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
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
Ratings: 348 | Reviews: 140
Photo of silentnoiz
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bomber in a pint glass.

A - Deep golden amber with a steady stream of carbonation rising from the bottom. Thin smooth head across the top.

S - Malty, a bit of oak, hops.

T - Vanilla, caramel, raisin, and very bitter (in a good way) from the middle to the very end. Continues to get more bitter further back.

M - Carbonation hits fairly strong up front but then tapers nicely towards the middle and is smoothed out.

O - Great Barleywine. It's pretty bitter, which I like, but if you don't like bitter, you may not appreciate this one. I think the best year I've had from Stone if my memory serves me well. I'd love to A/B this next to Avery's Hog Heaven (a fav BW of mine).

I'll probably go pick up another bomber or two of this, really enjoying it.

Photo of drabmuh
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage Stone Old Guardian Barleywine served in a new style Stone Old Guardian glass. Beer is amber, dark, caramel, hazy, nice tan head of small bubbles, lots of lacing, low carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is sweet, plums, malt, thick on the nose already, stone fruits.

Beer is medium to heavy in body, oddly bitter and dry finish at the end. Very sweet, very syrupy, very malty, strong throughout. Lots of fruit flavors, I drank the whole bomber and it put me out for the night, not my favorite Stone beer but this my annual ritual, drink the Old Guardian for that year. I'll wait until 2012 for the next one.

Photo of FattyJLE
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass...probably should have used a snifter.

S - Strong malt sweetness, roasty malts, tropical fruits, alcohol.

A - 1/4-inch off white head with little lacing. Opaque, murky brown-orange color. Dark sunburst appearance when held to light.

T - Strong malt backbone upfront. Intense caramel sweetness and acrid roastiness. Roastiness subsides as it warms. Dark fruits/raisins emerge as the beer warms. Hop bitterness balances the malt backbone, but hop flavors are pretty well held in check by the strong malt presence. Alcohol present but not overpowering, especially for a 12% abv. Finishes sweet.

M - Moderately carbed, sticky and full-bodied. Appropriate amount of alcohol warming.

O - This beer is listed as an American Barleywine and although true to style, this is the first Stone beer I've had where the hops were not the main attraction. Far and away, the malts dominate this brew. The hop presence is just enough to add complexity and balance without imposing a flavor profile to mask the sweetness. A quality barleywine. Will definitely age the next one and share it with a friend.

Photo of andrewinski1
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. The color is bright red with some haze. There is a small off-white head.

The aroma is full of caramel, toffee and some hops.

The taste is very bitter, with notes of grapefruit. There is some good caramel flavor as well. This is interesting, the malt is very prominent in the aroma, but the flavor seems more hoppy.

This has a nice medium to full body, with a hefty dose of carbonation.

This is really tasty. I wish I had the patience to age this one.

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 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 StoutHunter
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of ZorPrime
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this one in a trip to Stone Brewery. Review notes of tasting in May 14th, 2011. Bought on May 10th, 2011.

Amber color with some ruby in there. Nice head. Soapy looks. Foam color is beige. Floral notes in the aroma with some caramel malts notes. Some yeast in the nose too. Pretty nice aroma. Very thick in the mouth. Complex. Yeast with malts (woody). The finish is very bitter and linger in the mouth for a long time. The 12% ABV is well hidden. Dangerous beer since it is so easy to drink. Another nice one from Stone.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 2011 Classic release from back in January. I had read that the beer was way too hot fresh, so waited until now in October.

appears a rusty orange copper color. frothy white head, a thin covering stays. aroma is caramel, piney hops, and alcohol. fiarly intense.

taste starts malty, hops in the middle, spicey and boozy in the finish. warms the throat and belly. sticky, coats the mouth. higher carbonation.

it's still hot. I've got another bottle aging and will give it awhile.

Photo of TheTot
2.85/5  rDev -26%
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.

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 UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky copper orange with a 2 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Nice chunks of lace cling to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and some citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, citrus fruit, citrus juice, and citrus zest. A mild hop bitterness sticks around the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine with a nice hop presence but the flavors are still a bit all over the place. I bet this one would get better as it ages.

Photo of kojevergas
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and excellent retention for the high ABV. Colour is a semitransparent textbook copper.

Sm: Bittering hops (I can't distinguish which), chocolate, caramel, cream, and slight biscuity yeast. Aroma is of moderate strength.

T: It's got a nice little character to it. The bittering hops are present mainly from the climax through the third act, and aren't overdone. It's biscuity, malty, and slightly sour all at one. Very caramelly without going overboard. The yeast gives it that biscuity quality which is really its best feature. The alcohol does come through, but it's buried beneath a layer of caramelized sugar and maybe extremely slight molasses or candy sugar, which is an extraordinary way to handle it. I definitely get a Belgian candy sugar vibe from it, which is pleasant. Most of the flavour is in the second half, which sort of messes with the balance, but I don't find it particularly problematic. It's built well for the style. Good all around.

Mf: Smooth and wet, and extremely thick. Biscuity and good, suiting the flavour. The thickness is a bit much for the drinkability, however.

Dr: She's a sipper. Difficult to quaff but easy to enjoy. As a note on presentation, I don't know that this size bottle is really necessary. The ABV is too high and the temperature won't maintain for the time it takes to consume. For the ABV and the power of the flavour, it's very drinkable.

Photo of mattsegall
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a orange/amber brown with 3/4" egg shell head. Minimal lacing, but its definitely still there. Head is gone after about 3-5 minutes.

Smell - Sweet, definitely candy sugar, and dried fruits: rasins, prunes. Decently strong alcohol scent as well, as its 12%.

Taste - This beer's is really pretty consistent with his smell. Sweet, with raisiny barley taste. Slight alcohol burn and aftertaste.

Mouth - Surprisingly creamy for a beer of this nature. Taste doesnt not linger for that long.

Photo of GodOfBeer
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky copper-brown with a thin white head.

Aroma of mostly alcohol, hops and sweet fruity malts.

I sense a vast array of different tastes. Mostly sweet fruits and a mouthful of hops. Alcohol is definitely noticeable. Lots of interesting spices, some cinnamon, cloves. Nice and bitter balanced by the sweet malts. Very medicinal and pretty smooth considering the alcohol content.

Overall a very good beer, a bit overwhelming with the alcohol, could probably do better with age.

Photo of Blueribbon666
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Bomber poured slowly into tall beer stein pours a honey caramel orange color with a quarter inch head that dissipates quickly. A fresh smell of hoppy pine mixed with the scent of alcohol, a little apprehensive as I know that American Barleywine is much more of a hoppy affair then the English versions, which I find to be more pleasing to MY palate. Wow very surprised as the assertive hops in the front are soon smothered by the thick velvety alcohol back end that coats the tongue as it goes down. Definitely a sipper but I am pleasantly surprised at this decent drinking bomber I thought might be shared with the drain, heaven forbid.

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 Ehrnstrom
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance: dark copper with rusted red coloring. moderate amount of creamy head, good head retention. opaque in texture.

smell: creamy malt smell with hints of alcohol and hops.

taste: an old ale taste with strong hop presence, especially in the after taste. roasted malts and hops blend well together. thick, rich, creamy beer.

mouthfeel: the aftertaste has a bit to be desired. the initial mixture fades and the hop bitterness is somewhat unexpected.

notes: for Stone, this is a good pick. frequently, I feel Stone can be inconsistent, but definitely check this one out if you get the chance. not great, but good.

Photo of fox227
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber hue, off white one fingered head, good lacing.

S: Grassy hops, caramel, molasses, fig newtons.

T: I'm not a Barley Wine specialist, but I can say that I like this better than Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot. Here I find the bitter better balanced with the sweet, but the malt is obviously dominate, and the taste more or less follows the nose. I'm drinking this *today* so this has been aging a little bit. I think that it would benefit from more bitter hops, which means drink it fresh.

M: lots of carbonation, a bit of numbing on the palate felt from the 12% abv, and goes down dry.

O: I don't know how Barley Wines go, but this one isn't making me a convert. Judged strictly on its own merits, it's a good brew.

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a couple of tulip glasses. 2011 Release.

Pours a clear coppery looking ruby in the glass, with 2 fingers of stiff off-white head. This retains with creamy ½ finger of froth, which leaves back some thick swathes of sticky lacing. The aroma smells floral, piney, and spicy up front, which is undercut by a thick bitter mix of grapefruit and a strong toasted graininess. Alcohol adds some light feeling beef to the nose.

Those American hops are up front of the taste, with pine resins and bitter grapefruit having some strength to them before crashing into a wall of beefy toasted graininess that also has some sweeter caramel flavors to it as well. Alcohol adds a bold sweetness and spice to this that linger in the finish with dry resins and warmth. The mouthfeel is full bodied and quite chewy on the sides, before coming together and laying a solid prickle down the middle of the tongue. The alcohol is mostly confined to the flavors and feel here, luckily keeping any stray heat from the ABV out of the equation.

I was a bit surprised by the strength of the grains in this, as even though the hops still had plenty of force left in them (this was consumed in April, 2011), the malts were what left a final impression on me. Not sure if this was a good or bad thing necessarily but the overall impression this left on me was good. Malt and alcohol drive this more than the hops do though and it’s definitely a good candidate for some extended cellaring.

Photo of capeannbass36
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 2011 bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. Slightly hazy, orange, amber with a slightly yellowish tan, cream colored, two and a half finger head that faded after 5 minutes. Light lacing remained throughout.

S- Sweet malt, caramel. A little piney hops. Some booze.

T- Bready. Sweet malt. Caramel. Slightly bitter pine hop finish.

M- Light carbonation, but still somewhat creamy.
Very warm in the belly.

O- Like it a lot. Especially the finish. Only a hint of bitter hops. Just what I like. Not too sweet or syrupy. Will gladly have another.

Photo of jgurley
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick opaque amber color. Thin head and not much lace. Smell of caramel, honey and hops. Maybe a hint of butterscotch. Sweet forward honey, malt, caramel. Apple/ pineapple toward the middle and delicious hop balance on the finish. Typical well rounded hop character of Stone brews. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and sticky. Fairly low carbonation. Surprisingly clean finish for such a complex taste. Alcohol is present but not overpowering, yet is hot in the belly. Not your every day brew, but very good nonetheless.

Photo of colforbin73
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this brew pours a good dark frothy rich amber. with an aggressive pour you get a lively one finger head -- held up to good natural light you can really appreciate the rich red color -- AMBER HONEY.

the smell is mild and malty, with just a hint of hops and yeast. there is a good bitterness, but overall the taste is very warming -- the alcohol is present -- a little like drinking a well-honeyed, perfect hot toddy. sweetness and a thick drink are the order of the day here.

this is a real fall brew, bringing to mind mulled cider and all things apple -- a slick slithery treat for raking up 10 million leaves.

not my favorite barley wine -- and not the most accessible - this is an intense malty boozed up brew with some edge -- but i would have another gladly.

Photo of jrenihan
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber with a thick (two or three finger-width) off-white head. Good lacing and retention.

A deep, rich and very nice smell. Big caramelly malt smell with an accompanying piney hop scent. The alcohol presence is clear, but it does not come across as boozy. A spiciness is present, coming with the pine.

Taste is a bit of a disappointment after the smell, but is still good. It took a little while for the beer to grow on me. At first, I was overwhelmed by pine-flavoured hops in excessive abundance. Whether my tastebuds acclimatized or the beer opened up, I don't know, but the caramel malt began to play a larger role, with the hops taking the backup role. The alcohol is certainly present, but not aggressively so- this is clearly a strong beer and the alcohol tingles the tip of the tongue, but doesn't really impact a boozy flavour. There is a bitter finish, but also a very rich caramel that is quite separate from the bitterness and is very nice. Interesting beer- a lot happening.

Mild carbonation, relatively full bodied. The high alcohol burns a little.

Overall, a pretty complex and powerful beer. I found it hard to review. There were times when I thought that the taste was not particularly good. The first sip, in particular, was a real let down after a really enjoyable aroma. However, there were times when I found it to be very nice. I suppose that is the fun of barleywines!

Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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