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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 drabmuh
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage Stone Old Guardian Barleywine served in a new style Stone Old Guardian glass. Beer is amber, dark, caramel, hazy, nice tan head of small bubbles, lots of lacing, low carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is sweet, plums, malt, thick on the nose already, stone fruits.

Beer is medium to heavy in body, oddly bitter and dry finish at the end. Very sweet, very syrupy, very malty, strong throughout. Lots of fruit flavors, I drank the whole bomber and it put me out for the night, not my favorite Stone beer but this my annual ritual, drink the Old Guardian for that year. I'll wait until 2012 for the next one.

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Photo of broken22
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So lets get to it. Pouring this beer out you are greeted with a nice dark honey color. A nice head formed during the pour and dissipated quickly. The smell is a sharp hop and a sweet almost fruity smell. The taste is very much the same except the hops bite a lot more. There is a lingering bitterness to this beer on the back end. The flavor is reminding me a little of Arrogant Bastard. As I progress though the beer the hops take a back seat so the subtle sweetness I smelled starts to come though. So this beer is definitely a flavor changer on the palate. The overall mouth feel is very much a full bodied beer with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall it's a decent beer and very much a Stone Brewery flavor. If your into their stuff and you like a kick in the mouth check this out. I don't think this beer is for everyone much like the Arrogant Bastard but you should still try it because you never know...

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of fox227
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep deep red, about as dark as one can safely call amber. Thick head retains at a quarter finger's width and leaves lots of sticky lacing.
S- Resinous hops, citric, and actually much maltier than I would have expected out of a Stone Barleywine. Not terrible smelling, just... unexpected.
T- Caramel malts up front, long resinous hop finish. A bit of citric flavor but pine resin is really the big hop presence. Much boozier than I would like as well. Dark fruit, something like I would imagine an unsweet pomegranite would taste like is also in there.
M- Pretty syrupy, definitely needs a bit more carbonation. Good body to it though.
O- (Still used to putting a d there...) A bit boozy and not as hoppy as I was hoping considering both style and brewery. Alas, I would still drink it again, even if it is more boozy, syrupy, and not as hoppy as I would have it.

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Photo of litheum94
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian is earthy, thick, and long-lasting.

It poured a very nice dark copper with ruby highlights. It had little-to-no head but left a ton of lace. The smell and flavor had a great deal of complexity, with a dark fruit sweetness, followed by an earthy, grassy middle, and a salty roasted nut finish. A slightly unpleasant metallic aftertaste lingered. The feel was thick, full, and bitter, with a dry finish and very long-lasting.

Old Guardian has a beautiful dark color and a nice balance of sweet and bitter flavor with an extreme bitter feel and an aftertast that begs for a water chaser.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been fortunate to have tried the Old Guardian for the last five years. 2010 was my favorite year. It seemed to get better or change with a different complexity each year. This year the recipe seems to have gotten somewhat worse.

I think they may have put their greater effort in the Belgo style. I have that on the shelf as a future review, but I recommend that as a purchase over this bottle. That is to say, if it is available any more at your store.

On it's own, this is a classic Barleywine style. The flavors are standard, without much additional fanfare. The alcohol flavors stand out, as well as the strong barley and malts.

I would recommend the Avery version over this one, or if you live in San Diego pick up a growler of the Ballast Point version (my first and favorite). Just be careful, the ABV will set you up for the night.

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Photo of Tifore
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of Ehrnstrom
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 2011 Classic release from back in January. I had read that the beer was way too hot fresh, so waited until now in October.

appears a rusty orange copper color. frothy white head, a thin covering stays. aroma is caramel, piney hops, and alcohol. fiarly intense.

taste starts malty, hops in the middle, spicey and boozy in the finish. warms the throat and belly. sticky, coats the mouth. higher carbonation.

it's still hot. I've got another bottle aging and will give it awhile.

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Photo of jpro
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at CBX a couple of weeks ago...

A: Poured into a snifter... tea-like amber with some cloudiness that eventually clears up; no lace or much of a head to speak of

S: Caramel cake; some fruity-slightly estery-booze tinged aroma; earthy hops

T: Brown sugar sweetness; rummy spice cake; a little alcohol and lasting hemp hop aftertaste

M: Medium-light and a touch zingy; nothing too crazy

D/O: Not the most exciting; surprisingly malt forward for Stone... its OK

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Photo of abgba121
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
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

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber that looks almost brown if you don't look through light. Pours with finger solid fingers of middle brown head that is quite resilient. The head sticks around in volume for a while, but remains as a thin layer throughout. Gorgeous beer overall.

S - After the head dies down, I can smell this beer from a ways away. It smells like dark fruits, plums, maybe apricots. Additionally, I'm getting some caramel from it.

T - I think this must be my first ever barleywine, which I find shocking. This baby is a doozy though. At the front, it's fruits and bitterness that stand out. The malt backbone is very present. Pretty boozy in the finish, but the fruitiness remains. Frankly, this seems like it needs some time on it to fully develop.

M - Syrupy, but the taste leaves my mouth surprisingly quickly, which is nice. I don't like it when a beer clings to my palate for too long. Overall, the carbonation seems appropriate, at very minimal.

D - Well, I suppose if I'm reviewing within the style, this is probably about average. However, if I was reviewing for me personally, I would have a hard time finishing a bomber alone and walking after. Not that that's stopping me, though.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

way better with a year on it, or two, I found this edition to be a much more approachable version of the style, although barleywines are supposed to be a little intimidating I think. this one pours that same dark crimson color, bordering on brown, and retains a decent tan head. the nose and the taste are identical, with all kinds of fruit being detectable in here, red apples, ripe cherries, even dried dates. I think its complexity isn't so stifled by its raging booze content as it is in the fresh version, so I pick up so many more subtleties in both aroma and flavor. the alcohol is still sharp though, and the carbonation is disappointing. its a slow sipper, and when it warms its almost like a distilled spirit. the oaked and smoked versions mellow this out in a special way that apparently even age cant do with this one. still, I think its an improvement over the fresh, and maybe this year I will keep a few bottles around a lot longer to really see how time affects these barleywines.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. The color is bright red with some haze. There is a small off-white head.

The aroma is full of caramel, toffee and some hops.

The taste is very bitter, with notes of grapefruit. There is some good caramel flavor as well. This is interesting, the malt is very prominent in the aroma, but the flavor seems more hoppy.

This has a nice medium to full body, with a hefty dose of carbonation.

This is really tasty. I wish I had the patience to age this one.

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Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Time to open and review one of the first bottles I put in the cellar after turning 21.

A- Pours a very hazy, opaque, toffee brown color. The color is a mix between brown and amber, but with the hazy aspect to it. Head is 1.5 to 2 fingers in thickness and tan. Retention is great, and so is the lacing.

S- Boozey with big malts right up front on the nose. Fairly sweet caramel is the biggest tone here, with some more, peat-like scents also mixing in. Alcohol in the smell is somewhat stinging in the nostrils.

T- Smooth, fairly one dimensional and stronger. This drink starts with a bang of caramel malts and a fair amount of bitterness. Sweetness and bitterness offset each other to provide some balance to the flavor. Toffee flavor is prominent in the middle of the drink, and towards the end the bitterness is heightened due to an alcohol bite.

M- Smooth, boozey, and heavy with a low level of carbonation. This is on the sipping side of beers, but the alcohol level is fairly restrained for the 12% ABV. Don't get me wrong, it will catch up to you and shouldn't be drank quickly, but hides the alcohol well.

Overall, nothing spectacular, but also not bad at all. Two years in the bottle has mellowed the flavors and melded them into a semi-sweet, yet bitter, boozey beer.

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Photo of katan
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
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!

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Photo of beertunes
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear orangeish-amber color with an inch of off-white head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma was heavily malt-sweet, with noticeable hop and alcohol notes. The flavors were pretty similar, lots of malt, hops and alcohol.

The body was full, even and smooth, except for the alcohol burn, and was a bit better than average. Drinkability was pretty good for a beer this big.

Overall, a nice example of the style. Try it when you see it.

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Photo of djaeon
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a regular pint glass.
$5.99 from Holiday Wine Cellar.

A: Pours an enticing hazy amber with a thin head. Little retention and leaves average lacing.

S: Emits a grainy, bready (like rising bread dough) aroma with some light hops present.

T: Rich caramel, moderately bitter grain and hops held together with a good booziness.

M: Feels smooth and goes down leaving a little bitterness and stickiness as an aftertaste.

D: In my opinion, this is one of the more drinkable barleywines out there. It has some bitter hoppiness, but not overly so. It's a bit boozy, but not hot. But still very strong, so it wouldn't be a good idea to have more than one.

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Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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