangeish-amber color with an inch of off-white head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma was heavily malt-sweet, with noticeable hop and alcohol notes. The flavors were pretty similar, lots of malt, hops and alcohol.

The body was full, even and smooth, except for the alcohol burn, and was a bit better than average. Drinkability was pretty good for a beer this big.

Overall, a nice example of the style. Try it when you see it.

beertunes, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

afsdan, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of Jaldama
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Jaldama, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of TonyTalon
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

TonyTalon, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

DaPan, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of jeffwright
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

jeffwright, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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.

M- Smooth, boozey, and heavy with a low level of carbonation. This is on the sipping side of beers, but the alcohol level is fairly restrained for the 12% ABV. Don't get me wrong, it will catch up to you and shouldn't be drank quickly, but hides the alcohol well.

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.

boilermakerbrew, Aug 23, 2013
Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  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.

Billolick, May 09, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick, egg-shell head. Cloudy amber with a strong orange hue. There's some semi-ring lace.

Sweet as if brown sugar was added. Notes of molasses and cane sugar are present. No notable hop in the smell.

Lots of alcohol on the tongue. I do note some hop in the swallow although it takes a back seat to the strong malt. Rich, rich body with enough carbonation to prevent this from being too coy.

This is a BIG beer. It comes closest to cognac of nearly any other beer I've ever had.

smcolw, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of djaeon
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a regular pint glass.
$5.99 from Holiday Wine Cellar.

A: Pours an enticing hazy amber with a thin head. Little retention and leaves average lacing.

S: Emits a grainy, bready (like rising bread dough) aroma with some light hops present.

T: Rich caramel, moderately bitter grain and hops held together with a good booziness.

M: Feels smooth and goes down leaving a little bitterness and stickiness as an aftertaste.

D: In my opinion, this is one of the more drinkable barleywines out there. It has some bitter hoppiness, but not overly so. It's a bit boozy, but not hot. But still very strong, so it wouldn't be a good idea to have more than one.

djaeon, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of katan
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a goblet

A - Pours an almost blood red color - deep dark amber for sure. Head formation is strong, 1/4" down to a film. Very clear, very filtered.

S - Potent nose - lots of caramel malts and a backdrop of hops and associated bitterness.

T - Starts off lightly sweet, some caramel malts. Mid-stream gets very strong very quickly - edgy - lots of bitterness. Alcohol warmth comes in heavily. Finishes with a grainy bite along with a big bomb of bitterness.

M - Moderate body, at times clingy and sugary. Carbonation is moderate - doesn't do enough to lighten the body. Aftertaste is boatloads of alcohol warmth and bitterness.

D - somewhat harsh to the palette - west coast american barleywine for sure. abv is pretty strong.

This beer probably would have registered as an "in your face" barleywine and I probably would have liked it - but the belgo version comparison really has shown me an interesting balance to the style. I guess I probably prefer one that isn't so potent. I should age one of these for comparison.

katan, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Old Guardian glass. Decided to drink this since today is their 15th anniversary.

Pours a consistently cloudy dark amber with a short head that dissipates to a film on top of the beer. This beer looks thick and chewy.

Smells like sweet malts. I get a little bit of that soap smell that I tend to pick up in a lot of barley wines. When I get my nose down in it there is definitely some alcohol to the smell.

Very tasty. Brown sugar, sweet bread and a tinge of bitterness on the end. The bitterness sticks to your tongue for quite some time reminding you that you've been drinking a Stone beer.

This is probably one of my favorite barley wines and I bought a decent amount of bottles to hold to. This is first bottle I've had since this first released back in February.

20ozmonkey, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of Auracom
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Poor Phil's on March 15th, 2011.

A - Dark amber/golden? (poor lighting at the bar). One finger, white, foamy head. So-so appearance.

S - Caramel/Toffee dominates the nose with a slight bitter undertone. Also spice (cinnamon) and citrus (orange mostly).

T - What you smell is what you get. Big malt nose = big malt flavor. The citrus is more apparent. Hops *try* to balance but they feel pretty subdued.

M - Medium body, alright carbonation.

D - The ABV is really well-hidden, could have a few easily in one sitting on that alone. Not sure it did much for my palate, but it wasn't really bad in any respect. Since I'm more of a malt guy I appreciate this in comparison to the standard fair that I've had from Stone before.

Auracom, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of Bfarr
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy deep red amber with tan head and okay retention. Barley and alcohol aroma. nice balance and warming. Mostly just caramel barley sweetness and floral hops. Smooth and light stickiness.

Seems to have more alcohol and less complexities than past years. It is however much smoother and more balanced and easier to drink. Myself, I always like a bit of a challenge in my barley wine.

Bfarr, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of jamescain
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass

Appearance: Pours an orange-mahogany with an off white head about a centimeter thick that slowly fades into a lacing over the top of the beer that lingers almost half of the glass.

Aroma: Sweet malt, caramel, toffee, fruity esters and a touch of alcohol, very pleasant to smell.

Taste: Sweet up front with a caramel, fruity background and a hint of alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy with medium carbonation, a sipper for sure. It has a sweet finish with a noticeable alcohol warming sensation.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one and will enjoy seeing how it ages. It’s a little hot up front but not as hot as I remember it.

jamescain, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of hoptualBrew
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

hoptualBrew, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of rootbeerman
3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

rootbeerman, May 13, 2011
Photo of BeerMaverick
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Classic Release

A - The EXACT color of apple cider, a dark brownish orange. There is no head whatsoever, this may be because it is extremely cold. Very minimal lacing, if none.

S - Sweet carmel hints...I want to smell apple cider because it looks just like it. The barley and the alcohol really stand out.

T - This is a very FULL-bodied beer as in after just a few sips I am getting full. With absolutely no translucency, you can tell that this viscous brew will fill you up. The alcohol is very noticeable as is the barley.

M - The alcohol pretty much numbs the tastebuds. Slight hop bitterness as well...nothing too spectacular.

D - This beer is a 12% 22 oz. bomber...there is no way you will have more than one of these unless you're sharing it with someone...like I am...round two!

BeerMaverick, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of prototypic
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

prototypic, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of BigB415
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage pours dark orange with large white head into my 22oz glass. Smells of caramel. Tastes of caramel and alcohol with a little burn on the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick with alcohol and notes of caramel sticking around and not going away. It makes me pucker my lips and savor the caramel. If it weren't for the 12% ABV I'd have a couple of these right after the other but I have work in the morning.

BigB415, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just picked this beer up tonight, so I don't have too terribly high hopes that this is ready to drink right now, but let's give a fresh Guardian a shot for a change.

Appearance: There was a solid off-gas when the top was popped, so this beer must be pretty well carbonated. It pours a somewhat cloudy burnt orange color with a very small <1/8" head after a pretty quick pour...surprising after the off-gas. There really isn't any lace left, and the beer doesn't really do that much else visually

Aroma: Surprisingly enough, through the rich malt and somewhat bold hops, I am getting a Bretanomyces presence that is unmistakeable. As the beer warms up some, this Brett character is fading quickly and the alcohol, hops, and malts are making an appearance...in that order.

Taste: The flavor is much more bold and driven by the hops than I thought it would be from the aroma. Overall the beer is full bodied with ample carbonation, but it still comes across the palate as a bit heavy. I don't get the Brett in the flavor at all, and it is fading in the nose...so maybe I was mistaken? Anyway, the hops are becoming a MUCH bigger player in the flavor as the beer warms up. Overall the beer is balanced toward the hops in the finish, but it isn't so much that the beer is hard to drink. The alcohol is contributing as much balance in the finish as the hops are.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer right now, but I really think that it would be a WHOLE LOT better in a couple years. Right now, it has a lot of flavor, but they are a bit out of balance. I think once the hops start to fade, mixed with the nice bitterness balance, this beer will age really well. One thing said is that this beer isn't as boldly bitter as a lot of Barley Wines are, so I think that it may lean more toward Old Ale as it matures than a Barley Wine.

SkeeterHawk, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of misinformed
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

misinformed, Apr 04, 2011
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 337 ratings.