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

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BA SCORE
87
very good

342 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 342
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 15.06%
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: muttyd on 02-14-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 342 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

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 djrn2
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of brentk56
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
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 BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Does life get any better... just put the family to bed, on a cold winter's night, and a world-class barleywine in hand? ....and Sportscenter!

Aromas of this magnificent beer hold a complex matrix of deeply caramelized malts, citrus and resiny hops, and a true malted milk bready character that declares a masculine stature but with refinement and grace.

Malty rich flavors give a bold array of caramel, buttered toast, molasass, and brown sugars. Mild bready flavors allow for the reminescent of toast and honey. Hoppy flavors combat with early citrus, turn pine, turn resiny for a clean bitter finish. There's an aura about this beer that commands respect with its boldness and control, but its restraint and deliberacy shows a sense of elegance and regal that's not to be overlooked. When I taste this beer, it's not about picking apart the individual flavors, but rather about describing the magical qualities of the beer that only the great ones exhibit. For this one, it's the balance and richness of malt and hops- all with the yeasty microbiology steering the wheels.

A creamy, malty upstart holds onto that dense textrue until very late. While citrus flavor turns pithy bitter, then grassy/resiny in the finish; it's not until very late where the beer finally turns the corner toward semi-dryness and a medium-toasty finish. Still, remaining savory and succulent 'til the very end. A return of toffee malt and citrus return in aftertaste, inviting the next sip way sooner than it should.

Delicious and challenging from start unitl finish, this beer is way more palatable and digestible than a 12%er should be. Stone hits homeruns, time after time with this beer!

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

still young, this needs some time to develop but wanted to try it fresh for some perspective.

caramel in color with light reddish tints to it. Small head of white rises up from the bottom to cap off the top of it rather nicely, no active carbonation that I could see either.

The aroma was very sweet, with lots of carmael and hints of bready malts. SOme light diffused hoppiness in it as well, but nothing that was terribly overpowering. alcohol notes were hiding underneath as well. The flavor was more of the same, light alcohol, some light piney hops and a touch of carmel and toffee. Nothing really huge here at all, but on the same token nothing really bad either.

Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stone

A: Pours a dark amber color with a thin layer of off-white/khaki head.

S: Very boozy with a lot of caramel and toffee. Dark fruit notes as well as some bread. Not the big, strong hop aroma that I really remember Old Guardian having.

T: Bread, caramel, and toffee make up the malt profile which is really what you get from this beer. There is a surprising lack of big hop flavor and bitterness which I usually characterize fresh Old Guardian by. Quite boozy with some mild fruits and a touch of pine.

M: The body is medium to full with a moderate carbonation.

D: I usually love Old Guardian fresh but I'm very indifferent about this one.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

way better with a year on it, or two, I found this edition to be a much more approachable version of the style, although barleywines are supposed to be a little intimidating I think. this one pours that same dark crimson color, bordering on brown, and retains a decent tan head. the nose and the taste are identical, with all kinds of fruit being detectable in here, red apples, ripe cherries, even dried dates. I think its complexity isn't so stifled by its raging booze content as it is in the fresh version, so I pick up so many more subtleties in both aroma and flavor. the alcohol is still sharp though, and the carbonation is disappointing. its a slow sipper, and when it warms its almost like a distilled spirit. the oaked and smoked versions mellow this out in a special way that apparently even age cant do with this one. still, I think its an improvement over the fresh, and maybe this year I will keep a few bottles around a lot longer to really see how time affects these barleywines.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Jason
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
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 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 drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
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 smcolw
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of kojevergas
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
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 Billolick
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of smakawhat
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
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 BillRoth
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of HopHead84
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/19/2011

On tap at Stone juxtaposed next to the 2006 vintage.

A: Appears a darker color than the 2006 vintage, more of a murky reddish brown. The head is beige and mountainous, receding in a cavernous fashion and leaving sheets of lacing.

S: Big resin and grapefruit notes overshadow a faint sugary caramel base. The hops are dominant and very aromatic, with increasing pine needle and sap notes with warming. 

T: Upper moderate aggressive bitterness, with ample grapefruit rind notes. Pine is pervasive and deeply resinous. Caramel is subtle compared to the 2006 vintage, and it's mildly sweet and sugary, though quickly obliterated by the dry bitter presence. Booze is also aggressive.

M: Upper medium in body with upper moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky and smooth with some astringency and warming.

Overall: This beer is a much different beast when fresh, but it's damn tasty. I think I prefer it slightly less fresh as the booze is pretty strong at this point.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 342 ratings.