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 katan
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a goblet

A - Pours an almost blood red color - deep dark amber for sure. Head formation is strong, 1/4" down to a film. Very clear, very filtered.

S - Potent nose - lots of caramel malts and a backdrop of hops and associated bitterness.

T - Starts off lightly sweet, some caramel malts. Mid-stream gets very strong very quickly - edgy - lots of bitterness. Alcohol warmth comes in heavily. Finishes with a grainy bite along with a big bomb of bitterness.

M - Moderate body, at times clingy and sugary. Carbonation is moderate - doesn't do enough to lighten the body. Aftertaste is boatloads of alcohol warmth and bitterness.

D - somewhat harsh to the palette - west coast american barleywine for sure. abv is pretty strong.

This beer probably would have registered as an "in your face" barleywine and I probably would have liked it - but the belgo version comparison really has shown me an interesting balance to the style. I guess I probably prefer one that isn't so potent. I should age one of these for comparison.

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 SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just picked this beer up tonight, so I don't have too terribly high hopes that this is ready to drink right now, but let's give a fresh Guardian a shot for a change.

Appearance: There was a solid off-gas when the top was popped, so this beer must be pretty well carbonated. It pours a somewhat cloudy burnt orange color with a very small <1/8" head after a pretty quick pour...surprising after the off-gas. There really isn't any lace left, and the beer doesn't really do that much else visually

Aroma: Surprisingly enough, through the rich malt and somewhat bold hops, I am getting a Bretanomyces presence that is unmistakeable. As the beer warms up some, this Brett character is fading quickly and the alcohol, hops, and malts are making an appearance...in that order.

Taste: The flavor is much more bold and driven by the hops than I thought it would be from the aroma. Overall the beer is full bodied with ample carbonation, but it still comes across the palate as a bit heavy. I don't get the Brett in the flavor at all, and it is fading in the nose...so maybe I was mistaken? Anyway, the hops are becoming a MUCH bigger player in the flavor as the beer warms up. Overall the beer is balanced toward the hops in the finish, but it isn't so much that the beer is hard to drink. The alcohol is contributing as much balance in the finish as the hops are.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer right now, but I really think that it would be a WHOLE LOT better in a couple years. Right now, it has a lot of flavor, but they are a bit out of balance. I think once the hops start to fade, mixed with the nice bitterness balance, this beer will age really well. One thing said is that this beer isn't as boldly bitter as a lot of Barley Wines are, so I think that it may lean more toward Old Ale as it matures than a Barley Wine.

Photo of obywan59
4.85/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured brom a 650ml into my Old Guardian glass.

Pours a clear reddish amber with a light tan 3 1/2 finger head that leaves plenty of attractive lacing.

I get over-ripe citrus, sweet caramelly malt and alcohol in the nose. A hint of honey. A bit of Belgian-like barnyard scent.

Very sweet caramel malts, a taste of alcohol and long lasting bitter hops.

Rather thin mouthfeel for the style. A plus in my book. Lightly syrupy with a nice bite from the alcohol.

I didn't realize it at first, but this was a fortuitous pick for my 100th review.

The relatively light body combined with the excellent balance between the rather sweet malts and the bitter hops, along with the unsurpassed buzz, makes the Old Guardian series my all-time favorite brew, along with Firestone 13.

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 thatsfine
2.66/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: A nice looking brew. A deep amber color with a decent one-finger head that didn't need much coaxing. Dissipated pretty quickly to a ring around the beer. Left some spotty lacing.

S: The smell is predominantly hoppy. Behind the hops are carmelized malts and quite a bit alcohol heat. Not much to write about here.

T: A decent amount of hops and bready, caramel malts. The finish is quite bitter and the alcohol is very present. I understand this is a fresh barleywine and will be hot, but this is too much.

M: The body of Old Guardian is almost thin. I would describe it as medium-thin. Disappointing.

D: Not as drinkable as many other barleywines I have had this winter, but definitely not undrinkable. This was the most disappointing beer I've had from Stone.

I have more of these in the cellar and am glad I do. Time will do nothing but good for this brew. Not a great effort.

Photo of begforme4484
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice reddish-amber color with a good amount of head. Nice sticky lacing.

Lots of malts, candy, molasses on the nose. Definitely some dank resinous hops in there too. Hint of alcohol.

Somewhat on the sweeter side than I was expecting. Slight hop bitterness persists throughout the entire beer/sip.

Smooth and creamy, medium bodied.

This was a more subdued Olde Guardian than of years past. That said, it still was good in it's own right.

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.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful red/amber into my snifter with about one finger of head that dissipates rather quick into a nice ring around the glass that leaves sticky lace.

S - Big caramel malts, candy sugar, molasses, resinous hops, and a bit more alcohol than I would prefer.

T - Nice hop bitterness that lasts through the whole experience, sweet caramel malts, caramelized sugars, molasses, honey and dark fruit, but it's all masked by the booziness right now, hopefully this one will mellow out with a little age.

M - Still rather smooth and creamy, nice body, sticky.

D - This was a tough one to rate. I love and respect stone, but not nearly as good as some Old Guardians of the past, once again I hope age brings this beer justice.

Photo of Bfarr
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy deep red amber with tan head and okay retention. Barley and alcohol aroma. nice balance and warming. Mostly just caramel barley sweetness and floral hops. Smooth and light stickiness.

Seems to have more alcohol and less complexities than past years. It is however much smoother and more balanced and easier to drink. Myself, I always like a bit of a challenge in my barley wine.

Photo of harrymel
2.76/5  rDev -28.3%
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.

Photo of UTCengOwl
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had Real Ale's double ESB this week... but that description seems much more apt for the 2011 Old Guardian. The color, nose and taste all go down that route. Deep red with a fantastic pour on the head. Dissipated quickly, but is excellent. The nose has huge stone fruits and boozy caramel goodness. Double ESB all the way. The taste is strong in the same way... where did my American hops go? Thankfully the taste strays away from medicinal. The Belgian version should be interesting.

Overall, this beer is good, but not great. Give me my hops! I might need to go crack a Bigfoot now so that I can be reminded of what I love about American barleywines.

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

Clear, reddish amber with a cap of fine off-white bubbles, a few soapy ones forming a collar. Sticky, spotty lacing, great head retention. Mild aroma. Malty and bready, caramel and alcohol, a bit of citrus. Malty flavour up front, cereal grains and caramel, more bread, with sugary sweetness following. Light citrus, alcohol flavour and warmth, lingering sharp bitterness. Nice texture, nicely integrated carbonation gives the full body some richness. Pretty good, but seems like it needs some aging to really tie everything together.

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
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

Photo of generalnotsew
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Very fat thick off white 2 finger head. Color is dark woody burnt orange color. Visually this beer is flawless. Sticky cement lacing. Smell is caramel and sugar with a stinging bitter hop tint. Also picking up a nice sweet plum as well. Overall smell is a tad too sweet for me but it is definitive American Barleywine smell. Very sugary but also very bitter. Taste is initially very woody slick candy sweetness. Earthy and dirty with a sharp bitterness on the end. The taste takes after the smell in the same order. But it isn't overly bitter. I love bitterness as much as anyone but this years Bigfoot was almost too much for me. This seems to be way more balanced than my beloved Bigfoot this year. Carbonation is perhaps a bit too aggressive. It is pretty sharp. Maybe more Pepsi sharp than Coke. Very high alcohol heat on the throat. It is far too warming. Great beer if not for the carbonation and heat. Smell and taste is out of this world though.

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

Looking forward to this beer every year. Scored two bottles for 5.99 each, great price too.

A- Red amber in color, one finger of fluffy chunky head.

S- The smell is great, caramel, dark candy sugars, molasses, honey, dark fruits, honey and a nice crisp piny/gin/citrus hop smell. There is an alcohol note to this too.

T- The taste is a bit flat compared to other years. There is a hop taste, but it doesn't seem to have a specific hop direction. I get some caramel taste, and some maltyness, but this one needs to sit down and take a few years snooze. I'm a bit bummed at the moment, but I know this one is going to kick ass in 3-5.

M- Good, the alcohol and hops wreck the palate.

D- It isn't something I'm going to drink too quickly.

Photo of BeerMaverick
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Classic Release

A - The EXACT color of apple cider, a dark brownish orange. There is no head whatsoever, this may be because it is extremely cold. Very minimal lacing, if none.

S - Sweet carmel hints...I want to smell apple cider because it looks just like it. The barley and the alcohol really stand out.

T - This is a very FULL-bodied beer as in after just a few sips I am getting full. With absolutely no translucency, you can tell that this viscous brew will fill you up. The alcohol is very noticeable as is the barley.

M - The alcohol pretty much numbs the tastebuds. Slight hop bitterness as well...nothing too spectacular.

D - This beer is a 12% 22 oz. bomber...there is no way you will have more than one of these unless you're sharing it with someone...like I am...round two!

Photo of climax
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My traveling occupation doesn't lend itself well to cellaring beers. Otherwise, perhaps I would have the patience. Nonetheless, I'm still expecting good things fresh from Escondido.

Poured into a SV balloon slightly chilled: It pours a bold reddish copper. The clarity is pretty good, as is the even finger of head which fades to a ring.

The nose is fresh and full of ripe fruit and earthy hop tones. Bubblegum, wine, plum, banana, cherries, and mandarin oranges make up the complex juicy aroma. The sweet brown sugary malt backbone has an admirable presence, but never cloying, which is a plus IMO. The 12% ABV is well hidden and never distracted me as I panned for new flavors. The finish is bitter with citrus pith and toast.

The warmth from the alcohol emerges in the taste and reminds me not to get to rambunctious with this one. The alcohol is at the perfect level to add an edgy feel to the well-balanced flavor. A juicy fruit hodgepodge, caramel, and red wine flavors are discernible until the dry alcoholic finish steals the show.

The carbonation hits the tongue with a blast at first, keeping it sharp long through the finish. The body isn't too full, but very smooth. It's a bit slick and always crisp. Once the crispness subsides, it leaves a very feel only quenched by another sip.

Photo of Thanby
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours like a hazy iced tea with a thin beige head and a bit of lacing.

Nose has a very citrusy character, kinda sweet, orange, pineapple, toasted malt and some citrusy hops to fill it out.

First taste is big on the pineapple and immediately the hops kick you in the mouth. Huge bouquet of bittering hops. Thick, rich malt coats the tongue and paves the way for more hops, a little bit of an apple flavor, pine, a bit spicy and maybe a touch sour (not totally fermented maybe?) Lingering hops spice and a bit of sticky malt sweetness.

Huge body, a bit of spice from the carbonation, two or three years in a cellar would probably round it out to a nice molasses body and mellow hops, but still good fresh. Not the easiest drink, but tasty nonetheless.

Photo of whatthehull
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Voice Noted

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Blood orange, bit cloudy, one finger head and a bit of lacing

S - Toasted, lots of sweet hop, huge barley and grain, floral, citrus and sweet hops. Sweet and bitter malt. You can almost smell the carbonation in it

T - Very sweet citrus up front, bitter bomb, the bitter hop and malt are crazy. The taste is beginning to end. Mango, pineapple and a bit of cherry and some oak

M - full bodied (beady/fluffy), medium acidity, well balanced, very nice complexity and huge beautiful finish

D/O - Intense, super bitter, really toasty and malty. Pretty much insane, may want to let sit for at least a year

Final thought - Stone does it again and at only $5.99, why not give this sucker a try. But, be careful, this one punches you in the face

Edit: 2010 offering
This beast gets amazing a year or so later! Wow, the citrus is lovely, the bitter calmed down and because amazing and still tastes so crisp and refreshing!

Photo of crusian
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this bottle to do a side by side with a 2010... and man, I was disappointed...
Pours a nice copper color with a tiny bit of head. Looks great.
The nose is nothing like last year, I was excited to get one, I have been jonesing for a nice hoppy barleywine. No such luck. Heavy malt character on the nose, and booze booze booze. No hops.
Taste is booze also. Man I wish this was hoppy like it used to be. The alcohol burn on this is a bit much. medium bodied, but man the alcohol is too in your face.

Photo of FanofHefe
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle labeled 2011 Classic Release. No other dates found.

Pours a hazy light brown body with a big two finger off-white head. Very bubbly and carbonated. Good lacing from the head.

The aroma is a mix of the very strong malt base and a little bit of hops. Reminds me of the DFH 90 Minute IPA aroma, but a little sweeter.

The taste is dominated by the sweet malt. I expected a little more hoppy taste up front from a barley wine, but the hops are definitely in the background. Other flavors include dark fruit, espeically raisin.

The alcohol is a little hot, detracting from the drinkability. Aging would probably help, but may also mute the hops. Solid brew. Not my favorite from Stone, but still good.

Photo of stephens101
4.35/5  rDev +13%
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.

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

Sad to say this but the bottle tipped over and beer started shooting everywhere so I saved what I could and rebottled it in a 750ml swing top I have. Figured I'd try it fresh so I poured a bit into my DFH snifter.

A - Pours a beautiful deep amber color with red and pink cherry notes. Also extremely clear. Looks very nice. Pours alot thinner than I was thinking but it still looks appetizing. A nice 1/2 finger head that is tan to light khaki in color rises and falls quickly.

S - Smell is intense. Lots of bready malty notes, caramel, toffee, some bitterness from the loads of hops are also present. Grapefruit mainly and some just over the top smelling hops, can't pinpoint the kind exactly. Very much an alcohol smell is present as I was expecting. Didn't think I'd be opening this beer right now, was hoping to throw it in the cellar but it didn't make it there.

T - Taste is actually alot mellower than the smell but this beer is definitely far too fresh for drinking now. The flavors need time to meld together and for the alcohol burn to tone down a bit. I get the bready and hoppy notes right away followed by malts after that. Theres something coyingly sweet that hits the tounge but then this bitter bomb sweeps it up and kills it.

M - Mouthfeel is light and oily. Coats the mouth very nice. Some pretty good carbonation makes itself known and is a good player in this one.

D - Alcohol is far too high right now and the flavors all need to mellow out and smooth themselves over. I'll be snagging a few more bottles and throwing them in the cellar without dropping them and watching them explode.

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