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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: 8
Gots: 108 | 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
Reviews: 139 | Hads: 348
Photo of prototypic
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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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 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 emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't picked up a bottle of this one yet this year, but seeing it as the beer of the day at the Rackhouse tonight I had to have a glass. Poured a medium reddish brown color with a finger or so of ecru head. Good earthy hops on the nose, along with dark fruits and caramel. On the palate, this one was medium bodied, with flavors of earthy hops, caramel and booze.

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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 philbe311
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers worth of rich creamy light-to-medium colored tan colored head... Very solid retention... The color is a warm inviting caramely brown... Still with no discernible carbonation... Overall this is a very sophisticated and regal looking offering... Very nicely done...

S - The nose rather subdued which is surprising given both the style and brewery of origin... All the usual suspects are present... Rich caramely malts... Some hints of brown sugar... A subdued hop presence lies beneath the surface...

T - There is nothing timid about the palette... This is much more of what I expect for both the style and the brewery... A big challenging mix of malts and hops start immediately... Brown sugar... Caramel... A very nice hoppy bite... A definite boozy warmth on the finish...

M - A very sturdy medium to full bodied offering... A bit of creamy lushness from the head greats the tongue to start... The finish is bit dry and bit chalky...

D - Overall, a rather solid American Barleywine... Not the best, but better than average... This is my first intro to Old Guardian and I'll gladly pick up a bottle next year to see how it changes year over year... Other than a slightly timid nose, there's no doubt this is an aggressive expected out of Stone...

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been fortunate to have tried the Old Guardian for the last five years. 2010 was my favorite year. It seemed to get better or change with a different complexity each year. This year the recipe seems to have gotten somewhat worse.

I think they may have put their greater effort in the Belgo style. I have that on the shelf as a future review, but I recommend that as a purchase over this bottle. That is to say, if it is available any more at your store.

On it's own, this is a classic Barleywine style. The flavors are standard, without much additional fanfare. The alcohol flavors stand out, as well as the strong barley and malts.

I would recommend the Avery version over this one, or if you live in San Diego pick up a growler of the Ballast Point version (my first and favorite). Just be careful, the ABV will set you up for the night.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice reddish-copper color with a nice 2 finger head

S: Malted barley and slightly hoppy nose, some bready notes in the back

T: Big on the malt, with a nice hop presence that brings a decent amount of bitterness in the finish. Bready notes mix in well with the alcohol, which is surprisingly well hidden for a 12% brew

M: Fairly heavy with very little carbonation

D: Pretty tasty even with the new release. The hop bitterness could be toned down a bit, but the alcohol is working very well even right now

This one remains a sipper, especially with the boost in abv. I also picked up the belgo version which I'll be reviewing soon, it'll be interesting to see how it compares

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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 jsprain1
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep deep red, about as dark as one can safely call amber. Thick head retains at a quarter finger's width and leaves lots of sticky lacing.
S- Resinous hops, citric, and actually much maltier than I would have expected out of a Stone Barleywine. Not terrible smelling, just... unexpected.
T- Caramel malts up front, long resinous hop finish. A bit of citric flavor but pine resin is really the big hop presence. Much boozier than I would like as well. Dark fruit, something like I would imagine an unsweet pomegranite would taste like is also in there.
M- Pretty syrupy, definitely needs a bit more carbonation. Good body to it though.
O- (Still used to putting a d there...) A bit boozy and not as hoppy as I was hoping considering both style and brewery. Alas, I would still drink it again, even if it is more boozy, syrupy, and not as hoppy as I would have it.

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Photo of djaeon
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Still have a 2008, 2009, and 2010 in the cellar. The 2008 was one of my first barleywine's and I really enjoyed it (and I'm not big into the style). That had about a year on it. I was curious how this beer would stand up being fresh.

Appearance - Pours into my Bruery Tulip with a ruddy mahogany color. About a finger of white head is achieved with a moderate pour that dissipates relatively fast.

Smell - Hops, floral, citrus, candied like malt, toasted malts, etc. The alcohol is somewhat prevalent also.

Taste - Similar to the aroma but honestly even a bit sweeter than expected. A decent amount of citrus kick, hops, spicy, stick malt sweetness. Actually tastes pretty good though there is a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Big body, creamy, decent carbonation, coats the mouth.

Drinkability - Honestly, for as big ABV as it is, relatively so. For such a cheap price a bomber, I will for sure pick up another to age. Pretty impressed to be honest, but needs some aging for sure.

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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 Cylinsier
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

large bottle

Pours a cloudy cidery apple gold color. Bit of off white lacing.

Smells of apple sweetness and piney hops. Bit of tartness as well.

Tastes of rich apple and caramel malts along with piney hops that are potent but not too bitter, a the slightest hint of alcohol.

Feels full and chewy with coarse but mild carbonation.

Delicious beer, good American Barelywine hop flavor balanced by malty flavors more characteristic of the English style. Too potent to drink a lot of but an enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Pours a dark, murky mahogany color with a nice frothy head. Minimal lacing. Aromas of dark fruits, malts, bread, booze and hops. A lot going on here. Taste has that nice warming alcohol zip to it. Malty flavor along with a big amount of dark fruits and a bit of a caramel taste. Bitter aftertaste is where I pick up on some of the hops. Boozey. All things considered this is pretty drinkable. Old Guardian continues to be one of the best barleywines on the market.

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Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ruby colored and clear, with a light tan fluffy head sitting a full 2 fingers above the brew.

S: Dark bread, raisons, and a touch of yeast.

T: Starts sweet and bready. Notes of raisons. dark bread, darker fruits, and a bit of a earthy flavor. There is a touch of licorice, and the bitterness all comes in the finish. You can definitely feel the booze in this thing. This is almost more of a cross between an American, and English Style BarleyWine. The beginning is a strong malty smack in the face, that is quickly shooed out the door by bitter hops. Interesting, and I think it is going to go quite well with this dark chocolate I have.

M: Medium in body, carbonation feels low and slow. It's nice, and leaves your mouth oily with hop resin.

D: Tasty for sure, definitely not the hop explosion I was expecting from stone, but solid.

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Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bomber into a snifter, light red pour with a medium white head. The aroma is hot and sweet. There are notes of pine. The first sip is kinda hot. It mellows out a bit with lots of pine, lingering piney finish. The beer is sticky, creamy, and full bodied. I liked this one, but I like over the top beers, and this is over the top.

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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 stephens101
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Always in the mood for a new Barleywine, and Stone rarely goes wrong.

A two-toned, prominent light and dark tan sits commandingly above a reddish brown brew, but retreats in haste, leaving a sparse contingent of lace behind as cover. Deep and musty pine notes to the nose with some caramel malts and cherries underneath. Sweet malts and a bit grainy at the front of the palate with some candy notes, spice and a big shot of woody hops to balance near perfectly. Medium body, leaning to the dry side, and well carbonated with an encompassing alcohol heat that is not boozy which adds to the experience rather than detracts. It's hard to manage alcohol levels like this, but Stone pulls it off well.

Digging this one full-on. One of my new favorites, and I should have gotten two while I had the chance, because I can imagine this one only gets better with time.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

first vintage with the new label and slightly higher ABV. drank from my duvel tulip.

A- the pour yields a ruby red body with great clarity. a finger or so of light tan colored head forms on top and has pretty good retention. a thin wall of lacing gets left behind.

S- the first thing i pick out of the nose are hops. lots of grapefruit and pine. after that i notice a massive amount of malts backing the hops up. tons of sweet caramel and toffee with some lightly fruity malts as well. the amount of alcohol coming out of my glass reminds me that this is a massive beer.

T- the taste starts out with an explosion of sweet malts. caramel and toffee are the boldest, but there are also fruity notes of cherries and plums. the hops are also quite bold. plenty of pine and grapefruit. nice and bitter. lots of alcohol throughout.

M- the body is pretty thick and syrupy. definitely on the upper side of medium. the carbonation seems average. plenty of alcohol warming.

O- i look forward to the release of this beer every year. im glad that they didnt kill the original (this one) when they decided to do the belgio thing. this bottle is almost too big to tackle on your own.

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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 DovaliHops
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost-clear, ruby-amber color with a very small, off-white head. Scent is malty wit tons of dark fruits and a hint of booze. Taste is very dark fruit forward with some nice caramel malt flavors and hoppy characteristics. Very sweet with a bitter finish. Some warming booze at the end as well. Mouthfeel is syrupy and full-bodied. Drinkability is far...couldn't drink too much of this. Overall, this is a decent beer, but it turns into an awesome beer after a couple years.

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