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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.
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 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)

Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at The Brilliant Blind Pig.

A fat finger of off-white foam rests atop a murky, burgundy and mahogany body. Good duration and lacing in the tulip. Beautiful nose, packed with malty, sweet aromas--butterscotch, berry, caramel, and some milk chocolate.

The taste certainly confirms the sweet aromas. Old Guardian is surprisingly sweet for a barleywine. Loaded with fruity malt, Old Guardian is a dangerous, seductive concoction. Bold, smooth, sweet, and potent, this is a distinct, innovative beer. Ample berry, sweet apple, grape, and chocolate adorn Old Guardian. Special stuff. Good effervescence, smooth, and sneaky in its strength despite the 12% ABV, this is one beer to beware of.

Stone was a brewery that was certainly on my radar, having enjoyed several of their wares a few years ago in Michigan. Yet, as it arrived with much advanced fanfare in Illinois, I wondered if I would enjoy their vast selection as much as I originally did. This proved to be no worry, for Stone has a magic touch, proving particularly creative and adept at myriad styles such as this, a tremendous barleywine. Old Guardian is simply, and truly, outstanding, and I am thoroughly impressed with it and the brewery, easily one of the ten best in the US. (1,252 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (367 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
4.34/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fresh 2011 bomber. Pours amber with a white, long lasting head. Intoxicating aroma of sweet malt, cherry fruit and herbal hops. Full, very sharp body. Delicious taste of caramel, cherries, herbal hops.
Huge, dry, hoppy finish. I shared this bottle with my friends, who had never heard about Barley wines. They were amazed. (325 characters)

Photo of Vierenner
3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting departure from a typical ale. Worthy of trying, but wouldn't purchase a second time. Has sort of a hoppy, bitter, almost sour taste up front ... but beyond that is a nice sweetness. Vanilla flavor comes out after the palette gets accustomed to the bitterness. Alcohol packs a punch! (294 characters)

Photo of gregshead
3.01/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted on 4/14/11. Reviewed from notes:

A: Pours a reddish/copper with a finger+ of head

S: Lots of malt sweetness toffee smells

T: Lots of malt toffee tastes with more boozy flavors

M: Very thick syrupy feel. Light on carb feel. Lots of heat feel.

O: Think arrogant bastard on steroids/alcohol. Okay, maybe it has a lot less hops but it reminded me of arrogant bastard in many ways. The alcohol on this one was not at all hidden. You knew it was 12%. (456 characters)

Photo of rootbeerman
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: thin sheet of head, body is brown, yet ruby when held to a light.
S: ton of sweet malt, floral and lightly piny hops.
T: sweet and malty up front, a mix between caramel and dark bread. Hops are a mix between pine grapefruit and a touch of grass. Hop bitterness lasts a long time. Alcohol has a light amount of burn as the brew warms up
M: a little thick, hops give a coating feeling, carbonation is a little low due to my dropping half the bottle.
O: needs a year to mellow out, but I think I prefere past years. (517 characters)

Photo of david18
3.17/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (561 characters)

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

Bomber bottle, 2011 edition.

Pours rich darker honey amber, ample loose head, collar, sheeting and rings of scattered lacing.

As it warms, the nose opens up with notes of honey infused malts, some ginned up alcohol also present.

Large, bold, flavorful...Loads of malt-Loads of hops....I'm picking up vanilla, honey, grapefruit, pineapple. Smokey malts smoldering in the rear, fruity hops up front. Alcohol quite present...Love to have the chance to try an aged bottle of this huge beer in a few years. (504 characters)

Photo of alexhahn82
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours full with chasing carbonation that dissipates at a medium rate, 1.5 finger head light semi cloudy non filtered amber.

S. Smell is of barley wine, as it should. Nothing too impressive scent wise.

Taste. This is where I say call me crazy, but after the poor I tasted a semi sour (good sour) flavor for about 30 seconds, then it dissipated into a mild semi sweet caramely flavor.

M. Semi syrup feel but not a thick chewy viscosity. Semi peppery bite from the alcohol with a nice dry crisp carbonation bite.

Overall. On a whim purchased this beer at The Nugget, was the last one and usually the customers there have a good palette. Definitely worth a try, gonna have to try to scrounge up another bottle for the cellar. (728 characters)

Photo of bballmj2k
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A few years ago when I began drinking craft beers I dug everything Stone did. It was badass and bold. As I've gained more experience with craft beer I find most of their stuff is just unrefined.

A - Good barleywine look - amber, minimal head, heavy lacing.

S - Alcohol. Bready/caramel malts. Alcohol. Dose of hoppiness in there too.

T - Burn. It just burns and is a hot a mess of a beer. First taste is bitterness, followed by heat from the alcohol. Theres malty flavors continued with more bitterness on the tongue and finishes with more alcohol on the throat.

M - Creamy, full-bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall the past few Stone beers I've had just seem over the top, alcoholic or hoppy just for the sake of it. Give me something with some balance anyday. Meh. (775 characters)

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