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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 HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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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Photo of GodOfBeer
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured unto a flute.

Appearance: slightly dark, cloudy amber with a full inch off-white head.

Smell: Hint of red wine properties, like seriously smelling dark fruits with a blend of alcohol.

Taste: An amplified description of the smell to the tenth power. Super tasty and very hard not to love and most of all indulge in.

Mouth: Medium carbonation, smooth with a few bumps on the road. Once you sip a few times you tend to appreciate how well crafted it is.

Overall: This is great beer, not for everyone though that's why I can't rate it any higher. Hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I did, Salud!

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Photo of mattsegall
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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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 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 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 StoneBrewFanatic
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

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

bought a couple of bombers... one for now and one for the cellar.

Pours a dark amber color with a dirty white & thin head

Very boozy with a lot of caramel and toffee. Dark fruit notes as well as some bread. I could actually feel a bit of alcohol burn come through the nose after a big wiff.

malts= Bread, caramel, and toffee. Quite boozy with some mild fruits and a touch of pine. the hops aren't that noticeable at first but the bitter aftertaste sits on the back of the throat after a while.

The body is medium to full with ample carbonation.

this was a good barleywine and I am looking forward to tasting some of the Guardians with some age on them (have '08-'11 in the cellar)

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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 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 mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of megahurts4
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 Classic Release

Appearance: red, medium head, and some good lacing.

Smell: yeast and flowery hops.

Taste: banana peel, flowery hops, malts, and a faint yeast.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This is very smooth and malty. The flavors are interesting.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of surprenant1138
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Hazy, murky, dark amber pour leaving almost no head. Slight lacing. Smell is lightly earthy, nutty, with some maple syrupy hints. The hoppy taste is there, but moreso after the swallow. It is then that the rich malty flavors rise. Mouthfeel is light, not too heavy. This tasty barleywine is not my favorite, but it certainly keeps me content.

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Photo of capeannbass36
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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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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Photo of Blueribbon666
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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

Poured a slow to emerge 2" head which dissipated to 1/8". Appears a lovely hazy rustic auburn color. Smells like an IPA with citrus and caramel. Flavor is very strong and sweet, almost bourbon-barrel aged vanilla malt and strength (though it's not a bourbon beer), and it has a definite burn from the 12% alcohol. Luckily I really like that style of beer, but I understand for a few reviewers why it comes across too hot. Personally I thought there was plenty of richness and complexity to the barleywine itself, and my only real complaint is the long bitter finish which whipes the other flavors off the palette after a moment.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of FattyJLE
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of UTCengOwl
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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