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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

348 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 348
Reviews: 140
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 9
Gots: 110 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 348 | Reviews: 140
Photo of champ103
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

Photo of Heatwave33
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Photo of matttttYCE
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

Photo of blincoln
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2011 on the labeling.

Showcasing a great head right away, sticky lace on the glass as well. Tawny glow in the light. Tobacco, citric rind and tree sap from the hops with a faint beef broth, caramel and rose water mix ... nose is pretty damn complex. Hops are strong to say the least, like a thick wool blanket that keeps you warm but reminds you that it is wool with an occasional itch here and there that only the smacking of the tongue can shake it. Big fat kernel of bready caramel malt is completely surrounded my the hop blanket and a very warming alcohol wants to clean house or at least the malt character. Hoppy alcoholic finish is more than aggressive.

Boozy mess, insane amount of hops that does not even come close to making sense to me and the combo really just detracts from all aspects. With that said ... if you are looking for something that got pushed over the edge this is your bag then. Nothing horrific ... just overboard.

Photo of smakawhat
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Extremely clear pour into a snifter with a fast disappearing head. Head was a faint off white color and tight bubbles. Gorgeous red hued very clear and transparent body

On the nose is sea salts and yeast, and a small blast of mild sushi style soy sauce. This might be off putting for some but I actually like this smell. Hints of warming alcohol.

Taste unfortunately is very lacking. Cough syrup sensation borderline medicinal, but it has also a tea tannic quality too it as well, perhaps rosehip. Mouthfeel is not too bad but still a bit wet, and the finish is really missing. Not even boozy tasting and a very front forward palate. Unfortunately the cough syrup Halls like bent is too prominent for me on this so I can't make this better than average.

Not sure if this improves with age, but this does not feel like a barleywine I want to be consuming right now. There's certainly better ones you can have than this at this time.

Photo of obrike
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

Photo of bballmj2k
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

Photo of muttyd
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amber/orange with a thin off white head. Aroma is of caramel, some citrus hops, and burnt sugar. Flavor follows the nose. Big burnt sugar flavor, toasty, citrusy and grainy. Some orange peel as well. Very hoppy for a barley wine. The citrusy, slightly earthy hops help balance out the big brown sugary flavor profile. Sticky on the palate with moderate carbonation.

Photo of flannelman808
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: This is a very clear beer with a mother of pearl colored head. The foam has medium to small bubbles and decent retention as well as lacing.

S: Ever try to make simple syrup? Ever try to flavor it with orange peels? That's my first notion along with Bing cherry and brown sugar.

T: Muted fruit flavors and heightened boozy notes (as noted from the bouquet). Sweet molasses comes hits the mid palate and then some hop bitterness follows in the back palate and help to balance a what otherwise would be a very malty sweet beer.
note: I think this needs time to mellow though I would also guess its not going to get an eyebrow raising degree better, unless your a real sweet tooth. There is just not enough hopping to balance the malts which the aging will mellow (the hopping). All that said a year or two will improve this one for sure, as the time should cut the strong alcoholic notes.

M: sticky booze

D: low given the fusel nature of this one.

Photo of rdilauro
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden sherry color with little creamy head. Hints of tropical flavors, orange, pineapple.
The taste was clean and bright, the mouthful was semi-big, but the aftertaste still was very light.
Surprising for a barley wine style of beer.
Would go very well with smoked trout or other smoked lighter foods.
Still not a barley type of person

Photo of whoneeds8
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a westmalle chalice a deep amber with a 1/4" head that disapated rather quickly. The nose has some carmel with leather hints.

Being a fresh barleywine, this has a supprising hop bite to it. (Is it just me or has there become a new style in barleywines lately with a little too much hops?) The basic barleywine taste I'm accustom to is there, but the hops kick you in the butt and make you forget what you're drinking. The high alcohol burn takes away from the mouthfeel and causes a little pucker. This is one that needs some aging.

Photo of alexhahn82
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

Photo of b3shine
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft to snifter. Probably the worst from Stone I've tried - but that's relative to Stone's upper-end craft brews. Just too intense and bitter for a barleywine. A little too liquidy, especially given the high alcohol content (which is overly apparent). I'd drink it again, but only if someone else ordered the round.

Photo of BostonHops
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours a cloudy, burnt amber tone yielding 3/4" tan colored head that dissipates fairly quickly; lacing in patches. nose is malt heavy with notes of citrus, caramel, and some breadiness... a touch of hops in the background... alcohol is evident. decent aroma, nothing spectacular.

flavor likewise is okay. not the complete boozy mess i was expecting, although the alcohol presence is definitely a player. bready maltiness takes center stage with secondary notes of caramel and hops - the latter mostly in the finish. reasonably enjoyable barleywine though in my opinion there are much better renditions out there. mouthfeel is solid - medium-full bodied with slightly above-average carbonation.

overall i'd say this is a middling BW, maybe slightly above that. booze could be more hidden and the hoppiness turned up a notch. not terrible by any means, just sort of one-dimentional.

originally reviewed: 03-28-2011

Photo of GilGarp
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber served cold into a pint glass.

Old Guardian is a hazy copper color with thin white head on top. It settles pretty fast but there is some good lacing.

Aroma is strong in both alcohol and hops. The hops aren't the super-fresh citrusy types but more earthy and grassy.

Flavor is also very strong but more balanced than I was expecting. Huge hop bitterness and enormous malt bill colide.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and lower carbonation, which is good. The alcohol is very strong but at least it's not hot.

Drinkability is not very good. Usually I would be able to finish a bottle of barleywine but not tonight.

Overall solid but not exceptional. Old Ruffian and Hog Heaven are far better.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours a cloudy, burnt amber tone yielding 3/4" tan colored head that dissipates fairly quickly; lacing in patches.

nose is malt heavy with notes of citrus, caramel, and some breadiness... a touch of hops in the background... alcohol is evident. decent aroma, nothing spectacular.

flavor likewise is okay. not the complete boozy mess i was expecting, although the alcohol presence is definitely a player. bready maltiness takes center stage with secondary notes of caramel and hops - the latter mostly in the finish. reasonably enjoyable barleywine though in my opinion there are much better renditions out there.

mouthfeel is solid. medium-full bodied with slightly above-average carbonation.

overall i'd say this is a middling BW, maybe slightly above that. booze could be more hidden and the hoppiness turned up a notch. not terrible by any means, just sort of one-dimentional.

Photo of HalfFull
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a snifter glass. The 'standard' 2011 Old Guardian pours similar to the Belgo version, that being a bright and clear caramel brown with a lingering film of swirly lace.

Nose is much more traditional with caramel and lightly candied fruit, a touch of alcohol and brown sugar. Bit light overall. Taste is of well muddled malts and a bit of spice thrown into the mixture. I'm not picking up any overbearing hops as others seem to mention yet there is just enough zest and bitterness to yield a smooth and creamy feel. Touch of citrus oil on the finish.

Overall a nice brew and quite well constructed given the balance. ABV is reasonably masked and yet not too malty sweet either. Somewhat subdued and unexciting at the same time. Flavor profile doesn't encourage cellaring.

Photo of JLeege
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

Appearance- Pours a bright copper color with a creamy one finger head. Good retention and lace for such a big beer.

Smell- Lots of caramel and toffee. Some piney resin and lots of citrus.

Taste- Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits up front. Dried raison with some light cinnamon like spice. Resinous pine, leading into a bitter citrus finish. Lots of orange, lemon, grapefruit towards the back end. Boozy heat on the finish too.

Mouthfeel- Full body, medium to low carbonation. Sticky and coating. It is "hot", you can definitely tell its 12%.

Overall- Now that I finally like barleywines, I can say this is a very average one. Lots of flavors going on, but nothing to pronounced or super complex. It is a fresh bottle, but there is a lot of heat in this one.

Photo of CuttDeez
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This bomber poured into a tulip was brown with amber notes in the light and a kahiki tan beautiful head with lace.
S - Pine hops, roasted caramel, dark fruits, and notes of bitter citrus. There is also a distinct alchohol burn in the nose's back end.
T & M & D - Caramel sweetness is obvious. Then comes a hop that overwhelms the taste buds and dominates. It finishes slightly bitter and then the high alchohol warms and covers. I also can pick up grain as the beer warms a little more making the beer slightly bready and chewy.

I was disapointed in the dominance of hops that seem to mask hidden flavors that were alluded to in the nose. I believe if this was aged a bit those subtle flavors would shine through making the beer much more palate friendly and complex. I picked up an extra bomber to try in the future.

-Cheers

Photo of TTAmod
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber into snifter.

A: Fairly good pour yields a hazy brown-ish amber liquid with a one-finger khaki head with a decent retention. Yeast and carbonation bubbles remain suspended in the liquid. Lacing looks good.

S: Smell is of dark, vinous fruit, strong malt, resiny hops and alcohol.

T: Strong malts up front. Tastes of toffee and caramel. A little bit of darker fruits show up after that. A bit of hops come in later and ends with a really strong, lingering tea-like bitterness and a quick taste of alcohol.

M: Thicker side of medium, yet pretty easy to drink. Carbonation helps balance out some of the malts and lingering bitterness.

O: This one needs to be a tad sweeter and maltier to really shine. It's obviously well-crafted, but needs to be a touched up a bit. Age would probably benefit this beer. It's better than average, but not quite great.

Photo of Agold
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark caramel brown color with just about no head. Leaves no lacing at all. Aroma is mild citrus with lots of caramel and a bit of toffee. Sort of a dulled orange zest aroma. Taste is well balanced. More toffee, nice caramel a bit of citrusy bitterness, very nice. It is a bit hot, alcohol is not well hidden and is more hot than warm. Mild carb, medium to heavy mouthfel, nice, but it is a bit sharp instead of smooth. Really nice beer,

Photo of brentk56
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a modest head that leaves more than a fair shareof lacing

Smell: Caramel and piney pith, with a grainy edge; nioely balanced between the malt and hops

Taste: Big caramel flavors, up front, with the pith and pine shredding the tastebuds by mid-palate; the assault continues, after the swallow, though the caramel lingers in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation, but the aggressive hopping leaves the tongue feeling like it has been taken out behind the woodshed

Overall: Another polarizing beer from the folks at Stone; this one needs a few years of age to bring the ingredients into balance

Photo of wvsabbath
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby red/brown, no head, some lacing

SMell - Strong malts, carmeal, some hops and plenty of alcohol and sugars, smells a little over the top

Taste - Really alcoholish and maltly. Not as complex as last year. Carmeal mixes well along with molasses to add some sweetness. Has a spice dark fruit flavor also.

MOuthfeel - Really warms mouth up. Actually the aftertaste is dry and bitter. Tounge is numbed from the first sip all the way til the end.

Drinkability - Totally a sipper beer. Alcohol is too much. I split the 22oz with a friend and that was more then enough. I prefer last years version better, but i wonder how good this will be aged for a few years. Not bad, not as good as '10 version.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 348 ratings.