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
83
good

139 Reviews
THE BROS
75
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 139
Hads: 348
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 9
Gots: 109 | 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 blincoln
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into an Imperial ping glass. Thin head that didn’t last long – completely dissipated. Left no lacing. Light rusted copper color.

Aroma: Sweet bitterness, hoppy with a hint of alcohol. Slight smokiness.

Taste: Hoppiness combines with a sticky malty sweetness. Bitterness that subsides towards the finish leaving a bread alcohol taste.

Palette: Medium body with a sticky dry finish.

Overall: Not a great blend of flavors. Almost like there is a little too much of everything. Too much bitter, too much hops, and too much of the bready caramel flavor. (589 characters)

Photo of Ehrnstrom
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance: dark copper with rusted red coloring. moderate amount of creamy head, good head retention. opaque in texture.

smell: creamy malt smell with hints of alcohol and hops.

taste: an old ale taste with strong hop presence, especially in the after taste. roasted malts and hops blend well together. thick, rich, creamy beer.

mouthfeel: the aftertaste has a bit to be desired. the initial mixture fades and the hop bitterness is somewhat unexpected.

notes: for Stone, this is a good pick. frequently, I feel Stone can be inconsistent, but definitely check this one out if you get the chance. not great, but good. (622 characters)

Photo of fox227
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber hue, off white one fingered head, good lacing.

S: Grassy hops, caramel, molasses, fig newtons.

T: I'm not a Barley Wine specialist, but I can say that I like this better than Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot. Here I find the bitter better balanced with the sweet, but the malt is obviously dominate, and the taste more or less follows the nose. I'm drinking this *today* so this has been aging a little bit. I think that it would benefit from more bitter hops, which means drink it fresh.

M: lots of carbonation, a bit of numbing on the palate felt from the 12% abv, and goes down dry.

O: I don't know how Barley Wines go, but this one isn't making me a convert. Judged strictly on its own merits, it's a good brew. (726 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (1,481 characters)

Photo of capeannbass36
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of jgurley
4.14/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick opaque amber color. Thin head and not much lace. Smell of caramel, honey and hops. Maybe a hint of butterscotch. Sweet forward honey, malt, caramel. Apple/ pineapple toward the middle and delicious hop balance on the finish. Typical well rounded hop character of Stone brews. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and sticky. Fairly low carbonation. Surprisingly clean finish for such a complex taste. Alcohol is present but not overpowering, yet is hot in the belly. Not your every day brew, but very good nonetheless. (513 characters)

Photo of colforbin73
3.91/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this brew pours a good dark frothy rich amber. with an aggressive pour you get a lively one finger head -- held up to good natural light you can really appreciate the rich red color -- AMBER HONEY.

the smell is mild and malty, with just a hint of hops and yeast. there is a good bitterness, but overall the taste is very warming -- the alcohol is present -- a little like drinking a well-honeyed, perfect hot toddy. sweetness and a thick drink are the order of the day here.

this is a real fall brew, bringing to mind mulled cider and all things apple -- a slick slithery treat for raking up 10 million leaves.

not my favorite barley wine -- and not the most accessible - this is an intense malty boozed up brew with some edge -- but i would have another gladly. (767 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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! (1,410 characters)

Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Old Guardian glass. Decided to drink this since today is their 15th anniversary.

Pours a consistently cloudy dark amber with a short head that dissipates to a film on top of the beer. This beer looks thick and chewy.

Smells like sweet malts. I get a little bit of that soap smell that I tend to pick up in a lot of barley wines. When I get my nose down in it there is definitely some alcohol to the smell.

Very tasty. Brown sugar, sweet bread and a tinge of bitterness on the end. The bitterness sticks to your tongue for quite some time reminding you that you've been drinking a Stone beer.

This is probably one of my favorite barley wines and I bought a decent amount of bottles to hold to. This is first bottle I've had since this first released back in February. (791 characters)

Photo of litheum94
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Reviewed 6/19/11.

P: Ruddy body, slightly opaque. Brownish head, not very big. It settles to a thin cover.

A: Lots of caramel malts on the nose. Fig sweetness. Spicy hops. Brown sugar. Hops are more-downplayed on the nose than I expected.

T: Semi-sweet at first, with a caramel and brown sugar sweetness. A citric sourness starts to come on, complimented by a burnt orange peel flavor. Very floral mid-palate, and pine hops creep up on the end. The finish has a long lasting bitterness, and a warming alcohol burn.

I actually enjoyed this more than the 2009 OG that I had just a couple of months ago, which is kind of surprising. This had more balance and better drinkability. Very enjoyable. (711 characters)

Photo of jamescain
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass

Appearance: Pours an orange-mahogany with an off white head about a centimeter thick that slowly fades into a lacing over the top of the beer that lingers almost half of the glass.

Aroma: Sweet malt, caramel, toffee, fruity esters and a touch of alcohol, very pleasant to smell.

Taste: Sweet up front with a caramel, fruity background and a hint of alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy with medium carbonation, a sipper for sure. It has a sweet finish with a noticeable alcohol warming sensation.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one and will enjoy seeing how it ages. It’s a little hot up front but not as hot as I remember it. (665 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (671 characters)

Photo of CFHMagnet
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. I gave her an easy pour and didn't receive better than half a finger of head. Body looks like a murky apple cider.

S. Sweet and sugary, malty with a hint of caramel.

T. Whoa. Malt and hop fight a fair fight in the beginning. This runs into caramel, back into a bitter hop flavor and ends with some alcohol. Can't fault it.

M. Smooth. Carbonation definitely draws attention. Nice and bitter with a slight burn at the end to remind you of the ABV on this one. (464 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (482 characters)

Photo of abgba121
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours an amber color with about one cm of white head and a good lacing remains, can see the carbonation

S: smells very sweet and malty, almost no alcohol presence

T: also very sweet, like caramel and an alcohol bite at the finish that lingers momentarily. In the middle there is a lip-puckering feel from the alcohol and caramel sweetness coming into one

M: Feels thicker than it looks, good carbonation

O: good beer, I think I would like it more after aging though (472 characters)

Photo of BigB415
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage pours dark orange with large white head into my 22oz glass. Smells of caramel. Tastes of caramel and alcohol with a little burn on the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick with alcohol and notes of caramel sticking around and not going away. It makes me pucker my lips and savor the caramel. If it weren't for the 12% ABV I'd have a couple of these right after the other but I have work in the morning. (413 characters)

Photo of philbe311
4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
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... (1,270 characters)

Photo of haddon
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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) (685 characters)

Photo of Krakistophales
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark copper with a finger of white head that recedes quickly into a halo.

S: Sweet, fruity aethers first hit the nose, followed by honey and caramel, and a bit of candy. Also a big boozy note, akin to a port or sherry.

T: At first, cherries, plums, and other assorted candied fruits, followed by a slight hop touch and bitters at the end.

M: Nice carbonation, oddly refreshing, with a powerful, warming sensation that crawls through you as it goes down.

O: Quite a tasty barleywine. It's probably the hoppiest and most subtle I've ever had, but I reach for this one when the mood strikes me...which happens to be quite often. (640 characters)

Photo of beerprovedwright
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bold two finger head of light brown foam, with good clinging lace. Color is a slightly hazy 18 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is a complex aroma of honey, caramel, plums, red wine, grapefruit, roasted wheat, and oak wood. Taste is a little on the sweet side, with flavors of honey, molasses, caramel, red wine, grapefruit, rhubarb, dark roasted malt, and spices. Mouthfeel is rich, thick, and creamy, with lots of carbonation. For the most part this beer starts of great, but it becomes a bit overwhelming after about half a glass. This is a great desert beer to share the bottle with three or four. (603 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
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. (1,177 characters)

Photo of EricCioe
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a particulate-laden ruby red with a small tan head rising and falling down to nothing with no lace. On the nose there are rum-soaked raisins, a mixture of dark fruits and a boozy note that I seem to tolerate and like more than others. In the mouth the dark fruits are the foundation for the rest of the taste, where a caramel malt emerges. If there is a complaint, it's that in the finish the booze stands out too much. There is also a hop note that for me didn't come out until the finish that didn't really integrate well with the rest of the beer. The body is a bit sticky but still fine.

Overall, this is a decent barleywine with a few demerits. One wonders what happens with this with some age. Maybe it would smooth out the somewhat harsh booze and the slightly disjointed hops. (796 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (1,991 characters)

Photo of hoptualBrew
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nicely into oversized wine glass. Appearance is a sexy deep amber as most of the barleywines I have tried are.

Smells of complex malts with a touch of earthy hop aromas and raisony as well. Taste is sweet malts with a backside of hoppy bitterness, bittersweet indeed. Alot of hoppyness to offset the sweetness of the malt. A touch of toffee picked up, but nothing more from my palate.

Mouthfeel is exceptional with a nice hoptual aftertaste. Hides the 12% abv very nicely.

Overall, I think its a solid barleywine. (523 characters)

Photo of matttttYCE
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber of the 2011 regular version poured into my Dogfish Head snifter/specialty glass (with nucleation engraving on the bottom).

Appearance - Medium aggressive pour brings about 2 fingers worth of slightly off white creamy looking head. Color is a deep copper red / orange that isn't exactly clear, but hazy (there's a bit of sediment in it). Head sticks around pretty well actually and leaves some lace, not much though.

Smell - Can't help but get the smell just after pouring. It's a nice sweet caramel, toffee, and biscuit with some dark fruit in there as well. Those are the dominant smells here but there's also some nice hops in there more like earthy and piney. Definitely not as hoppy as I remember the 2010 being, and not really like Stone's signature hop aroma, but I still like it and think it smells good, but not great.

Taste - Sweet, dark fruit, caramel, a bit of a nutty taste, some toffee, along with noticeable alcohol, and herbal, earthy hops more towards the finish. This seems less boozy than last years as well, which is nice in my opinion. Trying my hardest to compare this to the style overall and not just to last years version. I feel that even if I hadn't had the 2010, I would think this was really just average in taste for an American Barleywine. I thought good and hard about this and it really is more average in taste than above average.

Mouthfeel - This has kind of a velvety texture/consistency to me. Not thick and chewy but velvety and rich. Carbonation is there but somewhat lacking, I think. Contributes to the very smooth, full consistency and medium-high body. Finish is pretty lengthy, wet, coats the mouth, and leaves you with a some decent burn in the throat on the way down. DEFINITELY A SLOW SIPPER! I think this is just slightly above average in the mouthfeel, so I'm going with a 3.0. Closer to average than above average.

Overall - Not bad at all, but not amazing either. Seems to me like a very middle of the road barleywine (and I've actually been a big fan of most of Stone's beers for a long time now). Maybe it just needs some age on it. But frankly when I find a beer that is just average or above average near fresh, I don't have much want or patience to age any (let alone the cellar space). Glad to have tried this years, but I'll be holding out hope that next years is better. This all is, of course, just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. You can easily see some people below me love the beer. Some people feel the same way. I would say this beer is worth trying. You could easily go either way on it. (2,579 characters)

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