Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 336 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
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.
02-20-2011 03:34:43 | More by HopHead84
3.2/5 rDev -16.7%
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.
02-22-2011 00:38:25 | More by champ103
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
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.
06-11-2011 03:48:15 | More by prototypic
2.8/5 rDev -27.1%
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.
02-28-2011 18:28:33 | More by harrymel
3.68/5 rDev -4.2%
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.
10-31-2011 03:12:50 | More by jmdrpi
4.05/5 rDev +5.5%
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.
05-24-2011 03:04:24 | More by emmasdad
3.15/5 rDev -18%
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.
05-09-2011 17:55:51 | More by david18
1.35/5 rDev -64.8%
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.
03-07-2011 07:15:39 | More by Arbitrator
3.73/5 rDev -2.9%
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!
07-30-2011 03:48:57 | More by jrenihan
3.15/5 rDev -18%
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.
04-04-2011 21:09:26 | More by nrbw23
4.45/5 rDev +15.9%
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.
11-20-2011 05:08:34 | More by StoutHunter
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.